slim chance

langhorne alim.

The Americana jamboree artist born Sean Scolnick sounds likes he could have grown up down Memphis way given the generous soul slant in his songs. Or he could have hailed from rural Mississippi when you soak in all of the rustic blues references. Appalachia is another possibility, for there are country ruminations galore. Or maybe he once called the streets of New York home because his songs leapfrog from jazz whimsy to punkish thriftiness all while possessing the performance immediacy of a singer in a subway.

So where exactly did the singer they call Langhorne Slim come from? Well, near Philadelphia – the suburbs, to be exact. His home was a town on the Northern outskirts called, you guessed it, Langhorne.

If you thought a lot of Langhorne, Pennsylvania exists within the music of Langhorne Slim, your chances of  being correct would be none to, well… slim.

“I’m proud to be from there,” Slim said. “I really am. But I was always an outsider. I didn’t really fit in as I was growing up. I feel like maybe music was born into me because my mother is a great singer and I’ve got some other musicians and artists in my family. But some of the isolation I felt in Langhorne, or perhaps feeling a little disassociated from what was going on around me, might have dictated a need to create or to spend time alone to learn how to play guitar and write songs.

“It wasn’t so much of an explosion of music that was going on in Langhorne. I think it was the lack of it that drew me into what I’m doing now.”

A series of a half-dozen indie albums – the best being 2008’s When the Sun’s Gone Down – spread the word on Slim. So did tours that placed him on the road with The Avett Brothers, Drive-By Truckers and The Old 97s, among others. But it was a mixture of sound (perhaps best described as rustic country-folk with a post-grunge sensibility) and a distinctive means of displaying it in performance (in a sort of punk hootenanny manner) – that earned the ears of steadily mounting fanbase.

“Maybe I’m a born freak,” Slim said. “But I’m mostly a lover of music. I’m a lover of entertaining. I love everything from theatre to music to painting. All of that cuts into my own art, but it’s not really a conscious thing.

“I grew up liking punk rock music, classic rock, soul music. Then I got into bluegrass and blues and Americana. To me, it’s all music – music that hits me in my soul.”

The hows and whys of that music interest him less. Like many newer generation indie artists, Slim sees genres like pop, country and blues almost like tourist destinations. Each is to be enjoyed, inhabited, and, to a degree, appropriated. But ultimately, none of those singular inspirations match the kind of musical intensity that ignites once those sounds are combined.

“When you’re writing music, you’re simply combining everything that touches you. Again, it’s not a conscious thing of ‘I want this to be country’ or ‘I want that to be rock ‘n’ roll.’ You go with the feeling that hits you.”

Still, there have been several prime inspirations. Slim may not have heard them on the streets of Langhorne. But he soaked them up through the airwaves and stereos around him.

“The biggest ones back in the day for me were Nirvana, Otis Redding, Leadbelly and Doc Watson,” he said. “They all came from different times and from different places, but they were all like explosions in my soul.”

Along with the assimilation of influences and a gift for songcraft came a love for the stage. Slim’s recordings, including 2009’s Be Set Free and an as-yet-untitled new album, cut with help from independent fundraising on the internet, may document the first two traits. But the latter, a performance style that sounds like G. Love were he rooted more in bluegrass and Grand Ole Opry-style country than funk and hip-hop, has established Slim as a significant concert draw.

“Playing live is what you live for,” he said. “It’s the moment when you stop thinking and start feeling. That’s what is still so appealing about it. And when it’s going the best it can, you’re not intellectualizing. You’re just going on animal instincts. You’re feeling more than analyzing or overthinking.

“Look, half the time I don’t even remember what happened after a show. I can’t tell you if I did a good job or a bad job. You just do your best to open yourself up and let the music roll out. That gives me great joy. When I’m look out into a crowd and see people singing along and connecting with these songs… well, it’s just an amazing, powerful and beautiful thing.”

Langhorne Slim performs at 9 tonight at Cosmic Charlie’s, 388 Woodland Ave. with Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Good Saints opening. Tickets are $15. Call (859) 309-9499.

Netflix to delay delivery of Warner’s latest DVDs

AP Online January 6, 2010 | MICHAEL LIEDTKE Netflix Inc. will delay sending out Warner Bros.’ latest movies by nearly a month in a concession that the DVD-by-mail service made so it could gain rights to show its subscribers more movies over the Internet.

The 28-day rental moratorium on Warner Bros.’ newly released DVDs and Blu-ray discs is a first for Netflix, but it probably won’t be the last. Netflix hopes to reach similar deals with other major movie studios later this year, using the Warner Bros. agreement announced Wednesday as a template.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s scheduled Jan. 19 releases of “The Invention of Lying” and “Whiteout” will be among the first movies that won’t be immediately available to Netflix’s 11.1 million customers.

The compromise gives Time Warner Inc.’s movie unit _ and potentially other studios _ a chance to boost the sales of DVDs, the movie industry’s biggest source of profits.

Nearly three-fourths of DVD sales are made during the first four weeks the discs are in the stores, so turning off Netflix’s rental channel during that stretch might spur more impulse buying among consumers who can’t wait to see a newly released DVD.

“If this causes more of our subscribers to drive down to a store to buy a DVD, we think that will be good for the entertainment ecosystem,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.

He downplayed the threat of a backlash among subscribers, reasoning that Netflix’s library of more than 100,000 DVD titles will give them plenty of other options to tide them over while they wait an extra four weeks. see here newly released dvds

Newly released DVDs account for about 30 percent of Netflix’s shipments.

Blockbuster Inc., which has been losing ground to Netflix in recent years, intends to continue renting DVDs as soon as they are released, spokeswoman Michelle Metzger said.

Warner Bros. doesn’t plan to ask Blockbuster to delay renting newly released movies because the video rental chain charges consumers for each title that leaves its shelves, and studios get a cut of revenue under their agreements with Blockbuster, said Warner executive Ron Sanders. By contrast, Netflix’s subscribers pay a flat monthly fee, typically ranging from $9 to $17, to get an uncapped number of DVDs through the mail.

As Netflix has been embraced by more households, movie studio executives viewed the subscription service as a growing threat to their lucrative stream of DVD sales. Warner Bros. began to publicly pressure Netflix to agree to a rental delay five months ago. in our site newly released dvds

By acquiescing, Netflix will get a steep discount on Warner Bros.’ discs _ savings that the company intends to use to expand the selection of movies and TV shows available for instant viewing over the Internet.

Warner Bros. already has agreed to contribute hundreds of additional movies to that service _ triple the current catalog. They will include many titles that have only been out on DVD for three to eight months.

Investors evidently liked Netflix’s strategy as the Los Gatos, Calif., company’s shares rose $1.81, or 3.5 percent, to $53.32.

Netflix currently offers about 17,000 movies and TV shows for instant viewing, but many of the selections are older or obscure titles.

Internet viewing has become increasingly popular among Netflix’s subscribers, especially with an array of devices that have made it easier during the past 19 months to watch the movies on flat-panel TVs instead of small computer screens. As more consumers watch video over the Internet instead of discs that get mailed back and forth, Netflix also reduces postage costs.

Netflix packages offering DVD rentals and unlimited Internet viewing are available for as little as $9 per month. That price has been attractive enough to spur the company’s growth as more consumers looked for less expensive forms of entertainment during the worst recession in 70 years.

Netflix added 1.7 million subscribers during the first nine months of last year, and as many as 1.2 million more were expected to join from October to December, thanks partly to the introduction of Netflix instant viewing over Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 game machines.

Movie studio profits have been hurt by the migration to Netflix and other low-cost options such as the DVD-rental kiosks run by Redbox. Adams Media Research estimates DVD and Blu-ray sales fell by 10 percent to $13 billion last year.

Warner Bros. and other movie studios already tried to prevent Coinstar Inc.’s Redbox from renting DVDs during the first 28 days of their release. Coinstar, though, has gotten around the restrictions by buying the DVDs through other channels, prompting a legal battle that’s winding its way through the courts.

MICHAEL LIEDTKE



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