Shanghai Music

July 30, 2014 at 9:15am
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Americana for the Win

Americana for the Win

I’ve been pretty stingy with my pennies ever since coming Austin, partly because I’m cheap frugal, and partly because I’m ever-so-gainfully unemployed. There’s tons of good stuff all around, but so far I’ve had to be pretty picky about what to see. But last week Old Crow Medicine Show was in town. It was time to spend some money.

But before I get to Old Crow Medicine Show, which I’ll get to…

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July 23, 2014 at 6:31am
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Brass for People Who Don’t Like Brass

Brass for People Who Don’t Like Brass

Have you recently heard a brass band? You know, a band with…nothing but brass. Trumpets, trombones, sousaphones, French horns, mellophones, tubas, and — if we’re being a little generous with the definition of “brass” — saxophones of all sorts? Unless you’re a high-schooler in a marching band or live in New Orleans, it’s probably been a while.


I’ve been going to an outdoor…

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June 14, 2014 at 9:13am
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Hello, Austin

Austin nightime

It’s hard to decide where to go after Shanghai. It’s hard to decide to go anywhere, ever, actually, but eventually you can no longer live out of a suitcase or on couches (or with your folks — thanks Mom & Dad!) so here I am in Austin, because the weather is warm, the air is clean, they’ve got a river you can swim in and live music every day of the week. Plus, I’ve always really liked the show Au…

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May 1, 2014 at 8:17am
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Goodbye, Shanghai. It’s Been Real.

Goodbye, Shanghai. It’s been real.


Today I’m leaving Shanghai. FOREVER!

I’ve been saying it’s my last year in Shanghai every year since I got here — 5 years ago — but when it came to ACTUALLY doing it; to quitting jobs and getting rid of stuff and saying goodbye to people, this whole thing came about really quickly, but I think that’s the best way to do it. This time around, things with visas and jobs and people and places just…

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April 20, 2014 at 9:11pm
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The Mongolian Invasion (Less Blood, More Music)

The Mongolian Invasion (Less Blood, More Music)


Folk music has not just had a boom in the West in the past decade. It’s happened in China as well.

Case in point: widely popular Mongolian folk band Hanggai, who played in Shanghai on Friday. They’re like the Mumford & Sons of China (but less douchy). Hanggai has actually played in Shanghai several times over the last few years, but I always just seemed to miss them. But no more! I can…

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April 16, 2014 at 9:05pm
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Inoffensive Indie Rock

White LiesWhite Lies

It’s always a mystery why some bands do so well and some bands never amount to anything, at least commercially speaking. Obviously things like talent, showmanship, music quality, hard work and promotion all play a part, but controlling for certain variables, it’s still surprising to me how some bands become huge when I really can’t find anything about them remarkable one way or the…

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April 6, 2014 at 4:33pm
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The Best Tribute Act Ever

The Best Tribute Act Ever

peter hook and the lightPeter Hook and the Light

I am not one to diss cover bands and tribute acts. In fact, I love them. For real.

It’s mostly because I like live music, and I like hearing music I like played live. Am I ever going to see Elvis play live? No. He’s dead. Allegedly. But am I going to see an Elvis or Beatles or Who tribute act? Yes, yes, and yes. Same goes for cover bands. It’s your friend’s wedding. Are…

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April 2, 2014 at 5:49pm
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How to Promote Your Indie Band — Part 5

How to Promote Your Indie Band — Part 5

stop hassling me

Part 5 — Don’t Hassle the Writer

So you’ve sent me five e-mails and I haven’t responded? It’s not because I’m busy. It’s because your music isn’t right for my site or I can’t find your stuff or I don’t like what I hear or any number of other things. It’s not personal (unless you take things personally, and then yes, it is). So stop hassling me. I’m not going to write about you right now.

I say…

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March 31, 2014 at 5:31pm
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How to Promote Your Indie Band — Part 4

How to Promote Your Indie Band — Part 4

press kit

Part 4 — Put Together a Basic Press Kit

It has to be easy for me to find your stuff. It’s not that I’m lazy (that’s merely a coincidence). But I can only spend a certain amount of time Googling you before I get bored and give up and move on to the next e-mail from the next band. So make it easy for me to find you!

Here’s what your press kit should have:

  •  A  document that tells me about…

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March 29, 2014 at 3:01pm
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New Music from Spill Your Guts

New Music from Spill Your Guts

spill your gutsSpill Your Guts

If hardcore rock’s your thing (it’s always somebody’s thing), here’s a new offering from Shanghai band Spill Your Guts.


I always like straight edged hardcore bands like Spill Your Guts, because they’re super rough on stage, but then offstage they just like to hangout and drink Suntory (and not that fancy Premium Suntory, either) and just generally be decent people.


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