Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Musings...

- Saw This Is It last night and it blew me away. Realized I had forgotten just how wonderful MJ was in his prime and how much I loved him when I was a kid. Though I don't blame myself for thinking of him as a weirdo since 1993...

- Learned that the millions of sounds around us enter into our bodies through the ear as one compressed sound WAV, and are then reconstructed through the brain as individual sounds. Awesome.

- Read this weirdly fascinating interview about Stephen Hawking and aliens: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Space/stephen-hawking-alien-contact-risky/story?id=10478157

- Going to a Daily Show taping today..but have to wait for 3 hours in line, sucky. What should I ask Jon? Something about Judaism...

- Then catching Gogol Bordello's Eastern European slavic punk at Brooklyn Bowl. Afraid the sound might be too boomy there again, but willing to give it another shot, esp cause their Blue Ribbon food is off the hook. http://www.myspace.com/gogolbordello

- Also what is this nonsense?? http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/26/malcolmx.killer/?hpt=C1 Loved Malcolm X's autobiography if you've ever read it.

- And check this out politcos... "When read the statement that "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites," 73 percent of the movement's supporters agreed, while only 33 percent of people who disapproved of the Tea Party agreed. Asked if blacks should work their way up "without special favors," as the Irish, Italians, and other groups did, 88 percent of supporters agreed, compared to 56 percent of opponents. The study revealed that Tea Party enthusiasts were also more likely to have negative opinions of Latinos and immigrants."

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Quick Weekend Roundup 4/26 - Elvis Costello, Living Room Gig, Hey Brooklyn, Weird Plane Incidents, Transformational Life Events

- Friday Night caught the incomparable Elvis Costello with his Bluegrass Band The Sugar Canes playing tracks from his new record with T Bone Burnett. Was amazed at how carefully they arranged some of the older tunes for the bluegrass sound, especially "Everyday I Write The Book." Catch clips from that show at http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/elvis-costello-and-the-sugarcanes/2010/united-palace-theatre-new-york-ny-63d4f6df.html Was my first time at United Palace Theatre uptown and it was gorgeous

- Went to that show with my friend Tony, who had a brilliant idea. He and some friends that took the train to the very top and walked the island of Manhattan down Broadway all the way to Battery City Park over 8 hours, watching the neighborhoods change. And then celebrated by drinking beers on the Staten Island Ferry. Pretty awesome.

- Made some big developments on a music video this weekend. Everything is hush hush for now, but something potentially huge in the works. And dropped my record One Way off at indie store Other Music, where it's now for sale. Oh and I'm featured in the podcast Hey Brooklyn! http://heybrooklyn.com/462/danny-ross/

- Played a great show at The Living Room Saturday night at 9 with the 6-piece band after our friends Quintus. In fact, they joined us for a cover of The Beatles "And Your Bird Can Sing" Not sure how it happened, but I channeled a Baptist minister at one point. Thanks everyone for being a killin audience! We wrapped up the night at our friend Adam's dance party - it's been awhile since I danced to hip-hop like that. Let's just say I spilled many people's drinks, including my own.

- Some Transformational Life Events occurred: My brother got a new job, Dani's mother got a new job and is moving to California, Dani's brother Ross visited and will likely move to NYC for business school.

- Some Weird Plane Incidents occured: A friend's plane was literally struck by lightning, and my brother's plane had an emergency landing because the stewardess smelled smoke. Something in the air this weekend I guess...

Upcoming this week: Gogol Bordello at Brooklyn Bowl, Daily Show taping, Housewarming Party.

Damn, it's busy! What did YOU do this weekend of note, and what's up this week? I'll try to join you. Let us know!

- D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Danny by Danny Ross (DXDR) Part 4 of 5: Twenty-Eight Bands Later

Hey folks, this is my 5 part recollection of our trip to the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX from March 16-21. Part 4 deals exclusively with the rad bands I caught while I was down there.

I made a list below of the artists I caught at the festival along with their MySpace links and a brief description of their show if I can remember. With the exception of one or two, all these artists are still very much on the downlow. I was so busy seeing bands that I had some connection with (mostly from NYC) over the 5 days, I never had a chance to see some of the bigger or even medium-sized acts. After all, something like 3,000 bands were playing. Plus those lines were too long anyway.

Here's your chance to hear 'em before they're huge...

o Shwa http://www.myspace.com/shwamusic

A great vocalist and songwriter with good humor (NYC Scenester Friend)

o Midddle Distance Runner http://www.myspace.com/middledistancerunner

o Wakey! Wakey! http://www.myspace.com/wakeywakey

You probably know them from "One Tree Hill" by now, a lyrically engaging piano-led indie act with a great live show. (NYC Scenester Friend)

o Casey Shea http://www.myspace.com/caseyshea

Combines loose-limbed classic rock sound using a dozen guys onstage with unque brand of songwriting. (NYC Scenester Friend)

o Shayna Zaid & The Catch http://www.myspace.com/shaynazaid

Really dynamic and engaging singer with interesting instrumentation.

o Christina Courtin http://www.myspace.com/christinacourtin

Caught her with a string quartet at a church. Amazing vocalist and beautiful music. Her guitarist/ boyfriend Ryan Scott also played in my Austin group.

o Baby Monster http://www.myspace.com/babymnstr

Electronic Indie Pop based in LA. Danny Sternbaum was the guitar player in my high school band, Broken Sound. We hung for the first time in eight years, I watched him trade in his axe for synths. Great sound.

o Jennings http://www.myspace.com/jenningsmusic

Mary Jennings is a R&B Tinged Piano pop. (NYC Scenester Friend)

o Emanuel and The Fear http://www.myspace.com/emanuelandthefear

Eccentric and engaging singer with a large band full of interesting orchestral arrangements.Caught him acoustic for this set.

o The Shake http://www.myspace.com/theshakeband

o Deadbeat Darling http://www.myspace.com/deadbeatdarlingmusic

o Black Taxi http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic

Think hard rock with hints of pop and eccentric instrumentation. I'll call it Bushwick Rock. Awesome theatrical frontman and live show. They literally blew the fuse of the venue.

o The Defibulators http://www.myspace.com/thedefibulators

Old school country, bluegrass music with an updated sound. Catchy tunes, charasmatic singer, gotta love it. Featuring Freddy Epps on drums and Mike Riddleberger on drums, who also played in our Austin band.

o Shotgun Party http://www.myspace.com/shotgunfiesta

Three person bluegrass group with excellent singing and great, funny lyrics. Check out this video:

o The Woes http://www.myspace.com/thewoes

A huge group with a huge country/ bluegrass/ sometime klezmer sound. Awesome.

o Whqles http://www.myspace.com/whqles

Caught these guys in someone's backyard shed. A freak duo on synths and drums, really fun.

o T Bird & The Breaks http://www.myspace.com/tbirdandthebreaks

Loved these guys - mixed old school hip hop with Stax soul in a new way. Tight as hell, and real catchy. Austin based, they're already pretty huge, I'm assuming they'll blow up further.

o Dinosaur Feathers http://www.myspace.com/dinosaurfeathers

o Pearl & The Beard http://www.myspace.com/pearlandthebeard

Brooklyn-based trio with catchy tunes, interesting lyrics and instrumentation.

o Warren Charles http://www.myspace.com/warrencharles

o Spring Standards http://www.myspace.com/thespringstandards

Great 3 piece pop group with virtuousic players and engaging live show. Heather Robb sang "Forgive Me Love" with me in Austin.

o Jukebox the Ghost http://www.myspace.com/jukeboxtheghost

A breaking Philly/ DC act, we had a chance to open for them in Austin. Excellent piano-oriented pop.

o Speak http://www.myspace.com/octopusluck

o Doublethink http://www.myspace.com/doublethinkrocks

Great hard-rock. They smashed their instruments on stage Who style. Well done.

o Hightide Blues http://www.myspace.com/hightideblues

Southern fried rock.

o Natalie Gelman http://www.myspace.com/nataliegelman

Great singer/songwriter, always touring so look out.

o Ionia http://www.myspace.com/ionia

Hard hard rock. Featuring Freddy again on bass.

o Pretty Good Dance Moves http://www.myspace.com/prettygooddancemoves

Electronic Indie Pop - already blowing up, don't miss em. (NYC Scenester Friend)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Danny by Danny Ross (DXDR) Part 3 of 5: Three Gigs, a Couch Drum Kit and Beatles Ukulele

Hey folks, this is my 5 part recollection of our trip to the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX from March 16-21. Part 3 deals exclusively with our performances and the events that led up to them...

In the video posted in Part 2 last week you got to see some live footage. To quickly explain what went down, after the 3 gigs were booked down in Austin (many thanks to Richard Zack from the Wink Winks for that, and also for taking down my equipment!), I decided to make it official and book the flight. Soon I got in touch with my boy Sandeep and boom, had a sweet place to crash and access to an SUV.

But how would I also fly down and house 4 band members? Couldn't afford it, not this year. The solution was to hire NYC musicians already heading to SXSW with other bands. Meet Mike Riddleberger on Drums..
And here's Freddy Epps on bass (left) and Ryan Scott on guitar.
Mike's an amazing drummer and singer for bands like the pop-infused Quintus and the country swinging Defibulators. Freddy also kicks it with the defibs, and then crushes it with hard-rock outfit Ionia. In fact, Freddy and I met over 6 years ago, interning together at jazz label Verve Records. Ryan has also played with Quintus but has a great gig with an amazing singer on Nonesuch Records, Christina Courtin, who happens to also be his girlfriend.

The first day in Austin, amongst the thousands of shows going on, my friends and I stumbled upon a Beatles Tribute band, The Eggmen, along with Roger Greenawalt, the famous Beatles Ukulele player based here in Brooklyn, doing Beatles songs with singer/songwriters including Ben Kweller. I told them who I was, and naturally they asked me to sing a few tunes. Next thing I know I've sung 5. Nice.

That night I played an acoustic show with Ryan at The Belmont. And I made a little fan!

At these festivals, all of our time is carefully plotted out because there's so much going on. So I was lucky to find a 3 hour slot in Austin when the whole band could rehearse. (We had rehearsed once before in NYC) I had called a studio down there a week before to reserve the space. We all managed to shlep out to this place on Thursday afternoon in the middle of nowhere to an old industrial yard. Knock on the door, no answer. Call the guy's cell, no answer. Knock next door and find out his home number, no answer. After 30 calls, I realized we were screwed.

Stranded in East Austin, we came up with the idea to rehearse at Sandeep's apt. We had amps for piano, guitar and bass -- and Mike would have to mime drums on the couch. Sadly, I don't have a picture of this.

But one thing that made an impression on me. At the end of the rehearsal, I asked "Which song at this point are you most afraid of screwing up?" To which Ryan responded, "Afraid? There's nothing to be afraid of." Oh yeah, this is rock n roll -- nice to have some perspective.

Next we played the Sneak Attack/ Playing In Traffic Records Showcase at Clive Bar. We were lucky enough to have Heather Robb from the awesome band, The Spring Standards join us to sing "Forgive me Love."

And lastly, that night at 11 we played to a packed outdoor stage at Shakespeare's Pub. The monitor on stage was totally effed, so I decided to just be a maniac- tossing my keyboard offstage in the process. I felt like Pete Townshend for just a minute. Crazy, crazy, sweaty show.

Overall, I learned a lot about performance while I was down there. Particularly, that you don't need an audience hanging onto your every word in order to feel like you're succeeding. It's enough to just be there, play well, and be real.

And that's all for now folks. Stay tuned next week for all the rad bands I saw. Lata!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Danny by Danny Ross (DXDR) Part 2 of 5: The Official Movie

Hey folks, this is my 5 part recollection of our trip to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, TX from March 16-21. I'll talk about the shows I played, the dozens of bands I saw perform (and can recommend while it's still early), and the hilarious people I met in Austin.

Part 2 features a film shot and edited by my good friend Sandeep Ayyappan. It's an interesting collage of live show performances with the band, an acoustic show, a rehearsal and an impromptu visit to a Beatles Ukulele concert (they wouldn't let me leave!). Altogether, it's an excellent summation of the types of shows a singer/songwriter can play, and hopefully gives some insight into the process. Hope you dig folks - and please do comment below with your thoughts, and maybe your favorite Beatles song.

Danny Ross Does SXSW: Part 1

Danny Ross Does SXSW: Part 2: