Si Se Puede!: Los Lobos And Friends

Here we are at the halfway point of 2014. NPR Music  has published their list, “NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums Of 2014 (So Far)“. I like to see if I have covered or heard any of the 25 recordings listed. The only artist I have listened to and written about is St. Vincent. I’m rubbing my hands with glee as there are 24 albums to acquaint myself with next.

I uncovered a gem in the list with a Los Lobos album I was not familiar with at all. Si Se Puede!: Los Lobos And Friends was originally released in 1976. 38 years later, long after it had gone out print, the music was finally digitally re-released this spring to coincide with the release of a biopic about César Chávez.

Herb Albert donated his A&M Records studios to a group of young Chicano musicians who called themselves Los Lobos del Este de los Angeles and who gathered some of their friends to record some of the music that had become part of the farm worker movement.

Los Lobos is celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band this year. Congratulations gentlemen. Peace, Ese!


Gathering Of The Vibes 2014

Next month in Bridgeport, Ct. The Gathering of the Vibes will take place. This will be the 19th year for GOTV. I have attended three times thus far, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The festival is 20 minutes from the house. We love The Vibes!


I am planning to attend again in 2014. In reviewing the schedule for 2014 my present thinking is to attend Saturday August 2 and Sunday August 3. I do hope I follow through on that commitment 😉

The music acts that interest me Saturday 8/2 are:

1) Kung Fu

2) Rodrigo Y Gabriela

3) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

4) Umphrey’s McGee

5) Widespread Panic

6) The Disco Biscuits with Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann

Sunday 8/3 acts of interest are:

1) moe.

2) Ziggy Marley

3) Headlining Artist To Be Announced

Metallica – Enter Sandman

I am thankful to have seen Metallica perform, “Enter Sandman” at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts, October 30, 2009. They really raised the roof that night. Such raw, powerful energy. It is their signature song.

I loved the footage of NY Yankees Mariano Rivera running out from the bullpen in centerfield at Yankee Stadium behind them as they played Classic.

Uncut Magazine has an article about “The Making of…Metallica’s Enter Sandman”.

Feel free to read it here,

Embed from Getty Images

arena Fair Pay. Free Play.

Music services proliferate the cloud. I just finished writing about whyd from France yesterday. The next music Web application that floats by my Chrome browser is Arena . Arena is an “artist-friendly streaming music service with a Listen To Own hybrid distribution model”. My curiosity is piqued so I become a member and sign in to another music experience.

Arena is designed to solve the thornier cloud music distribution model that accelerates and plagues the music industry. Musicians are grossly underpaid for the streaming digital music that others play for free. The gap between the number of cloud plays (listens) versus the micropayments the musicians receive is appalling. I thought I was helping by paying $9.99 a month to Spotify. After the pie is split I learn that I am not helping the artists very much at all, sigh.

Damon Evans, Founder and CEO of Arena Music has built a more equitable music distribution model. Listen To Own is the new future of music commerce. Here is why.

Listen To Own makes it easy to picture what the transition to an economically viable and artist-friendly streaming model looks like while maintaining the historic understanding of what a sellable music ‘unit’ is in today’s marketplace. We can say with a high level of confidence that it no longer matters how many albums an artist has sold. All that matters now is how many listeners that artist can convert into owners.

The music industry has concluded that the Average Return Per User (ARPU) is now highest through a monthly subscription account because consumers no longer see a value in paying to own music. Listen To Own diminishes the long term viability of any subscription based concept by doubling the standard value of an MP3 download after a track is streamed by an individual listener, either 5 or 99 times.

Consider the $9.99 Spotify Premium Subscription Account. If $3 is used for operations, Spotify has to split the remaining $6.99 of a single user’s monthly subscription between a mix of tracks served from a mix of individual artists. What is the point in promoting value in a gross ARPU of $9.99 when the individual artist payout becomes so marginal once divided?

Arena, on the other hand, generates an ARPU of $19 for a standard 10-track album and $1.90 for a track by combining premium stream pay rates with download revenue – roughly twice that of what the iTunes download store could produce for the same exact sale. The company leverages a multitude of unique revenue streams to fund the Artist Payment Pool it uses for premium stream payouts.

I want to thank PR Newsire for Journalists for putting me in touch with today’s content about Arena.

PR Newswire for Journalists

whyd, “A Human Pandora”, Really?

Been reading recent ink on whyd, a social record collection. They have an iPhone App available here.

whyd’s goal is to be a “Human Pandora “, which allows people to discover new music that they wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.

As a music connoisseur I’m resistant when it comes to someone “picking my music for me”. I rejected BeatsMusic as a music service because their music curation method presented itself like progressive FM disk jockey playlist, all filler no substance…

I consider myself a crate digger. I will happily comb through vinyl record crates for new music. In addition I search extensively through music magazine Web sites such as Rolling Stone, Uncut, MOJO Magazine, Paste, etc. for music recommendations.

Don’t get me wrong I’m open to human curation. I think we can benefit from another person’s music explorations, choices and playlist builds.

I keep expecting to see Spotify with their acquisition of The Echo Nest evidence “intelligent” software curation in the Spotify application.

I just installed the whyd app today so I don’t have enough time in service to comment on its capabilities yet. I will follow-up at a later time with a technical assessment of whyd.

lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar – Robert Plant

Robert Plant’s new album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, will be released September 9 on Nonesuch/Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Robert Plant, the album is his label début and features 11 new recordings, nine of which are original songs written by Plant with his band, The Sensational Space Shifters.

“It’s really a celebratory record, powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep,” Plant says. “The whole impetus of my life as a singer has to be driven by a good brotherhood. I am very lucky to work with The Sensational Space Shifters. They come from exciting areas of contemporary music…I have been around awhile and I ask myself, do I have anything to say? Is there a song still inside me? In my heart? I see life and what’s happening to me. Along the trail there are expectations, disappointments, happiness, questions and strong relationships,” Plant explains, “… and now I’m able to express my feelings through melody, power and trance; together in a kaleidoscope of sound, colour, and friendship.”

Here is an Official Track, “Rainbow”…

Mise en Abîme – Steve Lehman


On his latest Pi Recordings album, Mise en Abîme, Steve Lehman continues to build on the work he has established with spectral harmony expanding the harmonic palette by incorporating live electronics and a custom-built vibraphone. He contrasts at the same time by reinforcing his connection to jazz tradition with three radically re-imagined Bud Powell compositions.

The result is an album that fortifies Lehman’s role as a visionary composer who establishes an innovative trend that expands the future of harmony, rhythm, as they are coupled with compositional form, and electro-acoustic improvisation in a jazz setting.