Monthly Archives: December 2008

Top 10 Reasons We Won't Make A 'Top 10 Albums of the Year' List


1. Nobody cares.

2. Music is all context – social, political and artistic.
Lists are the mortal enemy of context.

3. Who wants to spend the holidays trying to justify the difference between
a 5th and 7th ranked album?

4. You’ll argue with us. How do you think an argument about what sounds slightly better than something else will end?

5. Comparing hip hop and indie rock is like weighing a poetry book versus a novel – Yeah, they’re both meant to be read, but how do you read each one? How do you listen to each one?

6. Nobody cares.

You’ll completely forget about it the second you close the browser.

8. You already know what you like, why can’t we just show you new stuff you might like?

9. We would likely be out-hipstered by our own readers.

10. We’re lazy damned bloggers, what do you expect?

The Best New Years Party Ever – Liarbirds


Haven’t ever heard Liarbirds? It’s okay, pretty much no one has. But I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these gents since high school back in Milwaukee.

If I had to describe the sound, I could only say nail your radio to your skull and put some napkins aside for your bloody eardrums. Liarbirds are indie rock, and indie rock is Liarbirds, got it? Good.

Anyways, they’re finishing up a debut album at the moment, and the headline of this post is A&SB’s official suggestion for their album title.  Watch out for these guys, Liarbirds are liable to smash the scene into a million pieces and scream at it for crying like a girl.

So with New Years coming and all, I thought I’d re-share my story about a new years party a while back where they played and everyone got drunk.

by Bassey Etim

The levels are way off, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone is packed tight and jolly off a bitter keg that sits in the corner under a canopy of cobwebs. Those who didn’t pay the five bucks clutch the bottom of someone else’s warm champagne bottle, comfortable in the self-delusion that its rightful owner will never return. Everyone else who’s just unemployed or too cheap to buy a tiny plastic cup takes guarded swigs of the whiskey sitting in the cupboard and washes it down with stale water. No one can stand to be sober in this place.

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Rising Vinyl Sales Keep Small Shop Afloat


As John Schlapak attaches labels to a stack of merchandise in his Westwood, NJ record store, a post-grunge pop song reaches its chorus on the radio. “See, this is a typical example,” he says, scrunching a face that has seen its share of fads come and go, “some moaning, groaning song that’s going nowhere and no melody.” Like it or not, Schlapak now runs one of the hippest shops in town.

While album sales plummet in the age of new media and its profit-killing MP3’s, the format that brought Schlapak into the music business in 1979 is seeing a resurgence. With artists from Brian Wilson to Radiohead releasing vinyl versions of their latest albums and an entire label – Eyeball Records in New Jersey – planning to release all new albums in the format, nostalgia is definitely in.

If it weren’t for the CD displays, you might swear Music Merchant was trapped in a time warp. 8-tracks, a 1960’s era scale and an assortment of indeterminable old gizmos collect dust atop shelves of calcified records. The aisles are made narrow by neat rows of boxes labeled with a black marker. Schlapak, a white haired man in his early 60s, fiddles diligently behind the counter. A slow, but steady stream of customers picks through the unwieldy collection of an estimated 30-40,000 albums on a clear Saturday afternoon.

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Loney, Dear – Dear John

Loney Dear - Dear John
BUY: $10 – CD | $12 – LP

It was a pleasant surprise stumbling across this artist. I was running around YouTube, looking for music video directors when I found Loney, Dear’s video for their track “Saturday Waits”. It consisted of dogs doing things with human hands, reminiscent of the Swedish Chef skits on the old Muppet show (not really, but my brain made the association). Creepy! Since then I’ve been hooked. Their delicately crafted songs and jangly hooks bring no other artist to mind when trying to compare them. All I can really say is that they’re Swedish (like the Chef) and the song below will be caught in your head for at least a few weeks. It’s off of their new album, Dear John [polyvinyl], in stores January 27th, 2009.

Loney, Dear – Airport Surroundings

Your New Favorite Artist: Dan McCarthy

Homepage | Print Club

So if you’ve been to my apartment you’ve seen Dan McCarthy’s prints hanging all over my walls. It’s not that I’m obsessed, it’s just that I’ve finally found an artist whose pieces make me say “I want that” every time I see a new one. Also, each screen print is under $50, which is incredibly cheap… A current theme runs through McCarthy’s well-crafted prints which is that there is something bigger than all of us. Even if it’s simply our untapped imaginations, he leaves you breathless during your journey of trying to figure it all out.

A&SB Interviews Built by Snow's JP

Built by Snow is the indie pop equivalent of straight-ahead jazz. There are off-kilter keyboard bloops to be sure, but it’s all about the three-note melodies and manic energy. The members hail from Austin, Texas and don’t have a Wikipedia page, so I can’t pretend to know anything else about them. Get on that, guys. Their first full-length MEGA releases Jan. 20, and you can listen and download four tracks of it at Air and Sea Battle talked to frontman JP about making television, being foiled by Jet, and, mostly, science.

How did the band come together?

It’s almost been about three years now. We all work at a TV station together. I started writing songs and wanted some pictures for my Myspace page that proved there was a real band behind these songs … so I got my friends together and took some pictures of them. Then I realized that they actually played instruments, so we decided to make it official and do it for real.
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Trans Musicales = Most Awesome Music Festival Ever

Last year, I had the pleasure of having the French government pay my way to review an absolutely ridiculous music festival in Rennes.

This year, of course, we couldn’t go. Thus, we mourned for 5 days here at A&SB, being mentally unfit to post and all.  Here’s what I thought of it then, posted here as a tribute to what was the most amazing weekend of music and drunkeness imaginable.

RENNES, France — I wouldn’t recommend making the trip to Trans Musicales at the outskirts of Rennes on anything but the bus — and not just because you’ll leave too drunk to drive, even by French standards. Immersing yourself in a hot mass of jolly flesh while careening into bizarre characters yelling drinking songs in your ear offers the chance to, well, meet people.

It’s a modern-day pilgrimage out to some old airfield where four empty airplane hangars are stuffed with a stage, trippy lighting and bands just big enough to draw a crowd, but not so big that they don’t play with desperate intensity. The bus erupts in cheers and high fives as the hangars appear around a bend. These European kids party like they know this is their last shot to leave a stain on their memories from this winter. I say stain because they are drunk. Hell, we’re all drunk, but these kids are absolutely shitfaced. Continue reading