We're kicking it old school lately, what with the new Spoon album sending us back to the band's back catalog and all -- but most pleasantly, we are glad to let you know about the return of Shannon Wright. We saw her at SXSW 2002 at the Scottish Rite Theater, where she played right before a young man you might have heard of -- Andrew Bird (it was totally one of those "I was there" moments...she spent most of her alloted time setting up a giant light-up keyboard, and then blew everyone away with a gorgeous and powerful set that left us all kind of speechless in wonder) and at SXSW 2003, when she played the Quarterstick showcase with Quasi -- it was the last time I enjoyed one of their sets, let me tell ya. (BTW, I found this feature whilst checking those dates, and OMG, the nostalgia...). I admit, I hadn't thought of Ms. Wright much lately, and so I was infinitely pleased to see a press release about her latest release, Let in the Light, in my inbox the other day -- and was completely blown away by the songs therein. Ms. Wright is back in fine form, and her gorgeous, gorgeous voice is still going strong -- she's one of those artists that's hard to do justice to in text. Just listen. Trust me on this one, 'kay? RIYL: Feist, Cat Power, Electrelane, Rilo Kiley.
Shannon Wright -- Everybody's Got Their Own Part to Play
Shannon Wright -- St. Pete
The charming Staten Island-dwelling Ingrid Michaelson, (who sends the sweetest, most polite emails -- we've been following her career since she submitted some tracks for us to review almost exactly a year ago...) was the subject of a lengthy profile in the Wall Street Journal today (link good for 7 days) about artists bypassing the major label-schema and going straight to exposure via primetime TV. One weird twist: one of her songs is the centerpiece of the "Grey's Anatomy" finale tonight, won't be available anywhere, except for streaming on her MySpace page, until the release of the "Grey's Anatomy" soundtrack later this year. Oh, and Jason Kurland, who manages Death Cab for Cutie (Who became the famous because of "The O.C.," remember? heh.) reminds unsigned artists that this is a really risky way to build a career if they don't have the strength of a major behind them to handle the supply chain issues. I think Ms. Michaelson--who's been paid upwards of $15,000 for each song of her songs used on various TV shows, and who makes about 40% more per song sold on iTunes than artists on labels--major or otherwise, is aware of this fact, but might argue that Mr. Kurland's cautions are rapidly becoming a moot point. We shall see, I suppose.
Speaking of new and exciting modes of distribution in the industry, Wired and Slashdot are literally beside themselves over the fact that two independent record labels -- the UK's First Word, and Omaha's own Saddle Creek, are selling vinyl albums that come with codes to download a DRM-free digital version of the album for free. (*gasp!*) Um, I'd like to point out that several of the labels in the Beggars Group and Merge Records HAVE ALREADY DONE THIS. (As a matter of fact, Pinkie heard Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills discuss this very subject in a panel at SXSW 2006, yo, and it made her positively swoony.) And then there's the fact that most indie labels shun DRM copy protection. Whatever, Wired -- your fact checkers and editors are AWESOME.
In other news, we will indeed be attending the Secret Machines/Bellmer Dolls show on Saturday at the High Line Ballroom (CRAIGSLIST!). From what we've been able to ascertain, the reason this show is sold out is that the festival is heavily reliant on corporate sponsorship (duh!), and most of the ticket buys went to sponsors. Awesome! The High Line branding scheme in general is really, really strange, you know? But ... whatever, we'll be there. It's a new venue, we simply MUST go. Everyone will be there. (tee-hee)
Oh, and! We'll be djing an Austin-licious bill at Union Hall in July thanks to our friends at Neon Lights -- more details to come when we have them!