Animal Collective -- Merriweather Post Pavilion

On Ok Computer, Radiohead made rock audiences want to climb into alien spacecrafts and learn the meaning of life from those they met on board. Now just over ten years later, Animal Collective reverses that impulse by bringing what might be the closest thing to alien psychedelia down to us mortals. The most anticipated record so far this year, Merriweather Post Pavilion is being released in the U.S. today to massive critical applause. By combining the heavily textured synth lines and bleating bass undertones -- long a signpost of Animal Collective's work -- with sequenced pop hooks that would make Phil Spector cry, the avant-garde Brooklyn band has captured a sound that will be inexorably imitated in the coming years. Check out Strawberry Jam, the band's 2007 release, or Person Pitch, by Panda Bear, a primary songwriter and vocalist for Animal Collective.

32nd Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival hits town!

Folk FestivalFolk Festival

The Folk Festival is a benefit for The Ark and brings the usual festival mix of up and coming artists as well as popular artists in the fields of folk, ethnic and roots music.

Friday night has Jeff Tweedy headlining as well as Old Crow Medicine Show doing their thing. Saturday night will rock the house with Kris Kristofferson and Pete Seeger. Go get your toes tapping and support The Ark! See here for more details, the line-up, and ticket info.

Hill Auditorium | Friday, January 30 & Saturday, January 31 | 6:30pm |

Motown turns 50!

Motown 50Motown 50

On January 12, 2009, Motown Records turned 50. It was 50 years ago to the day that Barry Gordy launched the world renowned record label home to such legendary acts as, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Jackson 5, to name just a few! The label still exists and is celebrating the 50 year mark with the Motown 50 Podcast series where you can hear for free a number of their well-known artists. A wonderful documentary about a bit of Motown history is the DVD, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, the story of the Funk Brothers, the group of musicians that played on every single hit Motown record from the label's beginnings to 1972. If you are interested in seeing where Motown's roots began, visit the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. Enjoy Motown by listening to a CD, reading a bit of its history, watching some of the artists, and visiting where it all began!

Happy Birthday Mary J. Blige!

maryjbligemaryjblige

Celebrate the birthday of R&B legend Mary J. Blige by checking out some of her music from the AADL collection. Try her latest release Growing Pains, currently nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary R&B Album". Reflections is Blige's 2006 compilation where you can find many of her greatest hits. The Breakthrough features one of Blige's most popular singles "Be Without You". The success of The Breakthrough won Blige nine Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, two BET Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, and a Soul Train Award. She also received eight Grammy Award nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards, the most of any artist that year. Blige won three: "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", "Best R&B Song" (both for "Be Without You"), and "Best R&B Album" for The Breakthrough. Along with many other personal releases, Mary J. Blige has collaborated with numerous other artists including Ray Charles, Missy Elliott, and Aretha Franklin. Outside of her music career, Mary J. Blige is the founder of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc. (FFAWN).

If you "ain't misbehavin," here's your chance.

If you're a Fats Waller fan or maybe haven't even heard of him, find a jumpin' good time at the Kerrytown Concert House this Saturday, January 10 at 8 p.m. A Detroit Fats Waller tribute band will play favorites such as "Ain`t Misbehavin'," "Your Feet's Too Big," and more. Members include stride pianist Alvin Waddles, bassist Marion Hayden, and saxophonist-clarinetist Charlie Gabriel. Wine and beer are served. KCH, 415 N. Fourth Ave. $15, $20, & $30. Reservations recommended. 769-2999.

Armenian Music - Live!

Listening to joyous live music at AADL free of charge is one of the best ways to start the new year. The Armenian Music of Grikor Mirzaian Suni (1876-1939) will be performed by his great granddaughters (violins and oud) and their mother (piano), with two singers at the Downtown Library on Friday, Jan. 2 at 7-8:30 pm. Armena Marderosian devotes much time and energy preserving and recording her father-in-law’s music, and this is a rare local performance. There’s a rich history and folk culture linked to the Music of Armenia and Grikor Suni traveled widely collecting samples of the folk idiom to inspire his melodies. Join us for this unique cultural experience.

There's No Place Like Alone

At some point this winter, I will fight off an impulse to move to a remote cabin in the northern Wisconsin wilderness with my battered copy of Thoreau's Walden and try to write and record a set of brilliantly simple folk-pop songs that captures the beauty of isolation. Inevitably, I'll come down off the ledge and throw on Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago instead and live vicariously through the stories, characters, and timbre of these nine songs. Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) lived out my flight of imagination during the winter after his band broke up, turning out tunes that are immediately familiar in a Nick Drake vein of hushed thought, but deceptively rich in reclusive imagery and emotional detachment, making this record not merely a fanciful escape, but a meditation on the nature of solitude.

...And A Headbanging New Year

Enough Ella Fitzgerald, Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, and the other silky smooth standards this holiday season. The AADL has the holiday record with more muscle, less string overdubs, and a title that pretty well sells itself (to metalheads everywhere): We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year. Fans of Testament's guttural vocals will appreciate the band's exceptionally heavy rendition of Silent Night, while the Kiss audience rocks out to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and Foo Fighters fans hear Dave Grohl chase the red-nosed one in Run Rudolph Run. This holiday CD might not be right for the entire family, but for those about to rock, this one's for you.

Mittenfest of Music to Benefit 826Michigan

MittenfestMittenfest

Ypsilanti’s Elbow Room will play host to the 3rd annual Mittenfest. This year’s Mittenfest is three nights of local musicians at one location, where all proceeds will go to 826Michigan. Ann Arbor's 826Michigan is the Michigan chapter of 826National, which was started by Pulitzer nominated author Dave Eggers. 826 is a "non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write." They offer totally free programs, such as tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing and all sorts of other fun things. (And they are housed in a robot store!) Mittenfest is a great way to enjoy quality local bands (such as Great Lakes Myth Society) and support a great organization. See here for a list of all the bands.

Elbow Room | 6 South Washington St. Ypsilanti | Dec 26, 27, 28 | Doors open @ 5pm, Music @ 6pm | $5 per night | $12 for 3-day pass

A touch of Ireland

Catch the music of Teada, an acclaimed quintet that plays traditional Irish music. They play at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17 at the Ark. Its five members play guitar, bouzouki, flute, accordian, fiddle and bodrahn (traditional Irish drum). Well known on the international stage, Téada has played major festivals around North America, and in Europe they've drawn crowds of more than 30,000. Tonight they're joined by County Cork resident and former Solas vocalist Karan Casey, whom the Washington Post called "the Irish equivalent of Emmylou Harris." Doors open at 7:30.

Also, check out the Library's great collection of Irish musicteadateada.

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