Thursday, December 31, 2009

so this is the new year

hey guys,

just wanted to say thanks for all the support this year. i feel like 2009 was kind of a long road back into action, and i'm dreaming up big things for 2010.

after completing the album, i feel kind of liberated to keep making recordings out of my basement studio. i'm thinking about things in a different sort of way. it's a really exciting time to be in a band and making music. we're going to be putting out lots of new music in 2010. if you're not on our email list, please sign up here so we can keep you posted with new things on a monthly basis.

unrelated, i really like this song by this band small black, who are also from long island:

Small Black: Despicable Dogs from Yoonha Park on Vimeo.

ok, so half of beat radio lives in brooklyn now, but long island still rules.

happy new year guys.

with love,


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

hi, these are songs i like alot

List fatigue has taken hold

But I did really like these songs in the calendar year of 2009:

Lisztomania - Phoenix
Freeway - Kurt Vile
Walkabout - Atlas Sound (feat Noah Lenox)
Satellite Skin - Modest Mouse
Northern Lights - Bowerbirds
Blood Bank - Bon Iver
Mexico City - Jolie Holland
Love is a Wave - Crystal Stilts
Feeling the Pull - The Swell Season
No Hope Kids - Wavves

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Action Motors!

Hey guys, I took some time out from working on new Beat Radio Songs this week to produce the debut single from Action Motors, my six year old son Jackson's indie rock band. Check it out below.

<a href="">Hey Now, Santa Claus by action motors</a>

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dope Lotus Sampler: Tight Knit

We're excited to report that we've recently teamed up with Dope Lotus Records, an artistic collective co-founded by Jason Drake of Cassettes Won't Listen. Our song "Follow Your Around" is featured on a new winter sampler called Tight Knit now available as a free download on the Dope Lotus website. It's got some great tracks. Check it out!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

hi, how are you?

I've neglected this blog a little bit since I got the record out. Don't get me wrong, I've been working hard getting the word out about the music. Lots of you guys have been keeping in touch in other ways. Mostly facebook and twitter I guess. It's pretty convenient technology. I do want to keep this blog up to date though, there are some things that take more than 140 characters to say.

The response to the new album has been fantastic. Lots of bloggers have been kind enough to write about the music and help get it out to new fans. Lots of you guys have supported us with donations or by buying the cd. Things have swung back in the right direction for Beat Radio, and the band has been growing. In addition to Dan B on keys and Brian V on drums, my good friend Evan Duby is playing guitar for us now and Mike McCabe is back in the band on bass. Mike was in the band in 2005-2006 and played on The Great Big Sea LP. Exciting stuff. We're making our debut with the 5 piece lineup in a few weeks at a Deli Magazine showcase at the Studio in Webster Hall on 12/18.

I did a guest post for Music is Art, which is one of my favorite blogs, a few weeks back. You can find it here.

I also did an interview for a new blog called The Wild Honey Pie last week. You can find that here.

We've played some really great shows since I last posted, and shared the stage with some great bands including Aeroplane Pageant, Sean Bones, The Drums, Right On Dynamite, West Dakota, and more. It's been a fun and exciting time to be playing shows around NYC.

Also, I just finished a design for a new beat radio t-shirt. We'll have it available in a couple weeks. More info soon! I'm slowly trying to build an empire. I'm pretty much like the Jay Z of indie rock.

Lastly, we've started work on a new EP which I'm hoping to have out early in the new year. I'm building most of the basic tracks with samples from 4 track cassette recordings I made back in high school. Its been a pretty fun project so far. I also want it to be more collaborative than the last time. I just finished a new song with Evan called "Cold War". I'm hoping to have the other guys by the studio soon to do more stuff, and even bring in some special guests. I'll be posting some new MP3's soon.

I'm truly grateful to you guys for the support!

Keep in touch,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Safe Inside the Sound

this is our second album. it's called safe inside the sound, and it's available here as a free digital download.

beat radio: safe inside the sound
click for hi-res
(click on cover image for hi-res)

01follow you around
03memoir of a lightning bolt
04stranger flowers
05behind the blue

green luxury condo
07sunday matinee
08the lion and the lamb
09exit strategy
10closing scene
11hard times for dreamers

(right click on song titles and select "save target as" to download mp3 files)

click here to download the full album in a zip file (mp3s, 192 kpbs - 66.6MB)

all songs written by brian sendrowitz, except "follow you around" by brian sendrowitz and evan duby
all songs recorded, mixed and performed by brian sendrowitz
also featuring:
dan bills - keyboards and synthesizers on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10
evan duby - drum loop and percussion on "follow you around"
sarah seeger - harmony vocal on "hard times for dreamers"

we're also putting the out safe inside the sound as a limited edition cd, with handmade artwork. 250 copies will be made. you can purchase a copy here:

You can support beat radio with a donation:

All funds are put towards our goal of spreading the music further. More info here.

bell house 9.4.09

thanks to Ken for posting some video from our show at the bell house earlier this month!

more here

Friday, September 25, 2009

music is free now

good news! we're finished with the new album and we're going to make it available digitally this tuesday. i've thought alot about how to put it out. my instinct still says we should give the music away, so that's what we're going to be doing, via download. our main goal is to spread the word about our music as far and wide as possible, and we don't know of any better way to do this.

if you'd like to support beat radio, it is greatly appreciated. here are some ways you can do it:

-we're also putting out safe inside the sound as a limited edition cd, with handmade artwork. 250 copies will be made. you can purchase one here:

-our debut record the great big sea is available at cdbaby and itunes.

-you can also make a donation via paypal:

-otherwise, please pass the music along to your friends! make mixtapes, write blogs, share on facebook, email mp3 links. more than anything, we just want people to hear the songs.

All the money we make goes back in to the band, and is put towards our goal of spreading the music further. Here are some goals we have for the coming months:

-vinyl pressings of both albums - because vinyl is better.
-t-shirts - because t-shirts are cool.
-hiring a small independent promotion company- to help us get our music places that we can't on our own.
-tour support - we want to come play your town.
-studio upgrades - to keep making better and/or cooler sounding recordings.

anyway, i just want to say thanks to you guys for all your support over the last couple years. i can't wait for you to hear the new album.

all the best,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

i love your radio show, the kind of songs you play

finalizing the mixes and the tracklist for the album this week. here is some art work.

also, i was on the radio last week on East Village Radio. Had a good time w/ DJ Elhaam. Played 2 songs acoustic and made some DJ picks. You can stream the show here. Click "listen" on the Sept 7th show.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

saw you at the sunday matinee

Here's a new version of "Sunday Matinee" for the album. People have often referred to our songs as nostalgic. I guess its something in the sounds we use. This song actually looks back to high school, and for me that meant going to punk rock shows at VFW halls.

I liked the version of this song we recorded for the ep last year, but I always went back to the original demo I had made. It just sounded more exciting. I brought Dan in to do some cool keyboard stuff and worked from the demo to make this version. Hope you like it.

beat radio - sunday matinee (mp3)

Here are the lyrics:

i met all your friends today
i couldn't think of anything to say
everybody seemed so lonely
but we could play our bad day down
hide behind a wall of sound
communicate with our our eyes only

and we're alone we're alone when we're together we're alone and we don't wanna stay here but we can't go home
and there's so much we've lost along the way
but your the sweetheart of the rodeo
the queen of the all ages show
i saw you at the sunday matinee

you're everything that i'm not
drinking in the parking lot
and then we hear the band start up and then we rush inside
and when the bass drops out and the singer screams and shouts you say "this is that song that i was talking about."
you push your hair behind your ears and you close your eyes

and when you lean in close
when tell me it's the part you love the most
and you pull me out into the light
i don't care about the song
but i could watch you listen all night long
and i feel fine i feel alright i feel alright

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the bell house friday 9/4!

we've got a big show coming up at the bell house in a couple weeks with our friends the mugs. hope to see you guys!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The kick drum sound on this song is a field recording of fireworks exploding. I got it from I wanted the song to feel like summer. I wanted it to be a rock and roll song. The lyrics are about trying to create a sense of community. You surround yourself with creative people and you support each other, in basements, in bars, drinking cheap wine in backyards. Without them you fall to pieces. Sometimes even with them you fall to pieces.

I dedicated this song to Tim and Rob from the Diggs last week when we played it at Union Hall, because when I sing it I always think of them, and those early days when they were in the first version of Beat Radio, in 2002. A mad mission.

beat radio - sleepwalking (mp3)

Here are the lyrics:

Summer is gone don't know where the days went
Me and my friends descend into basements
When we were kids we did things the same way
Queen of the street and ghost of the midway

We come together to hold each other up
Broken guitars and wine from paper cups

Cmon come on
Sometimes you feel the pain of everyone
Sometimes you feel like you're the only one
Sleepwalking in the mid day sun

We came apart
Everyone said it was a work of art
16 bit troubles for my 8 bit heart
A mad mission from the very start

I'm moving slow so everyone wonders
Nothing could break the spell that I'm under
Love is a map of stars and I'm lost in the words on the page I can't get across.

And if I could I know we'd be just fine
I get no sleep but I'm dreaming all time

Cmon come on
This is the story of a town gone wrong
And we're together cause we don't belong
And everyone we used to know is gone

We came apart
Everyone said it was a work of art
16 bit troubles for my 8 bit heart
A mad mission from the very start


Bridge: (in 3/4)
Who was it that said
That death is the remedy
Nearly all singers dream of?
Well, let that be my elegy

Cmon come on
Sometimes you feel the pain of everyone
Sometimes you feel like you're the only one
Sleepwalking in the mid day sun

We came apart
Everyone said it was a work of art
16 bit troubles for my 8 bit heart
A mad mission from the very start

Cmon come on
This is the story of a town gone wrong
And we're together cause we don't belong
And everyone we used to know is gone

We came apart
Everyone said it was a work of art
16 bit troubles for my 8 bit heart
A mad mission from the very start

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound here.

exit strategy

This is an autobiographical song.

Your dreams have the power to reverse your regrets.

I have a piano in my front room. I don't know how to play so I like writing on it.

I write with my tape recorder mostly, so I don't forget things. This captures that weird place where songs come from for me, in between awake and sleep. Bits of things captured to tape, assembled later on.

beat radio - exit strategy (mp3)

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

interview at

fingertips is like an o.g. of mp3 blogs. i recently did a pretty in depth interview with them on the state of the music industry. it's sort of a wild time to be navigating your way as an artist. i rambled quite a bit. you can find the interview here:

i'd love to hear what you guys think about some of the things we discussed. like, should music be free? is being able to download albums good for how we listen to music? how should artists move forward in trying to find ways to support themselves and their work?

it's complicated stuff, and it's an exciting and strange time to be a musician. hope you enjoy reading.

best, bri

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the lion and the lamb

I've had this song kicking around for a while. I recorded it a few different ways, it just sort of wouldn't let me be. It means a lot to me in a way I don't quite know how to explain, or even understand

Beat Radio - The Lion and the Lamb (Mp3)

Oh, also, that first guitar solo thing sounds like the guitar solo from "So Bored" by Wavves. I swear I recorded it before I heard Wavves. Its funny, I thought maybe the song was different enough and I'd get a way with it, but I was rocking Wavves with my 6 year old son Jackson and he called me out on it the moment he heard it. So, whatever, I guess I'm like Coldplay to Wavves' Joe Satriani or something. Or maybe I'm more like Cat Stevens?

here are the lyrics:

in the morning i was walking where the ocean meets the land
i was thinking about the lion
i was thinking about the lamb
i guess i hoped you'd see the truth that i disguised inside these lines
i hoped that i could take your blues and make them mine

i'm feeling listless
i'm shiftless i don't know what to do
i've got no religion
but you
but times gonna change us
we're never gonna feel this way again
so lets let the candle
burn at both ends

i was caught up in the moment
i was safe inside the sound
i could see the castles burning
i didn't let it bring me down
but now my record players broken
and my blankets on the floor
and i can't tell which way i'm turning anymore

there was a moment
i wasn't feeling anything at all
i was the sound between heartbeats
i was the ghost in the hall
everything changes
when i was in the basement making noise
and my fears unraveled into joy

i used to think
i could go on this way forever now i know
it's now or never

i'm feeling listless
i'm shiftless i don't know what to do
i've got no religion
but you
but times gonna change us
we're never gonna feel this way again
c'mon let the candle
burn at both ends
there was a moment
i wasn't feeling anything at all
i was the sound between heartbeats
i was the ghost in the hall
everything changes
when i was in the basement making noise
and my fears unraveled into joy

i used to think
we could go on....

more tracks from Safe Inside the Sound here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

follow you around

I wrote this song with my good friend Evan Duby. At first we were going to use it for a side project we're starting up but it kind of felt like a beat radio song to me. Ev made the beat and put some noisy chords over it, i wrote the lyrics and the melody in about an hour. I've been getting sort of long winded and free wheeling with words lately, i like how this one is just really simple and direct. I recorded this song a few different ways, eventually i brought Dan Bills in to play all sorts of synth craziness. Dan also loaned me his harmonium, which has a pickup on it so i ran that through my old Guild Thunder Reverb tube amp to get that sound you hear at the beginning.

beat radio - follow you around (mp3)

here are the lyrics:
I'm still following ghosts
I'm still racing around
I can't find my way home I got lost in the sound
But I would be a fool
If I had to be a fool I would for you
And I would follow you around
And make you see Your love is safe with me

I'm still faking my way through this life that we've made.

I'm still fighting the tide. Its not my fate to fade.
Even though that I would be a fool
If I had to be a fool I would for you
And I would follow you around
And make you see Your love is safe with me
And we belong together

we belong together

we belong together

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound can be found here.

memoir of a lightning bolt

i wrote this song walking around nyc last fall in those first few days after the economy suddenly went to shit. there was this wild frantic energy in the air like anyone you saw on the street could break out into tears at any moment. some strange black electricity in the air. like everything was a secret. it didn't matter much to me. i was broke before, i'd be broke afterwards. it got me thinking though, about what's important. like, what's really valuable?
beat radio - memoir of a lightning bolt (mp3)

here are the lyrics:

did you ask for forgiveness?

girl, are we still in business?

when he says that he loves you

do you feel like a mistress?

will you think of me sometimes?
when you're hiding from the sunshine?

are we following a secret code?
are we having a good time?
exiled on the east side
wind blowing in a minor key
what will you write about?
when you write about you and me?

i'm a miner for a heart of gold
getting ready to relapse

sleepwalking through the city streets
the economic collapse
sinking deeper in the concrete
typewriter of doom
memoir of a lightning bolt
violins in the bedroom
in a galaxy of sad eyes

with a legacy of wind and dust
what will you write about?

when you write about us?

shadow of a man, shadow of a man
hold out for a new romance
shadow of a man, shadow of a man
fall under an avalanche
shadow of a man, shadow of a man
it's much too late to turn back now

last chance for a good time
new clothes for the monarchy
what will you write about?
when you write about you and me?
in a galaxy of sad eyes
with a legacy of wind and dust
what will you write about?
when you write about us?

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound can be found here.

behind the blue

i already posted a demo of this song here. this version is pretty different though i think. dan bills played on this recording as well and i think brought alot to it. i got alot of the sounds using the korg kaossilator, which is a pretty amazing mini synthesizer thing. i got into writing really wild and freewheeling stream of conscious lyrics last year, and this song is one of my favorite of those, along with teenage anthem.
beat radio - behind the blue (mp3)

here are lyrics:

i heard the kick drum and the melody
but it doesn't compensate for company

so i threw out my confession like it was a mixtape of a memory

there's an exodus upon us now
from the outside looking in
and it's a song about a super 8 a short story of a violin
and it's a long hard road ahead

i don't know what we're gonna do
but if you're holding out for me
i'll be holding out for you
at sunset there's a marching band that plays the requiem for radio

and the patron saint of electric light sings a song on the last stereo

me i'm singing with these sailors now your mother loves a man in uniform
when i was shipwrecked on the shoreline she was my shelter from the storm

and i won't forget the thing she said

it hit me like a bolt of blue

i hope you're holding out for me
cause i've been holding out for you

i'm in a place that i don't recognize
fighting in a civil war
and every night i close my eyes
and i feel more lonely than the night before

i wanna smash in every tv set to hear the wind come whistling through
i wanna cut through all the LCD's

i wanna see the blue behind the blue

i wanna graduate to more than just the sleepy crash of nine to five
i wanna be the one to show you how to feel a little more than just alive
when you were young you dreamed your dreams
some faded away and some came true

and if you're holding out for me
i'll be holding out for you
i'll be holding out for you

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound can be found here.

green luxury condo

I guess in our own way, we're all looking for the holy land. This is the age of idealism, I think. No more just waiting for the next war. No more dark ships closing in. Wake up, wake up, little sparrow. Take responsibility for your dreams. Get up and get moving, or you fate may betray you.

beat radio - green luxury condo (mp3)

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound can be found here.

hard times for dreamers

I haven't written a song like this one for a long time. When I was 19 these were the sort of songs I wrote. I was always trying to write songs that felt like they've always been there. Like they already existed forever, and I just happened to be the one to find them at some random moment in time. I wrote this one with my sons in mind. The message is pretty simple, and its reminiscent of something my friend john and I were told in an encounter with a bowery bum in 2001: "Stick with it!"

beat radio - hard times for dreamers (mp3)

Also, I had my good friend Sarah come over and sing on this one, which was awesome.

Here are lyrics:

When the cold wind blows
We raise up our sails

When there is no wind we row
Hard times for dreamers

But our hearts prevail
And we shine that light
Everywhere we go
Hard times for dreamers
Burning the days
With these seasick sailors
And the castaways
Bedroom apostles
And the methadone strum
Magnolia blossoms
In the setting sun
When the cold wind blows

We raise up our sails
When there is no wind we row
Hard times for dreamers
But our hearts prevail

And we shine that light
Everywhere we go
For the bones of Brooklyn
I sang an elegy
For the apparition
And the cavalry
Farewell now, Romeo

Bye baby blue
Don't let these hard times
Get the best of you
And when the cold wind blows
We raise up our sails

When there is no wind we row
Hard times for dreamers
But our hearts prevail
And we shine that light

Everywhere we go

more preview tracks from safe inside the sound can be found here.

tompkins square park

i've neglected the blog a bit over the last month or so. about to make up for lost time. been busy. played first show in a while with new keyboard/synth doctor dan bills. also dragging brian v. back into the fold on drums and getting ready for a show in brooklyn next month. getting organized. here are some new pictures, took them in and around tompkins square park last week with mark kate, who is amazing. this is what i look like, when i'm not a cartoon robot. photos by Mary Kate Reardon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

a song about a super 8

so i've stumbled upon some rad videos recently that fans of beat radio have made with our songs.

Here is a cool short film our friend Jessica made today, in Sweden. She uses the demo version of "mexico":

Jessica also has some really great and beautiful photography at her blog.

here are some kind of quirky and fun ones i came across last week, courtesy of Sir Kingston.

Lastly, this one is kind of bizarre but undeniably endearing. Perhaps the music supervisor for the office is somewhere out there?

if anyone else has something to share, let me know. i'd love to see it.


Friday, April 17, 2009

ten records that changed my life

I tried to just write a top 10 list of my favorite albums like a normal person. The thing is I think about music all the time, and it's at the center of so many facets of my life. Also, I was a literature major at college, and I drink way too much coffee. I started writing on my blackberry on the train to work earlier this week and I couldn't stop. I ended up with pages and pages. I ended up with a God-damned memoir.

These are the some of the records that have meant the most to me, in no particular order:

1. Milk Eyed Mender - Joanna Newsom

This album hit me hard when I first heard it. I remember the first time I heard "Bridges and Balloons" on WNYU radio. At first I thought she was playing nylon string guitar. The sound of her voice was shocking to me at the time. It was shocking in the way I imagine that bob dylan's voice was shocking in 1964. I remember the first time I heard "Peach, Plum, Pear" I was sitting in the parking lot of this specialty camera store in lindenhurst NY; I was going to buy super 8 film for a video that Phil and I were making. I think I might have been nearly ready to quit music at that point in my life. I was uninspired and I didn't have any sort of direction to what I was doing. The sound of Joanna Newsom's voice and her sort of visionary, dreamy wordplay was like a bolt of lightning shooting down my spine.

2. Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan

The truth is, I can't really pick a favorite Dylan album. I could pick like 10 or 12. I'll go with Blood on the Tracks though. I have this weird thing where I love divorce records. I won't get divorced. My parents didn't get divorced. Something about a songwriter singing about divorce gets me good. Is there really anything sadder? A divorce is like the annihilation of an entire world; a collapse of a whole system of beliefs. I love those divorce songs on Paul Simon's Graceland album-"Crazy Love, Vol. 2" especially. I even love that Sting song "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying." And generally, I detest the man's music.

Dylan takes things to a whole other level. Good lord. The record is such a complex tapestry. Such a storm of emotions. Such an innovation in form in the world of singer-songwritering. The scope of the narrative, the kaleidoscopic view and the shifting perspectives. It's the master doing what he does best. And I love the NY sessions so much better, even for "Idiot Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue." The emotion is less guarded. The performances sound more inspired. I think Dylan's going to re-record half the album in Minnesota may have helped this record on the Billboard charts, but it took away from the raw power. Thank God for the bootleg series.

3. Its a Wonderful Life - Sparklehorse

This record opened lots of doors for me, in my mind. All the Sparklehorse records are great, but this one is the most perfect, the most consistent. I love how Mark Linkous develops his own world within the lyrics. It's a sort of backwoods psychedelia. Like Faulkner, if Faulkner was into sniffing glue. Linkous relies strongly on wildly contrasting images, like "rusty metal hearts", and strange free associations, like a "piano fire" or a "sea of teeth." I think developing your world like that is important as a songwriter and probably as an artist in general. The language is consistent and recognizable so it can take a listener someplace they know they can go back to. Other songwriters that come to mind who do this really well are leonard cohen and bruce springsteen. Isaak Brock also.

With Sparklehorse, there's a sort of haunting pathos too - in "More Yellow Birds" Linkous sings about "Captain Howdy" on his shoulder. I don't know who Captain Howdy is for sure, but for me he represents death. A sort of grim reaper character. Linkous did have an accident in 1996 where he overdosed and nearly died. He was unconscious for 14 hours with his legs pinned beneath him and he nearly lost his legs altogether. You can sort of hear it in the music. This guy is seriously haunted. There are ghosts in every corner of these songs. And then the arrangements can be so delicate, sad and beautiful. Transcendent, like there are angels too. And the production is just sick. I love the crazy mix of low and hi-fi sounds. None of the Sparklehorse records ever get old for me.

4. Astral Weeks- Van Morrison

I actually already wrote an essay on this record which you can find here, along with a cover I recorded of "the way young lovers do."

I can't add much to that other than to say that this record is sort of even more than my all time favorite. Its my religion. Oh, and I didn't get the new live album. I'm sort of afraid it will change my perception of the original in some way.

5. Is this it? - the strokes

Yeah, the Strokes. I remember never understanding the backlash when they first came out. Musician friends who were a couple years older than me would be like, "Yeah but I can name all these british bands from the 90's who did what the Strokes are doing so much better." The La's? Seriously? A line had been drawn. I was with the Strokes. I kind of understood my friend's reaction to the Strokes a little better years later when I first heard Vampire Weekend. I wasn't into it. It just seemed super annoying. Then I realized it wasn't for me. It was for my little sister. I was the older musician friend now.

Say what you will about the Strokes, this is a classic album. The songs are great, the arrangements are perfect, and the execution is brilliant. I'll never forget what it felt like to be in NYC in the fall of 2001, when I first started playing out at clubs like the Luna Lounge, Arlene Grocery, and the Mercury Lounge. It was right after 9/11 and we all felt like the world was ending, so thank God we had the Strokes to remind us that music could be fun again. Before that we were all still getting over high school and all we listened to was all this grunge music and depressed downer indie rock. You could put a Strokes record on at a party and people would actually dance to it. At the time, that felt like a revolutionary act.

6. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wilco

I got in a fight recently with some guy on Facebook because I said that Wilco was better when Jay Bennett in the band. Now, I get that Jay Bennett is a tool. I've seen the movie. The thing is, YHF and Being There are my 2 favorite Wilco records. And Summer Teeth has also got some of my favorite moments. There's also that part of the Wilco movie where Jeff Tweedy is talking about how each time he had made a record there was always that pressure, like this record is going to be "the one." I guess with Sky Blue Sky, that's what I miss. I like music to have a sense of urgency, and I like bands that sound like they have something to prove. Maybe art is greater when it comes from a struggle, and a push and pull.

I find the Jay Bennett clips in Trying to Break Your Heart excrutiatingly annoying, especially when he rhapsodizes about giving a song "more sonic weight" while twirling his dreadlocks. But I like how he tried to push Jeff Tweedy in a more pop direction. It produced songs that were more driven by melody, and for me just more fun. And he rocked out those rolling stones riffs on "Monday" and "I Got You (At the End of the Century)" too. My friend John says its about yin and yang, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

The thing is, most Wilco fans will agree that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is their best record. Jeff found a way to balance his impressionistic lyrical approach with his abilty to craft melodic, succinct, brilliant songs. And Jim O Rourke focused the production, eliminated the dead weight (I'm guessing multiple Bennett keyboard tracks) and struck the right balance between the stately Americana of the tunes and the band's more psychedelic, experimental leanings.

Man, I've rambled at length on this one. To put it simply, I just love this record-everything about it. And maybe its a testament to the band that they have passionate fans of each of their different phases, so I can have the psychedelic freakouts of "War on War" or "Via Chicago" and that guy on facebook can have the adult contemporary stylings of "Sky Blue Sky."

7. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel

First of all, this is one of my favorite sounding records of all time. The fuzzed out guitars and bass of "Holland, 1945" and the wild, unhinged drumming to me is exactly what a rock and roll song should sound like. I hope this is what music sounds like in heaven. Everything about the track is exhillarating. Jeff Mangum a visionary if I've ever heard one. Like with Sparklehorse, the lyrics are wonderful and strange free associations, with visually powerful contrasting images. There is a healing power to this music, a catharsis that is beyond words. Beyond the realm of pop or "indie" music.

I feel like this record is seen as sort of a touchstone for the too-cool-for-school, indie elitist crowd to swoon over. That was my first impression of it, when I heard about it from some art school kid at the Juke Joint bar in Bellmore NY on night in 2002. I think at the time the band name just sounded really weird and out there. The truth is, there's not much that is "cool" about this record. The performances are incredibly earnest and wildly exuberant. Jeff Mangum sings too loudly and enunciates all the words about the heartbreaks of childhood and family disfunction. Mangum's performance is far too vulnerable to be "cool." And the biggest influence on the record is Mangum's heartbreak after reading the diary of Anne Frank. A few of the songs are addressed directly to her ghost.

The story of Neutral Milk Hotel after this record is pretty fascinating; basically Jeff Mangum cracked up and pretty much stopped writing songs. I'm not one to be inclined to romanticize this sort of thing. Of course I'm intrigued by the the legend of Brian Wilson losing his mind while recording Smile, and erasing the master tapes. I can also remember reading Lester Bangs contemplating Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, and how Van got so deep with that record that he had to step back, in an act of self preservation. Van the man never quite went back to that space as an artist. Maybe with Veedon Fleece. Maybe a glimpse on the track "Into the Mystic" and on a few tracks on Saint Dominic's Preview. But it was never quite the same. The music was a bit more guarded, and more about songcraft. There is something about when an artist lays it all on the line, emotionally, spiritually. Its dangerous territory, mentally. Another example I can think of is Dylan after Blonde on Blonde. He burned out, used his motorcycle accident as an excuse to dissappear. When he did come back with John Wesley Harding everything was obscured, like he was speaking in code. When he really came back into the public eye it was with Nashville Skyline, which was completely detached, as if he were a completely different person. It wasn't until blood on the tracks (NY sessions in particular) that he came back alive, stepped back into that ring of fire; visionary and wild eyed.

Jeff Mangum took the trip and he still hasn't come back. He brought Neutral Milk Hotel to that point where music is greater than words and microphones and haircuts and genre, into something mystical. The most powerful thing for me about the record is the sense of empathy you hear in Jeff Mangum's voice. Empathy for Anne Frank, for being a kid, and for just being human. It's all filtered through this wild, kaleidoscopic, sonic explosion, and thankfully, captured onto magnetic tape for us to keep.

8. Electr-O-Pura - Yo La Tengo

This is another record where I have a strong sense of time and place attached. I bought Electr-O-Pura on vinyl at a great little record store near Brown University up in Providence in the spring of 2002. I bought Cat Power's Moon Pix on the same day. Liz and I were newly married, and we lived in our first little apartment on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola. There was another great record store down the block called Mister Cheapos and I was in the early phases of my increasingly obsessive vinyl collecting. I had a portable record player setup in our tiny kitchen and it was always on. Tim and Rob from the Diggs lived down the block and were in an early version of Beat Radio (along with the staggeringly brilliant, if slightly elusive, Jim Mansfield on drums.) We used to rehearse in our living room. I was reconnecting with rock and roll again, after spending most of college immersed in folk music, and obsessed with Van Morrison. I wanted to sound exactly like Yo La Tengo.

Fans of the band (myself included) seem to favor the golden trilogy of albums they made in the mid nineties: Painful, Electr-O-Pura, and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Electr-O-Pura is my favorite, maybe just because of when I bought it and how obsessively I listened to it. But it's got great fucking songs. "Tom Courtenay" and "Pablo and Andrea" are 90's rock classics. The closer "Blue Line Swinger" is a gigatic, sprawling toure de force. Yo La Tengo have a playful and more eclectic side to their music that prevails throughout much of their work. They have a great sense of humor and I love that about them also. In the mid nineties I think they let themselves be a little bit more serious, and kind of went for it in a different way. They captured that dramatic spirit and bravado of all those wild 60's garage rock records that Ira Kaplan loves so much, and without irony. In 2002 I was sort of obessed with that sound, and the challenge of setting poetically adventurous lyrics over a backdrop of an old fashioned rock and roll setup-Phil Spector beats, old tube amps, music that felt sexually charged and dramatic. I was also listening a lot to the early Rolling Stones, Van Morrison's teenage band Them, and The Patti Smith Group's record Easter. We never really figured out how to pull it off as a band. Tim and Rob were destined do be so much more awesome and start the Diggs, and Jim and I eventually found the right sound with the next Beat Radio lineup. Electr-O-Pura is still sort of the blueprint for me, and the sound of tremolo electric guitar coming through a weird old tube amp is still my single favorite sound in the universe.

9. Ctrl Alt Del - The Diggs

That was a good segue I guess. Ctrl Alt Del by the Diggs is the only one on the list that was created by people I know. I've gotten to know a lot of great musicians playing around New York over the last 10 years. The Diggs are a band that was amazing from the very first demos they recorded in their living room back when we lived in Mineola. They have 2 LP's and I have a hard time choosing which of their albums I like better. I think the first one, Commute, actually sounds better, and I'm not just saying that because Phil produced it. But there is something about the songs on Ctrl Alt Del that just sort of kills me. The the lyrics for "...and in the end shoot back" were written by a friend of ours, a brilliant young writer who tragically passes away a few years back. The first 3 or 4 times I heard the song I couldn't keep from getting teary-eyed. Of course I had the emotional connection to the words of the song, but there was also something about the melody that resonated deep in my chest. I feel like it echoes some old traditional irish melody maybe? Whatever it is I can't really think of a song, besides the ones I've written myself, that I feel so emotionally connected to. Any time I listen to it, it still completely knocks me out.

The whole album has a really sad undercurrent going through it, borne of frustration and dissappointment. The theme is articulated pretty brilliantly by the album title. How do you feel when you're stuck behind a computer that's freezing up? It's sort of that listless feeling of being in your mid to late twenties and not knowing what the fuck you're doing. But then to contrast with that melancholy feeling, there are these massive, epic, dynamic arrangements that are completely enthralling and uplifting. Tim has long perfected his unique lyrical style-minimalist, concise, strikingly honest and vulnerable lines, somehow simultaneously heartbreaking and optimistic.

I sort of feel like I'm reviewing the album at this point and that's not really what I'm looking to do. What I'm hoping to express is this: these guys are an extraordinary band, and its been a God damned priviledge being around to see them do what they're doing over the last 5 years.

10. Kid A - Radiohead

Yesterday I was sitting around absently strumming an acoustic guitar an I started singing "Motion Picture Soundtrack" which is the last song on Radiohead's Kid A. I thought "Jesus, was there ever a melody written that is more beautiful than this one?" And I love how on the record the production is so simple and wide open. The album is very percussive and intense, sometimes to the point of being jarring, and the way they sequenced the songs it builds up this perfect tension until you get to this last track and there's nothing. Not only is there no percussion instruments but there is nothing but the harmonium which has no percussive quality whatsoever. We've come through it all and we've gone to heaven, set free, reeling.

I remember reading an interview with Thom Yorke after the album came out and there's was all this backlash because the album was so frantically anticipated and people like the Edge from U2 were saying things like Radiohead had stepped away and not embraced their opportunity to take on the mantle of being the biggest band in the world. Like it was their resposibility to make a record full of stadium-ready, guitar driven rock songs. Anyway, I'm paraphrasing but Thom said something like: "All I can say is yesterday I sat in the back seat of a car listening to the whole record and I wept all the way through." Of course he did. Kid A is a heartbreaking masterpiece for the modern age. I think reading that interview was a big moment for me. It sort of helped me cement my ideals and beliefs about being an artist. We are motivated to create art because we have something that we feel inspired to express. All we have to do is follow the path that the inspiration takes us on. If we can do that, we can express an emotional truth in the end. This can be a powerful thing. It can leave you crying in the back seat of a car, because it's a difficult journey and there are lots of ghosts you have to face. But in the end you triumph and it makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks to anyone who labored their way through this entire post. It was ridiculously long and really has no place on a blog. I guess I didn't realize how much I had to say until I started saying it. Now if we should meet, you'll know to not get me started talking about music!


Friday, April 10, 2009

you can follow beat radio on twitter now, in case you want to keep in touch with me like, all the time. i will most likely say several ridiculous things each day, and provide updates on my singer-songwritering and my misadventures trying to feed casio keyboards through distorion pedals. it will probably blow your mind. love bri.

Friday, March 27, 2009

forever's gonna start tonight

Thinking today, will it be this way forever?
Life tells me certain things will change.
Will I read music blogs forever?
Will I walk around borders books on my lunch hour and look at magazines forever?
Or 30 years more?
Will I wear a denim jacket?
Read books about Rimbaud?
Try and catch the 4:12 home, for decades more?
Will I record on my tascam 424?
Will I talk about making money?
Or not making money?
Have lunch with john?
Call liz for no reason at all?
Live on martin avenue?
Drink beer on weekends?
Get takeout on friday nights from Milos pizza?
Will I ever sleep in late on a saturday again?
And let my hair grow long?
Talk to phil anymore?
Put the kids to bed, lay on the floor while they drift into dreams?
Keep in touch with Amanda Petrusich?
Read Kerouac?
When I'm 70?
Make collages?
And free digital ep's?
What songs will I be singing to myself, when I'm 64?
Trick question?
Will I have better shoes?
How long allergies?
Which size physical?
And where is the new psychedelic?
Will I still listen to vinyl records?
Play bad piano?
Want liz to cut her hair short?
Or play the bass guitar?
Will there be strings on the new beat radio record?
Can I pay our bills with abundance?
End the human war?
Realize the game is the distraction is the game?
Realize the secret?
Remember asbury lanes?
And coney island?
And when I drove down mermaid avenue, looking for woody's ghost?
Crimson flames tied through my ears?
Talk to evan?
Fashion myself as some misplaced apostle?
Or saintly goof?
Swoon after Chan Marshall?
Think about folk music?
Carter family/Cyndi Lauper?
Will we ever walk across the brooklyn bridge?
How will we see the landscape change?
Will we remember
The tiny bones of brooklyn?
And the orthodox jews
And the 5 towns?
And the rest stops on the NJ turnpike
Where you sat and ate those meals alone
In 2002?
And your first real band
And the first time you played at the mercury lounge?
Your brother was your best fan
Remember the mistakes you made, and the friends you lost
Searching for the holy grail?

Will it be this way forever?
And what will happen next?

Friday, March 6, 2009

music is art - interview and mix tape

music is art has been one of my favorite blogs for a while now, so i'm excited to tell you that they have cool post on beat radio today, which features an interview as well as a mix tape i put together. hope you guys like it. You can find it here. Best, Bri

Thursday, February 19, 2009

top 10

i'm liking these songs alot at the moment:

1. city of electric light - Chad Vangallen

2. my backwards walk - frightened rabbit

3. Wolves - Phosphorescent

4. Re: Stacks - Bon Iver

5. Mexico City - Jolie Holland

6. New Parade - Aeroplane Pageant

7. Carry Me Ohio (alt version) - Sun Kil Moon

8. The Pornographers - Destroyer

9. Trying to put your hear back together - Slowrunner

10. Out of Breath - John-Flor

cheers, bri


i liked this album. this video is kind of awesome and funny.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

cruelty, self pity

I heard the great journalist Pete Hammil giving an interview recently, and he was describing his experience growing up in a community of new york irish american immigrants. He said in that world, the worst sin you could commit was cruelty. The second worst sin was self pity. I thought that was kind of awesome.

awake is the new sleep

The modalities of awakened doing:


gotta start somewhere.