Attempting to watch music videos on YouTube in the wake of Google's royalties spat with PRS continues to be a crap-shoot. Hitting on a link for Cass McCombs' new single, "Dreams Come True Girl" (tinyurl.com/ow22p3), I found it blocked for UK viewers. However, a black-and-white promo for Tortoise's latest song, "Prepare Your Coffin" (tinyurl.com/rys6eo), played without trouble.
Another video you can watch without difficulty (at the moment) is for Grizzly Bear's new single, "Two Weeks", from their critically adored new record. It's an oddball piece rendering the band members like Dickensian schoolboys – or like those kids from the Cadbury ad, minus the raised eyebrows. Directed by Patrick Daughters, who has been celebrated in these pages before, it can be seen at tinyurl.com/opjjyw. Look out for behind-the-scenes photos from the video shoot on Stereogum.com. The band have been everywhere lately, including a Black Cab Sessions performance (tinyurl.com/pjan65); and a stripped-down set and interview for NPR, tinyurl.com/qt284j.
Friend is the moniker for Jesse Kanda, a music producer based in London. Tracks from his EP Shima can be heard at www.myspace .com/friendddd. The EP is set for release soon and is perfectly timed to soundtrack the summer, as floating vocals mix with hazy ambient sounds and synths, along with Far Eastern inflections and the odd steel drum or two. Two tracks can already be downloaded: one at tinyurl.com/r4rchd, and the other at tinyurl.com/prer7w. Look out also for an interesting video for the track "Doki", which utilises clips from Wong Kar Wai films (vimeo.com/ 4645466). Read my interview with him at independent.co.uk/mixtape.
An admirable project
Björk teamed up with Dirty Projectors for a gig in aid of New York's Housing Works homeless/Aids charity at the organisation's bookshop/café in the city. With tickets reportedly going for up to $400, the 300-strong audience included the great and good of New York's music scene alongside some "Joe Sixpacks", many of whom filmed the gig – which included a cycle of songs written by Dirty Projectors with Björk in mind. The results are on YouTube: tinyurl.com/reysn7.
Keyboard Choir are on the blog
Keyboard Choir is a six-piece electronica band from Oxford. Their latest release is the Electrical Unity EP, featuring four new tracks and two songs taken from their debut album and re-recorded in a last.fm/presents live session. From 1 June, the EP will be available on Last.FM and the band's six members will be blogging about their music and the EP every day next week with The Independent at independent.co.uk/keyboardchoir.
Not fade away
With music downloading and the economic slump wreaking havoc on records shops of all sizes, some are attempting to fight back. The American Coalition of Independent Music Stores (www.cimsmusic.com/) has launched a new venture to sell music online, called Think Indie (digital.thinkindie.com). Ostensibly it is like any online shop, but participating local record shops will have their own page on the site, allowing them to discuss and recommend music à la your local record store. Once a customer registers, they will be assigned to their local record shop, who will get money every time that customer makes a purchase on the site. It's an interesting venture – one we might see replicated on this side of the water.