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This is the banner for the On Holding Hands at Shows: Girls at Bimbo's in SF article

On Holding Hands at Shows: Girls at Bimbo's in SF

Because the personal narrative at the heart of most Girls songs is so twisted and inaccessible -- Owens grew up in a cult and escaped into drugs and punk rock as a teenager -- it's amazing that this music is so perfect for hand-holding. Christopher Owens is no James Taylor, of course, but there's no denying the easygoing, almost romantic side of his oeuvre.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the The Creators Project in San Francisco, March 17 article

The Creators Project in San Francisco, March 17

A really interesting effect of the Creators Project format is that the broad focus on technology and art (the music pavilion accounted for only about 25 percent of the event's total footprint) freed the musicians to focus on performance rather than spectacle. After all, it’s nearly impossible to compete with the building-size interactive light-and-sound rendering of Origin by United Visual Artists. The Creators Project will hopefully continue to add smaller cities like San Francisco to its world tour of art, technology and innovation.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Pitchfork: Brand vs. Band article

Pitchfork: Brand vs. Band

That's why this year's plan is both risky and exciting from a business perspective. All other things held constant, Pitchfork could easily raise prices, since it has clearly been selling at a price lower than the point at which the demand and supply curves meet. However, unlike Coachella and Bonnaroo, which rely primarily on their lineups and pricing to drive brand value, the Pitchfork Music Festival's brand also gains tremendous value from Pitchfork's core offerings. So the levers it can pull are more varied. Essentially, Pitchfork has the unique privilege of choosing to hold price, but nothing else, constant.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Lana Del Rey and the Eternal Zeitgeist Playlist article

Lana Del Rey and the Eternal Zeitgeist Playlist

Imagine Radiohead releasing Pablo Honey in 2012 -- "Creep" is still a momentous song, but the comparative failings of the rest of the LP, paired with the band's backstory (privileged kids with elite school connections benefitting from major label Svengalism) may have caused the most important band of the past two decades to burn out before its fuse had been lit. Sound familiar?

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the IMP's Top 20 Albums of 2011 article

IMP's Top 20 Albums of 2011

Unlike other music-related websites that strive to be arbiters of taste, IMP's primary mission is to extend the long tail. Accordingly, the annual IMP Top 20 list is scattershot and surprising, ranging from Kiwi cine-synth to Canadian hip-hop's Roman nose to not-Garfunkel pop. So publishing the cumulative year-end list is a disservice to that subjectivity, muffling the beautiful noise of each member's preferences. Meaning: do not accept this lists at face value when you can seek out the individual lists of IMP members -- on their blogs, in Facebook updates, and in their monthly mixes.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Review: Reggie Watts in San Francisco, 08/17/11 article

Review: Reggie Watts in San Francisco, 08/17/11

Watts's particular genius is tied to the way pop artists sound, both on the track and at the dinner table, away from the glare of celebrity. Reggie Watts is obsessed with how our voices reflect our identities, not just our images. The set of sounds that capture a rapper's intonation when discussing how he came up in the business or an R&B crooner's hesitancy when talking about anything but love in the club is then chopped up as the raw material of song.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Pitchfork Music Festival 2011 article

Pitchfork Music Festival 2011

Although the Pitchfork Music Festival has lost some of its DIY scruff and has begun to succumb to the gilded charms of a few large brands, the three-day festival in a small park in Chicago's West Loop still feels humane (free bottled water, affordable vegan meals) and remains the best value of any event on the summer festival circuit.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the 10 Albums, 10 Beers article

10 Albums, 10 Beers

I compile a list of my favorite albums every year, but this is the first time I've tried to explain my choices. Taking my burgeoning curatorial efforts a bit further, I'm sort of pulling back the curtain on genius, so to speak, by revealing some of the delicious beverages I consumed during the course of last year's music discovery and making recommendations on a pairing for each album.

-- Thomas J. Carlson

This is the banner for the Review: Phosphorescent in San Francisco, 04/28/11 article

Review: Phosphorescent in San Francisco, 04/28/11

When Houck finally seemed ready to show a bit of tenderness by setting up "A Picture of Our Torn Up Praise," a theme song for the weary and downhearted from 2007's Oldhamesque Pride, the band transformed the near dirge into just another lighters-aloft boogie ballad. Despite the apparent skill of the band, the worthiness of the songs, and the dour context of the event, Phosphorescent showed little flexibility, preferring to "turn it up" like a new-century Lynyrd Skynyrd on damn near every song.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Sonic Fatigue article

Sonic Fatigue

However, with less free time, I fell behind, and the pile of records began to seem insurmountable. For me, there are obvious rewards for randomly selecting from a huge pile of music, but I get stressed out thinking about what I'm missing. I didn't have the right time and mindset to devote to new music, but the music kept on coming, loading up my hard drive and overwhelming my living space. I started to feel like 2010 had given up on me, so I gave up on 2010.

-- Ian Mathers

This is the banner for the IMP's Top 20 Albums of 2010 article

IMP's Top 20 Albums of 2010

Nowhere is the return to the old normal more evident than in the makeup of year-end lists. During the previous decade, the importance of the long tail in music sales gave albums an extended life so that music released in the spring to high acclaim often really picked up speed at the end of the year, punctuated by year-end list notice. However, with a few key exceptions, the critics' 2010 year-end lists were largely dominated by late-year releases. This hearkens back to the CD age of the 1990s, when the most reliable and bankable artists waited until just before the holiday season to maintain chart position through the new year with lots of help from end-of-the-year lists. Just take a look at this year’s IMP list below for evidence: early-year releases from the Gorillaz, Spoon, and Vampire Weekend are hardly seen here, despite excellent reviews last winter and spring.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Soundtrack of My Love Life article

Soundtrack of My Love Life

A tour through my MP3s takes me on a sentimental journey through my love interests, going as far back as high school. From the boyfriends of my early adolescence, I acquired The Cranberries, Live, No Doubt (I know, right?), Garbage, and Tom Petty. Surprisingly, I still like most of this stuff. I also acquired Aqua and Tori Amos as creepy gifts from a secret admirer that wormed his (her?) way into my locker when I wasn’t looking.

-- Sarah Brown

This is the banner for the IMP'sTop 20 Albums of 2009 article

IMP'sTop 20 Albums of 2009

Nowadays, not only can everyone have a list, but everyone should have a list. The internet relies on proliferation and thoroughness to be relevant. That’s also where IMP comes in, since the better the internet gets with lists and whatnot, the less trustworthy it is. IMP’s membership is populated strictly by discriminating music lovers with impeccable taste, making IMP among the internet’s most reliable sources for a best-of roundup.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Video: SXSW 2009 article

Video: SXSW 2009

A two-hour documentary of sets from IMP's visit to South By Southwest 2009. Highlights include the Wrens wrocking, a Wavves acoustic performance of "I'm So Bored," No Age with an additional layer of distortion, Janelle Monae: men's fashion icon, DEVO (Q: Are we not plumbers?), the Thermals sweating one out (literally), and a bunch of Scandanavians.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the The 2008 Tulley Awards article

The 2008 Tulley Awards

Unfortunately for me, I probably take organizing and rating my music collection more seriously than I take my day job. Fortunately for you, I'm happy to share my findings with friends and strangers alike, and the International Mixtape Project is the perfect place to build my audience…I mean network. Despite what many other reviewers have said, 2008 was a fantastic year for music fans. So, without further ado, here are this superfan's year-end awards: the 2008 Tullies!

-- Tulley Rafferty

This is the banner for the IMP's Top 10 Albums and Singles of 2008 article

IMP's Top 10 Albums and Singles of 2008

IMP's real value has always been the inherent diversity of its members' choices. Unlike other music-related websites who strive to be arbiters of taste, IMP's primary mission is to fuel the fire of subjectivity. Accordingly, the annual IMP top ten lists are scattershot and surprising, ranging from Brooklyn indie rock to Bangladeshi folk to Balearic house. So, publishing the cumulative year-end list ends up as a sort of disservice to that subjectivity, muffling the beautiful noise of each member's preferences. Meaning, accept these two lists at face-value, but seek out the individual lists of IMP members—on their blogs, in Facebook positings, and in their monthly mixes. Now, here's a snapshot of the year that was 2008, courtesy of IMP.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the The Mixtape as Disruptive Technology article

The Mixtape as Disruptive Technology

Essentially, home-recordable cassette tapes and inexpensive dubbing technology, first made popular in the early-1980s, were the original death knell of the stagnant, stodgy music industry. The so-called filesharing trend started when consumers who had already bought a record, tape, or CD from their local Sam Goody store started picking bits and pieces of the album to re-record and give away as a mixtape. More importantly, the consumer isn't really avoiding payment, but is instead demonstrating new ways to consume.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the A Subjective Guide to World Music Labels article

A Subjective Guide to World Music Labels

These are some of the most prominent purveyors of World Music, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, more small, local, and specialty labels that are dedicated to making available the sounds of the human race. I wanted to share these five with you, not only because of their range and accessibility, but also because they have the resources and the vision to offset the exploitation that World Music artists have long endured at the hands of the record industry.

-- Robert Mead

This is the banner for the IMP's Top 20 Albums & Top 10 Singles of 2007 article

IMP's Top 20 Albums & Top 10 Singles of 2007

IMP celebrates the end of its first year of social networking with a unique gift to itself: year-end lists comprised of members' own Top Tens. Given that IMP has more than 1,200 members from 30 countries, an easy hypothesis was that the list would be populated by obscure jewels from around the world. However, the driving force behind IMP has always been recontextualization over willful obscurity, so there should be no surprise that these lists are dominated by albums and singles that were just barely left of the mainstream. If anything, we find that indie rock now means more to more people than ever, even in the absence of any truly groundbreaking work this year. So, please enjoy a trip down memory lane to the year that was 2007.

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Stylus Magazine: A Eulogy article

Stylus Magazine: A Eulogy

In the waning hours of Stylus’s light, I realized how strong my relationship had become with what seemed little more than a pop page at the time. Would I have ever realized the extent of my affection for the site and its writers had Stylus continued to exist? No, I would have continued taking it for granted, cursing the reviews that countered my own feelings, peeking in periodically during work hours to keep an eye on fellow commenters, and slinging barbs and ill-formed ideology to elucidate chinks in every feature and editorial...

-- Meatbreak

This is the banner for the All Those Opposed Can Rot in Hell article

All Those Opposed Can Rot in Hell

If there is a hell, it must resemble the seventh grade school experience—vicious and seemingly eternal. School is hell for twelves, and no place better illustrates man's inhumanity than a middle school cafeteria. Menomena's video for "Rotten Hell" captures this specific agony perfectly...

-- Joshua Arkin

This is the banner for the The Night I Didn't See Amy Winehouse article

The Night I Didn't See Amy Winehouse

Outside of the club that night, cut off by publicists left and right, I finally conquered the queue and made my way through the doors, where I sort of expected to see Amy front and center, on stage, singing her heart out for the realest fans. Amy wasn't there quite yet, but an open bar was standing in for her. Signs reading her name were everywhere, but there was no sign that the lady would even make an appearance. Heck, the bar wasn't even playing her album...

-- Christine Thelen

This is the banner for the My Life in Dad Rock: May I See Some ID Please? article

My Life in Dad Rock: May I See Some ID Please?

I like to think I helped make it a little more acceptable (or at least a little less ridiculous) for someone way past 30 to listen to new or even objectionable music unironically and with no intention of 'just trying to relate, dude' at full volume in traffic. My dubious parenting skills aside, it occurred to me that there are more and more adults who offend their own children with their musical choices. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

-- Mike Long

This is the banner for the IMP Contest: Pitchfork Music Festival Tickets article

IMP Contest: Pitchfork Music Festival Tickets

With all the talk of summer concerts and festivals, I figured it was about time IMP got into the mix. No, unfortunately there won't be an International Mixtape Fest this year (one can only dream), but IMP is prepared to help you check out one of the best summer lineups by giving away tickets to the awesome Pitchfork Music Festival. IMP has tickets for all three days of the fest, which runs July 13-15 in Chicago...

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Something Isn't Right: White Funk, Blue-Eyed Soul article

Something Isn't Right: White Funk, Blue-Eyed Soul

What's most interesting about Lidell and his ilk, however, is not the unifying themes of their oeuvre, but the things it lacks. Generally speaking, where's the celebration, hope, and sense of community and liberation that arises from classic soul music? Many of black music's white practitioners are full of the angst, doubt, recrimination, and regret that seems better suited to Joy Division and The Smiths than to Al Green and Aretha Franklin...

-- Robert Mead

This is the banner for the After Silence: Hidden, Secret, and Ghost Tracks article

After Silence: Hidden, Secret, and Ghost Tracks

What came spontaneously was a 15-minute din that was later edited into a 40-second slap in the face, which we were delighted to hide at the back of the LP. The plan took its inspiration from an old Chinese proverb: "Get all your enemies gathered together, and when they are laughing free from any care run up behind them with large sticks of bamboo and batter them..."

-- Meatbreak

This is the banner for the South by Southwest 2007 article

South by Southwest 2007

My 2007 South by Southwest experience is finally underway. Honestly, I wait all year to hit Austin for just four days, so it's tough to not spend several weeks before it just fanticizing about breakfast tacos, free beer, and more swag than even my monkey arms can carry. And the rock! Don't even get me started on all the music. Wait, this is a blog, so, yes, maybe I should get on to the talk of what I did today...

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the How Canadian Rock Saved Me from NKOTB article

How Canadian Rock Saved Me from NKOTB

Indie-rockers may not have been the world's best musicians, but they seemed genuine. Unlike my New Kids-obsessed friends in the '80s, the people I knew in high school valued the entire rock album over the pop singles on which I had previously relied. I listened to Up To Here by Ontario's The Tragically Hip so much that I had to replace my cassette more than once.

-- Tanya Kearney

This is the banner for the Phish and Global Mixtape Culture article

Phish and Global Mixtape Culture

Visit a Phish message board today, and two things continue to link the community: a sincere appreciation for Phish's music and everything it brought into the lives of the Phans and a deep respect for any and all music that appeals to the mind, heart, and soul. Time will surely tell if the latter is still true of the mixtape community, if IMP's ever-growing membership hasn't already...

-- Ian Zeitzer

This is the banner for the Storytime Rock: Harry and the Potters article

Storytime Rock: Harry and the Potters

Crafting a new form of lit-rock, the Massachusetts-based DeGeorge brothers use two-minute pop-punk songs about the characters and themes from author J.K. Rowling's immensely popular Harry Potter series to encourage kids to be creative and keep reading. Think a new millennium They Might Be Giants focused on a single cultural touchstone...

-- Boris Hartl

This is the banner for the Boy In Static: Transcending Sound Disembodied article

Boy In Static: Transcending Sound Disembodied

Boy In Static is Boston-based multi-instrumentalist Alex Chen, known for allowing ambient noises—including the sounds of kids playing and church bells ringing—to drift through his windows and onto his tracks. His second full-length album, Violet, was just released in Japan by And Records and will be released in the U.S. on May 29 by Mush Records...

-- Ruby R.

This is the banner for the Neurological Rubin and The American Dream article

Neurological Rubin and The American Dream

We brought recorders to parties, taped each other babbling incoherently during camping trips, and dubbed vocals from late-night infomercials, horrible talk shows, and our favorite movies. We spliced it all together using what we considered precision surgical tools—the pause button, jerry-rigged wires, and dual tape decks—and added the essential songs of the moment...

-- Cal Roach

This is the banner for the Jonathan Richman and the Legacy of Geek Pop article

Jonathan Richman and the Legacy of Geek Pop

Geekiness in rock music falls into two basic categories: slightly obsessive and overly aware pop earnestness and self-obsessed, dork-turned-rockstar posturing. Both personas take up major page space in the rock 'n' roll history book and even have their own 1970s proto-punk forebearers in Jonathan Richman and Lou Reed...

-- Ryan Mixtape

This is the banner for the Purple Rain and the Pop Erotic article

Purple Rain and the Pop Erotic

I wasn't allowed to see the movie. But I was smack in the middle of the album's demographic. There were no warnings, no safety measures. The pop world was wide open to me, and I had the allowance to prove it. But the album was linked with an R-rated movie, and it was R-rated not for violence, but for sex. Nudity, sex, and, most importantly, sexuality...

-- Robert Mead

This is the banner for the Love, Marriage, Mixtapes: A Musical Yin and Yang article

Love, Marriage, Mixtapes: A Musical Yin and Yang

Music has enriched and enlightened some of my most cherished moments. More specifically, I made a mixtape for a very special person a decade-and-a-half ago, which communicated some of my deepest feelings and captured the beauty and complexity of my relationship with my future wife...

-- Steven Wright

This is the banner for the The Best Music Ever article

The Best Music Ever

During the past three years, I've been asked over and over why mixtaping is still relevant in a time of file-sharing and the reign of "Now That's What I Call Music". Simply put, mixtaping is one of the last standing monuments to popular music's longevity...

-- Ryan Mixtape