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2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: Minneapolis

Only one more matchup to go before we can establish our venerated final four for this year’s Tune Tournament. Which of these two ladies will be selected to rise atop her field of 16 and represent the Minneapolis region?

Will it be Caroline Smith, who recently debuted a new single, “Trying Not To Love You,” from a forthcoming album? Although not yet thirty, she’s already a musical veteran, and our pick for her tournament entry, “Magazine,” is one of our favorite tracks off her 2013 LP.

Or will she be upstaged by tenacious newcomer Morly, whose “Plucky,” from this year’s Something More Holy EP, has been stomping the competition, winning each of its first three matchups with at least an 80% share?

Who moves on to the Final Four? Cast your votes and spread the word, as this matchup closes on Saturday, December 17 at noon. Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: Minneapolis

2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: Chicago

Chicago is the next city up for grabs in our 2016 Tune Tournament. Unlike the previous two cities, Chicago features one underdog and one veteran going head-to-head in a match to decide who moves on to the Final Four.

Edamame defeated Whitney in another upset, whose golden days have run out. Meanwhile, windy city post-rock veterans, Tortoise, have also managed to topple hip-hop up-and-comer Joey Purp in the Sweet Sixteen. Both groups have something to prove, but only one can be victorious.

Who moves on to the Final Four? Cast your votes and spread the word, as this matchup closes on Friday, December 16 at noon. Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: Chicago

2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: London

The fourth round of the 2016 Tune Tournament moves on to London, where two underdogs have risen up to defeat their more established opponents.

The History of Apple Pie have been quiet for over two years. Are they on hiatus? Are they working on new material? No one really knows, but we do know that they’ve conquered every challenger they’ve faced thus far. Their next opponent has considerable momentum though, as Kero Kero Bonito bested James Blake in yet another stunning upset in the Sweet Sixteen. Both of these bands are on the rise, but one must fall.

Who moves on to the Final Four? Cast your votes and spread the word, as this matchup closes on Thursday, December 15 at noon. Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: London

2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: San Francisco

And then there were eight.

We’ve entered the fourth round of 2016’s Tune Tournament, which means we’re mere hours away from selecting one song to represent San Francisco, and suit up for some Final Four heroics.

45-elgLast year’s champs The Y Axes, who dominated 2015’s field with “Neon Street,” continue their quest for a repeat with “Monsters,” one of our favorite tracks from their recent Umbra LP. In one of the closest matchups yet, “Monsters” held on against “Harlem” by Cathedrals, claiming the victory with a 60% share. If you’re lucky enough to live in this area, you can show your support in person when the Axes take the stage at Neck of the Woods later this week – Thursday, December 15.

sonny-500x647The band they’re up against might be new to the tournament, but they’re by no means strangers to the San Francisco music scene. Sonny Smith is into his second decade of making music on the Edge of the World, and along with his Sunsets, and the production magic of Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, recently released Moods Baby Moods. Their tune, “Well But Strangely Hung Man” continues to vex the competition, recently besting Thao & The Get Down Stay Down with a 58% share. Who knows? In addition to celebrating the new year, Smith may be celebrating a Tournament win when the Sunsets perform at Great American Music Hall on Friday, January 6.

Check out the updated tournament bracket here. Who moves on to the Final Four? Cast your votes and spread the word, as this matchup closes on Wednesday, December 14 at noon.

Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Elite Eight: San Francisco

Hi-Fi Fifteen: Have Yourself an Idle Little Christmas

…and an eclectic one at that. How much variety can the three of us cram into one list that is ostensibly based around the same theme? Evidently, quite a lot. Prepare yourself for a bit of audio whiplash as we careen from traditional to revisionist to what-the-fuck?

But that’s as it should be. Christmas can be a complicated holiday. Some of us adhere to a belief system that rejects Christian dogma, but still want our tinsel and stockings and advent calendars. Some of us are trying to keep our holiday cheer in the face of health, economic, or social hardships that are always thrown into sharp relief during year-end festivities. Some of us are faced with dealing with the families of significant others who open all their presents on Christmas Eve instead of waiting for Christmas morning like normal people!! How screwed up is that?

Yes, lines can sometimes be drawn, and we can be a little defensive about our holiday turf. Christmas or Hanukkah or moon-worshipping Wiccan solstice hippie nonsense? Turkey or roast beef for the big dinner? Angel or star at the top of tree? Eggnog or never-in-a-million-years-eggnog? Is Die Hard really a Christmas movie? These questions can test the firmest of romantic or familial relationships.

But once the candles are lit, the drinks are poured, and the Festivus pole is retrieved from the crawlspace, only one issue really matters. Mel Torme or Galaxie 500? Music is one of the best things to come out of Christmas, and can be adapted to any style, performer, or genre. Luckily, there’s room for it all… except “Christmas Shoes.” “Christmas Shoes” can eat a bag of dicks.

So the holidays can be a little cracked, and I’m glad we have a list that reflects that. If these lists continue, I’m sure we’ll re-visit this theme come next December, because it’s a pretty deep well to draw from.
Continue reading Hi-Fi Fifteen: Have Yourself an Idle Little Christmas

2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: Minneapolis

The Hold Steady may claim Brooklyn, but band frontman Craig Finn hails from Minneapolis, thus earning them the right to rep the Twin Cities for yet another round of 2016’s Tune Tournament. After eking out a narrow 55% victory over Sleep Study, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” moves on to the Sweet Sixteen to do battle with Caroline Smith and “Magazine,” one of the singles off her recent Half About Being a Woman LP. If The Hold Steady pushes through this thing and ends up winning… I’m going to insist that holybee gets the entire song title stenciled onto his person.

Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these two matchups close on Saturday, December 10 at noon. Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: Minneapolis

2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: Chicago

Four artists from Chicago move on from Round 2 of our Tune Tournament to do battle in the Sweet Sixteen. All four are also included in our Mixcloud Mix just for making it this far. While triumph in the Windy City was a breeze for some, others missed their chance at victory. Here are the results of Round 2.

Edamame trounced Jim O’Rourke by a 4-1 margin, while Whitney was golden against Twin Peaks. Which group will move on in Matchup 1 of the Sweet Sixteen? Meanwhile, Tortoise stomped Andrew Bird, who just didn’t have the legs to beat the veteran Post-Rock outfit. Now they face off against Joey Purp, who narrowly defeated Chance The Rapper in Chicago’s biggest upset of Round 2.

Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Saturday, December 10 at noon.

Matchup 1: Edamame – “Tree Shadows” vs. Whitney – “Golden Days”




Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: Chicago

2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: London

The four Londonites who survived Round 2 of our Tune Tournament now get the chance to face off. However, just for making it this far, each of these four artists are being rewarded with an appearance on our Sweet Sixteen Mixcloud, a prestigious honor to be sure. But let’s get down to the music shall we?

Kero Kero Bonito continues to upset, beating Jungle, whose luck apparently ran out. But can they graduate to a higher grade against the timely James Blake, who defeated Underworld in a triumph of youth over experience? Meanwhile, La Roux failed to dial in a victory against Factory Floor, who now do battle against the pallbearers of Burial, shoegaze outfit The History of Apple Pie.

Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these matchups close on Thursday, December 8 at noon.

Matchup 1: Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation” vs. James Blake – “My Willing Heart”



Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: London

2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: San Francisco

The 2016 Tune Tournament field has narrowed down to the Sweet Sixteen, with just four songs remaining in each region. And because they’re all winners, really, we’ve posted a special edition of our Tunes of the Month show featuring sixteen tracks of heart, hustle, and perseverance. Show ’em all some love. That, and a Gene Hackman speech, might be all these folks need to push ever closer to a championship. You can also click here to see the fully updated bracket.

The reigning champs keep rolling. “Monsters” by the Y Axes edged Xiomara in the round of 32, but they may face their toughest challenge to date in the latest showdown. Fellow San Franciscans Cathedrals have been clobbering the competition: “Harlem” has won its first two matchups with shares of 90% and 88%.

The other faceoff features a couple of Bay Area stalwarts & their Musical Friends. Thao Nguyen and her Get Down Stay Down bring “Nobody Dies” out to rumble against Sonny Smith and his Sunsets, whose “Well But Strangely Hung Man” already has us thinking of clever cupcake decoration. We’re imagining the newsteam melee from Anchorman, but with fewer sportcoats.

Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these matchups close on Wednesday, December 7 at noon. Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Sweet Sixteen: San Francisco

2016 Tune Tourney Round 2: Minneapolis

The sole first-round upset in the fourth region of 2016’s Tune Tournament belonged to LA-based, Minneapolis-born Katy Morley and her aptly named “Plucky.” Earlier this year Katy, producing as Morly, released the Something More Holy EP, a follow-up to her 2015 debut, In Defense of My Muse, and immediately embarked on a national tour supporting IT fave Låpsley. Don’t let the hushed minimalism fool you; this track has teeth, and Rogue Valley is next up on the menu.

Who moves on to the Sweet Sixteen? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Friday, December 2 at noon.

Matchup 1: The Hold Steady – “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” vs. Sleep Study – “Peace and Letting Go”


Continue reading 2016 Tune Tourney Round 2: Minneapolis