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I have neglected this blog.  Oops.

Life has gotten in the way.  Work, dating, the beach… did I say dating?  Yeah, that hasn’t gone so well.  Not worst-date-ever material (yet), but guys, here’s a pointer: don’t take a girl to Shakey’s and expect a second date.

Now that we have that out of the way.

Friday night, Becca and I made a field trip to LA for what we thought was going to be a quick 30 minute set by my girl crush, Meiko.  It turns out the set was part of a showcase for the Worldwide Radio Summit, and the two of us were amidst a plethora of record industry people.  You know, something I’m used to every Friday night.  No biggie.  It’s not like I won a contest on Facebook or anything.

As a certified Meiko stalker, I was singing along to all of the “new” songs she played.  She started out with a sweet number in which she repeated “I’m in love” numerous times.  I whispered to Becca that I’d like to relate to that song in a decade or so.  No rush.

Part of Meiko’s charm is her banter with the audience in between sets.  Though she was obviously in front a bunch of industry power players, she didn’t tone down the feistiness too much, and disclosed that she was dating a “hot British guy.” That led into a song entitled “I’m Not Sorry,” which was a non-apology for wanting a housewife’s life.  However, most housewives would blush at a song like “Between the Sheets” which is Meiko’s most lyrically intense song.  It details an affair with a man that she wants public (she tells him to ‘leave the lights on’) yet she knows it can never be.  The symbolism of the lights is intriguing, as Meiko’s lyrics are mostly surface level –- yet hilarious and subtle all the same.

Though it was a short set, she did not fail to disappoint.  The looks she gave the small audience of less than 40 people were naughty and sneaky, and perfectly Meiko.  However, Becca and I didn’t want to leave so soon, so we opted to take advantage of our scratchy red wristbands and saunter to the next stage, where another showcase was starting.

                Who would be playing, but Matt Nathanson.  The transition from Meiko to Matt was not a difficult one at all, as he kept referring to his stage as “the brothel.”

His first song was “Mercy”, which gave Duffy’s song of the same name a run for her money.  The way he kept singing “Less drowning, more land” with distortion became a little swoon-worthy.

He easily transitioned from upbeat pop (‘To the Beat of our Noisy Hearts’) and radio-worthy songs (‘Faster’ – which he noted was “Like S&M”… was he channeling Meiko?) to his most famous song, “Come on Get Higher.”  Oh, and a note about this one: I distinctly remember this song being played over and over in movie theaters before the feature started, and many times I was with my parents while the song played.  I will never think of the song in the same light now, since apparently it’s about “Getting naked in an awesome slap and tickle type way.”  Um, hi Mom and Dad?

Bec and I weren’t feeling like being smashed into another room, so we sat on a couch in the lobby while listening to British band Scars on 45. They were great music to listen to, and the guy-girl duets were fantastic.

All in all, the showcase was a pleasant surprise.

And my first experience in a brothel was swell.

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Usually, the “City” in Sarcasm And The City refers to the towns in and around Orange and LA Counties.  You know, the beach cities.  Without the snow and tornadoes.

Who knew that life — with good music — existed beyond southern California?  My good friend BAMS recently got hitched and moved to Kansas, and sent this review of a Joshua Radin show she recently attended.  I’m beyond jealous, as Laura Jansen opened for him.  The two of us saw her a few years ago and I got to catch her recently at a Christmas show in LA.  But Mr. Radin?  I’ve never been able to catch his sweet voice live.  Yet.  But BAMS has.  Here’s her take.

DISCLAIMER: I’m no expert when it comes to the intricacies of music and such.  However, I do love me some singer songwriters – my favorites being Katie Herzig, Tyrone Wells, Jay Nash, Meiko and Joshua Radin.  So when I noticed that JRad (as me and SATC affectionately call him) was playing a show at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS, (along with Laura Jansen and Cary Brothers) I was beside myself with giddiness.

Laura took the stage first, and I was excited to see her again!  She captivated us right off the bat with her infectious smile, strong, soulful voice and storytelling (between sips of whiskey from her red party cup.) Keepin it klassy Laura.  I like it!  I was really impressed with the range of her vocals and was a little bummed when, on songs like Wicked World, her strong keyboard playing somewhat overpowered her beautiful voice and distracted from the witty lyrics. BUT, she more than made up for that with songs like Bells, the title track from her new album, and her cover of Kings of Leon‘s Use Somebody. In these songs, the piano took the backseat and her amazing vocals were showcased.  Her US debut album, Bells, drops March 22.  I’ve marked my calendar so I can be first in line (or first online?) to get it.  You should too!

I’d never heard of Cary Brothers, but after reading his Wiki page, I feel like I should have.  Oops.  I’m also embarrassed to admit that, for some reason, I had decided in my head that Cary Brothers would be two banjo playing brothers who would take the stage barefoot and play some foot stompin bluegrassy music.  You can imagine my confusion when only one guy, Cary Brothers, walked up to the mic.  Oops time infinity. I’ve probably just lost all singer/songwriter lover street cred in your mind huh?  His first song he sang sans band.  Once his band joined him, the music mostly drowned out his vocals and I couldn’t understand the lyrics unless it was one of the rare moments when he was belting it out.  I should point out that his band in and of itself was fantastic, but I was bummed about not being able to understand the words since the main thrill I get out of going to concerts is hearing the emotion and creativity of the lyrics.  I’m going to chalk the quiet vocals up to the acoustics of the venue (or perhaps I’m just hard of hearing at the ripe old age of 28) because I’m listening to some music from his album right now and he sounds fab!  I’m moving to the Nashville area soon (which is where Cary hails from), and I want to give him another listen so I’m going to keep an eye out for an acoustic performance by Cary (but not his barefoot brother(s)…won’t make that mistake again).

And then it was time for [swoon] Joshua Radin [/swoon].  The bottom level of the venue near the stage was standing room and the top was a balcony with seats.  We were in the balcony, but the chicks near the stage were all atwitter when he sauntered out, and I’m surprised there wasn’t any panty throwing.  From what I counted, he played at least 15 songs (a couple of which Carey and Laura joined him on) so we got a mighty good dose of JRad.  His interaction with the audience made the concert a lot of fun (might have had something to do with the whiskey he was drinking from the red party cup…how come I didn’t get my mitts on some of that?) My two favorite moments were at the beginning and end.  He started with No Envy No Fear and, at times, he was standing a few feet to the side of the mic and belting the song out at the top of his lungs so that those of us all the way up in the second floor balcony could hear him just fine.  AMAZING!!! He almost lulled us to sleep with his breathy crooning one moment and then snapped us out of our daydreaming with the power of his voice the next moment. I haven’t really noticed this back and forth between soft and strong vocals on his albums so it was a nice little surprise to experience the range and power of his voice in person.  My other fav moment was when he sang a cover of Sam Cooke‘s Bring it on Home.  HOLY COW CRAP!! JRad’s got some soul!!!  For most of the song, he was again standing well away from the mic and singing his heart out in a husky, bluesy manner that left me wanting more more more.   I think we need to start a “Joshua Radin needs to record a blues/soul album” petition on Facebook. Who’s with me?

Pre-order Laura Jansen: Bells

Buy Cary Brothers: Under Control

Buy Joshua Radin: The Rock And The Tide – mp3CD

Welcome to Flashback Friday — a look back on the week in music.  I’ve posted some noteworthy news on the Facebook page (what?  You haven’t become a fan yet?  Do that. Now.), but here are the gems:

  • The White Stripes have, indeed, broken up.  The writing has been on the wall for a while, what with Jack White’s multiple endeavors and some subtle hints in the Under Great White Northern Lights documentary.  But still.  Bummer.
  • The Avett Brothers hinted at an album in mid-2011.  If this is true, I will be very, very happy.  Speaking of happy…
  • Fleet Foxes promises their long-awaited new album will be released on Tuesday May 3rd.  The title track is now available for download on their website.  Southern California dates:
  • May 6 -Spreckels Theatre – San Diego
  • May 7 – Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood

Jenny & Johnny

It’s been a month since I’ve been to a show.  A month. What is wrong with me?  Thankfully, that will all change tomorrow as I head from behind the Orange Curtain and into LA to see the Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile.  That should be a great Friday night show: chill, with a few songs to get me going.  My days (and nights) have been busy to say the least lately, and it should be nice to sip a drink, sit down, and listen to Brandi and the Brothers Avett.

There are tons of other shows playing this week, and I’ve narrowed it down to about two a day for you guys.  If you have a ticket to any of them, I covet that confirmation code.

Friday, 10/1

The Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile (w/ Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) @ Nokia Theatre [of course I’m going to list the show I’m heading to.  Say hi, yo.]
Listen: The Avett Brothers – Slight Figure Of Speech

Aimee Mann @ Largo [great, intimate venue for her.]

Saturday, 10/2

Matt & Kim [left] @ Music Box, L.A.

School of Seven Bells @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

Sunday, 10/3

Belle & Sebastian with Jenny & Johnny @ The Palladium [anyone have a free, extra ticket?  This should be a great show. Jenny & Johnny is, of course, a duet consisting of Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Jonathan Rice.  Their debut album is fantastic.]

Listen: Jenny & Johnny – Scissor Runner

The Soft Pack @ Detroit Bar

Monday, 10/4
Tired Pony [members of Snow Patrol, R.E.M., Belle & Sebastian] @ El Rey

Tuesday, 10/5

Jenny & Johnny @ the Troubadour

Wednesday 10/6

Broken Bells [left] @ The Wiltern [James Mercer of the Shins teams up with Danger Mouse for a positively unique sound.  Loving their album.]

Jay Nash @ Hotel Cafe, 9pm slot [update: he’s married]

Thursday, 10/7

Lissie @ Troubadour [Newcomer solo artist is the darling of indie radio stations.  Check her out.]

Listen: Lissie – Bully

The Like @ Detroit Bar

Going to any shows this week?  Excited for any coming up this month?  Leave a comment.

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Any MP3 posted here is available to stream and/or download for two weeks or less, so get it while it's hot. Hopefully I can help steer you towards music you've never heard before. If you like what you hear, please purchase the album, and support the artist at shows. The music posted here is for sampling use ONLY. If you are a band or representative of an artist who is featured on this site and would like your music removed, please contact me directlyand I'll be happy to immediately remove the song(s).