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On music festivals, rumors and records

The following is an edited transcript of an online chat between readers and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers.

Q: Hi Jeff. What are you spinning today?

JM: Can’t stop listening to the new War On Drugs album. Also, a band called Zechs Marquise and their album, “Getting Paid,” has been blowing my mind.

Q: I wonder if orchestra musicians follow the conductor’s baton or is that more for show?

JM: No, they most definitely follow the baton. That’s the tempo, the heartbeat, right there, just as a rock band follows the drummer.

Q: Any good rumors about the Thursday at the Harbor lineups yet?

JM: No, and I find the complete silence a little creepy. I’m anxious to know what we can expect. And as soon as I know, you will too.

Q: As a critic, are you affected by the reaction of the audience even if you dislike the band?

JM: I definitely take it into account. I take myself out of the picture, and observe – if the fans are getting what they want out of the performance, and responding in kind, then I will report that. That does not change what I think of the music, etc. But it has to be noted, for sure.

Q: Did you hear that Roy Orbison’s sons are going to release three unreleased songs by Roy Orbison.

JM: Yes. Though I’m pretty sure it’s the Roy Orbison Estate, not Roy himself. On that topic … Good lord, do I love that man’s voice.

Q: Anything from the Record Store Day list that you’ve honed your tractor beams in on?

JM: I just printed my list out and was preparing to peruse it and plan on spending much money that I don’t have! Please don’t tell my wife.

Q: What bands would you recommend the Sabres have play in the atrium?

JM: There are so many. Man. I’d like to see local bands get more of an opportunity to become part of the Sabres/sports community. Original bands, too. Not just covers, though it’s understandable that they’d want some cover bands.

Q: Which dude in Hall & Oates has the moustache?

JM: That would be Oates rockin’ the ’70s stache.

Q: Who are some of your favorite music critics (for their writing style, not necessarily their tastes)? I’m guessing Lester Bangs and David Fricke are in there.

JM: I like them both an awful lot. Lester for the fire and passion, even though he was so full of it so often. But he wrote with zeal of the believer in music’s ability to make life worthwhile. Fricke is a smart and fair writer who looks outside of the mainstream for the less than obvious. I like Greg Kot, Jim DeRogatis and a few others.

Q: I’ll need to read through the Record Store Day list again; it was massive. On first glance I didn’t see Steven Wilson fingerprints anywhere. Do you think some artists are actively avoiding the event due to the perceived money-grab it’s evolved into?

JM: I think that a certain amount of that is inevitable. But I still love the idea of RSD. It’s fun. It’s a rip-off, but really, geeks like us are happy to have stuff like this to pay too much money for.

Q: Have you heard about the new festival taking place on the Woodstock ‘94 site, The Hudson Project? My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, James Blake, Edward Sharpe, Kendrick Lamar, plus more than 2 full stages of EDM. Definitely a good mix of what’s current right now. Why can’t someone drop a fest like this in WNY?

JM: That’s a great lineup. We definitely have the facilities and the interest level to stage a festival here, in my opinion. However, since I’m not the one who will be putting up the money, I guess it doesn’t really matter what I think.

Q: Saw Arcade Fire last week in Toronto. I know they might come off as pretentious but they really delivered, the show is absolutely bonkers with crazy covers and a “fake” band playing the encore.

JM: This is what I heard from my neighbors, who went, and loved it.

Q: Would you rather listen to the Beatles or Led Zeppelin music for an hour or so?

JM: Love them both as much as I love oxygen. Depends on my mood, but it’s a win/win situation!

Q: Went to SXSW for the first time and got a chance to catch some smaller acts. (The 1975, Cherub, Classixx, Phantogram) and I saw Lady Gaga, which was actually pretty awesome being in Stubb’s.

JM: Sounds like you did a little bit of everything. Nice.

Q: Why does this region try so hard to get visitors to “like us”? It reeks of desperation. Makes WNY appear more small-time than it already is.

JM: Not sure visitors were feeling the love with the $60 parking though. We don’t have to try too hard; it’s awesome here.

Q: I’ve been digging into Todd Rundgren’s catalog in preparation for next week’s show. Both the amount and quality of his material is staggering when you consider how infrequently many artists release albums today. I’ve even acquired all three albums he put out with Nazz, which are quite interesting to take in. What do you think of his early stuff?

JM: I am an insane Todd fan. Loved the Nazz, of course. I have everything he has ever released. Such a rich variety of music. Do you have “Runt,” “Todd” and “A Wizard A True Star”? three of my earlier faves.

Q: How is the venue at Artpark for the inside main stage? Good sound?

JM: Yes indeed! I love it there. The sound is generally excellent.

Q: How do you keep on top of new album releases? Do you have lists of release dates? How much earlier do you get albums before they go on sale?

JM: Things have changed so much over the last few years. Time was, I got tons of discs, often well in advance. Now, I might get a link to stream something, and that’s it. Very rarely is anything sent in advance, unless it’s a reissue. I have had no choice but to use streaming sites for listening to new music. It makes the job more difficult, because staying on top of things is incredibly time consuming.

Jeff Miers conducts at online chat at noon Fridays at