What we’re listening to
“The Temptation of Adam,” by Josh Ritter (from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter)—A love song set to a lost Bob Dylan melody and the plot of Dr. Strangelove.
“Tom Courtenay,” by Yo La Tengo (from Electro-O-Pura)—The video for this noisy “bop, bop, bop-bop” pop number imagines the band opening up for the reunited Beatles. That’s hard to beat.
“This is a Low,” by Blur (from Parklife)
“Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio),” by Miles Davis (from Sketches of Spain)
“Masterfade” by Andrew Bird (from The Mysterious Production of Eggs)
Before we get to tunes and live shows, Feedback has a few nuggets of important music news
to lay on the table.
Nugget #1: The $26.5 million question, answered
Maybe money talks, after all. When entertainment behemoth Live Nation, a spin-off of Clear Channel Communications, bought 51 percent of Coran Capshaw’s Crozet-based e-commerce company Musictoday in September 2006, he explained to billboard.biz that he “wasn’t looking to sell a major stake. I am looking at this as a joining of forces and abilities, not as a sale.” But by last July, something must have changed his mind, because in its 2007 annual report Live Nation reveals that it picked up the other 49 percent of the company, too. We think we know what that something might have been. It begins with an em and ends with oh-en-ee-why. The SEC filing shows that Live Nation paid $11.1 million for the first 51 percent of Musictoday. Ten months later, when it acquired the remainder, the purchase price was up to $15.4 million. That’s $26.5 million altogether—not too shabby, in Feedback’s humble opinion. Musictoday’s Del Wood told Feedback that he anticipates only growth and no huge changes. “We’re simply having to do more of what we’ve done well,” he says. He also doesn’t foresee that the acquisition will lead Musictoday to relocate from its current location in Crozet’s old ConAgra factory. “I think we’re here for a long time,” he says. “It’s a great place for us because it has massive scale. We can grow and expand as our needs require.” Wood says that Musictoday will double the size of its warehouse by the end of the year. That’s a lot of Dave Matthews flip-flops.
Nugget #2: The day the music will die?
Feedback is quite worried about rumors that a CVS pharmacy may take the place of Plan 9 and Satellite Ballroom (another business in which Capshaw is invested) on the Corner. We have many fond memories of both establishments, and we probably wouldn’t be writing this column if it weren’t for these local music joints, so we hope that the record store and venue don’t fly out of our orbit. For more on this click here.
Nugget #3: Shhhhhhhh!
That’s what City Council is saying to local restaurants, venues and street performers who are making a racket louder than 75 decibels. The Council officially approved the city-wide noise ordinance at its meeting on Monday, March 3, and the decision has already claimed one casualty. Local promoter Jeyon Falsini says that he will no longer be able to book shows at Mono Loco’s outdoor patio. The Council will allow him to put on the shows that he has already booked at the venue through May 4, Falsini says, but after that he’ll have to pull the plug on Mono Loco gigs.
Not just swaying in the breeze
Within a week of each other, Paul Rosner and Blake Hunter were both involved in putting out fires in trees. The following week they came up with the name of their band, Trees on Fire. “I don’t think it was a direct reference to those burning trees, but it did come out of it,” says Rosner. “Its meaning is really kind of open to interpretation. I think it’s an evocative name and it rolls off the tongue.”
|Listen to "In The Middle" by Trees on Fire:
When Feedback spoke with Rosner, he was fresh off a weekend of work on Trees’ first full-length album (the follow-up to last April’s EP, The Green Room), which the band is recording at the Packing Shed, a studio above Rapunzel’s that is run by the Lovingston venue’s soundman, Gabriel Taylor. The band hopes to release the new album, tentatively titled Organica, in late July or early August, with one track, “Birds and the Bees,” making its way to radio stations and iTunes in the next couple of months.
Trees on Fire will spread “hybrid-rock” and awareness of mountain top removal at Satellite Ballroom on March 13.
“Organica” is a natural choice for the album’s name, as it’s a term that the band coined to describe itself. “It’s a mix of organic sounds and electronic music,” Rosner explains. “But what we really are is a ‘hybrid-rock’ band. I think [C-VILLE Weekly Arts Editor] Brendan [Fitzgerald] put that term on us and we like it a lot. We aren’t just throwing sounds together. It’s actually a new sound coming out of our various backgrounds.” That sound caught the attention of Dave Matthews Band’s Boyd Tinsley at November’s First Amendment Writes competition, and Tinsley even expressed interest in working with Trees sometime in the future.
While they may leave it up to you the interpret their band name, it definitely hints at Trees’ concern with environmental issues, which spurred them to organize a show at Satellite Ballroom on Thursday, March 13, at which they hope to spread awareness about mountain top removal and a proposed coal power plant in southwest Virginia. Many local environmental organizations will be present at the show, and $2 of each ticket will benefit the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. “We just wanted to do something to help bring awareness of it, because it’s a really big issue that affects a lot of people, but very few people know anything about it,” says Rosner.
Sounds like a worthy goal to us. Hit up the Ballroom on Thursday to hear lots of tunes (Richmond ska band Murphy’s Kids and local klezmer-gypsy dazzlers Accordion Death Squad open) and learn more about these issues.
(Dew)dropping into St. Paul
A Scottsville band will be making an exciting trip out of town this weekend. Americana duo The Honey Dewdrops received an invitation to perform in St. Paul, Minnesota on the radio program “Prairie Home Companion” as part of its “Talented Twentysomethings” talent show on Saturday, March 15. “We were listening on a Sunday afternoon to ‘Prairie Home,’ and they had a commercial on the show,” says Dewdrop Kagey Parrish. “The idea was people in their 20s who play music could enter this contest. All you had to do was send them a link from your MySpace page or website. So we did that, and, lo and behold, about a month and half later they called and told us we were chosen.”
All about the Benjamins? Last July, Coran Capshaw sold the remaining 49 percent of Musictoday to Live Nation for a cool $15.4 million, up from the $11.1 he received from the company for the initial 51 percent in September 2006.
Parrish and Laura Wortman formed the Dewdrops after they met while playing in a blues-rock band in college. When they wanted to start a bluegrass group but couldn’t find others to join, they decided to do it on their own. “We have just never really grown out of thinking that duets are really cool and that you can do a lot with two guitars and two voices,” says Parrish. The Honey Dewdrops were one of only six groups from across the nation picked to perform on the program. Kagey says that listeners will be able to vote for the acts during the show, so tune in (the show airs live at 6pm EST on local stations WVTW-FM 88.5 and WMRY-FM 103.5 or online at wvtf.org or wmra.org) and root for the Dewdrops!
A related note: The Dewdrops aren’t the only local musicians getting love from public radio. On March 1, NPR’s “Car Talk” featured Alex Caton’s trailer and pickup truck-themed “Hitch to the Altar.” Caton sent the CD to the program a few months ago but had not heard that the song would be aired. A nice surprise, no doubt.
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