The Yellow Bird Project

I might suggest that the greatness of a human should be calculated by the amount that they do for the benefit of others. When I was a younger man I was fond of banking self esteem on the backs my peers. I teased and harassed classmates, my parents, and my sister. While I committed my acts of terror I was happy and content, but when left to myself (in the folds of nature, or on the open seas) I found nothing savory in my actions.

I moved a distance since middle school, and have discovered, yes, (drum roll) doing nice things is rewarding. I stumbled today upon an organization dedicated to this principle.
The Yellow Bird Project is a non-profit organization that sells t-shirts designed by musical artists for charitable causes. This is Indie rock philanthropy. Artist’s such as TV on the Radio, Elvis Perkins, Devendra Bandhart, Grizzly Bear, and Bloc Party all have T-Shirts featured on the website.
The proceeds of the shirts go to causes decided by the Artists. Tunde Adebimpe, TV on the Radio’s Frontman, submitted this t-shirt;

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio T-Shirt

for Haitian relief. Charity organizations include Brighter Planet, World Wide Fund for Nature, Interval House, and Safe Space.

Originally what attracted me to this organization was their theme song. The song was written and recorded by The Tallest Man on Earth, a Swedish singer/songwriter. He is on tour, has a lovely little mustache, and sings folk-inspired ballads. His music is exclusively for enjoyment and will be showcased at the Middle East Rock Club on the evening of April 21, 2010.

The Tallest Man on Earth

I first came upon La Blogotheque a couple of summers ago. It was a summer where sweat, bacon cheese burgers, and screaming 10-12 year olds were a huge part of my life. Needless to say that an innovative concept fusing music, distant lands, and video was welcome.
The concept of Les Concerts A Emporter (A Take Away Show) is contingent upon an artists musical adaptability. Artists such as Fleet Foxes, The Arcade Fire, Noah and the Whale, Beirut, and Lykke Li have all been filmed performing by Director Vincent Moon in unique or unorthodox areas. The music is cut down, and the footage is raw. To me Les Concerts A Emporter feels like an event on a vacation that my father happen to catch, and happened to be a audio and video savvy with.
If you are Franco-phile then the feel of these videos is undeniably French. If you lived in France or are French you might have a different opinion about them. The cinematography is beautiful and the music is intimate. Here are some of my favorite videos;

The Arcade Fire one doesn’t begin until about 4 minutes in but is worthwhile. Enjoy.

Yeasayer – Odd Blood — O triple negative

Odd Blood

Odd Blood

I was anticipating Odd Blood like a man with a bloody nose anticipates a small cylindrical bunching of tissue. However, upon reviewing my anticipation was rewarded only with a ruined album length shirt.
Yeasayer’s first album was one of the best albums of 2008. All Hour Cymbals was an eclectic mix of electronic rhythms, sampled nature jingles, and classic rock rifts. I attended a Man Man show opened by the group and enjoyed their stage act more than I enjoyed the headliners raucous. Yeasayer, composed of two braided members, a scraggly front man, and a clean cut drummer performed dance-beat-informed renditions of their freshman LP. A promising harbinger for fruitful musical streak.

However, while I expected progressive and grand musical leaps in Odd Blood, I received¬† a grouping of catchy pop ditties loosely compiled into an album. Frankly, the album has no depth. I don’t mean to say that the record plays like a Keane album, there is diversity between tracks, but it is puzzling. The opening song The Children, is computerized ad nuasea. Instead of marking their territory Yeasayer sacrifices their identity. Paired with tracks like ONE, a catchy 80’s era jive, and I Remember, a almost pensive electric piece, the combination is jarring.

The album in comparison with All Hour Cymbals is a musical metropolis in shambles, but still some pinnacles of the Yeasayer of old remain. The songs Ambling Amp, and Grizelda both contain soul-earth-water loops, and warbling harmonies (redeming features), but if you want warbling harmony why not just listen to Joanna Newsom’s new album?

James Zoller, looking fine.

James Zoller, looking fine and a-poet.

Dr. James Zoller is a English Professor at Houghton College in Western New York. The three poems that we recorded are from his most recent book of poetry, Living on the Flood Plain (may be purchased at WordFarm ). I am no critic on poetry, but from my slight knowledge I would say that Dr. Zoller’s poetry strongly exhibits the qualities of essential verse; it is verse that moves the listener or reader with it’s mimetic rhythms, and clear subtle messages. Dr. Zoller is the author of another book of poetry, Simple Clutter, and has been featured in Antaeus, BlueLine, Zone 3, The Kentucky Poetry Review, Oxford Magazine, Other Poetry (uk), The Best of the Prose Poem, The Christian Century, The Laurel Review, Blue Violin, and The Greenfield Review. He also is a member of a fantastic family.

Trout King

Aaron Wardwell, The Trout King, performs a rendition of George Cromarty and Ed Rush’s plastic Jesus in his living room. Aaron will be attending Gordon College in Wenham, MA next year, and hopes to play shows in the area. He is currently signed to Yes Yes Love Orchestra.

You can hear more of Aaron’s music at http://www.myspace.com/mybrotheraaron, bellow is a recent video of his work.

Mark Stevick center, Catie Porter on the left, Nora Messier on the right

Here is a version of Jonathan Busch’s ten minute play “The Case of the Missing Butler,” read aloud by Mark Stevick, Catie Porter, and Nora Messier.

Jon Busch is the author of several award-winning plays including “Laying the Smack-Down in Cambridge” which will be published by Smith & Kraus this Spring. He lives in Beverly, MA and pays the bills by writing copy for advertisements.

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