Tag Archive for 'Music'

Double Trouble

I recently, by sheer accident and luck, stumbled upon Sean Costello, a blues-guitarist/singer-songwriter. His performances are so vibrant and heartfelt, I could weep everytime I see them. Well, not weep. But at least move my foot or tap a finger on my desk. There’s a pretty big archive of his fantastic life-performances on YouTube. For example, here he is performing the Otis Rush classic Double Trouble:

Unfortunately, he died two years ago at the age of 28. After researching him a bit, I found that film-maker Sarah Baker is currently in the pre-production of a documentary about Sean Costello and the life of musicians today (Facebook Page). From the blurb:

For Costello, the blues was indeed a calling, and he played it against considerable odds. Using Costello as a protagonist, BLUES MAN explores the livelihoods of modern musicians. How do they survive? How do they get gigs, tours, and radio airplay? What role did Sean play in the development of his own career?

It sounds like a wildly interesting and ambitious project which can be supported via Kickstarter. Please do pledge some money for the project, because I definitely want to see this film someday.

Until the film is out, here’s more from YouTube:

Oceansize, Flex, 09

Oceansize
It’s not that long ago that I wrote on here about one of the best concerts I’d ever been to. It was Oceansize’s gig at Vienna’s Flex, about two years ago.

I was quite ecstatic, and for solid reasons. First of all, I was in the fortunate position to interview lead-singer Mike Vennart, which in itself is always a nice way to start a night. And second they simply played a fantastic set, seemed to be really into it and, last but not least, the audience seemed to be too.

Last Monday, they played again in Vienna, again at the same venue. The vivid memories from their last gig still fresh in my mind, I went there with great expectations, sky-high I’d like to think in retrospect. Can you guess what happened next? In case my powers of dramatic storytelling have failed me once again, I’ll tell you. It was disappointing.

First of all, they didn’t seem to be too taken with their audience, and the audience didn’t either. I think it didn’t help that lead-singer Mike Vennart repeatedly told them that he’d appreciate if people went outside or to the back to smoke. While I do understand that it must be tough to sing in a smoke-filled club, it’s never a good idea to tell people to do one of the two things that people do at clubs, namely smoke and drink. Especially in Vienna.

Apart from those rather unhealthy dynamics, they also played a set-list with many either very new or yet unreleased songs. They didn’t play a single song off Frames, their latest LP, which I think is their best (which is of course no reason for them to think so too, but fuck, I’d have loved to hear “Trail of Fire”. Or at least “Only Twin”). And after a rather short concert, they played just that one encore. Which actually was quite awesome, I must say.

Didn’t help, though. In the end, it was a great band’s disappointing concert. Which I think is somehow worse than the other way round.

Here’s to NIN

Do you remember when Radiohead released their latest album online, giving it away for whatever price people saw fit? Well, NIN just did the same, with the difference that unlike Radiohead, you can download their newest album “Ghosts” via BitTorrent, without having to go through a credit-card transaction (even though people could opt for paying nothing, they still had to pay the transaction fee…which I think is perfectly alright, it’s just more hassle than just firing up your preferred torrent-client).

And here’s another difference: while the Radiohead album In Rainbows was a full download, NIN only gives away the first 9 songs of the album for free. But as Mashable reports, you can download a longer version of the album on the NIN website for 5$ or buy the physical album for 10$ or buy limited super-deluxe hyper versions for 70 or 300$. It should be noted that the 5$ download of the complete album is accompanied by a 40 page PDF booklet and a whole lot of artwork. Apart from the mp3s, Radiohead’s download contained nothing at all, not even a cover-image (spawning contests for coverart, like here). And what else should be noted is that 10$ for a whole 2CD-album AND a link for immediate download of the whole album is a fucking steal (shipping and handling is 13$, at least to Vienna, but that’s still not more expensive than I’d normally pay for a physical album).

So here you go. Yet another one of the biggest bands of our days has decided to leverage what power, fame and fortune they have to totally revolutionize how music is distributed. Fantastic!

This…

Soup
is soup.

I really should start thinking of stories to accompany my images. Well, here’s one:

Yesterday we went to a supermarket stocked only with the most organically grown and produced items. And it was surreal. In a way it reminded me of the Contemporary Christian Music scene, in that it’s like a parallel universe. For every item in the real world, there’s a corresponding one in the other. In one case it’s music, in the other one it’s, say, salad.

We stocked up on a few things that we usually don’t get anywhere else, but also on some things we could get somewhere else but just thought we should check out there. Which was a bit of a mistake, because unless you’re rich, this supermarket was not made for you. Buying your groceries in that supermarket as you would buy them in any other, will bleed you dry, making sure you’ll soon be unable to live off anything else than organically produced pasta. Without the organically grown tomatoes.

They do have an impressive collection of tofu products though:

Tofu delicatessen

Seriously, I wouldn’t have a problem giving up meat if these things actually tasted the way they are advertised. Especially when other supermarkets are selling stuff like that:

Sausages

Even for me, who’s rather well versed in the meats, trying to discern what exactly they are trying to sell here is almost impossible. And why exactly they have to group it together in that way is absolutely beyond me.

Oceansize

Saturday I went and saw Oceansize.

The thing that made it extra-special: I got to interview lead-singer Mike Vennart. You can read the outcome in due time here. The whole thing was really very pleasant, conducted in the rather cramped, but cozy dressing room. My biggest mistake: I forgot to take a photo. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I forgot about it. Oh well, means you won’t get a picture today. By the way, I was the only face-to-face interviewer that night, with only two other phone-interviews. Shame on you, Austrian music-journalists, for not using that chance.

The concert itself was spectacular. Most songs were off their latest album (go figure), and the rest was a smattering of first and second LP songs.

Absolute highlight of the show: The second encore, “Ornament/The Last Wrong”. After listening to the song in the security of your home, you wouldn’t think how powerful it could come across when blasted through the Flex sound system.

As always after a concert, my ears were ringing throughout the night, and I totally thank the guys from Oceansize for it.




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