Open up my hand it's empty

Dear friends,

1. Dream One: We are at a party. You're with a circle of people talking about something that I find boring. I suddenly remember being six years-old and bored by a playground game. I do the same thing I did then; I walk away. I go outside. I look up into the sky. There's an eclipse. I can't remember if it will burn my eyes to look but I look anyway. It's beautiful. I run back inside to tell you about it.

2. Dream Two: Someone in the subway has set themselves on fire. Everyone is screaming. It looks like the station right outside Lincoln Center. The 2 or the 3.

3. Dream Three: I am not me. I am someone else. A man at a gas station. He's gotten something on his blue shirt. He is rubbing the stain with a napkin. The part of my brain that's still me tries to tell them that it's best they leave the spot alone. They don't hear.

4. Dream Four: I am sitting at a table. Someone asks to see my ring. I show it to them. Somehow I have failed to notice that it's a large, chunky ring with Spiderman on it. "It's hideous!" I exclaim. They disagree, telling me that it's fine craftsmanship.

5. Dream Five: We are lakeside. I don't know where it is but I'm sitting on the grass and you are next to me, sleeping. I envy your sleep. It seems so blissfully empty. I take your hand, and you don't stir. I lie back on the gray plaid blanket I only own in dreams and look at the evening clouds as they drift lazily overhead.

When I wake up in the morning, our hands are still clasped together. And this song is playing in my head.

Mike, Jonathan and Zach Braff as Nadim in Mancino! The Movie

The Lavender Lake/Mancino (mp3)

Buy Manners Matter by Mancino.

Love, D

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Second chances they don't ever matter, people never change.

Dear friends,

My cubicle sharer Nicole has left to go back to school. I am sad. I will miss forwarding her inappropriate links to Emo Fan Fic (Thanks Idolator!) only to have her reply, nonplussed, that it's called "Waycest" when people write about the My Chemical Romance brothers going at it. That's gross.

Anywho, N played the same select songs everyday and sang along. Most of them, I shut out.* One track though, Misery Business by Paramore, moved into my skull, made itself at home, decorated until I too was singing along. I tried to resist. I did. But I caved.

I'm not sure what to make of Misery Business other than I'm crazy about it. The female protagonist gloats triumphantly after finally snagging the boy from the manipulative teen skank that first stole his heart. End scene. But...whenever I hear it, I'm never quite convinced. No matter how much she yells about how she didn't mean to brag and how she "Watched his wildest dreams come true/Not one of them involving you" there's this underlying feeling of unease. Almost as if the reality of the situation is that the hussy could take him back anytime she wants, and everything this song is saying is a front. A way to protect herself from the inevitable.

But mostly it's about bitchy high school girls. And it's rad.

Paramore take the wrong turn on the way to the lake

Misery Business/Paramore (mp3)

Misery Business/Paramore (video)

Buy Riot! by Paramore.

Befriend Paramore on My Space.

Love, D

* Particularly one odious track that goes "Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!"

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I can't go on.

Check it. Tool (a band my roommate is obsessed with, that I know nothing about) covering the Death Lurks song "Some Days its Dark".

I miss the vocals by Death Lurks frontman Grivo, though.

(Death Lurks in real life = Bruce McCulloch and Odds.)

I wish one of my favorite local bands would cover this song. I wish it with all my heart, but inside sources say the band would never agree to such a thing.

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Tell them black ain't always white babe

Dear friends,

I have long been in slow, warped, thick with haze infatuation for all things Pete Kember and Jason Pierce aka the songwriters behind Spacemen 3. This is why when I heard Kember aka Sonic Boom was playing as Spectrum at After The Jump, my head cocked to the side like the RCA dog and stayed that way. It's like that now.

Sonic Boom rocks the fog

Call The Doctor is the song you write when you are a little in love with death. The title request is uttered with a smile by a person who is slowly going under. They’re talking to you about how they can see death but they don't really care. They're trying to impart to you that their self-destruction is good thing really and it's too bad you, the listener, can't see that. The truth is you're probably not doing so hot yourself. So the question is, will you follow them down to oblivion or will you rise up to the surface, gasping for breath, and never look back?

A fine slice of blues to start off your weekend. I hope to see you at After The Jump tomorrow!

Call The Doctor/Spaceman 3 (mp3)

Buy The Perfect Prescription by Spaceman 3

Love, D

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After The Jump: Spotlight on Donor's Choose

Dear friends,

Because he is the real writer half of the Neon Lights crew and also because he bothered to write things down instead of repeatedly slapping our interviewee on the back like some kind of blowsy seafarer, Jeff K brings us this informative post about Donor's Choose. No, they are not going on after Free Blood. Sheesh. Read the profile, get smart and come to our show with a "Yay, giving to charity makes me feel like kittens!" feeling!

"From muscle memory alone, it seems odd to hover in a laptop's glow without getting hot and bothered about this band or another. My fingers feel wrong when not typing vague adjectives like "ethereal" or "propulsive." So, although there are many great bands playing Saturday's After the Jump Festival on which to expend pixels, it's important to fight through the alien sensation of focusing on something a bit bigger than pop music for a minute. Last week, along with my Neon Lights' cohort D (madam of the word brothel known as Soft Communication*, as you well know) had a jovial beer with Michael Everett-Lane, the Executive Director of Donor's Choose Northeast. After briefly interrogating him about his musical tastes (Mountain Goats, the Pipettes, with a big ol' softspot for Journey's Escape) and his own blogging pedigree (Mike maintains the Ishbadiddle blog and was a founder of the now on hold NYC Bloggers site)** he let us in on the details of the organization that will directly benefit from this weekend's event, and why the work they do is so important.

Donor's Choose was born to help address the massive funding shortfall in this country's public school system. 40% of public school teachers in the United States don't have enough money for textbooks, let alone the supplementary supplies that would make their jobs easier. This year the average teacher will pull an average of $520 dollars from their own not nearly overstuffed wallets in order to give their students a proper education. Mike notes the larger implication that, "Nationwide, public schoolteachers pay billions of dollars a year on average for items that are not covered by their budgets." Frustrated by the bureaucracy of the system as it existed, Bronx schoolteacher Charlie Best founded Donor's Choose in 2000.

The key innovation of Donor's Choose is that, like blogging does for would be writers, it allows individuals to pursue causes that interest them on a specific and personal level. Teachers submit proposals to the organization, and after they are carefully vetted by the National Office (in reality a 40 man garment district office Mike likens to "a sweat shop") they are placed online to await possible donors. While they only fund programs in select parts of the country at the moment, the charity will soon open its doors to proposals from all 50 States. "Teachers know best what they need in their classrooms," explained Mike in regard to this direct micro-scale approach. Requests run the gamut from basic needs like a classroom set of To Kill a Mockingbird to more elaborate and ambitious enrichment programs. Based on their own philanthropic desires, donors choose to fund their preferred proposal large or small, partially or in full.

This level of choice has pulled in people who never would have have contributed before, either due to a previous lack of ease or skepticism that their money would make any kind of tangible impact. From the Brooklyn 1st Graders who held a bake sale to buy their North Carolina counterparts some classroom puzzles to the individual donor who purchased a $27,000 playground set, folks who help Donor's Choose know that their effort is not putting leather couches in the Superintendent's office. To exponentially increase the warm and fuzzy quotient, every single donor receives a comprehensive feedback package of student thank yous, a letter on the impact of their donation from their aided teacher, and photos of their funds in action. It's philanthropy in its purest form.

So, besides a good time what will buying a ticket to Saturday's Night Show at Studio B accomplish? Well, your ticket will help the students at the Bronx High School for the Visual Arts purchase the DJ equipment they'll need in order to teach nearly 400 students how to mix, produce, and perform compositions of their own design. For once, having a drink and a dance could actively nurture the next generation of beat makers and rappers, rock stars and future dance floor fillers. Misanthropists take note, with the Virgins, Soulico, Free Blood, and Riot in Belgium in full swing, you will hardly notice that you're being a good guy.

Advance tickets are available now on Ticket Web for $12 dollars, and it jumps slightly at the door to a still reasonable 14. Kids planning to only attend the free day show should be aware that raffle tickets purchased at the event, which give you a shot at hundreds of CD's, DVD's, boxed sets, concert tickets, and maybe even a $500 dollar all access pass to this year's CMJ Music Festival, will be directly aiding the cause as well.

So buy your tickets right here now, or find your pet cause on Donor's Choose."

More on the music tomorrow...

Love, D

* I protest.

** Interestingly, you can find several of the ATJ bloggers on this on-hiatus map site. If stalking pasty people with vast music collections was your thing this would be the place to go.


More from After The Jump

Dear friends,

I've been trying to put up two banners on the site for the past two days and I'm about to cry because I am entirely incapable of doing it correctly. Like, things are INVISIBLE. Where did they go? What on earth is JAVA? What is my name? SIGH. I wish I could say if they were actual, you know, real live cloth banners I'd do much better. I am clumsy and lacking in skillz. It's a miracle I do as well as I do.

Anywho, Music Snobbery knows how to set stuff up right! To wit...

Video: Day Stage:

Night Stage:

Photos gallery:

I think this is a pretty handy way to peruse the After the Jump selections. Expect a more personal take on things from me tomorrow.

Love, D

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After The Jump this week!

Dear friends,

On Saturday, the 25th of August, at Studio B in Brooklyn, the first blogger-organized After The Jump Fest will be taking place. After the Jump will be an all-day event with a FREE day show (doors at 1pm, bands start at 2pm) and a night show to benefit a proposal submitted by the Bronx High School For the Visual Arts (via DonorsChoose.org) for equipment to be used by aspiring DJs, writers, MCs and beat-makers. More info about their proposal HERE.


We're extremely excited to announce the addtion of Free Blood to the night show and Golem to the day show. As well, Sara Schaefer is lined up to be the MC of the day show.


FREE Day Show Schedule:
2:00 (MetroMix.com Main Stage) The Teenage Prayers
2:30 (CONCERT.TV Side Stage) Jukebox The Ghost
3:00 (MetroMix.com Main Stage) Locksley
3:30 (CONCERT.TV Side Stage) Bling Kong
4:00 (MetroMix.com Main Stage) Golem
4:30 (CONCERT.TV Side Stage) Goes Cube
5:00 (MetroMix.com Main Stage) Ra Ra Riot
5:30 (CONCERT.TV Side Stage) Apache Beat
6:00 (MetroMix.com Main Stage) Spectrum

MetroMix.com Night Stage


10:00 The Virgins
11:00 Soulico
Midnight Free Blood
1:00 Riot In Belgium--
Finger on the Pulse (DJ set)
David Bruno (DJ set)


Again, the day show is FREE. Purchase tickets to the night portion of the event HERE.


As part of the pre-fest extravaganza, we united bloggers are interviewing each of the artists performing at After the Jump. Check out the interviews that have been posted so far:

The Music Slut: 8 Questions With Spectrum
Music Snobbery: Jukebox the Ghost Interview
The Music Slut: 8 Questions With Soulico
Product Shop NYC: An Interview w/ Riot In Belgium
Bumpershine: An Interview w/ David Bruno

Keep checking back here, on all of the ATJF affiliated blogs*, and on the official After The Jump Fest site for more interviews as the show date nears!


Chris over at Music Snobbery is keeping a running tally of all the awesome prizes we have to raffle off at After the Jump, including TWO passes to the CMJ Music Marathon worth nearly $500 each. We also have a CD prize packs, signed posters, t-shirts, and much more - so come and donate for your chance to win!


Interested in donating your time to this event? Go HERE for more info.


Things in this world cost money. Even really awesome free/for charity things. The companies below have helped out a great deal in terms of making this whole After The Jump Fest possible. Thanks and big ups to them.

Cellfish Media. Cellfish Media creates digital content for mobile phones and is helping to revolutionize the blogging community.
MetroMix.com. MetroMix is your one-stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in events, music, movies, and more.
Grand Hospitality. A pioneer in the industry, Grand Hospitality was the first company to establish luxury boutique hotels in the swank downtown New York neighborhoods of SoHo and TriBeCa.
CONCERT.TV. is the first television channel dedicated to live music by offering both cutting edge shows and past favorites.
Indaba Music. Indaba Music is an international community of musicians, music professionals, and fans exploring the creative possibilities of making music with people in different places.
Imeem. Imeem is an online community where artists, fans & friends can promote their content, share their tastes, and discover new blogs, photos, music and video. Visit After the Jump on Imeem.
CMJ. CMJ Network connects music fans and music industry professionals with the best in new music through interactive media, live events and print.
Xanga. Xanga is a community of online diaries and journals.
Colt 45. For over 4 decades, Colt 45 Premium Malt Liquor has been the "class of all malt liquor brands". With its smooth and distinct flavor and historic affiliation with Billy Dee Williams, it has become an urban American icon.
Studio B. Simply put, a night club in Brooklyn but really, a Greenpoint phenomenon.

Love, D

* Yes, I'm one of them. Like duh. Last week my NL partner and Merry Swankster scribe Jeff K and I sat down with Michael Everett-Lane from Donor's Choose. Keep an eye here for the eventual transcription of JK's intelligent questions, Mike's informative and witty answers and my going "Ummm" a lot and neighing like a cracked-out pony.

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I'm afraid my dear that it's never coming

Dear friends,

I'm making a mix based on a book. This book is about a man whose cat goes missing. As it always is in books, this turns out to be a sign of portent. But I'm not going to talk about what happens next because I'm still working on that report.

I am not sure if this Headlights song will make the final playlist but it's in the running. It reminds me of one of the novel's characters; a woman with a ridiculous name and a penchant for anachronistic hairdos. I picture her singing these words. Precise instructions for someone who has lost their way.

Headlights searches for the breadcrumb trail.

Songy Darko/Headlights (mp3)

Buy Kill Them With Kindness by Headlights.

Love, D

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Dear friends,

I first listened to The Function Room by Half Cousin on a train ride from London to Liverpool in 2004*. I let its warm, sinister crunch provide the soundtrack to several hours of whizzing power lines. A perfect combination of movement and music.

Half Cousin still sounds like travel but it no longer seems like a straight trajectory. Jim's Crash Memory pops out at you, all bounce and unexpected turns, even as the vocals slide up and evaporate, ignorant to the bustle. I'm sure it started off as a straightforward piano based pop song but chief HC Kevin Cormack couldn't resist messing with it. By making it stop. Suddenly. Start. Get brighter, then become covered in shadow. Pass green fields and concrete stretches. Bursts of graffiti. Until it stops. In the middle of the tunnel. And you're left in the dark.

Photo by Tara Darby

Jim's Crash Memory/Half Cousin (mp3)

Big Chief (The B&B Frequenter)/Half Cousin (video)

Buy Iodine by Half Cousin.

Love, D

* I first scribbled about Half Cousin here.

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They are bigger than your lies

Dear friends,

Becky Nincovik of You Say Party! We Say Die! sings with an unfashionable voice. It has a stubborn, hands on hips sound that's more early 80s art chick than the girly, swooping vibrato that's all the rage amongst current indie rock songbirds. I love it, she sounds like someone who'd never ever let anyone make a fantasy of her. She doesn't yell. She doesn't need to. Her feet are planted firmly in the ground. She lets her words run roughshod over you instead.

You Say Party! We Say Die! in a white room with black curtains

Giant Hands/You Say Party! We Say Die! (mp3)

Monster/You Say Party! We Say Die! (video)

Buy Lose All Time by You Say Party! We Say Die!*

Love, D

* I got mine on eMusic. But annoyingly I ran out of downloads so I only have half the album. One more month...

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Remember how you used to love me?

Dear friends,

The guitar tiptoes down a darkened street. Shadows scurry along: a man, his new flame and their drunken laughter. Minutes later, another woman comes into view. She's been following them. She can't help it. Same old story, love gone wrong and the need to know exactly why.

The woman in pursuit is this song. This song is tailing you. Accusing you of the worst kind of treachery; indifference. You will pay for what you've done. That's a guarantee.

Photo by Mikko Ryhannen

No One's Gonna Love You/Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators (mp3)

Buy Keep Reachin' Up by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators

Love, D

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But he never even made it to his 20s

Dear friends,

I'm short on words this week. I do apologize.

First, a sad little waltz. Cobwebs and toy soldiers.

Army Dreamers/Kate Bush (mp3)

Army Dreamers/Kate Bush (video)

Buy Never For Ever by Kate Bush.


The second selection is by another tipping her hat to the former. This song, like the first, is heavier than its gossamer sound would suggest. I love the pointed harmonics that keep the vocal in check. Just like the rebuke of the chorus; "You don't mean that/say you're sorry" is sing-song sweet at first until the repetitions become an attack.

Now, Now/St. Vincent (mp3)

Buy Marry Me by St. Vincent.

Love, D

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Spectrum at After The Jump!

Dear friends,

Tomorrow there will be music, for now here is this latest salvo from team After The Jump:

After The Jump Fest (happening on the 25th of August inside/outside of Studio B) would like to announce that Spectrum will be headlining the FREE day show portion of After The Jump.

Spectrum is led by Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember formerly of the legendarily influential trance-rock band Spacemen 3.

In addition, Teenage Prayers have also been added to After the Jump’s FREE day show line-up.

Purchase tickets to the night portion of the event HERE - please remember that all proceeds from the festival will help fund grants written by New York music teachers for their classroom via the Bloggers Choose chapter of DonorsChoose.org.

Music Snobbery has a growing list of items we will be raffling off at After the Jump, including two passes to this year's CMJ Music Marathon worth nearly $500 each, a ton of CD prize packs, signed posters, t-shirts, and much more - so come and donate for your chance to win!

Love, D

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Nothing but the devil

Dear friends,


This is how I feel right now. I'm procrastinating with iTunes playlists when I should be packing. We're off to a wedding in Florida. That will be nice. But first, the airport. Not so nice.

Speaking of air travel, close to 6? 7? years ago I was on a transatlantic flight and I'd seen the movie, read all the books and boredom drove me to in-flight radio. This song came on and it captured me. I wrote down the name of it in my notebook and swore to find it. Then I waited impatiently for the playlist to finish so it could back to that song and I could enjoy it all over again.

I've been searching for Maloyan Devil* for so long now that I had forgotten the sound of it completely, and just remembered the feeling of listening to it. Finally found the CD last week and when the song came on, I immediately had this ridiculous giggle-laugh-wtf? response. It turns out that Maloyan Devil is a cover (of sorts) of Devil Got My Woman by Skip James**, another song I love but discovered long after that flight. This version is all bell-like strumming and guitar shimmer. It's still the Blues, but in Technicolor. Turn the song up loud and get lost in the bright, shifting gyroscope.

Maloyan Devil/Djeli Moussa Diawara & Bob Brozman

Buy Ocean Blues

Love, D

* They mislabeled it as Malian Devil, as you can imagine this affected my search rather negatively.

** Otherwise known as that song in Ghost World that Thora Birch's Enid falls in love with.

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Too late to wish me back again

Dear friends,

It starts with a shimmer, a shimmer of strings, shimmering feebly. Then they start to slide a little bit, all over the place. That's when the tinkling begins. And a girl soon follows after. They usually do.

Light From A Dead Star by Lush is a little bit 8th grade poetry* and a little bit genius. It's a story of departures, everyone keeps leaving; a woman, a man and finally the protagonist. The dead star of the title is never made explicit though my vote is on "I", played beautifully by Miki Berenyi, all soprano schoolgirl vengeance, telling you that it's far too late. For what? A chance to not let her down? It hardly matters that she's more interested in being self-righteously angry than actually getting somewhere with the people she's addressing. She just keeps pointing fingers, joined for a moment in ghost-harmony by Emma Anderson, until we're right back where we started. Quiet. Strings slide down. Start the shimmer.

Photo by Beth Herzhaft

Light From A Dead Star/Lush (mp3)

Buy Split by Lush.

Love, D

* Oh, I know you know what I'm talking about. I certainly wrote some.

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After the Jump Fest tickets on sale now!

Memo from the ATJ offices:

Tickets for the After The Jump Festival night show at Studio B featuring Soulico, Riot In Belgium and The Virgins with special guest DJs: Finger On The Pulse & Slap You In Public (with even more acts TBA) are on sale right now via Ticketweb! All proceeds from the festival will help fund grants written by New York music teachers for their classroom via the Bloggers Choose chapter of DonorsChoose.org! It's a great cause and a lot of hard work has gone into planning this festival on the part of a lot of people, I urge you to come out and show your support.

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