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Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you out there. I wanted to do an all Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Valentine’s mix, but since 8tracks doesn’t allow that, here is the next best thing. Enjoy this mix alone, together or with a bottle of wine.

Valentine’s Day Mix 2013 from kjb1 on 8tracks Radio.

So, it has been a bit of time since my last post. And that is because we spent over 2 weeks travelling. We did a week in Maui, and then, last minute, decided to do a week in England. While Maui was a “work” trip, it was really a great time to relax with some friends and just enjoy one of the neatest places on earth.

As for England, we spent the week in Northern England, ie Sheffield, with my sister for her 30th birthday. This being my first time in England, I was enamoured by the history and the culture. We also, had a fantastic opportunity to see Ryan Adams at City Hall in Sheffield perform an intimate and solo acoustic set. In short, it was fantastic. The best I have seen Ryan Adams yet. The opener Jason Isbell brought his southern charm to the stage and won us over with his Americana songs. Following the show, we headed to my favourite pub in Sheffield, Bungalows and Bears, to watch an amazing set by Niki and The Dove. To say that this show was the antithesis of the Ryan Adams show would be an understatement. It was loud, sweaty, and dancey. A perfect cap to an already brilliant day.

There was a lot of other things going on throughout the month, but obviously, the vacations seemed to be of the most interest. I even ended up missing Record Store Day, but Kris and his roommate Dave got me my Sigur Ros and Tallest Man on Earth specials, and the following week Kris and I went out to grab some extras. So here are 5 things I have been listening to this past month.

5. The Shins – September

This catchy little number has been in my head all month. So simple and great.

“I’ve been selfish and full of pride, and she knows deep down there’s a little child.”

4. Polica – Lay Your Cards Out

Contrary to what Jay-Z said, autotune is not dead. There is something about this track that sucks me in every time. The autotuned vocals over the simple instrumentation build up to each chorus. But then those drums come in, and steal the song. A fantastic song off of a strong album.

3. First Aid Kit – Emmylou

I am not a country music fan. But I just can’t get enough of this song in spite of country-ish folkiness. It is a sweet little song equating past country legends with love.

I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June
If you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too.
No, I’m not askin’ much of you
Just sing little darlin’, sing with me.

2. Bastille – Overjoyed

Bastille is a London based pop band that recently released a collection of heartache covers that is rather entertaining. But it is this original that seems to grab me the most.

“And I hear you calling in the dead of night”

1. Tinariwen – Tenere Taqhim Tossam (Four Tet Remix)

I ended up getting this record store day release the following week at Blackbyrd music. On top of the amazing album, there are 4 additional remix tracks, including this great one by Four Tet. Africa Desert rock and electronica blend way better than I expected.

Is it selling out? Moby’s album “Play” was used to advertise everything. He was accused of selling out. But, perhaps it was the best decision he made.

Midnight City, a song featured on my top 111 of ’11, is everywhere lately. I hear it on Satellite radio, in the malls and stores, the bars, and even soundtracking scantily clad supermodels with wings. A Victoria’s Secret ad released a few months ago features the fantastic track, focusing mostly on the instrumental synth parts that pretty much define the song. Some might view the usage, or permission of usage, of a song to sell commercial wares as selling out, however it seems that in today’s music marketplace the placement of songs on TV, whether it be in commercial or a show, is one of the best ways to promote your song. Especially in an era of Shazam and google, it has become increasingly easy to identify a song heard outside of the traditional methods of song distribution.

It is also a great way to promote younger and less popular bands, as purchasing rights to songs by lesser known artists will be significantly less than that of an arena selling artist like Coldplay or U2. Recently Nike used a rather epic portion of the song Snjóljón by by one of my favourite new bands Lockerbie. The exposure that this will give Lockerbie could be invaluable in pushing them forward. Below is the commercial for the Össur Flex-Run with Nike Sole.

And with the recent success of previously (relatively) unknown bands based off of television show placement, it looks to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. THe artist/band gets paid or free promotion, and the show/commercial gets a better scene or a more noticeable ad. In the past several months, bands such as fun. and Adaline have benefitted from these situations. fun.’s song “We are Young” has exploded after being featured in a Glee episode.

And Adaline has received a lot more attention to her debut album after being featured prominently during a very emotional scene during the Fall finale of Grey’s anatomy (and another song again in January).

Selling out? Cashing in? Mutually Beneficial?

When I was younger, I would record Letterman every night. I would then fast forward on the good old VCR and get to the end of the show where the music was. Eventually I would end up watching some of the episodes and growing into his quirky humor. But Letterman always had some great music. Nowadays, the PVR is set to record my fav bands on all the late night shows.

It seems that Ryan Adams and David Letterman have had this special connection for awhile. Ryan has performed on the show numerous times and has done some special webcasts after the show. This week, Ryan Adams performed a 70 minute webcast for the show. The set covers his entire career, from Whiskeytown to Ashes and Fire. The opener “Oh my Sweet Carolina” is nearly as pretty as the version I posted last week, just lacking Laura’s harmony. But the overall set is quite stellar and is a must see for any Ryan Adams fan.

Watch the entire set through the link below.

UPDATE: It seems the link has expired: so here is a link to the first song, click related to watch the other performances individually.

We have been attending several festivals the last few years, and we love the experience and the music and the discovery. One of the festivals that we really want to get to is the Doe Bay Festival. Unfortunately this year we had a contractual obligation to be somewhere else, and their tickets sold out in 3 minutes. Their lineup this had a few newer established bands, and a lot of up and coming bands. One of these bands is the fantastic Pickwick. From their , Pickwick is a band to see live. They exude a modern soul vibe that just makes you want to dance and wave your hands in the air. They incite raucous dance parties onstage, and they encourage their concert going fans to bring their own shakers and tambourines.

Check out the Live from the Basement videos (By the great Sound on the Sound) below and then head over to their bandcamp (I love Bandcamp) page and buy some stuff. I did.

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