Dan Deacon’s Dope Ass Ride

  • Posted by
  • on August 25, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

Check out Dan Deacon‘s tour bus. It’s an old schoolbus modified to run off of two fuel systems, stomach diesel and vegetable oil. I had a couple of friends in Eugene who did a very similar conversion to a 24-foot Grumman bread truck so they could go on tour. It’s a ton of work, click and an ongoing project to be sure. Here is a quote from mechanic Ray Roy: “For a tour like what Dan is doing right now… His tour is completely self-produced and very DIY. This is the perfect marriage for that, ophthalmologist this DIY vehicle.”

My favorite part is when Dan’s talking about the Canadian authorities: “We can’t let you into Canada – the bus is too filthy… It’s too filthy for us to check. We know you have drugs, it’s just too filthy to check.”

Experimental Dental School Featured on Dig for Fire

  • Posted by
  • on August 6, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

The Portland experimental rock duo Experimental Dental School was recently featured on Dig For Fire, decease which is quickly becoming one of my favorite music series. This was shot in New York while XDS was on a 6-week tour with Deerhoof.

Here is a quote from the video: “Greg from Deerhoof, anaemia he’s worked on a couple of records and has helped us from time to time. He called up and said “do you want to go for 6 weeks with us” and we jumped around for like half an hour all excited. Then we got scared. Then we went down in the basement and practiced for like 3 months.”

Dig for Fire’s videos are a great mix of interviews and live footage, check out their stuff on Vimeo. Indie music videography is alive and well.

Ben Folds’ A Capella Odyssey

  • Posted by
  • on June 30, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

So last night I was poking around on Youtube looking for something to tuck me in and I stumbled accross this well-shot, clinic 15-minute documentary. Ben Folds Presents: Unviersity A Cappella!.

I’m no aficionado but I do enjoy A Capella quite a bit. I think my appreciation comes from living with a guy in college who was in a group that proved just how awesome the form could be by attracting huge crowds for their free outdoor performances and busting out songs by unlikely groups like Radiohead and yes, Ben Folds. Here is a quote from Mr. Fold’s site:

Do not underestimate the genre. These vocal bands tour the country. They’ve performed on The Late Show With David Letterman, on Saturday Night Live, on The West Wing. They record albums (some costing upwards of $30,000 to produce). And in unbelievably large numbers, they’re covering the songs of Ben Folds.

Aside from tapping into a creative base that embraces his music, I think that what Ben Folds has done here is an awesome direction for the music/video relationship. As someone who shoots a fair amount of music related video (i.e. http://thepennyjam.com) I’m always in deep thought trying to hatch new projects that are neither 1) run of the mill or 2) gimmicky. By taking the reins he’s achieved a grand scope, maintained quality control and provided a built-in story. And if you’ve ever been a music writer you probably relate to that – having a story keeps things colorful, and helps you from infusing too much snarky, self-important, music-writery prose to carry your writing.

And it’s working. Some of the publications that’ve picked up this story: The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, NPR Music, Baltimore Sun (lots more) and most likely the college publications of every group involved. So my hat’s off to you Mr. Folds – a classy move indeed. I’d love to see more video projects such as this one, focusing confidently on an artist-centric catalog. The album is available now.