SXSW Special: The Bird Call Cover Shoot & Song of the Day

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Waltz in the Snow

DOWNLOAD: Waltz in the Snow

SXSW starts this week, and Bird Call is heading down to Austin to play a whole mess of dates, so I figured that since the festival has morphed from being just a week-long Indie music show into a multi-media-mega-extravaganza, today’s post would mimic that sentiment by including music, photos and yet another these stop-action jpeg movies I find myself playing with when I got nothin’ else to do.

A few months back, we were out at the Brooklyn World Headquarters of Bird Call Music and mindful of the low-budget, Indie-Music, keep-it-simple aspect to the shoot, we turned a very tiny white room into a photo studio for Chiara Angelicola’s new record, using nothing but four do-it-yourself lights and a bit of ingenuity.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes of what we did and some of the resulting final images…

We started with nothing but some sheer drapes covering a sunlit window and a piano dropped in front of it…

…in a very small room (thank God for wide-angle lenses!). We added a couple of my DIY ‘Ghetto-Flo’ florescent strip lights as backlight skims, but decided to use no front light at all, just overexposed the living daylights outta the thing to let the background blow out and see where that took us…

Not bad at all, even if GiGi looks kinda bored…

Chiara getting beautified…

…and standing in…

Some last minute touch-ups…Lovin’ the Horns!

And away we go…

The final resulting images…..

Next, we pulled out the piano and added a couple of front lights…

…and Chiara jumped around in a cool stripy dress with a pork-pie hat!

Which I was able to turn into this cool multiple…

In the end, GiGi was impressed…

Song of the Day



I’ve been so busy with real work that I kinda ignored everything that went on at SXSW this year, but I’ve just done a bit of searching around what caught people’s attention this week in Austin, and found a few gems that stood out from the rest, including a beauty from Lex Land. I haven’t heard much from her since she snagged the top spot on my Songs of the Year back in 2008 with the opium-laced crier, ‘As Much As You Lead’ from her debut album, Orange Days On Lemon Street, but on the quirky and jazzed-up ‘Havana’, from the upcoming album Were My Sweetheart To Go, she’s certainly pumped up the energy on this fun little hip-shaker. No release date yet for the new record, but you should check out her website for more news.

Song of the Day

Help I’m Alive (Daytrotter Session)

DOWNLOAD: Help I’m Alive

Back at SXSW last March, long before 14 year-old, vampire-obsessed girls were humming their music because it was featured prominently in the newest “Twilight” movie, Emily Haines and the guys from Metric got together with the Daytrotter crew and did a quickie session of two acoustic tracks from last years album “Fantasies”‘Gimme Sympathy’, which I’ve featured twice on The List (acoustic back in January and the album version last year) and today’s song, a beautiful version of ‘Help I’m Alive’. My only question is why did it take Daytrotter so long to get this out? Here’s the album cut so you can hear the contrast…

Help I’m Alive (Album Version)

DOWNLOAD: Help I’m Alive

Now if you haven’t already bookmarked Daytrotter, this cut should convince you what a great music resource it has become. As much as I love the album version of this song, hearing Emily’s vocal striped away from the slick layers of production makes for a new experience and I gotta say, I am truly moved. So do yourself a favor and hook up with Daytrotter at and then go make friends with Metric on their MySpace Page and over at

Song of the Day

So Bloody So Tight

DOWNLOAD: So Bloody So Tight

Today’s song came out of one of those happy coincidences that happens when social networking actually does more than self-aggrandizement, passing on the latest Lolcat video, or informing you about the awesome tuna melt some a guy you haven’t seen in twenty years just had for lunch! My friend Molly Roberts (who I haven’t seen in a while, but it hasn’t been that long!) posted a link on her facebook page to a song by A Sunny Day In Glasgow, a Dream-Pop/Shoegaze outfit from Philly that her son, Ryan Newmyer, just happens to play bass for. Thanks to the power of Google, within five minute of listening to the song I became an instant expert on the group…they formed about five years ago, have a couple of full-length albums and three EPs’ under their belts and have gone through a Baker’s dozen of current and former members, all the while under the leadership of Ben Daniels.

Anyway…my searching also revealed that ASDIG has a new EP out, Nitetime Rainbows, and one of the more creative videos I’ve seen in ages for ‘So Bloody, So Tight’ that I’m including below. Anybody who loves The Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, or The Jesus and Mary Chain is gonna go nuts for this stuff. They’re on tour right now, in fact, if you happen to be down at SXSW, they’ve got nine gigs set up this week! Give ’em a look on their website or over on MySpace

Song of the Day



It’s been almost a year since I told you guys about The XX, but since that time, the number one outside search that has newbies showing up at the Damn Ugly door is for The XX…I usually get anywhere from 50 to 100 hits a day from people searching for these four sad-faced kids from South London! Their popularity certainly wasn’t hurt by both Rolling Stone and NME placing them on their “Best of the Year” lists, but then came the Winter Olympics…an AT&T commercial with Apolo Ohno featured their song ‘Intro’ and was in heavy rotation for the entire two weeks of the games. They’ve been touring nonstop (and picking up fans) in support of their debut album…so much that keyboard player Baria Qureshi has quite the group siting exhaustion…and then today I found out that they’re gonna be playing SXSW next week. Head over to MySpace and give a listen.

Here is the video for ‘VCR’…..

…and here’s that Apolo Ohno AT&T commercial…..

Song of the Day

Hold The Line

DOWNLOAD: Hold The Line

Knob-twiddling, super-groovy reggae dubmeisters Diplo and Switch had one of the most talked-about sets at SXSW with their new ‘group’, Major Lazer, when they set off an impromptu rave complete with a dancer who looked like a shredded chicken and a stage full of guys tossing out swag. This song caught my ear this morning…if nothing else, you can add it to your workout mix and if it gets you interested further, the album, Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do, drops June 16th. The Grammy-nominated Diplo explains the concept for Major Lazer thusly: “It’s like digital reggae and dancehall from Mars in the future….pop culture run through a Jamaican filter!” OK then! You can check ’em out at MySpace


Song of the Day

Exclamation Love

DOWNLOAD: Exclamation Love

It’s cold and dark and rainy here in the city today… how ’bout a nice love song?!! 17 year-old Ariel Abshire’s album, Exclamation Love, has been out since last October, but it was her knock out performances at this year’s SXSW that really got people noticing the Austin native. Her shimmering falsetto kinda reminds me of a happy Neko Case, but with a bit of Patsy Cline thrown in for country cred…and I know some of you are gonna cry this is just a sappy love song, but give those lyrics a closer listen…for 17 the girl has mad songwriting skills! Give her a look over on MySpace


Song of the Day

All My Love


Maybe it’s the recession, but the Song of the Day List’s #1 go-to girl, Kate Tucker, has pared down The Sons of Sweden and went to SXSW to debut a new side project…Honeydove. Featuring Son of Sweden Ed (Potatoes) O’Brien on guitar and Lucas Carlyle on drums, Kate says the new group will allow her to ‘explore darker themes and textures’…the first demo cut, ‘All My Love’, has an almost narcotic effect from the start with the slow-tempo, shimmering guitar and Kate’s poetic vocal imparting a sirenlike sensuality…the feeling of world-weariness and intense melancholy is a stark contrast to to her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’ for the recent Starbucks “Sweetheart” release that previously showed up on The List. I don’t know how far Kate is going with Honeydove, but why don’t you head on over to MySpace and make friends…

Song of the Day



Today’s song is a brand-spankin’ new version of a song The Idle Hands released on a rarely heard U.K. EP back in 2006 (I own it)…but the two Irishmen and three Americans are now based in Minneapolis and they’re recording their first American release and they just leaked this smokin’ re-do of ‘Loaded’ that has me got me on my feet and clawing my way back to reality this afternoon…I just had to pass it on. Still too soon for a name or release date on the new album, but you can stream more songs and follow the gang over on MySpace and for those of you SXSW-heads in Austin this week, they’re playing tomorrow night at 7:45pm at the Irongate Lounge…..

The Idle Hands