Saturday, June 28, 2008


I like a good glass of wine. Particularly a big smooth red. Preferably a bordeaux or an Italian Valpolicella. If you like a glass and you like to talk about it, head over to - it's like facebook for wine lovers.

You can discuss and review wines, read recommendations, download pdf's for wine tasting tours. It's pretty good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What's rocking Obama's iPod?

Obama has revealed what's on his iPod. Will it be the Dixie Chicks like George W had on his? Of course not, Obama rocks out to Dylan (predictably), Springsteen and a wide range of others from Jay Z to Sheryl Crow. I wonder if he had a focus group telling him to get rid of some music before handing it over to Rolling Stone for his interview.

THE GUARDIAN reports that The list of bands reads like the acts at a summer music festival, with the Rolling Stones, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris all in the mix.

Obama said that, growing up, he listened to Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire but that Stevie Wonder was his ultimate musical hero during the 70s.

The Stones' track Gimme Shelter topped his favourite songs from the band.

His selection also contained 30 songs from Dylan. "One of my favourites [for] the political season is [Dylan's] Maggie's Farm. It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric."

In the song, Dylan sings about trying to be himself, "but everybody wants you to be just like them".

The jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker were also included in the compilation.

Many of the musicians on Obama's iPod, such as Bruce Springsteen, are supporting his White House bid.

Earlier this month, Dylan said he believed Obama was redefining politics in the US and could bring change to a nation in upheaval.

"I've got to say, having both Dylan and Bruce Springsteen say kind words about you is pretty remarkable," Obama said. "Those guys are icons."

Obama said he had not met Springsteen but that the two had talked over the phone.

"Not only do I love Bruce's music, I just love him as a person," Obama said. "He is a guy who has never lost track of his roots, who knows who he is, who has never put on a front."

He added that, when speaking to the singer, he addressed him by his moniker the Boss. "You've got to," Obama said.

The candidate said he thought rap music was also helping to break down barriers within the music world. Indeed it was reported last month that Obama will make a cameo performance on the rap singer Q-Tip's next album.

However, he expressed concern over his daughters – Malia, nine, and Sasha, seven – listening to some rap songs.

"I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics," he said, "but I think the genius of the art form has shifted the culture and helped to desegregate music."

He said the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and the rappers Jay-Z and Ludacris were "great talents and great businessmen".

"It would be nice if I could have my daughters listen to their music without me worrying they were getting bad images of themselves," he added.

Obama appears on the cover of the Rolling Stone issue. The magazine endorsed him for president in March.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CD Review : Golden Animals - Free Your Mind And Win A Pony

What a great album title. They recorded this in the middle of the californian desert, completely alone and only visited once a day by the ranch owner.

4 AUGUST 2008

Golden Animals are Tommy Eisner (guitars) and Swedish born Linda Beercroft. They found inspiration from old fashioned rock'n'roll- The Doors, Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Eisner, speaking about early blues records claims "in 200 years people will find new ways to create from those rules". Perhaps, but Golden Animals haven't managed. There is nothing here you haven't heard before. Eisner has a fine baritone (think Jim Morrision) and Linda provides sweet backing vocals but each blues flavoured track trudges around the 12 bars as uninspiring as the next, musically and lyrically.

For fans of: The White Stripes; Rolling Stones
Download: The Steady Roller, My My MY
Rating: 5/10

Monday, June 23, 2008

The ugliest dog in the world

The BBC news website reports that Gus has been crowned the ugliest dog in the world. Gus is a three-legged, one-eyed, cancer-afflicted dog and has won at the World's Ugliest Dog at a fair in California.

Owner Jeanenne Teed, from Florida, said she would spend the $1,600 prize on treatment for Gus's skin cancer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Free Sigur Ros track

Sigur Ros have made available “Gobbledigook” for free download. It's from their forthcoming new album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Literally translated it means ""With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly," and even features a song in English (no way!).


And if that wasn't enough, you can listen to the whole album on their website here:

New Sigur Ros tour dates

Sigur Ros have just announced a load of new American tour dates, to add on to their world tour. Catch them:

Sigur Rós:

06-20 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany - Southside Festival
06-22 Scheeßel, Germany - Hurricane Festival
06-24 London, England - Westminster Methodist Central Hall
06-28 Reykjavík, Iceland - TBA *
07-05 Werchter, Belgium - Rock Werchter Festival
07-06 Arras, France - Main Square Festival
07-08 Vienna, Austria - Arena
07-09 Lausanne, Switzerland - Les Docks
07-11 Florence, Italy - Giardino di Boboli
07-12 Rome, Italy - Cavea Auditorium
07-13 Milan, Italy - Arena Civica
07-14 Zurich, Switzerland - Volkhaus
07-17 Benicàssim, Spain - Benicàssim Festival
07-19 Southwold, England - Latitude Festival
08-01 Melbourne, Australia - Festival Hall
08-02 Sydney, Australia - Hordern Pavilion
08-03 Byron Bay, Australia - Splendour in the Grass
08-07 Oslo, Norway - Øya Festival
08-08 Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West
08-09 Copenhagen, Denmark - Beat Day Festival
08-11 Cologne, Germany - Palladium
08-12 Wiesbaden, Germany - Schlachthof
08-13 Berlin, Germany - Tempodrum
08-15 Saint-Malo, France - La Route du Rock Festival
08-17 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands - Lowlands Festival
08-18 Dresden, Germany - Alter Schlachthof
08-19 Prague, Czech Republic - Arena HC Sparta Praha
08-20 Warsaw, Poland - Palladium
08-22 Riga, Latvia - Arena
08-24 Helsinki, Finland - Kulttuuritalo
08-26 St. Petersburg, Russia - TYUZ Theatre
08-27 Moscow, Russia - B1
08-29 Stradbally, Ireland - Electric Picnic Festival
08-31 Argyll, Scotland - Hydro Connect Festival
09-17 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre
09-18 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre
09-19 Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavillion
09-20 Montreal, Quebec - Quai Jacques Cartier
09-22 Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
09-23 Detroit, MI - Fillmore
09-24 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
09-25 Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum
09-27 Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
09-28 Salt Lake City, UT - Great Saltair
09-30 Tempe, AZ - The Marquee
10-01 San Diego, CA - Copley Symphony Hall
10-02 Los Angeles, CA - The Greek Theatre
10-03 Berkeley, CA - The Greek Theatre
10-05 Seattle, WA - Benaroya Hall
10-06 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Theatre
10-07 Vancouver, British Columbia - The Chan Centre
10-22 Nagoya, Japan - Geijyutsu Hall
10-24 Osaka, Japan - Koseinenkin Hall
10-26 Tokyo, Japan - Forum

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sufjan Reviews the new Cryptacize record

Now that Apple have made their announcement about the iPhone 3G, the next thing I'm eagerly anticipating is a new Sufjan Stevens record.

He hasn't done anything in ages, at least not in terms of releasing records, so it's intruiging to see him pop up with a record review for a label mate - Cryptacize and their debut disc Dig That Treasure.

Read his review here

He takes a moment to be self-effacing saying that "Their new record “Dig That Treasure” offends many of my own musical impulses, the over-achieving bigger-is-better-shock-and-awe approach."

Sufjan says that the record contains "songs [that] are not trifles, but rather cryptic haiku poems that expand toward a vast cosmic significance."

MP3: Cryptacize: No Coins [from the Dig That Treasure LP]

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Fine Frenzy interview

A Fine Frenzy Interview

A Fine Frenzy's debut record, One Cell In The Sea, has been something of a phenomenon, catapulting it's lead singer, Alison Sudol, into the limelight. The 22 year old singer-songwriter has just returned to her native LA after touring Europe with her band. Before that they were headlining the USA for the first time. She takes a moment out of her recovery time to talk to About The Music.

How was the tour?

We have been on tour for 6 weeks in Europe going everywhere, and before we went to Europe we had just finished our headlining tour in the US. When I'm on the road I'm living on adrenaline, seeing new places and meeting new people. But when on tour I also think back and miss the mundane things in life, like I was thinking about how nice it would be to do the dishes! I've realised again that the dishes are pretty over-rated.

Now I have got home I cleared my diary so I could have some time to relax and read a book, but I've found it difficult to do nothing after the exhilarating tour. I've been very restless. I think I thrive from being busy.

How did you find Europe?

It was our 4th tour in Europe. The people there were, as always, so welcoming. It is amazing that they can sing along with me, knowing all the words to the songs - and they don't even speak English! I find that incredible, I don't think I could sing along in a foreign language.

How did AFF get started?

Well I've been making music since I was 11, and writing songs since I was 15. I've always felt connected to music, the way it can take you to another place and absorb you in its story. I found it a wonderful way to express myself, in a way no other medium could do. 

I wrote Almost Lover [From One Cell In The Sea] when I was 19 years old. I taught myself to play the piano and that was the first song I wrote using the piano. It was a real turning point for me. Almost Lover was this song that was completelymine about how I was feeling. From then on I really wanted to get going and write more songs. 

When people hear the songs that you've written it's a real thrill, the final part of the artistic process.

Almost Lover feels markedly different to the other songs on One Cell In The Sea, much less oblique and more honest. Is that a deliberate to move away from exposing yourself?

Almost Lover was at one point very difficult for me to play but I really believe in that song and in music. I think that you have to be honest for people to be able to connect with it. If people don't understand, and can't connect with my music then I may as well quit.

As I grew up and immersed myself in the novels of CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll and others who use fables and allegory, the easier I found it to write in images. I think that when you speak in stories and images it makes it easier for others to connect with, so that is how I try to write now.
What do you think of Pullman and The Northern Lights Trilogy?
I haven't read it actually. I really should but I haven't got around to it yet.

I hear you're writing a book?

Yeah that's right. It's a young adult fiction book, in the style of Narnia. I haven't let anybody read it yet. For now it's staying tucked away.
How have you found the last year?
It's been amazing, but I think the universe has been shielding me from it all. I've met so many people, amazing fans. I'm now getting letters and emails from great people.
Tell me about the next record?
The new record is shaping up now. I've written about 10 songs. For the last album I wrote 50 songs and then chose from them. I'm listening to a lot of music which is shaping the record.
You seem to love all the same artists as About The Music, who should we be listening to?
Well, apart from the obvious like Iron and Wine, I love Jose Gonzalez, Camera Obscura and Stranger Than Fiction. I went to see a band last week from Oxford called The Foals, I really liked them. Oh and I love Sufjan Stevens. I saw him in New York, I'm friends with a member of his band and we were walking down the street and we bumped into him and he was wonderful. I love his music.
I heard you were at the New York fashion show. What about modelling?
Oh I could never become a model. I'm 5 foot 6 and clumsy! I find fashion interesting and I'm learning a lot. It's an interesting form of art and at the moment My music is providing interesting opportunities.
But those are all just distractions, music is my real thing. I can never stay away from it for long. I always have a guitar or something nearby so I can sit down and play music.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Album review - Anais Mitchell - Hymns for the Exiled

(Righteous Babe)
2 June 2008

Anais found inspiration for her brand of singer-songwriter folk/americana growing up on a sheep farm in Vemont. She recently won the prestigious New Folk Award and this album is influenced by her travels to the Middle East and beyond. The lyrics frequently reference the war and her dislike for Washington politics like "I could tell stories like the government tells lies". Musically it is only guitar and voice.f It is sparse but her child-like, yet accomplished voice holds it's own. The songs can get repetitive as there is little change in rhythm or melody but these quiet, ambitious songs are worth a listen.

Rating: 7/10
For fans of: Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris,
Download: Cosmic American, 1984

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Album review - Yeti - The Legend of Yeti Gonzales

23 JUNE 2008

This album is like an audio Prozac pill, especially with the words "Your CD player craves my goodness" imprinted onto the disc. The 14 songs of multi-layered pop-psychedelia sound like The Beatles, especially "In Like With You" with almost identical chord changes, crossed with some Beach Boys vocal harmonies.

They're clearly having a lot of fun, especially on "Shane McGowan", a country tinged pop tune about "big fat Shane/Shane Shane McGowan" of The Pogues. It does feel slightly like you're intruding on a private party; they're having so much fun but you don't quite get the joke. A lot of the songs are overly long, and degenerate into meandering jams. That aside I salute their love of pop and harmonies.

FOR FANS OF: The Beatles,
DOWNLOAD: Shane McGowan, Obvious-Lee
RATING: 7/10