Category Archives: Uncategorized

Belated: SF MusicTech Summit On GigaOm

Just to keep things nice and neat in one place, here’s the post I wrote for GigaOm about the SF MusicTech Summit. Have I mentioned how much I adore this conference? Yes? Okay. See the excerpt below and read the full piece here.

There’s something special about innovation in San Francisco. For one, the city is a startup mecca: It’s bursting at the seams with forward-thinking companies, from established giants like Twitter and Pinterest to the next big things of the digital world. For another, its rich culture didn’t fade after the Summer of Love; creatives continue to flock to the city, which boasts festivals like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and renowned museums like the DeYoung.

It’s no surprise, then, that the music-tech community found a home in the City by the Bay. Like San Francisco itself, the SF MusicTech Summit celebrates the intersection between art and technology. The conference draws influencers, musicians and more to Japantown’s Hotel Kabuki and provides a unique outlet for discussions and deal making. It has become a premiere gathering place for music-tech pioneers of all stripes, and game-changing businesses have formed on the summit floor. (Read more.)

Earworms of 2011

My biggest song addiction in 2011: “Better Off Without You” by Summer Camp.

I hate ‘best of’ lists. Best songs, albums, concerts, whatever–it makes me anxious. Who am I to decide what the absolute top album was in 2011? I don’t have the chutzpah for declarations like that.

Instead, I’ve decided to compile a list of the songs that would not get out of my head in 2011. This is based on my own memories, so some of these songs might not make sense in another context (why is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on there, for example? Easy: Railroad Revival Tour). I tried to keep out a) the really embarrassing ones and b) the absolute dreck–yes, I’ve gotten Rebecca Black’s “Friday” stuck in my head more often than I care to mention, but that wasn’t exactly by choice. Are these my favorite songs of the year? Some of them. But mostly they’re just catchy, head-bobbing, and/or addictive.

I’ve made this a collaborative playlist, and I would love to see what you’ve been grooving to in 2011. Without further ado: Earworms of 2011.


Adele (don’t deny it, you’ve hummed “Rolling in the Deep” too), The Agitator, Alessi’s Ark, The Antlers, Architecture In Helsinki, A B & the Sea, Battles, Beirut, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, The Black Keys, Bombay Bicycle Club, The City and Horses, Cut Copy, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Daughter, Dawes, The Decemberists, The Dodos, Dominant Legs, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Elbow, Emmy the Great, Eugene McGuinness, First Aid Kit, Fitz & the Tantrums, Fleet Foxes, Florence and the Machine, Foster the People (see ‘Adele’), Girls, Goldheart Assembly, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, The Head and the Heart, Hey Sholay, Imaginary Cities, James Vincent McMorrow, Korallreven, Kurt Vile, Laura Hocking, Laura Marling, Laura Stevenson & the Cans, LCD Soundsystem, The Leisure Society, The Lowly Knights, Luke Temple, Lykke Li, Marcus Foster, The Mariner’s Children, Metronomy, Michael Kiwanuka, The Middle East, Noah and the Whale, Nurses, Okkervil River, Old Crow Medicine Show, Other Lives, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Papa, Parenthetical Girls, Peggy Sue, Pepper Rabbit, The Radio Dept., Rubblebucket, Sarah Jaffe, Sea of Bees, Slow Club, St. Vincent, Summer Camp, The Tallest Man on Earth, Three Blind Wolves, Timber Timbre, To Kill a King, Tom Vek, Treefight for Sunlight, Treetop Flyers, Tune-Yards, The Vaccines, Vincent Minor, Voxhaul Broadcast, Warpaint, Woods, Wye Oak, Yacht

Spotlight On: popchips

Don’t worry, readers: Red Said has not become a food blog. (And if it did, odds are I’d only feature chocolate.) No, I’m writing about popchips because they’re winning over ears as well as tastebuds. Besides taking over Treasure Island (and sending me along, thanks guys!), they’ve now launched a contest to send a band to the SPIN stage at SXSW. I’m obviously biased–San Francisco’s The Bruises are in the running, and I’d love to see them beat the picks from LA and Seattle. Voting ends tonight at 11:59 pm, so get over to their Facebook and vote vote vote. Here are the deets:

– free downloads are available at
– voting exclusively on
– all music can be streamed. to download tracks, fans must “like” popchips
– each download is counted as a “vote”
– each facebook account can only vote for an individual song once
– each facebook account can vote for as many songs as they like
– during phase 2, each facebook account can only vote for an individual video once every 24 hours
– open to us residents 18 or older
– bands must be a member of reverbnation

More information is also available here, and you can watch all the bands’ Pop Up Videos (Bruises’ is above) on Youtube.

Here’s a snippet of my Treasure Island review, which was posted on The 405. popchips hooked me up with VIP tickets, and I am enormously grateful–it turned out to be an awesome festival experience.

‘If Outside Lands is the monolith of Bay Area festivals, Treasure Island is the cozy cottage next door. Located on the eponymous piece of land between San Francisco and Oakland, the two-day event feels intimate—a word I never thought I’d use to describe an outdoor festival. I owe my presence at the festival to popchips, a brand that clearly understands the San Francisco festival crowd: the slogan on their stand read ‘Never baked. But perfect if you are.’ Indeed, popchips.

But in all seriousness (and at the risk of sounding like I sold my soul to a chip company), there’s something appropriate about popchips being part of the Treasure Island experience. This event was all about excellent curation: it didn’t have a generic roster of big names, for either its artists or vendors. It’s not a Walkers (or Lays, for my fellow Americans) kind of gig. The whole festival felt hand-picked, carefully chosen to fit the Bay Area and its throngs of discerning hipst—I mean, music-lovers. And it certainly didn’t disappoint; Treasure Island was just quality, from beginning to end.’

Read more: Day One

Day One featured Shabazz Palaces, Yacht, Battles, Flying Lotus, Cut Copy, Dizzee Rascal, and more.

Read more: Day Two

Day Two featured St. Vincent, the Antlers, the Head and the Heart, Beach House, Death Cab for Cutie, Explosions in the Sky, and a badass ferris wheel.

all that and a bag race of chips.

Vaccines Release Instagram “Wetsuit” Video

I know, I know, I know. I’ve been rather absent lately. Not only am I a teeny bit late getting this video up, I still haven’t updated you all on the exciting musical events I’ve attended recently: the Laura Marling/Alessi’s Ark show, three days of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and Beirut at the Independent. But be patient! It’ll all be up soon.

In the meantime, put a wetsuit on (or not, they’re kind of uncomfortable) and watch the results of the Vaccines’ Instagram contest. Which, as readers of my blog may know, is actually the second app-based, crowdsourced music video.

tUnE-yArDs Release “Gangsta” Video

I have a massive girl crush on Merrill Garbus. Who doesn’t? The Oakland artist who performs as tUnE-yArDs released the video for “Gangsta”, and it’s probably the most normal offering yet. Compare the black and white video above to the festive piece for first single “Bizness”. It’s more than the color scheme that’s been toned down, though; this video is the first thing from them that I’ve thought, ‘Yeah, someone else could’ve created that.’ Which isn’t bad. Just–different.

Pepper Rabbit, Red Velvet Snow Ball

I reviewed Pepper Rabbit’s sophomore album, Red Velvet Snow Ball, for The Owl Mag. Here’s a snippet and read the rest at the link below:

Last year I saw British band Peggy Sue at Bottom of the Hill. As happens from time to time, I found myself utterly charmed by the opening act: their eclectic chamber pop, animated performance, and the frontman’s cat-adorned grandpa sweater. That band was Pepper Rabbit. (Read more here.)

Help Out London Labels

The London riots have been devastating to watch. My heart goes out to the people who’ve seen their lives permanently and horribly altered by this needless violence. I’ve been RT’ing notes about clean-up efforts whenever I’ve seen them, so if you’re on Twitter, please do the same. It’s a tiny thing, but it’s hard to feel like you can help when you’re thousands of miles away. If you’re like me and looking for other ways to get involved, here’s a simple one: buy music.

A Sony distribution warehouse in North London was destroyed by fire, and the stock loss is affecting numerous independent labels. The Quietus has put together some recommendations for great purchases, and also gives a full list of the labels affected by the fire. Here’s just a small handful: Pias, Rough Trade, 4AD, XL, Domino, Willkommen Records, Sub Pop, Secretly Canadian, Drowned In Sound, Kitsune, Dead Oceans, Asthmatic Kitty, Polyvinyl, Thrill Jockey, Drag City, Jagjaguwar, Gang of Four, Boomkat.

It’s disheartening. Head over to The Quietus for their recs, and for sure head to your local record store if you can.

Update: For Folk’s Sake has put out their list of recommendations as well, and PIAS founder Kenny Gates released the following statement on the events:

“Following the dramatic news of yesterday and our note about how [PIAS] is carrying on its business, I feel I need to clarify and add on a few matters.

The news broke through Twitter that the ‘[PIAS] warehouse had burnt out’. It is extremely important for everyone to understand that [PIAS] has no warehouse as such in the UK and that [PIAS] sub-contracts its physical distribution with SONY DADC in Enfield and it is their warehouse which unfortunately went down in flames.

Many people called me to ask whether any of our staff had suffered from the blaze and if we were ok. We are. Thank You.

As you have noticed in our last note , Sony DADC have been remarkably quick and efficient to put together a contingency plan that should allow us to ship to stores sometime next week. We are impressed by their efficiency and that is good news.

These times are difficult for us, our artists, our labels and the whole indie sector which we vastly represent but we are determined to come out of this setback in the best way possible.

The PIAS team has been working around the clock to limit the damage . We know that the livelihood of many talented, passionate and hard working music people, artists and small and bigger labels is at stake and depend on our actions and those of Sony DADC.

We have been getting a lot of words of support and offers of help and that truly helps.
Thank you to everybody who cares and supports [PIAS] and the indie sector.”