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Someone royally messed up the Valentine’s Day plans this weekend. That someone being me. Bear Hands played a special show at a Lower East Side wine bar, In Vino, as part of the Vivo In Vino concert series. Only a small number of tickets are sold, and each comes with 4 glasses of wine donated by a different winemaker for each show. The nights are an intimate celebration of mesmerizingly good music and tasteful wine.  Having already been to one of the most romantic shows ever with Freelance Whales, I had gotten tickets to see another one my favorite bands at this venue.

However… when looking at the ticket earlier in the day it had said the start time was 8pm. Typically when I look at the time for a show it is when the doors open, with the band playing an hour after. Surely we could get there at 9pm and be in time for the tunes. Well, as it turns out the band was starting at 8 and we got there in time to see three songs. At least we caught “What a Drag” and “Tablasaurus.” Good thing I have a loving girlfriend and Bear Hands plays Brooklyn Bowl for free on February 27th and at Knitting Factory on March 14th.

Download my favorite Bear Hands song by right clicking on the link below. If you like what you hear, buy their album “Burning Bush Supper Club” on iTunes.

Bear Hands – “Julien Donkey Boy”

Happy Valentine’s Day Brooke, you’re the best ❤


And now for something a little more lighthearted. Futurecop!’s “Starworshipper” was recently released, along with the news that an EP of the same name will come out March 29th. Glam pop singer Diana Gen fills out this delicious, embarrassing-if-your-roommate-caught-you-listening, retro synth jam. When you secretly want to say fuck-all and shake your ass to the radio but you’re just too cool to bring yourself to do it, turn to this bad boy. Doing something so wrong has never felt so right.

Futurecop! – “Starworshipper”

When Anna Calvi first came across my speakers I thought the Velvet Underground had fused with European soul and a hot stick of pure sensual fire. Much to my surprise, Calvi just barely released her debut album last Monday, earning accolades from NME as “perhaps the first great album of 2011.” I couldn’t agree more, they don’t make music like this anymore.

Smoky, seductive and dangerous – could she be the real femme fatale? Well educated in classical music, Calvi writes her own music, fingers dancing on a six string that lay a substantial foundation down on which her vocals soar. If you’re looking for something rivetingly baroque and powerful, this one’s for you.

Anna Calvi – “Love Won’t Be Leaving”

Anna Calvi – “Desire”

The panda is a little late to the party on this one, but you can’t turn down a video featuring an irresistibly catchy pop tune and culturally relevant material. Here’s a pop anthem for the tech savvy, nerdy, internet dwellers everywhere to smile and nod their head happily along to. Bonus points for name dropping Donnie Darko.

The Limousines – “Very Busy People”

Consider me one excited panda. Pitchfork is reporting that Foals have just announced a North American tour with one of my favorite bands of 2010, Freelance Whales. They’ll be getting support from another great up-and-coming act, The Naked and the Famous. The trio will be stopping by NYC’s Terminal 5 on May 4th, and you can check the full tour schedule here.

Usually you don’t find a show that is good from the bottom up, but even the openers are worth a show on their own. New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous are a band to watch in 2011, along with (hopefully) a new album from Freelance Whales.

Foals – “Miami”

Freelance Whales – “Enzymes”

The Naked and Famous – “Young Blood”

Feeling the itch to give my blog a little love, decided to sit down and compile my list of Top 10 Albums of 2010. Lots of great music can come out over the course of twelve months and this last year was no exception. Not wanting to risk being superfluous, I limited the list to only 10 – which is about as frustrating as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an egg beater and pita bread.

That being said, this list is highly personal. Albums were chosen based on what I listened to the most this last year. Each is great in its own right and links to download songs will be included with each listing. Now, enough babble out of me… let’s get to the albums!

* Forgive the shoddy formatting, text wrap worked a lot better than in the text editor and don’t have the time or patience to do battle with WordPress right now. Happy New Years!

10. The Spring Standards – “Would Things  Be  Different”

A recent entry to my library, The Spring Standards  are a local Brooklyn group with a lot of promise.  Simple, elegant tracks that are as powerful as they  are pleasant – wavering between catchy folk songs  and something you might hear in an Apple  commercial. Heather Robb’s luminous voice and  cascading piano drive a record that is pleasant  from start to finish. This album is something you  might  listen to a nice rainy day or while taking a  stroll  through Central Park. The Spring Standards  are one of those special bands whose live  performance only serves to best what you’ll hear on  the record.

The Spring Standards – “Sharks”

Buy “Would Things Be Different” now on Amazon

9. Sleigh Bells – “Treats”

The debut album from Sleigh Bells makes this list if only to say “I f**king told you so!!!!” After “Crown on the Ground” and “Ring Ring” (now “Rill Rill”) dropped as demos in 2009, I knew this was going to be a pair worth paying attention to. “Treats” doesn’t disappoint, delivering jam after driving jam of lo-fi, distorted garage pop guaranteed to rock your face off. As the cover suggests, this album was probably conceived by a gang of cheerleaders strung out on meth and sick of shelling out for the ‘man.’ Still, breaking through the distortion are solid melodies that lift the grunge pop into something listenable. “Rill Rill” is the anchor on this sick boat.

Sleigh Bells – “Rill Rill”

Buy “Treats” now on Amazon

8. Marina & The Diamonds – “The Family  Jewels”

Pop music is dying for someone like Marina  Diamandis, aka Marina & The Diamonds. This  Welsh singer-songwriter released one of the most    honest pop albums in early 2010. Five out of  thirteen tracks are singles, and each one crafts a  new dimension to a record filled with friendly jams  and scathing critiques of popular culture. It’s  impossible not to love Marina, especially after  watching one of her standout music videos that  match the dissension of the music itself. Marina  doesn’t give a shit what you think, she’s just gon do  what she gon do. A sophomore album that even  comes close to this will ensure a spot at the top.

Marina & The Diamonds – “I Am Not a Robot”

Buy “The Family Jewels” now on Amazon

7. Francois Peglau “The Imminent Failure  of  Francois Peglau”

Here’s one you aren’t likely to find in stores but deserves a place on this list without question. Peruvian born singer-songwriter now living in London, Peglau dropped a gem of a solo project this year. Gentle pop music with traces of European folk, “The Imminent Failure” is endlessly  charming. Something you might listen to while  smoking a cigarette, cruising the streets of London in the 1960’s. If vintage clothing could be  transformed into song, this album would be the  result. One for the hipsters to say “You gotta check  this out, pretty sure you haven’t heard of it.”

Francois Peglau – “One Minute to Midnight Dream (So Sad)”

Download “The Imminent Failure of Francois Peglau” now on Bandcamp

6. Freelance Whales – “Weathervanes”

Eery. Haunting. Beautiful. Freelance Whales’  debut  album tells a ghost story, the lead falling in  love  with a female spirit who haunts his home. Never  able to make her his, he imagines life with her on  some spectral plane. There are not enough good  things to say about this album, a gorgeous blend of  ethereal indie pop. I’ve always described  this band  as “Like Owl City, but you don’t have to be  ashamed to listen to it” and even that doesn’t do  them the justice they deserve. Known for  performing on the NYC streets and in the subways,  Freelance Whales is a band that loves music and it  can be felt with every touching note. Another great  live act as well.

Freelance Whales – “Location”

Buy “Weathervanes” now on Amazon

5. Robyn – “Body Talk”

First of all, Sweden deserves a shoutout for all of  the killer music coming out of there right now.  Robyn has been on the scene for a while, but  finally broke through in a big way this year with  “Body Talk,” a studio album that was released in  three parts over the course of 2010. A perfect  marriage of pop and electronic, Robyn is Lady  Gaga with loads more talent, swagger and  sophistication. From the bubblegum gangsta  nastiness of “Fembot” to the toned-down, heartfelt  “Hang With Me,” the entire series brings  undeniably danceable rhythm and funk guaranteed  to have you listening over and over.

Robyn – “Call Your Girlfriend”

Buy “Body Talk” now on Amazon

4. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Arcade Fire just won’t stop. After two solid releases  in ’04 and ’07, they finally took it Wu-Tang style  and dropped a megaton bomb in 2010 with “The  Suburbs.” I’ve always been a fan, but past releases  seemed almost too ambitious to really connect with  them on a lasting basis. On “The Suburbs,” they  finally hit the mark with just enough catch and  hook to lock into their grand, symphonic indie  melodies. If this were a top tracks of 2010 list, their  single “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”  would make an excellent case for the number 1 one  spot. I remember when this album dropped and it  was immediately dubbed album of the year by most  critics, and they weren’t too far off.

Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

3. Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted  Fantasy”

What a year for Kanye West, after acting himself  into the role of King Douche of the Planet, this  album dropped and the nation collectively shit their  pants. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is  being called the “Sgt. Pepper’s” of hip hop and they  just might be right. Whatever his behavior might  say, Kanye West is an absolute musical genius. It’s  hard to describe exactly what’s going on with this  album, only that it’s like nothing you’ve ever  heard. I think Kanye says it best when he said:  “Gossip,  gossip. N***a just stop it, everybody  knows I’m a  mutha f**kin monster!” Album of the  year to most, it doesn’t get much better.

Kanye West feat. Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Rick Ross and Bon Iver – “Monster”

Buy “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” now on Amazon

2. The Magnetic Fields – “Realism”

There’s a reason why The Magnetic Fields are my  most listened to artist since I got a account  in early 2010. “Realism” is one of the most down to  earth, stripped bare, ‘real’ albums I’ve ever  listened  to. Stephin Merritt & Co have been around  since  ’91 and show no signs of letting up. Nothing  needed here except for a few instruments and  brilliant songwriting. Never heard a band do so  much with so little. “You Must Be Out Of Your  Mind” is the standout and intro track, a melody of  honest heartbreak that sets the tone for the rest of  the LP. Simply brilliant.

The Magnetic Fields – “You Must Be Out Of Your Mind”

Buy “Realism” now on Amazon

1. Yeasayer – “Odd Blood”

No debate in my mind about the album of the year,  or the band of the year for that matter. Yeasayer  blows all competition out of the water with “Odd  Blood.” Yeasayer created a lot of buzz after their  debut release of “All Hours Cymbal,” but risked  being mired as an experimental band. “Odd Blood”  changed all of that, and delivered a fury of  wonderfully constructed rock songs supported by  indie sensibilities, lush synth and unmatched vocal  power. Saw them in Dallas and cannot wait until  they come back to their adopted Brooklyn home for  a show. If Yeasayer isn’t the future of rock, then at  least they made 2010 a damn good year for music.

Yeasayer – “ONE”

Buy “Odd Blood” now on Amazon


These obviously weren’t the only good albums of 2010. Here is a short list of some other standouts that are worthy of mention, with links to their artist streams on Hype Machine.

by Courtney Smith

The cornerstone of being an indie rock fan is having your taste in music constantly snarked on. The speed with which information is disseminated on the Internet has amplified indie snobbery and taken it one step further by giving everyone with an opinion a stage on which to express it. People go to music blogs, fromStereogum to Brooklyn Vegan, expressly to comment on bands selling-outs and to inform bloggers that their taste in music sucks. The newest, coolest thing changes literally from minute to minute. And the entire time that Mediafire and have been growing in popularity with people who want to share their taste in music with friends, another internet indie cult has also been growing: a secret community of indie rock fans in Second Life.

This little known and rarely seen indie community got its first brand name endorsement when Vice UK agreed to allow Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life (SL), to use their name for an indie music and art island or, as they’re referred to in SL parlance, a “sim.” The place was built by avatar building team Kasabian Beck and Charlotte Bartlett. Bartlett initiated the partnership with Vice UK on behalf of Linden Labs and Beck imported his pre-existing virtual indie club Mixtape, its accompanying toilet karaoke room, and the Poperation art gallery to start the Viceland sim. He’s added a Manchester-reminiscent industrial waterfront, a series of hidden pirate radio rooms, and the Antigone theater, the latter aimed at hosting live bands like the Spanish shoegaze duo [engrama], who played a set there on June 3 as well as broadcasting shows like Soft Focus.

This is not the Vice brand’s first foray into virtual worlds. Virtue, the advertising and consulting arm of Vice US, partnered with MTV on their short-lived virtual world replication of New York’s Lower East Side in 2007. [Full disclosure: I worked at MTV and on the vLES project at the time, and that is how I found myself creating a Second Life avatar and devoting time to uncovering what exactly indie rock fans did in virtual worlds.]

It turns out that Second Life and indie rock are a great combination. If you want to be part of the indie community in Second Life, you have to really work for it. There aren’t constantly indie events you can just walk into, as if it were Twitter or a pick-up basketball game. The community is more akin to a series of underground nightclubs that you need to dress and act the part to be acknowledged in, except it’s full of computer nerds in a virtual world who also happen to be music connoisseurs. As an outsider, you not only have to locate these clubs, but keep coming back until you find people and then impress those people enough to be accepted. Things generally go down sometime between 5 and 11PM PST, which is referred to in-world as Second Life Time or SLT.

Musically, there is an ongoing competition amongst Second Life indie DJs to see who can play the newest stuff, or the best stuff, and even the longest stuff. In the fall of 2009, one DJ played for 26 straight hours without repeating a song. It was advertised as a charity fundraiser, but his now permanent hold on the longest straight time DJing in-world was the most discussed aspect of the stunt.

For the most part, the Internet makes it easy to find and market to the trendsetting indie demographic (just ask Mountain Dew and their Green Label, Toyota Scion at SXSW, or any record label who has ever bought an ad on Pitchfork). But in Second Life’s secret indie rock communities, there are no advertisers. The DJs are music lovers with no affiliations to labels or access to publicists. One DJ, whose avatar name is Oliver Wickentower, said, “In my ‘real’ life I’m the music guru to a lot of my friends. It’s cool that I can turn them on to music I like, but they rarely have anything to offer me. Music blogs are cool but the indie scene in Second Life is like an interactive music blog.”

So, now that you know they’re out there, where can you go to find these mavens of Second Life indie? We offer a club-by-club guide to the American indie scene so that you might pop into a place with the correct level of snobbery and eclecticism to suit you.

The Crow’s Foot — RIYL: Wilco, Black Lips, anything lo-fi

The place was opened by a longtime DJ and bearded avatar who looks a little like Jesus named Woodrow Stapleton. About building his club, he says, “I’m a big fan of vintage [so] I kind of went for a cross between a VFW hall and a hunting lodge.” And while he says anyone who wants to can DJ there, most of the regular DJs find the construction of their sets influenced by the Elks Lodge look of the place and gravitate towards dropping Flaming Lips and Girls tracks. It is perhaps the best place to get high and play SL.

The Velvet — RIYL: Big Star, Sleigh Bells, anything remixed by Fred Falke

Going to the Velvet is jumping off the deep end into the land of indie-snob smart asses. The DJs play whatever is brand new or incredibly obscure or both. It is the longest running indie club in SL, dating back to 2006, and the one where you are most likely to get snubbed for not getting the references. It is designed to look like the inside of a Replacements song circa 1983.

Mixtape @ Viceland — RIYL: Four Tet, Belle & Sebastian, JPop

There aren’t many DJs at Mixtape, because you have to be pretty impressive to be invited to take a regular slot. Proprieter Kasabian Beck specifically goes out looking for the weird and new, cramming everything into a small space so it always feels unique and intimate. It is best summed up by Beck himself: “I’ve always hated the idea that people say ‘I come to [Second Life] to get away from RL [real life]‘. Well, that’s total bullshit because here, just like in RL, there are assholes you don’t like, conversations you don’t want to hear, and people dressed funny.” If you get dressed up funny late on a Saturday night, you can find indie rock karaoke here.

Bombay (b)Indie — RIYL: Neko Case, Smashing Pumpkins, New Pornographers

They skew a little older and a little more West Coast at Bombay. They want to be nice to you and play you KEXP-approved music, making themselves the Stereogum of SL indie. Everyone wants something different on the Internet, and those who skip reading blog comments because they think the trolls are too mean will enjoy Bombay the most.

Alt7 — RIYL: Coldplay, Oasis, Snow Patrol

Always the “indie” club with the most traffic and the most boring music. They have a ton of DJs playing at all hours, which keeps a lot of people coming through. They also play the most mainstream, uncool music. It is probably not even a cool enough joint for Zach Braff to start his career as an avatar there.

This article originally appeared on Flavorwire. Thank you, Courtney, for letting me repost. Follow her on Twitter here.

Curse ABBA for giving Sweden a bad name for musicians. Often I’ll come across music on the net that I find absolutely moving, check the origin and sure enough it comes from Sweden. Many of it electro and dance, but the music coming out of that place has this understated power and hidden drive beneath airy, fluid melodies. Let me show you what I mean….

Heartbeats is the jam right now. Nevermind that it was dropped in 2006… that track is HOT. How do you do it Sweden? How do you produce so much great music from the likes of Sigur Rós, Robyn and the Knife? Forget meatballs and ABBA, dudes and dudettes – Sverige is all about the TUNES. The country is swiftly moving to replace the city of Glasgow as my “oh, well that makes sense” musician origin.

Mind if I gush about Swedish musicians some more? You can keep your M.I.A., you can keep your Ke$ha… keep all of them just give me those funky hot dance tracks from the land of candied fish and I’ll stay happy all day.

Here’s another gem that came out a little earlier this year from Swedish group Staygold. Incredible live performance and sick backup from  Robyn and American electro-rap outfit Spank Rock.

MMmmmm…. you know that felt good. I LOVE YOU SWEDEN!

The Knife – “Heartbeats”

Staygold Feat. Spank Rock and Robyn – “Backseat”

(Right click and choose “Save Link As” to download)

When I started this blog, one of the first things I mentioned was how amazing music has become in the way that we share it, listen to it and play with it. The internet has revolutionized the music industry, propelling the role of music in our lives to incredible heights. Ben Parr, a writer for Mashable, recently posted an article about the internet and its role in the rise of social music. He writes about its humble beginnings, the growth of MP3’s, illegal sharing, legitimized applications like iTunes, and the use of music social networks like

The last few years has also seen innovations in music-themed entertainment, namely the popularization of games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. The idea has been around since about 1996 when PaRappa the Rapper was one of the first rhythm based video games of its time, but has since become a major force in the video game industry.

So what happens when you introduce a social aspect into the world of music based video gaming? You get Loudcrowd, a “music community for people who want to do more than just listen.” Loudcrowd is a DDR type gaming site where users complete dances and challenges to unlock clothes, music tracks (that come with additional challenges) and more.

Players have two options for building up their battery meter to unlock items, either sending dances to other users or completing solo challenges. It can be pretty addicting, and I’m not the only one who has spent quite some time playing around with the dance challenges. Loudcrowd has made a good attempt and mixing social networking, video gaming and music discovery. Although I’m a fan of what the site is trying to do I’d like to offer my observations and a few suggestions as to how the site can improve and fulfill its objective.

Social Networking

Loudcrowd has taken rhythm based video gaming and infused a social aspect to it. Players hang out in a lobby together where they perform dances for one another and complete challenges. Dances can be sent to other user along with a short message after the DDR-type minigame is completed.

For some reason there is no local chat feature, communication is limited to one on one conversations with other players. In order for there to be a healthy music community, there has to be an open discourse where users can share information with each other and contribute to the dialogue as a whole. Even if they didn’t want to have open chat, at least make forums available. Especially since the site is in beta, users should be able to look at each other’s ideas and be able to expound off of them.

It’s also slightly frustrating that the messages are limited to 60 characters (And you thought Twitter forced you to be concise!). I think it’s a brilliant idea that users can keep up a conversation by means of sending dances to each other, but it’s difficult to have any kind of meaningful discussion other than flat “Hey, what’s up – Not a whole lot, you?” kind of talking. Users can take the discussion to straight up instant messaging, but you have to choose between the two as the game can move pretty fast. Loudcrowd should up the character limit to dance messages, letting users engage in complex discussions without sacrificing the fun of doing it through video gaming.

I had asked a few regulars (all of whom had reached the level limit on the site) how many friends they had made in Loudcrowd and only one or two responded with a number more than 3. In a site that is trying to promote a community, users should be able to develop a bigger network.

Video Gaming

Player's complete challenges to send dances to other users

Player's complete challenges to send dances to other users

It appears that the primary function of Loudcrowd‘s site is video gaming, and for something that’s offered for free on the internet, its a lot of fun. Players can select up to four difficulty levels on different challenges in the game. There’s the rhythm based dancing mini game, a fill-in-the-blank survival minigame and a turntable mini game. The three different challenges help mix it up and give users options on what they want to participate in, but they can get stale after a while. Anyone I talked to on the site thats been there more than a week has said they’ve gotten bored with the gameplay.

This is fine if they’re trying to offer a casual gaming site for people to spend a few minutes on every day to kill some time, but fails if they are attempting to create a solid destination for players to immerse themselves in. The revenue model is based around buying upgrades for storage space on the items you can unlock, but when the site isn’t offering a continuously entertaining video game challenge, or items that affect and improve the experience, then it’s hard to see how people are going to stay on the site. Loudcrowd says they are introducing new games every two months, and I wonder if that’s too long a time span to keep players constantly engaged. It’s a great idea to keep expanding its gaming options, but it’s also important to build upon the mini games already in place.

Players can level up through accumulating points and ideally it’s supposed to unlock better items through the challenges, but players level out at 50 and most level 50 players I met said they did it in less than a week. I’m at level 10 after an estimated total of 5 hours on the site, and haven’t noticed any increase in the variety of options. The reason why a game like World of Warcraft is successful is because there is something to continoulsy strive for, the experience expands and improves with every challenge completed. Even though Loudcrowd is operating on a much smaller scale than WOW, it has to give players an incentive to keep playing. Expand the clothing options, offer items that actually affect the game play like power ups that can be used in challenges, and either up the level max or make it harder to level out. No game should be TOO easy.

Lastly, I’d like to see a larger focus on competition. With a DDR model in the dances, players need to be able to compete against one another and not just themselves. Some of the mini games and track challenges offer score charts where you can compete on the scoreboard, but players want to be able to compete directly against each other. The whole winner/loser dynamic may not be the biggest self esteem booster, but it’s usually why people play engage in multiplayer games in the first place.

Music Discovery

To start off, I have to say that the music on the site is great. It’s all mostly independent electro (a scene that has been really taking off the last couple years in the music community) bands from partnerships they’ve secured with record labels like Beggars Group, DFA, Domino, Downtown Records, and Modular. This makes sense with the type of gaming that’s offered, but it’s not the only genre of music that has a beat that works in the system. From the feedback I’ve gotten it seems that most of the users aren’t necessarily electro heads, and some have said they just turn off the music after a while. Targeting a specific genre is all well and good when you are appealing to one area of the music community, but when your audience has varied musical tastes I think it’s important to cater to that.

I would also like to see a larger selection of music offered, even if they stick with a pure electro theme. The playlist changes every week but the songs come from a selection of about 4 or 5 artists, and I’ve heard repeat songs during 30 minute gaming sessions. It would be cool to see a comprehensive playlist, one that emphasizes the new tracks that are debuting that week but still give attention to ones in the past. Over time, the site can offer a large music library that still introduces good music to those who may not have been lucky enough to be signed in when the track first came to the site.

Good start with a lot of potential

Despite some of my observations, Loudcrowd really is an innovative, refreshingly fun site and you can count me as a fan. The artistic side is very well done and very stylish. The site is a great example of taking a browser-based system and making the most out of it with the aesthetic quality. The art and music fit seamlessly together, complimenting each other and creating a solid, congruent environment.

One of the cool feature in Loudcrowd's player profiles

One of the cool features in Loudcrowd's player profiles (Not my profile)

I’m also a big fan of the user profiles, they’re unique to the site in a way I haven’t seen in other virtual worlds or social networking sites. Not only can they list their favorite bands, but there is a space for favorite lyrics, most influential band and things of that nature. There is also a bar graph on each user’s page detailing the times the user is usually on the site. I haven’t even been able to hit all of the features associated with player profiles and I think that speaks to the potential in depth of experience.

As a music lover, I’m very excited to see what else the creators have in store for Loudcrowd. The way the site blends music and video gaming only enhances each of those aspects. I spend a lot of time on the internet searching for new music, scouring sites like Hype Machine for new tunes. When you’re on the computer though, music usually serves as the background function. While I listen to new tracks on Hype Machine, I’m usually doing something else that takes away being able to fully appreciate and be a part of the music that’s playing. Loudcrowd offers a way to stay entertained and engaged with music, interacting with the beat while you discover new music.

I wouldn’t normally take the time to sit down and analyze the bits and pieces but the site really speaks to me, and I’d like to see them improve on the great features they already have in place. If Loudcrowd succeeds, we can be sure to see more innovations like this in the future.

Nina Gordon is an American rock singer best known for being the co-founder of the famous 90’s pop rock outfit Veruca Salt. Channeling iconic 80’s bands like the Bangles, she helped bring back fun melodies into a rock movement that was dominated by grunge.

Laura Marling is an English folk/indie singer from Hampshire who released a gorgeous solo debut last year. A former member of Noah and the Whale, her debut was produced by NATW frontman Charlie Fink.

So what do these talented crooners have in common? Well, they both like gettin dat skrilla and pimpin hos, of course!

Laura Marling: The long lost twin of Marshall Mathers

Laura Marling: The long lost twin of Marshall Mathers

Nothing beats a good cover song, but there’s never any sense in trying to mimic what the original artist was trying to do. The best covers are genre-hopping, imaginative revisitations. Sure, Nina Gordon’s cover of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” is all over the blogosphere, but hell, if you haven’t heard it elsewhere you need to hear it here. Laura Marling teamed up with Jeffrey Lewis to do a folky rendition of Eminem’s “Brain Damage” for the UK paper The Guardian. It just goes to show that music is music, and a good tune should be appreciated no matter what “scene” you’re affiliated with.

Nina Gordon – Straight Out Of Compton (NWA cover)

Jeffrey Lewis & Laura Marling – Brain Damage (Eminem Cover)


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