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MP3: New Foals "Orient," G.e.R.M. remix
MP3: New Kaiser Cartel "Ready to Go"
Beyond Earth Day: Great Wines for Sustainability
Bannos Rolling Back Prices to Celebrate Heaven on Seven's 30th
LOLLA 2010: Gaga, Strokes, Arcade Fire, Devo, Mavis Staples, Erykah Badu, Phoenix, MGMT, XX, Hot Chip, Jimmy Cliff...
Longman & Eagle Brunch Debuting New Cocktails
Can You Taste the Blood in Your Mouth?
Fun with Words ... Really?
Remember When Music Was Exciting?
Details Names Paul Kahan's Salsa Best in U.S.

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JANUARY 17, 2007
H20 Audio Sports Integration System

Picture_2 One of these days I might actually go out and buy a Nano to support all these cool gadgets that only work with that iPod model. Between the Nike+ products, mini-speaker setups and so many other things, the Nano is the accessory du jour that's supported by so many more accessories du jour. The latest to cross my consciousness is the Nano Sports Integration System for the Outdoor Case by H20 Audio. This airtight, impact-resistant ingenious little product allows you to mount a bracket that holds your Nano on a bike's handlebars (or easily into an armband if you go running) through a unique locking mount system. While not waterproof, the Outdoor Case has an external click wheel that rests on top of the Nano's click wheel that can even be controlled through a glove. While I've never been a big fan of people biking with headsets (especially on Chicago's busy lakefront path in the summer) this might convert my way of thinking. For $39.95, this could make road biking or hitting mountain trails even more exhilarating.

[via iLounge]

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One to Watch: Cloud Cult

Cloudcult The latest band setting things aflame throughout the blogosphere is Cloud Cult ... and with good reason. The Minneapolis band releases its latest album, The Meaning of 8, a lush collection of accessible indie pop, in early February through its own website and on April 10 nationwide. Cloud Cult has already broken through on college radio and is a favorite in those ranks, but The Meaning of 8 could see big crossover in the vein of Death Cab or Modest Mouse. Their expressive sound is reminiscent of the Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and, to some extent, the Polyphonic Spree, albeit with a more experimental rock edge. Their music is such that it could easily be backed by a full orchestra, the sound building with the addition of rows of strings, heavy artillery in the way of drums and the burning crash of massive cymbals.

Opening song "Chain Reaction," is an odd romantic ditty ("put your face on mine") with twirling blips that turn into relaxed guitar-driven chords while "Take Your Medicine" exhibits the band's natural ability to combine various sounds and musical genres in an experimental package delivering the song in such a way that's so radio ready. And on many tracks, the band plays around with such verve, but connects the progression through seamless transitions. Cloud Cult writes clever lyrics about everyday life but sets them to a progressive sound that makes the story that much more interesting. They definitely have indie leanings but straddle various genres -- folk, psychedelic, electronic -- that give Cloud Cult a unique edge. The band embarks on a national tour in March -- with a stop at SXSW -- and extends through May. You can order the album directly through their site -- that way they make twice as much money ... and isn't that the way it should be?

Listen to Take Your Medicine

Watch the video for Chemicals Collide:

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JANUARY 12, 2007
Arcade Fire Video for "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" (fan made)

At the rate their going, the Arcade Fire is going to reveal every song and every video on Neon Bible before it's released in March on Merge Records. The band just posted the video for "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations," which shows an old-fashioned sepia toned film chronicling what happens when sound waves are carried by energy waves and how they ultimately carry the music into the ear and the brain. Kinda odd, but it's a great song that features Regine's angelic vocals backed by bombastic drumming through the first half when Win busts in and carries the tune home.

Thanks Kirk!

[Quick update: apparently this is a fan-made video. Can anyone confirm?]

[Update 2: Just got word from Merge that there are no official videos for Neon Bible so it is a fan-created video. I'm going to leave it up because it is kinda cool.]

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JANUARY 11, 2007
SXSW Rumors: Morrissey, Scissor Sisters, Interpol, Stooges


From Austinist, a list of bands rumored to be playing SXSW, including Scissor Sisters, Morrissey, the Stooges, Interpol, Kristoffer Ragnstam, Voxtrot:

Ad Astra Per Aspera
Amy Millan
Andrew Winton
Apollo Sunshine
Architecture In Helsinki
As Tall As Lions
Badly Drawn Boy
Beasts Of Bourbon
Bic Runga
Black Helicopter
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Black Rose Band
Bloc Party
Brave Radar
Call Me Lightning
Carly Binding
Children Collide
Chris Mills
Chris Smither
Circa Survive
Cold War Kids
Crooked Still
Cute Is What We Aim For
Danny Saul
Devin The Dude
Die! Die! Die
Dirty Fuzz
Eilen Jewell
Elemeno P
Emmylou Harris
Every Move a Picture
Fatal Flying Guilloteens
Field Guides
Gasoline Cowboy
George Byrne
Ghostland Observatory
Girl Talk
Go! Go! 7188
Great Lakes Myth Society
Haunt (Matt Hebert)
Hazey Janes
High Dials
Hoodoo Gurus
I Heart Hiroshima
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness
Jeffrey Foucault
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter
Jessie Deluxe
Josh Pyke
Kill Surf City
Kris Delmhorst
Kristoffer Ragnstam
LZ Love
Les Savy Fav
Lily Allen
Little Birdy
Magik Markers
Margot and the Nuclear So And Sos
Mates Of State
Matt & Kim
Mint Chicks
Money Waters
My Latest Novel
New Buffalo
New Violators
OWKMJ (Ore Wa Konna Mon Janai)
Octopus Project
Okkervil River
Oreska Band
Paul Kelly
Pete Townshend
Peter & the Wolf
Pig Out
Pistol Valve
Rachel Fuller
Rocky Votolato
Sarah Blasko
Say Hi To Your Mom
Scissor Sisters
Scout's Honor
Secretary Bird
Shaky Hands
So So Modern
Sonic Flyer
Stax 50th Anniversary Soul Review
Tall Firs
Tally Hall
The 50 Kaitens
The Amity Front
The Big Sleep
The Black Hollies
The Caribbean
The Creteens
The Emeralds
The Frames
The Fratellis
The Gear
The Have
The Needles
The Panda Band
The Rise
The Shivers
The Soft Hands
The Stooges
The Theater Fire
The Walkmen
The Weird Weeds
The Wild Eyes
The Young Knives
The Zebras
Thinking Aloud
Thunderbirds Are Now!
Thurston Moore
Under Byen
Union Of Knives
Via Tania
Viva Voce
W-S Burn
Watson Twins
Wild Eyes
Wooden Wand
Youth Group
Zach Galifianakis
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JANUARY 10, 2007
Poetic Justice: Former SF Army Base Becoming Zen Spa Retreat

Baker For more than 100 years, Fort Baker has sat in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. The former Army fort, which was built to protect the Bay Area, especially the bridge, sits at the south end of pristine Sausalito, just at the bottom of the winding, meandering hill that descends from the north entrance to the bridge (anyone who has ever ridden a bike down the sloping hill has careened by this swath of land). It has sat unused for years and now Fort Baker, with its sweeping views of the Bay and Pacific Ocean, Alcatraz and Angel Islands and the north end of the City, is being transformed into Cavallo Point -- The Lodge at Golden Gate. The $117.9 million-dollar, first-class, upscale renovation is set to open to the public in April 2008 and will include a spa, world-class dining, the Healing Arts Center, herb atrium, historic bowling alley, wine and olive oil center -- and access to 75,000 acres of hiking trails and beaches, woods and other natural wonders only found in SF. The property will include a 15,000 sq ft main lodge, currently undergoing a massive refurb, and 142 lodging units, half of which are being restored to their original splendor, with the other half new, eco-friendly green housing. This will no doubt be one of the most sought after destinations in the Bay Area, close enough to the city with easy access to offerings in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties.

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JANUARY 09, 2007
One to Watch: The Early Years

Theearlyyears Right from the start of their self-titled debut, England's The Early Years build a growing wall of sound and things continue to expand and take off from there. Their name is apt as they draw inspiration from artists in the early years of different genres, be it the Velvet Underground (garage rock), Brian Eno (experimental ambient) or even the Verve's earliest recordings (psychedelic Britpop). Their sound was born out of founder David Malkinson's desire to create psychedelic guitar-driven ambient noise and what it morphed into is a call-to-arms to unite under a waving flag of poetry and soundscape. Listening to The Early Years is equivalent to a repetitious war chant of olden days, where a lone soldier stands atop a hill, calling out for his fellow men to join him in the fight. Fortunately this war is won with words and rhythm and hopefully no blood will be shed. The album's first single and lead-off track "All Ones & Zeros" kicks things off with bouncy, head-bopping guitars and power-crunch drums and sets the pace for the rest of the set, while the intro to "The Simple Solution" is reminiscent of Secret Machines "First Wave Intact," with the explosive, dramatic drumming crescendoing over New Order-like electro guitar strumming and hopeful lyrics. The entire collection flows and tells a story, pausing to take a breath just at the right times and pushing you to keep running when you think it's time to call it quits. The Early Years released their debut last fall in the UK; it drops in the  US, with four additional tracks and an extra EP with unreleased songs and videos on Jan. 30 on Beggars Banquet. They'll play their first-ever shows this side of the pond in NY (Jan. 25 @ Mercury Lounge) and Brooklyn
(Jan. 26 & 27 @ Union Hall).

Listen to All Ones & Zeros

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Introducing the Apple iPhone

Iphone After months of speculation in the blogosphere where numerous renderings, predictions and debate flared, Steve Jobs today -- actually just moments ago -- announced during his keynote at MacWorld in SF the forthcoming arrival of the iPhone. This revolutionary gadget will turn the cellular world on edge. Measuring an exceptionally thin 11.6 millimeters, the all-touchscreen phone is also Apple's newest true-video iPod, holding up to 8 GB of music, photos or video. The touchscreen itself is 3.5 inches wide and has a built-in sensor so that when it gets close to your face, it locks up. The iPhone comes with a built-in 2-mp camera, Bluetooth, WiFi and a quadband GSM radio with EDGE. It will run OS X and allow for rich HTML email (both IMAP and POP3), run Safari, Google Maps and widgets. Available, initially, through Cingular. Let the drooling being.

Update: The iPhone will begin shipping to the US in June and in Europe at the end of 2007. Cost? A 4GB version will run $499 while the 8GB phone will go for $599, of course both are attached to a two-year contract, but why would you want to give up the service?

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JANUARY 08, 2007
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Pet Products

Meyers_1 I first discovered and wrote about Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Aromatherapeutic products four years ago and the company has exploded since then. Distributing a line of clean-smelling, good-for-the-environment products, Mrs. Meyers is a forerunner in the greening of home cleaning. Infused with essential oils like lavender, chamomile and lemon verbena, the biodegradable line includes dish soap (a staple in my home since 2003), hand soap, surface scrubs, laundry detergent and now pet products. Recently introduced, Mrs. Meyers pet products are a cruelty-free and organically crafted. They products, which are all infused with clary sage and chamomile, include a soothing Oatmeal Pet Shampoo, Oxygen Bleach Stain Remover (a lifesaver with puppies and old pooches), a Freshening Spray to remove odors on furniture and my favorite, the Gentle Pet Wipes, which make cleaning up your pup after a romp in the park or at the beach a simple process. Mrs. Meyers products are available at Whole Foods nationwide as well as through the company's website.

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Stewart/Stand Stainless Steel Wallets

Stewstand If you're concerned about identity theft and also cherish style and quality, you must check out Stewart/Stand's stainless steel wallets. The first batch of wallets released last year were made entirely of steel cloth threads that are three times thinner than paper but durable as hell. The silky soft steel adds a layer of protection against electronic theft if you have any RFID chips embedded in your credit cards. The company recently introduced gorgeous leather wallets that are lined with the stainless steel, giving you both form and function. And the wallets are extremely affordable, most coming in between $50 and $100. The company has decent nationwide distribution, but you can also buy online at their site.

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2007 iPod Film Fest Announced

Picture_3_3 The Flux announced its second-annual iPod Film Festival, which is sponsored by Small Dog Electronics. This fest is a great way for budding filmmakers to sidestep Hollywood and get their creations out to the public -- at least the public who have video iPods. Films must be 10 minutes or shorter and fit in one of three categories: Indie, Student or the "Kitchen Sink," which is anything else like a music video, comedy skit, etc. Prizes include iPods and a Mac Mini for the best picture. Entry is free and entries are being accepted through March 18. Download the entry form.

[via MacMinute]

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