Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Archive for June, 2008

The best things in life are free on the Internet (including music)

Friday, June 27th, 2008

One of the greatest things about the Internet is how easily accessible it has made music. More specifically, it has made a lot of music free. And I don’t mean in the Y2K, Napster, stealing music kind of way.

There is a lot of great free music out there and it’s all yours for the taking. To give you a glimpse into what I am rocking on my iPod and some insight into my own personal music universe, here are four albums (well, okay, three albums and one EP) that are 100 percent free and well worth the download.

Girl Talk “Feed The Animals” — Okay, so this one isn’t exactly free. The mash-up artist known as Girl Talk has released his latest masterpiece and he will give it to you for free if you want it. However, he will also take money for it if you want to give it to him. How much money? Well, that’s up to you. The record is available for a pay-what-you-want price. Sound like a familiar digital distribution method? Well, if you want to get what is possibly the best dance record of the year, I recommend picking this up, for whatever cost you think is appropriate. You can download the record here. Girl Talk plays Seattle at the Capitol Hill Block Party on July 25.

Patient Patient “The Free EP” — This group of Seattle indie popsters released a free EP of new material earlier this year. The Stranger described the band’s sound as indie Radiohead and for the most part the were spot on, so I won’t bother boring you with an attempt at pigeon-holing Patient Patient into a category. I will tell you that this EP is a solid five-song taste of Patient Patient and it does what all good EPs do: it gives listeners just enough music to leave their ears salivating for a full-length record. You can download the album here.

Dyme Def “Three Bad Brothaas Mix Tape” — This crew of young MCs (none of them are older than 21) are the future of Seattle hip hop. Last year the group released its debut “Space Music” and once I got my hands on it I couldn’t stop listening to it. The success of that release helped the group land a main stage spot at this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival and they will be at several Warped Tour stops this summer (including the Aug. 9 Gorge Warped date) as well as the Rock The Bells Festival at the Gorge on Sept. 6. This mixtape, which the group is distributing for free, consists of mostly new material, including a track that does a killer job of sampling the “Pinky and the Brain” theme song.
You can download the album here. Dyme Def next plays in Seattle on July 11 at Sole Repair.

Nine Inch Nails “The Slip” — Trent Reznor’s gift to his loyal fans, this album has been available for free on NIN’s Web site for a few months. While the record is no “Pretty Hate Machine” or “Downward Spiral” it is way better than “The Fragile” and more in line with Reznor’s last few non-instrumental records “Year Zero” and “With Teeth.” Download it here. Nine Inch Nails comes to KeyArena July 25.

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The Shins leaving Sub Pop?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Various media outlets (including Billboard and Pitchfork) are reporting that 2007′s “Wincing The Night Away” by The Shins was the Portland band’s last for Seattle powerhouse indie lable Sub Pop.

According to Billboard Shins frontman James Mercer is planning on starting his own label and hopes to use it to release the group’s next record. However, this doesn’t mean The Shins are planning on completely ending their relationship with Sub Pop. The band could partner with a label for marketing and distribution purposes.

Although they were never officially billed as part of the upcoming Sub Pop 20 Festival at Marymoor Park, the band has been a major part of Sub Pop’s recent resurgence the last few years and advertisements for the two-day fest made by the Marymoor Park folks have included The Shins as part of the show.

It would be disappointing if The Shins did not play the birthday show because they are a big part of the label’s history, but there are still some “to be announced” bands on the bill and it should be a great show regardless considering Mudhoney, Seaweed, Iron and Wine, The Helio Sequence, Flight of the Conchords, the reunited Green River (the main reason I bought my tickets to the fest well in advance) and several others will be there.


Spin, spin. Spin the black circle

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Greetings and welcome to Spin the Black Circle.

My name is Travis Hay (That’s me on the right putting on the green Teletubby costume.) and I’ll be your host for what I hope will become a great destination for just about any type of musical tidbit you’re looking on the Internet. From news on the latest over-hyped buzz band to album reviews, artist interviews and news on the local scene, you’ll find it here.

Some of you may already know me from another local music blog I operate called Ear Candy. Over there I’ve been able to share all sorts of music news nuggets, features and insider info with readers. I hope to do the same for the readers of the Kitsap Sun with this blog.

You see, I think I have the best job in the world and I enjoy sharing it with others. As a music journalist covering the Seattle music scene for the past seven years I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunities to do some amazing things. I’ve danced on stage with the Flaming Lips, hung out at a hootenanny with Weezer and interviewed Chris Cornell while he was doing vocal warm ups on his tour bus.

Like I said, it’s the best job in the world and I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences with you through Spin the Black Circle.

Speaking of what you’ll find here, now that the introductions are out of the way here’s what I hope to bring you with Spin the Black Circle:

Local and national music news
• Insightful and intelligent commentary on the musical climate.
• Promotion of an open discourse about all things music.
• Honest and straightforward reviews of albums, concerts and other music-related tidbits.
• Criticism and praise of the national, international and local music press
.

I feel lucky to have another outlet to spread my musical knowledge throughout the blogosphere and I hope you visit regularly and enjoy what you find here.

So in the words of Eddie Vedder, and the lyrics of the song for which this blog takes its name:

“Spin, spin. Spin the black circle.”

Happy reading.


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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.