July CNY Music Podcast: The Best Albums (From The First Half!) Of ’09 and John Legend in Albany

Geography | Entertainment Podcast
Recorded and produced by Nathan Mattise

The great debate for 2009’s midway album of the year is complete. Take a listen and then read on for the rest of the CNY music news for July.


CNY Music News

  • CNY’s own Wes Miles (Ra Ra Riot frontman) released an album with his side project, Discovery, this month. 20 Watts had an interview and there is no plans for another Discovery album or tour anytime soon. Ra Ra Riot on the other hand will be in the studio and has some fall dates that include Ithaca.
  • Phantogram announced (via their Twitter) that they are embarking on an official US/European tour starting this fall.
  • The only discussion on the July 2009 CNY Music Podcast dealt with album of the year for 2009’s first half. Nate and The Fan Club were at it again, each selecting their top three albums to discuss in two-minutes or less (with the aid of a Taboo buzzer).  See below for the selections but cue up the podcast to hear analysis on the albums and which ones just missed the cut.

Nate’s Top Three for 2009 thus far:  3)  “Actor” – St. Vincent 2) “Merriweather Post Pavillion” – Animal Collective 1) “Fantasies” – Metric

The Fan Club’s Top Three for 2009 thus far: 3) “Living Thing” – Peter, Bjorn & John 2) “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” – Phoenix 1) “Merriweather Post Pavillion” – Animal Collective

(Check out the top selections from outlets like Stereo gum, NPR, Sound Opinions and SPIN Magazine).

CNY Concert Reviews

The Ratings System:

“Presale” – a show worth waking up at 8 a.m. and waiting on Ticketmaster for

“Purchase” – a solid show worth your time if the price is reasonable

“Pass” – once is enough and we’ve done the work for you

Nate and The Fan Club didn’t have time to get to album reviews this podcast. Don’t fret – the quick recaps are here for you.

Nate took in Health/Awesome Color at a secret show during a weekend trip to Brooklyn. The venue was called the Market Hotel and it epitomized what you want from an uber-hip, discreet venue. Awesome Color was a pleasant surprise – bringing a genuine classic rock sound mixed with that indie energy of today. The lead singer even brings Rainn Wilson’s character in “The Rocker” to mind a bit.

Health on the other hand was a total shock. If you aren’t familiar with their live show and you’re basing expectations off their MySpace… you will be disappointed. The heavy yet melodic synth approach in “Die Slow” for instance does not come across well when sound quality and musicianship is thrown out the window for raw energy instead. Give Health credit for producing a unique concert experience (check out this brief clip from the crowd, everyone is banging and banging hard) but don’t be fooled by their recordings. They sound like two different bands.

John Legend in Albany did not even begin to disappoint however. Legend may have crafted the perfect show. His music spans everything from upbeat stuff you could hear in the club to slow jams you only play when you’re alone. The sound was great considering the venue and Legend made sure to cover all the major hits from his repertoire.

His sound alone would make the performance noteworthy, but Legend was a consummate showman on top of that. He created such an intimate atmosphere with his crowd that the house absolutely melted with his every move. He entered the stage by walking through the crowd like some ’80s WWF wrestler, encouraged the crowd to take their part on choruses, reentered the stage for his encore in a glowing white suit and even made one audience member’s night by choosing her to be his partner during “Slow Dancin’.”

CNY Upcoming Shows


Elton John and Billy Joel – 7/24  (Thur)

Creed – 8/8 (Sat)


Jamie Foxx – 8/9 (Sun)

Rochester Philharmonic performing Gustav Holst’s The Planets – 5/21 (Thurs)


Peter, Bjorn and John – 7/24 (Fri)

Eagles of Death Metal – 7/29 (Wed)

Paolo Nutini – 7/31 (Fri)

St. Vincent – 8/8 (Sat)

Scatted across NY State (but within driving distance)

Coldplay –7/21 (Tues)

Maxwell – 7/21 (Tues)

Nickelback – 7/22 (Wed)

Gordon Lightfoot – 7/25 (Sat)

Crosby, Stills and Nash – 7/28 (Tues)

Lil’ Wayne – 7/29 (Wed)

All Points West – 7/31 to 8/2 (Fri-Sun)

Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – 8/1 (Sat) *EDITOR’S PICK*

Jason Mraz – 8/2 (Sun)

Sugar Ray – 8/3 (Mon)

Creed – 8/8 (Sat)

O.A.R – 8/9 (Sun)

John Legend w/ India.Arie -8/10 (Mon) *EDITOR’S PICK*


George Clinton – 7/21 (Tues)

Michael McDonald–7/23 (Thur)

Cyndi Lauper – 8/1 (Sat)

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