#FridayFinds: Crowdsourcing 2.0, Female Folk-Rockers, and West Coast Chamber Pop

Up and Coming Folk-Rock Coolgal Sarah Dooley
photo courtesy of sarahdooley.com

It’s been a good week. Birds are singing in the trees, Sunsets are getting more golden by the day, and temperatures have been agreeably, consistently springy in nature. Perfect for excellent adventures in the outdoors, long, rambling walks around parks, and spur-of-the-moment exploration and discovery. Here are the three things I found that added just the right extra dose of summer sun into the overall ambience of the week.

1. It’s the Jelly that Holds the Internet Together

And that jelly is crowdsourcing. Some questions you can Google and some questions you can ask your friends and mere acquaintances on Facebook. No doubt you’ve seen an awful lot of silly questions pop up over time: what shirt to wear, what movie to go see, or perhaps what albums make for an excellent road trip (what silly person does does that?). That’s all well and good, but what if you want to ask your question your way and get some quick, mostly-accurate answers?

Enter Jelly, a new crowdsourcing app launched by cofounder of Twitter Biz Stone. It allows you to ask questions and gain answers and consensus from other users on the internet using your connections on various social media platforms. Simply open the app, ask a question, and wait for the responses to pour in. You’re encouraged, of course, to answer questions as well as ask them, and it’s neat to see the range of questions people are asking. It’s a cool concept and a fun way to learn about things you didn’t even know you had questions about.

So far I’ve used it to get some ideas on where to see free shows in Boston and how to infuse more female folk rock into my playlists. Which brings me to…

2. Artist to Watch: Sarah Dooley

Another point for the internet and the wondrous ways it introduces us to cool new things. She’s midwest born and Columbia University educated, but the sonic product is otherworldly. It’s a sound that’s Regina Spektor vocals and instrumentation over Leonard Cohenesque / Tom Waitsian storytelling. They’re lovely, whimsical melodies and stories that at once disarm you and then hit you in the gut with a two-punch count of driving drums and sarcastic wit– and that’s just in the first 30 seconds of the first and title track of her debut Stupid Things that was released earlier this spring. The whole album moves that way like some beautiful, undiscovered broadway show, so it’s no surprise she studied theatre and playwriting at school. Achingly honest story lines brought to life. That’s the gift she brings.

Speaking of magnificent story telling meant for the stage…

3. Have you heard of… Ages and Ages?

Last weekend I saw Lake Street Dive at the Royale in downtown Boston. Naturally they did not disappoint, playing a fantastic hour-and-a-half-long set of selections from their two current full length records and one or two additional even newer tunes (both of which will be available in participating stores on a limited edition 7″ record during next weekend’s Record Store Day festivities). But the tip of the hat for me goes to the opening band, Ages and Ages, a six-piece folk-rock outfit from good old Portland, Oregon. Tremendously talented and endlessly entertaining. Trying to guess just which piece of equipment Ms. Sarah Riddle was going to choose was entertaining enough, but that’s only the beginning. They back it up with fantastic vocals and story lines on top of enthusiastic and exultant chamber rock. By now it’s obvious that I’m a sucker for good stories and well-placed harmonies and these guys deliver both and more. Check’em out ASAP.

What are you guys listening to these days? What’s on your recent playlists?

Hope all’s well with you guys. Have a great weekend.

 

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