All Good Things…

25 Feb


This past December, Spike Hill, a music venue in Williamsburg I helped launch, closed after running for seven years.

I’ve been meaning to write about it’s closing for a while, but for a lot of reasons, it felt too strange to talk about.

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Intro to Podcasting Course 1 Finished!

21 Jan
Course one of 3rd Ward’s Intro to Podcasting done! Thank you to all the students who signed up. I can’t wait to hear your podcasts!

Check out our libsyn page to hear student’s final projects as they come in. Class podcasts coming to iTunes soon…

Sarah Jaffe

20 Nov

The best songwriters are really actors.

A subtle shoulder dip, a single raised eyebrow, a slight tilt of the head… these movements on stage sell lyrics and music in a way that an amazing voice on it’s own can not. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And in the case of music, it’s not just how you say it, it’s how well you broadcast the heart of a song, the invisible message an audience reacts to before they understand what they’re hearing.

Sarah Jaffe does this seemingly effortlessly.

During her CMJ performance at Spike Hill this past October, her set was simple: One woman onstage with a nylon-stringed guitar, usually plunking a single string while projecting a ghostly moan. Her voice ranges from hushed and roomy to blasting and haunting. Watching her play, you get the sense that Sarah lives somewhere inside her songs, traversing her tune’s melodic passages as if she were walking from one lonely, bare room to another inside her head. Her songs breath and creak, and Sarah does along with them.

By incorporating momentary stretches of silence between passages, often accompanied by a subtle craning of her head towards the stage lights, Sarah grips a room better than most. Her eager audience is pulled along, like a beloved toy tugged behind a wide-eyed exploring child.

Check out Sarah’s music here. Check back soon for a link to her CMJ performance captured by Baeble Music.


Bon Iver, Recorded Live in Concert: NPR

22 Aug

All songs considered concert series. One of the best things to recently come out of NPR!

Venetian Snare’s Classical Spaz

22 Aug

If you blanketed the ground with various sized snares, kick drums and cymbals and then, for some reason, a torrential downpour of drumsticks fell from the sky, you’d end up with a sound close to the brain-melting classical spaz of Venetian Snares. 90 hits-per-second. Blissfully random. Over-achieving techno; like shot of heroin to your cerebral cortex.

Uke Overload

18 May

There has never been a cuter video than this. The end. Somebody shut down the internet.

Psycho Killer on Ukulele

12 May

What is it, you ask? Nervous Brits rocking Ukulele! The Proms, a buttoned-up classical concert series in London, loosened its collective bow tie as The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain (real name) plucked this Talking Heads punk classic. If, before playing, the band had introduced the song using a robotic beat piped from an 80s-style silver boombox, we’d have swooned. As it is, we’re still in love. -ZD

Feedback Episode #3 featuring Ava Luna!!

8 Apr

Hi Everyone,

Check out the newest episode of Feedback The Podcast featuring Ava Luna — the greatest glitch-punk, doo-wop scrambling, soul revivalists in New York City!

The seven-piece Coney Island band — who was crowned one of L Magazine’s “8 Bands You Need To Hear” in 2010 — inhales inspiration from sources as geeky as En Vogue and as modern as Flying Lotus. The result — a wholly original, Dirty-Projectors-style amalgamation of sensual sounds, searing aggression and shivering rhythms.

To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE.



Uke Prodigy

13 Mar

I believe the technical term for this style of playing is “Amaze-balls.” This guy can shred, and on the cutest instrument Hawaii’s ever imported. Jake Shimabukuro, the prodigious player, said in a TIME Magazine interview, “The words professional and ukulele player are kind of an oxymoron.” He’s making a convincing case against that notion.



Sure, but can they beat The Lost Levels?

25 Jan

Eddie Van Halen and Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros. theme composer) would be proud. 8-bit fan boys Zack Kim (top video) and Martin Leung (bottom) transcribe the red-capped plumber’s favorite ragtime tunes for double-tap guitar and piano. Here’s hoping Kim someday soon hosts a mind-shattering guitar battle — one hand vs. the other. Enjoy!