Category Archives: 30Hz Music

The 30Hz music-related ramblings

Arctic Monkeys @ Stage AE – June 17th, 2014

Perhaps you read my tirade about outdoor live music in the post I wrote about the Mumford & Sons show last year. If you need a refresher, here ya go.

Now to test out a new section of my live music commentaries. I’ll call it The Rumble. It’s really just an everyday Festivus-style airing of grievances.

 

[the rumble]

 

Outdoor shows and the people that attend them. Next on Springer.

Jack White has a point about those goddamn digital devices. Put them the hell down. Let’s start with detachment of 30 seconds. We’ll work up to a minute. Maybe by the end of the summer, you can go 20 without holding it up in my face.

To the very very very short woman who stood on her tiptoes in front of me to film the show, I really do hope you enjoy the back of the tall dude’s head soundtracked by the blaring redline static of music recorded on iPhone speakers.

Did I looked like I want to be sprayed with a hose like a zoo elephant? It was only 80 degrees. Humid, yes, but still 80 degrees.

[/rumble]

 

Arctic Monkeys @ Stage AE

Let’s play count the glowing screens.

These are not people taking quick pictures. These are people recording on their phones. I took my obligatory random shot of shit on stage and put my phone away. That’s how I roll. You see how it’s blurry? It’s because I held my phone up for a second, snapped three pictures and hoped one looked less blurry than the others. Occasionally, I’ll take a second shot later if I want to remember a moment for a writeup later. I say this because, yes, I’m trying to sound holier than all the rest of these morons who are watching a show through an itty bitty phone screen rather than just LOOKING AT THE SHOW THAT IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM.

Why buy a ticket? Just watch all the YouTube videos tomorrow.

The wife and I rarely attend concerts together. If we do it’s because we both really wanted to see a killer show. The last real rock show we would have seen was Franz Ferdinand… and we anticipated something similar from the Arctic Monkeys.

We weren’t wrong. Unfortunately we can’t live in a vacuum and select the people who attend a concert around us. We knew we were in trouble when our newly high-school graduated babysitter commented upon hearing we were attending the AM show, “Oh, like half my school is going to that.”

I’m not teenager phobic. I’m not standing out on my lawn waving a broom at any of the kids that walk by my property. Teenagers are dumb. I accept this about them. I remember being a dumb teenager. In theory, we’re good with this understanding that they’re dumb and I’m, like, kinda old (remember when 35 was f’ing ancient?).

I’m not good with idiots of any age, however, that somehow diminish my enjoyment of a good show. For example, yes, a 17yo girl of ample proportions wearing only a sports bra and cutoff shorts is not a welcome sight, but I file these images away in my geezer box, to discuss in great detail at a later time. (“How do we keep this from happening to our daughters?”) Oh, you plucked your eyebrows into independently functioning yin and yang shapes? Interesting. You had an older boy buy you beers for the first time and then tried to impress him with your alcohol tolerance? Cute. Now go puke with your girlfriends, preferably somewhere far away. But if you’re holding your phone up right in front of my face for entire songs on end, you are impacting my experience. Jack White was fucking right to have one of his trademarked hissy fits about this very topic. I think I’m having one now. What is it about outdoor crowds that turn everyone into a digital slave?

After “Crying Lightning” I turned to my wife and said, “Whenever you’re good, I can leave.” Before she could answer “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” came on. We listened intently, peering between cell phones, then she elbowed me. “Now I’m done.”

Our early exit was a disappointment. Frontman Alex Turner is something to behold, full of swagger and Elvis hips with a swath of Joe Strummer. As soon as he walked on stage — all eyes fixed on Alex Turner. He’s a refreshing throwback to the days when lead singers could be superstars. In a different world, one with less divided attentions, this could be our Mick Jagger.

But as a band they’re just not Franz Ferdinand.

In my mind the two bands are inextricably linked by space and time and shared ancestors. Arctic Monkeys’ live show compounded this connection with one major difference. Franz blew me away last year in Philadelphia. Old songs sounded fresh, and their performance allowed varied layers of their musicality to shine. By any measure, Arctic Monkeys are currently the bigger band. Broader appeal, more recent releases, greater production value and swagger. And, by and large, a younger crowd by at least a decade. But they lacked that *wow* factor. Despite Turner’s best efforts, the music somehow didn’t quite carry the venue. I’ll chalk it up to the Monkeys shallow (but still very visceral) musicality. Fun and frivolous, but transient.

After the show, the wife and I elected not to go home to relieve the babysitter just yet. We’d been gone for less than 90 minutes. So we partook in a longstanding concert tradition. The late night (in this instance an early bird late night) stop at Eat’n Park (or Denny’s per my own high school tradition). She ordered a grilled cheese and potato pancakes. I had coffee. We opened that aforementioned geezer complaint box and detailed the inexplicable sights we’d witnessed among the crowd, briefly touching upon the fact that it would have been nice to have enjoyed more of the Arctic Monkeys show.

Some nights pure enjoyment just isn’t in the cards, and on those nights, perhaps, it’s just better to cut your losses and enjoy the rest of the evening with good company, once again without the view of everyone else’s portable electronic devices blocking your view.

Anyway, here’s a sample of the live set from Austin City Limits to send you on your way, featuring my personal favorite Arctic Monkeys song.

CHVRCHES @ Stage AE – June 11, 2014

CHVRCHES @ Stage AE, June 11, 2014

 

CHVRCHES, Stage AE 1

Pittsburgh crowds rarely impress me for being *into* a show.

Last night, I was impressed — not just with CHVRCHES — but with the crowd. I want you to recognize how monumental that admission really is. If there’s any deterrent to me enjoying a show, it’s almost always the crowd. It’s like I seek out some reason to be intensely annoyed. On this occasion it was only the really odd girl who kept dancing at the bar when the opening act was playing.

Unprovoked rhythmic clapping and rampant fist pumping during bursts and rebirths of sound. I absorb and reflect and occasionally join the rhythmic clapping. But grand displays of enjoyment just ain’t my bag. Anything more than regular head nodding and I’ve probably had too much to drink and you might think to call me a cab. That’s just the way it goes, so it might seem strange to be “impressed” by a horde of Pavlovian concert-goers. Clap here. First pump here. Bounce here. And perhaps there’s the rub — none of it was choreographed by the band and none of it was premeditated. That’s what most impressed me, the rare spontaneity.

At the Fitz and the Tantrums show last year at Mr. Smalls, the band constantly called to the crowd for more energy. They’re a high energy band. They want a high energy crowd and they got what they wanted, but in order to get their wish they must have said “Pittsburgh” and cajoled us to great cacophony at least 27 times to get that sold-out crowd in the mood to party. Lauren Mayberry, frontwoman for the Glasgow synth-pop trio first spoke to the crowd after the third or fourth song. She admitted it was her first time in Pittsburgh. Cheers. Applause. And then admitted that all she knew about Pittsburgh came from the movie That Thing You Do when Jimmy dumps Fay and says “I shoulda dumped you in Pittsburgh!”

And that was pretty much it for the Pittsburgh talk or any talk in general. She popped back up to the podium once more to talk about how she’d also experienced her first Tornado Warning that day as well. (Happy to provide a memorable stay, Lauren, you beautiful little pixy!) But the radio silence wasn’t because she was awkward or uncomfortable speaking to the crowd. In fact, she had a warm, casual report. She just knew when to get back to the music.

CHVRCHES - Stage AE - Pittsburgh

If you’ve been read any of my year-end lists from the past two years you might remember CHVRCHES featuring prominently. (See here, here and here.) I’ve spun this record more than any record of the past dozen years and I’m pretty sure the folks that follow me on Twitter probably got tired of seeing this:

#nowplaying CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe #vinyl

Some shows I just can’t understand. The empty show for Savages at Mr. Smalls, for example. I’m still stunned at the attendance. WHY WAS NOBODY THERE?!? The age of the crowd at Naked and Famous. WHY WERE YOU SO YOUNG?? And so on and so forth. Obviously CHVRCHES has struck a chord with me, but I hadn’t anticipated the widespread devotion of a sell out crowd at AE. All ages. All varieties of people. The gathering defied irresponsible generalization on my part.

CHVRCHES played a by-the-book show with tremendous energy. And though I was initially skeptical of the histrionic gyrations of Iain and Martin on their tandem synths/samples — they provided an entertaining contrast with Lauren’s general stoicism. And when Martin Doherty stole the mic for his first of two lead vocals (on “Under the Tide”), he commanded every inch of his available stage, wacking about as if on ice skates, finally unleashed from his stationary synths and samples. Of their catalog (and I believe they played all but one song) “Night Sky” was the live track that most stood out from its album counterpart. That B-Side track from Bones of What You Believe found new life and vigor. The fist pumping registered off the charts with every “oh oh oh,” the rise and fall of that track amplified ever greater by the acoustics and fiercely in-tune crowd.

A “Night Sky” sample from a recent show in Cambridge:

A night of preposterous bass (thank you, AE, for threatening me with the brown note during the encore) and killer synth and then out into the Pittsburgh night with enough time to hop over to PNC Park to catch the last of the rain-delayed Pirates game. Not that I did, mind you, because I’m an old, tired dad with two kids. I went home to turn the game on in bed… and catch up on some of the #Bond_age_ live tweeting of A VIEW TO A KILL that I’d missed out on that evening so I could finally catch CHVRCHES in the flesh… and they were well worth the wait and the sacrifice of missing out on the roast of one of the worst Bond films.

I’ll leave this post with some more CHVRCHES content because I can’t get enough.

NPR Tiny Desk

CHVRCHES covering Arctic Monkey’s “Do I Wanna Know?”

CHVRCHES covering Haim’s “Falling”

Old School Fridays – Me Phi Me

Old School Fridays logo

I bypassed last week’s Old School Friday because I had Record Store Day fish to fry. You’ll forgive me. I have faith. I also have some Me Phi Me in the CD player.

I mentioned in my original entry in the Old School Fridays series that I at one time owned every rap album in the BMG monthly music catalog. No exaggeration, really. As a result of that obsession to discover this totally new (to me) arena of music, I had a lot of bad CDs… but for every three truly terrible rap records I bought, I discovered something spectacular, something that I probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

me phi me

Me Phi Me’s ONE came out in 1992 as a rebuttal to the gangster rap that had just begun to gain some crossover attraction. For this album, I have no particular story of discovery or happenstance, but it’s always stuck with me and grounds me in that Detroit-era time period. Best classified as “folk rap,” Me Phi Me (born La-Ron K. Wilburn) hailed from Flint, Michigan and he conceived the name Me Phi Me as an homage to the historically black fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi.

He gained some notoriety for appearing on the Reality Bites soundtrack, but beyond that and some buzz bin play on BET and MTV, Me Phi Me never gained much widespread popularity. Snippets of lyrics always stayed with me, especially this second verse from “Keep It Goin”:

 

You heard the rhythm
Saw the mechanism, what a funky system
Coming from the capital P, the H… I am a new age warrior
Fighting the battle for joy and euphoria
I march to the beat of a different drummer
Spring, winter, fall and summer
To show them what happens when you’re proud and strong
You keep going all night long

 

Here’s Me Phi Me’s “Keep It Goin'”

 

Record Store Day 2014 Wishlist by @30hertzrumble

Record Store Day 2014 Wishlist

by James David Patrick

Record Store Day always offers a wide breadth of unique and rare selections for vinyl connoisseurs and music fanatics. While at first glance, 2014 didn’t seem to offer any of the must-have big ticket items of years past, the more I studied the list, the more excited I got. See you crazy folks in line on Friday night.

 

Ray Parker, Jr. – Ghostbusters 10″

 

Ghostbusters - Record Store Day

I’ve well documented my affection for Ghostbusters, the Ghostbusters soundtrack and colored vinyl. Holy shit, this release is the perfect storm of 30Hz must have. IT GLOWS IN THE DARK, PEOPLE.

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The Cure / Dinosaur, Jr. – Just Like Heaven 7″

 

Cure/Dinosaur, Jr. Side by Side

One of the greatest running gigs that Record Store Day has going are these Side by Side releases where a band covers a song on Side A (in this case Dinosaur, Jr.) and the original song (The Cure) appears on the B-side. Some of the covers are rather uninspired, but this cover (originally released in 2005) delivers the J. Mascis and Robert Smith in equal measure.

Here’s a live performance of Dinosaur, Jr’s “Just Like Heaven” from KEXP.

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Alexander Robotnick – Vintage Robotnicks

 

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Robotnick is a minor legend of the Italo-Disco music scene of the 1980’s. And while we tend have cold sweats when we think of disco… bellbottoms and sequins and John Travolta… this is straight-up synth-heavy electronic. Think a less German Giorgio Moroder. Though much of this compilation was released in the US on a 2003 CD release called Rare Robotnick, I can think of no better place to spin this record than my turntable.

Here’s a sampler of the record:

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Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol. 2

 

Record Store Day 2014 Medical Records

Just in case you didn’t get your Italo-Disco fix (not I) with Alexander Robotnick, here’s a collection of very rare tracks from the same era. This stuff is infectious, off-beat and I’ve been spinning stuff from this era pretty heavy of late. It just so happens, #RSD14 noticed my obsession. This record is pressed in “Italian-Flag stripe” colored vinyl.

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Nino Rota – Amarcord OST

 

Record Store Day 2014 Nino Rota - Amarcord

Apparently 2014 became the unofficial year of the Italians. Nino Rota was an composer, pianist and intellectual most known for his scores for Fellini and Vischonti films. He also won an Oscar for his score for the Godfather Part II. His resume contains more than 150 film scores during his 46-year career. It just so happens that I’m a Fellini junkie and performed a 100% legit double-take when I saw this 180g transparent blue vinyl reissue on the list of RSD releases.

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Django Django – The Porpoise Song 7″

 

Record Store Day Django Django

First of all, that’s a beautiful 7″. Second, this is Django Django covering a Monkees song. I could seek out the track to sample it but why spoil the moment of initial reveal on my own record player. Third, the B-side of this beaut contains “Flat Of Angles Part 4” a spoken word piece by Benedict Cumberbatch. Spoken word. Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch. Benedict. Sorry. Once I start with that name I get stuck in some sort of mental loop.

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Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full 7″

 

Record Store Day - Eric B & Rakim Paid in Full

This is a re-issue of the UK 7″ single for “Paid in Full.” The Coldcut Remix on this record reached #15 on the UK charts but was never officially released stateside.

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Saturday Looks Good To Me – Love Will Find You, S/T

 

PrintedCDJacketTemplate PrintedCDJacketTemplate

I’m not sure if Saturday Looks Good To Me was the first modern indie band that brought “Detroit Soul” back into the conversation, but I can’t think of anyone else… so let’s go with that. This is lo-fi garage rock, the kind of music meant to live on vinyl. If I’m not mistaken neither of these albums have ever appeared on vinyl.

Here’s a sample of one of my favorite tracks from Love Will Find You.

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Life Without Buildings – Any Other City

 

Record Store Day Love Without Buildings

This is the first and *only* record ever released by Life Without Buildings. I came to know them through a live record  released well after their demise. During their brief tenure as unknown indie-rawk demi-gods, they became known for their furious live sets.

Sample the track “The Leanover” below:

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Sun Record Company Vol. 1 (Curated by Record Store Day)

 

Record Store Day Sun Records

Sun Record Company was an independent record label started in Memphis in 1952. Sun first recorded Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. This collection of tracks from Sun Records was handpicked by participating Record Store Day vinyl shops. I took a peek at the track list. This one won’t disappoint.

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Haim – Forever

 

Record Store Day - Haim

So, sure, I’m obsessed with Haim. And I have “Forever” in multiple formats/releases. There’s nothing new about “Forever.” But. BUT. This release contains the Giorgio Moroder “Forever” remix. Chew on that.

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Devo – Live at Max’s Kansas City

 

Record Store Day Devo

This is one of three different RSD14 Devo releases. Two full LPs and one 7″. I picked this one to highlight. Consider it highlighted. Buy Devo.

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CHVRCHES

 

CHVRCHES Bones LP

I mean, if you’ve been following me at all on Twitter, you’ll know this is a given.

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Honorable mentions:

Record Store Day - Johnny Cash 418455875694 418455875735 418455876209 418455875845

Record Store Day 2014 Wishlist by Jenn Corker

Most Wanted Record Store Day 2014 Releases

by Jenn Corker

(I first met Jenn on the now defunct tables at turntable.com. I can absolutely vouch for her impeccable taste when it comes to the sweet sounds of the 19-Alt-80’s and beyond.)

David Bowie – 1984 picture disc

David Bowie 1984 Picture Disc

Bowie is a bucket list kind of performer for me. Maybe one day I’ll get to see him in concert, if he ever deigns to return to the stage. I like the look of the disc, maybe it’ll tide me over until I can see the Thin White Duke live.

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Chvrches – Recover EP

CHVRCHES Recover LP

I’m a huge Sundays fan, so the lead singer of this band reminds me a lot of Harriet Wheeler. They have a very retro modern sound, and opened on a few dates for Depeche Mode on their last tour.

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Nirvana – Pennyroyal Tea

Nirvana Pennyroyal Tea

I’m just a Nirvana fan, regardless of what anyone thinks of them. It’s been 20 years since Kurt’s gone, and I can only imagine what would have come next. I would love to find this on RSD for sentimental reasons.

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Joy Division – An Ideal For Living

Joy Division An Ideal for Living

Super excited about this one. I’ve been an enormous Joy Division fan for as long as I can remember. This is the vinyl release of their debut EP.