Songs for the future, songs from the past: Lana Del Rey and Riflemen

I’ve had a fascination with the artist Lana Del Rey in the past week.  Not only is her video for “Video Games” one of the most haunting music videos I have seen in a while, but she is gaining attention for her look, her name change, and her style trying to appear “too authentic.”  Lana Del Rey’s real name is Lizzy Grant and accompanying her previous attempt at indie fame were thinner lips and a more Americana look.  Indie music blogs are not sure what to say about her, not wanting to fully give credit where it’s due nor wanting to bash an aspiring singer for having been through a cycle or two through the record label machine.  Continue reading “Songs for the future, songs from the past: Lana Del Rey and Riflemen”

Indie Music Video Trends From Shirley Braha of MTV Hive’s Weird Vibes

Last night I attended The L Magazine’s Music Now Summit at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.  Before the panel featuring Ted Leo and some writers from Pitchfork, Shirley Braha of MTV Hive’s Weird Vibes Show talked about the emerging trends of indie music videos.  As she sees it, there are trends in imagery and style in indie music videos that change year after year based on how folks experience music. Continue reading “Indie Music Video Trends From Shirley Braha of MTV Hive’s Weird Vibes”

Erin Willett: Soulful singer with devil may care attitude

Photo of Erin Willett by Jeff Weller

Last night I saw my roommate and good friend Erin Willett (Duck and Drake Records) perform at Otto’s Shrunken Head.  When Douglas Crets of Fast Company asked me via Twitter to describe Otto’s, I said Continue reading “Erin Willett: Soulful singer with devil may care attitude”

Animal Collective Setting Up For Friday Night Pitchfork Performance

“Animal Collective are basically indie rock’s greatest cock teases.” self-titled mag is my official favorite new magazine.

My little sister and I decided to stand and wait by the Green Stage for Animal Collective around 7:55 pm.  Not only do you see people from all walks of life waiting in anticipation for Animal Collective (dreads, bandeau tops, and Lacoste polos), waiting for Animal Collective to start is a lot like a cock tease. You think the stage is already mind-blowing enough, and then they add another element.

“Okay cool, we got some festive hanging garlands…” Continue reading “Animal Collective Setting Up For Friday Night Pitchfork Performance”

I, Reb Carlson, Wrote A Feature In BULLETT Magazine!

My friend James Orlando (check out his Tumblr) is the Art Director for BULLETT Magazine and a few months ago he gave me the opportunity to write a piece for their premiere issue (check out a digital version here).  I had an interview with UK band Still Corners and because it was submitted after the digital preview was created, you should DEFINITELY pick up a copy when it’s on newsstands.  I have been hoping to do more writing and hopefully this will be the start of many articles I write for BULLETT.

Here’s a video for Still Corners’ “Wish” – the only video I could find before leaving for work. Check out “Endless Summer” and “Don’t Fall in Love” on Myspace.

A Few of My Favorite Things #6

Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown” video

People have been going apeshit this week about Arcade Fire’s newest video for “The Wilderness Downtown” – a beautiful marriage of HTML5, Google Street, View, interactivity, and a band that unfortunately everyone knows about now.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you are asked to enter the address of the home where you grew up and what follows afterward is a beautiful montage of previously filmed videos with new windows opening showing satellite views of your house, and birds.  Each window that magically appears with the timing of the song makes your brain explode a little bit more.  My favorite part was when you are asked to “draw or write” a note to your younger self, and then birds fly in and land on the letters.  Chrome Experiments breaks it down more technically than I can.


I discovered Artwalk.TV when I was looking through TechiesGiveBack’s Twitter Stream.  Evidently once a month, using the hashtag #artwalk, people come together and have a Twitter Chat about art uploaded to Artwalk.TV, a community site where you uploaded your artwork, create a profile, and reach out to other artists.  Patrons can make a donation in order to ensure that Artwalk.TV can “expand the human creative awareness of what art is and can be.”  The next chat is on September 28th and I wholeheartedly intend to join in.  Follow them on twitter @artwalktv

Hands and Knees
\”Dancing On Your Tears\”

This is exactly why I like Hype Machine – discovering new bands.  Hands and Knees reminds me of my friends’ bands in high school who played shows in their parents’ houses and everyone dances in the kitchen.  They kinda remind me of Voxtrot (???) with their Bostonian self-proclaimed “unfussiness”.  It is the kind of music you imagine dancing to very wholesomely with your boyfriend during a friend’s party.  Two of my favorites are “Dancing On Your Tears” and “The Moonlight is Wicked”.  Check out the rest of their albums and “keep whistling like a foolish old man.”

BTW – Dear members of Hand and Knees – it’s very awkward to Google your name to find images of your band and you end up with porn – and you are sitting next to a stranger on the Bolt Bus.

Bolt Bus

How come no one ever told me how AWESOME Bolt Bus is?  I bought tickets to visit my sister Deborah in Baltimore for Labor Day weekend and the WiFi along is AMAZING!!! Bolt Bus is perfect to take when you are leaving somewhere for the weekend: you have the ride to answer emails and such so you can actually enjoy your weekend.

Music and the Marketing Funnel

I have been around the block when it comes to music streaming websites.  It began before high school where all I had available with my family’s dial-up was Netscape Radio, which is how I discovered Jet, Hot Hot Heat, and Kings of Leon pre-mainstream and therefore still enjoyable.  Then I moved on to Myspace, Youtube,, etc.

The “Bored At Work Network” is not a new concept, and if you look around your office you can find some one, bored, spending all their time and attention listening to music via some streaming sites.  You can search through Mashable for the top music streaming sites, but it’s always from a tech/social/design perspective.  Multiple sites have incorporated rewards and badges that take away from the experience of listening to music itself.  Other sites have allowed ads to interrupt your experience (effing PANDORA!!!  we had such a good thing going!) Some sites I agree are great in concept but can’t cut it in the long run when it comes to the original objective of providing for the music-starved individual working in their cubicle.

I also feel that if you want to follow any trends in media and business, follow music.  Myspace brought the idea of creating communities and encouraging interaction around bands.  Both iMeem and Lala have been bought out.  People feel so strongly about their musical preferences, they are driven to be engaging and share their preferences with others and pledging their support.

Let me introduce you to the Marketing Funnel and how it is similar for the decision making process behind a music selection:

Marketers – Ensure that demographic is aware of your brand
Music – When you are first aware a band even exists, whether it occurs by recommendation from another influencer (fellow music snob) or by your own research. i.e. Search through Myspace, Hypem, etc. (has anyone else ever discovered bands just by typing random words in the search bar of music streaming sites?)

Marketers – When your audience considers your brand a choice in the decision making process of a purchase.
Music – When you click on a link, read an interview on Pitchfork, select “See All” on Grooveshark, etc. i.e. Basically when you decide, “yes, i will get over my pretentious self and give this a listen and find out more”

Marketers – When an individual in your target makes a purchase, tries your product, etc.
Music – When you decide, “I dig” i.e. “Heart” on hypem, thesixtyone,, etc.

Marketers – In basic terms, the consumer makes repeat purchases and is generally brand loyal.
Music – You buy the CD (download, to each his own), go to the concert, listen to every album religiously, etc.

Marketers – Your loyal consumers serve as an advocate and give their recommendations to their friends.
Music – You share with others your music preferences. i.e. reblip on, reblog a music post on Tumblr, set hypem up so everyone on Twitter sees you “Heart” a song, post user generated “music videos” from Youtube.


I want to look more into today’s top music streaming sites and make a comparison between what are “functional” and relevant sites for marketers vs. sites that provide a better overall music listening experience.  I want to hear anyone and everyone’s input on what sites they use to find music and how they most often listen to music, whether through their own iTunes, online, etc.

Comment on this post and share how you discover music and anything you share about how you listen – do you buy off of iTunes, download, listen on Youtube, Sky’s the limit.

I Was There – The Black Keys at Terminal 5

If I had to pick a book best explained my thoughts of the human condition, it would be Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being.

If I had to pick an artist whose style was the closest to how I would like to paint, it would probably be Georges Seurat.

And if I had to pick a band that spoke the most to my soul, it would be The Black Keys.

In all seriousness, and with all dramatics aside.

My first introduction to The Black Keys was when my friend Michael Douglas (not the actor) put “Do the Rump” and “I’ll Be Your Man” on his first mix for me back in high school.  Growing up in the 90’s and not really learning to appreciate music until after 2000, you don’t hear blues-rock with the same sultry and the ability to be bold.  Five years later and I can never get tired of a Black Keys song.

Skip to when Pandora first came around, and I can proudly say my Black Keys Station is on point.  If an algorithm says that The Black Keys have the same musical stylings as Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, by god I am not going to disagree with math.

Skip to last month when I didn’t have any sort of job and had $300 to my name.  I watched the video for “Tighten Up” , saw that The Black Keys were coming to New York, and that the Central Park Summerstage shows were already sold out.  So do I buy tickets for myself and my beau that I can’t afford?
me and bill @terminal5 to see @blackkeyss on Twitpic


I went to see The Black Keys last night at Terminal 5.  It was my first time at the venue and I was impressed with its three floors and the on-point grilling station on the roof.

All I can say was that for over an hour and a half set, my expectations were met and Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s performance exceeded anything I could have imagined.  Every song I ever loved they played, and played with a prideful, loving attentiveness for the audience.  It was like how when your lady friend/gentleman friend kisses you, but in a way that says “you think you’ve been kissed before? Psh then let me take my time and SHOW you what it’s really like.”

Auerbach and Carney reminded me what it’s like to listen to music that a recording cannot do justice for.  Both had the chance to take time with each song, exploding into a riff, leading one song into another, reminding all the young folks in the audience what real musicianship was.

Anyone I talked to today can attest to this: I feel depressed knowing that when I listen to “Strange Times” on my iPod, it’s not the same.  I will probably invest in a long search for their albums on vinyl – if I can find them, if they exist.

This is the review that they deserve, not what Nate Chinen of The New York Times wrote about how The Black Keys are not prepared for the mainstream and they have big adjustments to make if wanting to play larger audiences.  Shut up.  Going mainstream is overrated.  If The Black Keys sold out on a grand scale (I do not count their work with Danger Mouse), I will probably crawl into a deep hole that I will never climb out of.  So don’t do it. Ever. Please.

Some photos:

will this be a good show?
Le Grilling Pit
Me and Boy Milk

The Art of Social Media

Internet Week 2010 is half over but I can already say that the $10 for the HQ pass, $25 for admission to the Art of Social Media, and doing most of it without Internet in my apartment, it is well worth it.

The Art of Social Media was held on Tuesday June 8th at The Art Directors Club in collaboration with The Social Media Society, featuring paintings by Matt Held inspired by Facebook Profile pics, The Nudes of Chatroulette by Justin Gignac, a rowdy and rambunctious Stumblebum Brass Band, electric violinist Michael Schulman (you have seen him shredding in the subways), and a whole room full of characters somewhat involved with the Internet.

Yes, he is singing “I want to f*** you in the a$$.”  And yes, my mom reads this.

When your friends get on the Pitchfork Forkcast…

For months my friends Matt Buszko and Anthony Gerbino have been recluses in their small walk-up apartment on Long Island working on their “music” – and it paid off.

You get to a certain point in your life (myself as an example – 22) when most of your friends with any musical inclination (or even lacking of) have attempted to work on their “music”.  Everyone has had a group of friends who have essentially been in the same band for five years, but just recycle one member for each new project (usually the bassist).  And forget people who are the ones “writing” the “beats” – it’s been said time and time again that anyone can be a music producer if they have a MacBook.

However – my friends are more talented than your friends. The difference? My friends lock themselves in their apartments all weekend, nap from 8 pm – 12 am and then get to work, take on any and every opportunity just to keep practicing their passion, and make it a priority that everything they produce has their stamp of approval.   They have four needs: eating, sleeping, breathing, and music (never in that same order).

I love this track and can’t wait for their EP.  Guys – get to work!

Sunvisor “Sky Dive”– featured on Pitchfork Forkcast 5/25/10
Sunvisor – Sky Dive by Nialler9

“Matt Buszko and Anthony Gerbino make up the NYC synth-pop duo Sunvisor. The pair have an EP out later this year; for now, they have one track to their name, the airy, hypnotic “Sky Dive”. (via Pitchfork Forkcast via The Road Goes Ever On)

I plan on posting more of my friends’ music projects in the future because they are so friggin’ talented gosh darn it.