Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 Music wrap-up and tidbits

As the year wraps up, here are a few lead stories from the bigger bands, some stats to make you go "hmmm." Not a bad business to be in if you're the top dog huh? Let's just hope The Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, and the countless other "indie" projects reap some rewards for having their 2008 album releases on countless Top 10 lists.

OK, according to Billboard, here are some top lists and numbers from 2008 to ponder.

Top 5 Concert Tours of 2008 (Gross Revenue)
5. Celine Dion - $91 Million
4. The Police - $149.6 Million
3. Madonna - $185.6 Million
2. The Boss - $204.5 Million
and at an average income of $2.1 Million per show...
1. Bon Jovi - $210.6 Million

If you want to actually ponder those numbers, it's pretty astounding. Especially if you're Celine or Madonna and don't have to share that number with your bandmates. And FYI, because I KNOW you're itching to know...Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus was able to pull in $45 Million in 2008 concert sales alone...more than fellow newcomers like Elton John, DMB, Billy Joel and Tom Petty. Maybe she can buy Petty new vocal chords and Billy an AA meeting. Elton could still kick her ass if he really wanted to...I just know he could.

**Live Nation and AEG both pulled in over $1 Billion worth of concert revenue**

According to Billboard charts through the year...

Top 3 Artists
3. Rihanna
2. Lil Wayne
1. Chris Brown
(Miley Cyrus - 7, Coldplay - 11, Kanye West/Bueller? - 18)

Top "Independent" Artists
4. Radiohead
3. Mannheim Steamroller
2. Garth Brooks
1. Eagles
(Vampire Weekend - 7)

Top Digital Albums
3. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through The Static
2. Juno Soundtrack
1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida

Top POP Singles
3. Chris Brown - Forever
2. Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
1. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain - Low
(21. Miley Cyrus - See You Again)

Top Soundtracks
3. Mamma Mia!
2. High School Musical 2
1. Hannah Montana 2
(8. Hannah Montana 1)

Back in the studio recording No Line on The Horizon. And after selling a modest 9 million copies of your album, why not continue to hire the best producer for your album? Enter Brian Eno. While we're already hiring one, why not make it two? Enter Steve Lillywhite.

DAVE and Company:
From The Lone Microphone we learn DMB is on a tour. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be first in line to get tickets even if Dave DID stop in Colorado. But wtf, I'm almost offended that Red Rocks is not slated. Let's hope this is a prelim tour. Regardless, you'll notice some Mountain Tempo favorites such as Old Crow and Avett Bros. scheduled to open up for Dave and Co. offering these groups some needed attention...which I'm all for!

Dave Matthews Band Spring 2009 Tour Dates
Apr 14 ~New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden #
Apr 15 ~East Rutherford, NJ @ IZOD Center #
Apr 17 ~Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena ^
Apr 18 ~Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena ^
Apr 20 ~Pelham, AL @ Verizon Wireless Music Center Birmingham ^
Apr 22 ~Raleigh, NC @ TWC Music Pavilion %
Apr 24 ~Charlotte, NC @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre %
Apr 25 ~Nashville, TN @ Vanderbilt Stadium (Special Show)
Apr 26 ~New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Apr 28 ~Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre %
Apr 29 ~Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre %
May 1 ~The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia L. Woods Mitchell Pavilion %
May 2 ~Dallas, TX @ Center %
May 5 ~Albuquerque, NM @ Journal Pavilion %
May 6 ~Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Wireless Pavilion %
May 8 ~Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena *
May 9 ~Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena *

# = The Roots
^ = Old Crow Medicine Show
% = The Avett Brothers
* = Jason Mraz

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wisely (Wise"ly) adv. In a wise manner; prudently; judiciously; discreetly; with wisdom.

Willie Wisely - singer-songwriter, Jenna Fischer's friend.

Diggin up another gem and dusting off the earphones, I remember a lesser known artist that came to light with the help of Jenna Fischer, or better known as the reserved Pam from NBC's The Office? Apparently a big fan of Wisely, Fischer agreed to be in a video for his first bigger release, "Through Any Window."

Singing in a somewhat despondent tone as if here were in a permanent lull, Wisely gives us simply naked songs almost with comparisons to Elliot Smith or Nick Drake. Keep in mind I said "almost." Oddly enough, as you listen to more Wisely, you quickly dismiss any mysterious sorrow that accompanies any mention of Drake and Smith with his happier and poppier songs more along the lines of Train. Anywhoo...nothing HUGE about Wisely yet...but definitely worth a quick check for the needed pause in your busy Holiday shopping filled day. Wisely's self-titled albums has been out for some time now from Oglio Records...enjoy!

Wisely - Through Any Window

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Harmonica

My friend teaches elementary school to a handful of pre-double-digit potty lickers. She was asking her class to brainstorm all of the holidays celebrated by different people besides Christmas. One of her kids anxiously raised his hand and blurted out "Harmonica." So, happy first day of Harmonica to you all! I celebrated Harmonica's first evening by cooking up some mean matzoh ball soup full of the fixings for a crew of both Jews and Gentiles alike. And yes, I also drank a cup of eggnog.

Adam Sandler - The Chanukah Song #3

With the hundreds of thousands of Christmas themed music available now, it's even more difficult to keep up with the 22 songs about Harmonica that are understandable. At least us Jews have Adam Sandler to partially thank for letting some type of Chanukah song hit the mass audience. As of 2007, he was up to version #3. It seemed to be a slower 2008 in Hollywood in terms of new Jews getting into the movies and music scene...maybe they were afraid of the Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson wrath. Maybe #4 will be ready by the end of 2009.

Version 3

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is Kate. Kate knows music.

Either I have no standards or Kate knows music. I've been told both! Now it's rare that I'll post on a friend though I've done it before --> here and here. Nowadays, it is once in a blue moon (and keep in mind folks, the full moon last Friday night was at it's apogee, meaning the moon was the biggest it will be all year...14% bigger!) that a friend actually gives me music that:
a.) I am not familiar with and
b.) Actually makes my skin tingle while
c.) Causes me to turn the speakers to '11' and eventually
d.) Causes me to write about the experience

Kate delivered me a peculiar mix at 5:55am this morning as we headed out to our bi-weekly morning climbing session. At 9:56am I popped in the album to let it take it's course. You see, John Cusack (via Nick Hornby) nailed the art of the mixtape on the head in High Fidelity by explaining the trivialities and hurdles of configuring a proper mix all through the composers thought process, mood, goal and various other influences that serve as the intricate ingredients to a successful product. Not that I'm judging and not that I really looked into it (ha!), but this compilation is one of two (thanks Wallstreet) ever given to me that has blown me away. That being said, I did just receive a mix from Melt Your Face Off that looks like it could raise a ruckus.

Kate's mix is full of radio staples, "unveiled" indie gems, obscura, orchestral soundtrack backers, forgottens of the yester-years, and the neck-out-on-a-limb singer-songwriter ballad. The disc has it all excluding The dreaded Police, the wrist cut inducing Steely Dan and "lord I wish I had a rope and stool" Van Halen song, for which I praise the lord and Kate for not including! Just some highlights that I implore you look into would be
Alec Puro - Concert Dream
Elvis Perkins - All The Night Without Love
Electric President - Ten Thousand Lines
Scott Matthews - Elusive
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Pin
Fruit Bats - When U love Somebody
James - Fine
Yo La Tengo - Stockholm Syndrome
Home - Slide
New order - Ceremony

Thanks for a better than great Thursday Kate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Missed Joe Pug = mulligan

It was tortuous irony how I found Joe Pug. Every week I have to glance at my blog line-up and for some reason last Friday, I checked a new blog and scrolled the past months worth of entries. For some odd reason (I rarely click on videos) I decided to click the video. Short, simple name, with an honest tune. Joe Pug. Enthralled at the video and the stripped dusty sound that accompanied Dylanesque lyrics, I started my research. Within 5 minutes I discovered Joe Pug, loved the first two songs I heard and found out that he was ironically playing in my backyard for the next three days. Holiday Parties are fun but apparently can come at the wrong time. Damn it! Three chances to see this emerging powerhouse and I went 0 for 3. His videos, live sessions, myspace and tunes have been clogging my computer ever since.

Joe Pug - Hymn 101 from Sam Molleur on Vimeo.

So here's the dilly. So many out there are quick to judge a decent singer-songwriter with a bit of freedom and dust in their lyrics as "just like Bob Dylan." Sure they may have some similarities, but being a huge Dylan admirer, I usually scoff at the accusations as a knock to Dylan. But here is Joe Pug, a seemingly bashful personality with brilliant lyrics and some southern porch pickin.'

I'm sold. And though he is not Dylan and may never leave footprints like Dylan, Pug can at least fill the void for me while offering something new to my ears.

According to his site, Pug picked up his guitar after finding himself in a lull from his senior year at the Univ. of North Carolina. re-tuning the guitar he hadn't touched in a decade, the 23 year-old pug road-tripped toward Chicago and left his life as a carpenter behind. A friend snuck Pug into recording studios for late night sessions that opened up after cancellations from main artists. Initially slated for a play Pug was writing, the songs turned into his first EP released in 2006, Nation of Heat. Since then, Joe Pug has been a headliner to a sold-out Schuba's and is gearing to release another full-length album in 2009. I will be sure not to miss him again.

Courtesy of Joe Pug
Joe Pug - Hymn #101

Monday, December 15, 2008

Andrew Bird announces new album

Multi-instrumentalist virtuoso Andrew Bird is gearing to release another firecracker on January 20th and from the two songs that are floating around, it's impossible to see this album not making waves. Noble Beast is arriving as from Fat Possum Records as a deluxe edition, featuring an additional 16 instrumental tracks, or as a standard edition, featuring the following tracks (tentative):
Oh No
Fitz and the Dizzy Spells
Not A Robot, But a Ghost
Unfolding Fans
Natural Disaster
The Privateers
On Ho!
The first single rumored to hit us should be "Fitz and the Dizz Spells," another intoxicating pinwheel of instruments, whistling, and Bird's storytelling. Noble Beast will be Bird's 11th release to date. Not too shabby for the violin playing Chicago native that started his career with the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

To hear Bird's new tunes, head on over to Pitchfork or his MySpace

Friday, December 12, 2008

Need a Friday comedy break?

Leave it up to me to waste your time. It's worth it, I promise.

Tipped off by Stefania, I now just made my three co-workers waste 15 minutes, 90% of it filled with crying/laughing at the most humorous blog I've seen in a bit...unless your humor is opposite mine.

The blog: Fuck You, Penguin

Happy Friday folks!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Johnny Cash Giveaway!!!!!!

The lovely folks at Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings sent me over some previously unreleased Johnny Cash tracks to give away to you...making this the first official giveaway from The Mountain Tempo blog! What is it? Well, there's a 99% chance you've either seen Joaquin Phoenix portray John R. Cash in Walk The Line as he's about to perform to the Folsom Prison inmates OR have heard the actual live album. Columbia/Legacy released a new double disc + DVD of Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison featuring handfuls of previously unreleased recordings from the TWO shows he actually delivered to the inmates. The double disc includes unissued performances by road mates Elvis Perkins, June Carter and the Statler Brothers as well as radio announcer Hugh Cherry introducing Cash before the famous "Hello I'm Johnny Cash."

Johnny Cash Intro into Folsom Prison Blues

This two-disc CD covers Cash's 36 performances during both Folsom shows, 16 of them unissued until now. Aside from Cash's powerhouse staples, some of the highlights I got excited to see were the actual opening performances by Carl Perkins performing "Blue Suede Shoes," the hit Elvis ran away with, Cash and Carter dueting on "Long-Legged Guitar Pickin' Man" and Hugh Cherry's introduction of Johnny and his father.

If you want this double disc covering The Man In Black's two shows at Folsom Prison either comment on this post or email me (bodie*at*themountaintempo*dot*com). Remember that if you comment on this post, I must be able to contact you, so make sure you're registered on I'll compile all names and draw a winner early next week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Black Ghosts

I was going to say, "maybe I live in my parents basement still since I've never heard of the book series or the box office smash, Twilight." Then, I realized that the only way a 27 year-old male would have heard of Twilight is if they still lived in their parents basement. Anywhoo, I was recently introduced to the movie through my cousin, still in high school and still in the demo that safely encompasses Twilight's appeal. Aside from how hokie or nostalgic this emo flick is, the soundtrack ain't half bad, nor fully good. Iron & Wine, Muse, Perry Ferrell (Janes Addiction), Mute Math and a the wrist cutting cherry on top to solidify the movie's emo stance, Paramore. Not shabby. Twilight did introduce me to a song that's been hogging my iTunes - Full Moon by The Black Ghosts. Some nice acoustic-ish guitar strumming backed your typical Brit singer full of 3 ounces of angst but still enough dignity to kick some indie ass and some nice beats thrown in to prove it's not a song for your mom.

The Black Ghosts - Full Moon

Another bad ass group not from the U.S., The Black Ghosts continue to prove that despite their oral hygiene, the UK (and hell, even Canada now-a-days) can still produce some great music. The electronic based duo is comprised of Theo Keating and Simon Lord, two artists that met on the Internet and produced handfuls of work together before meeting face to face. My co-worker tipped me off that these are the same two that were once a part of Simian. The Black Ghosts are still new to the scene (relatively) and should be picking up some steam now that they've trampled SXSW in Austin and are the buzz from the Twilight soundtrack.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A cold day in Boulder

The snow is finally here and the Colorado temps are starting to reflect what a winter should bring. In fact, it's finally cold enough that I've worn socks and shoes to work and not flip flops for the first time since the summer (business meeting days excluded!). I'm not complaining. The above photo is what I get to see on my ride/drive to work every morning after a nice snowfall just as the sun glances off of the great Flatirons.

Anywhoo, not much going on today except for a lazy winter Friday full of three cups of Peppermint Celestial Seasonings tea and two cups of joe...and some songs needed to warm up the coldness that is upon us. Keep your eyes peeled on The Mountain Tempo next week - I've just received a nice gift from Legacy Recordings that I must let a reader win next week. What is the prize? It involves a great performance and previously unissued moments from a momentous occasion in music history.

Enjoy some songs for a mild weekend ahead.

Ray Lamontagne - Winter Birds

Calexico - Corona

Marlena Shaw - California Soul (remixed)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Before The Goldrush: Covers and covers

So, here's a pretty damn nifty album that required a bit of licensing, organization, compiling and permission (perhaps)begging.
Before The Goldrush is a compilation album paying homage to mentors, teachers, and singer-songwriter artists of the 60s, 70s who influenced the music of today. Supposedly, an open call was made to all current singer-songwriters in an effort to cover some damn beautiful songs for the compilation. All the profits from the digital-only full album download from Amazon are going to Teach For America and is also tax deductible, if you're already itching for the $19 deduction before the close of 2008.

Before The Goldrush, released from A Nest of Eggs, is full of 26 covers ranging from some artists I guarantee you've never heard of to some break-outs of 2007/8 such as The Swell Season (remember Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of the movie Once?'s their group), Okkervil River and Neko Case. Who are they covering? Here's the line-up

Here are two of my favorites that do the original great justice.
The Swell Season - Into The Mystic

Pete and J

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Frightened Rabbit
What does it take to keep warm?

I heard of this Scottish group a few back from my bud over at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends and have placed their song (Backwards Walk) on mix CDs to many friends last summer. The way Frightened Rabbit builds their clanging percussion and layered guitar through their songs almost reminds me a bit of 80's U2 circa The Joshua Tree with some indie rock trickled in with a kick ass whiny voice.

Supporting Death Cab For Cutie, releasing The Midnight Organ Fight from Fat Cat Records last April, and the various instances I run into their songs at the most random of places has put them back on my radar...big time...again. Frightened Rabbit recorded that album in Connecticut and say the album's title is a "euphemism for sex." Not too surprising after you hear the endless stories of sex, relationships, and heartbreak that is set in a rather direct and "fuck you" tone. Here's another example:

Frightened Rabbit - Keep Yourself Warm