[star]The American Mind[star]

August 25, 2006

Social Networking Via Napster? I Laugh

Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired's music weblog Listening Post wrote something so out-of-wack, so bizarro that I immediately yelled, "BS!" to my computer monitor. What did he write? This,

With all of the RIAA's bellyaching about the volume of files shared over these networks, it's easy to forget that one of the reasons people were so excited about Napster back in the day was the social networking aspect. I'm sure I'm not the only one who used to search for a few key, obscure band names and then add anyone who was sharing them into my Buddy List. To find new stuff to listen to, all I had to do was browse these buddies' collections.

People didn't give a damn about the "social networking aspect" about Napster 1.0. Napster was popular because you could download lots of music for free. The buddy list was to easily find sources of free music. Napster users could have cared less about making friends with those on their buddy lists. If they never talked to them but got access to lots of cool music they were happy.

Napster wasn't like weblogs, social news sites like digg, and MySpace are where people with common interests do more than let each other know they could download the new CD they just ripped to their computer.

To claim Napster 1.0 was ahead of its time is just a way for Eliot to justify Napster 1.0's existence and ignoring the massive copyright-infringing used with the technology.

"RIAA-Proof Music Sharing" [via Scripting News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Dave Mustaine is No Fan of the U.N.

Let me preface this by stating the political opinions of famous musicians and celebrities have as much weight with me as President Bush's opinion of the greatest hard rock band ever*--and there is a correct answer. Still, I laughed when I read Dave Mustaine will title the next Megadeth album United Abominations:

"I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," the singer/guitarist said in a recent Billboard interview.

"I thought, 'Wow, I've got to run with this. I got it -- United Abominations, 'cause it's an abomination what they're doing!"

Let's see: Oil for Food; the Congo sex scandal; the unpaid parking tickets; the food and wine looting in 2003; the bloated price for renovating its headquarters; its inability to get anyone to disarm Hezbollah. The U.N. is a sad joke as well as an abomination.

"Megadeth Targets on New Album"

The greatest hard rock band ever would be the mightly Led Zeppelin. IV or the first disk of Physical Graffiti is my evidence.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dixie Chicks Documentary to Come Out this Fall

Here's another documentary I don't want to watch:

The politically charged documentary "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" has been picked up for worldwide distribution by the Weinstein Co.

A release is tentatively scheduled for the fall, possibly right before the November elections.

The film revolves around the aftermath of singer Natalie Maines' statement at a 2003 London concert, where she said, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

It chronicles death threats, political attacks and radio boycotts against the country trio, and that could make the film a political hot potato as well as potential ammo should longtime Democratic party supporter Harvey Weinstein become involved in the fall political campaigns.

Individuals who escape from the world's problems through music show their displeasure at musical artists who use their platforms to bloviate. Yet what the movie will do is show all the Chicks in their Jesus Christ pose.

"Dixie Chicks Documentary Could be Election Issue"

UPDATE: DJ asks why were the Dixie Chicks picked on when people like Neal Young have harshly criticized the administration. I think the Chicks received such a strong reaction because it came out of no where. Previous to Natalie Maines' remark the Chicks were looked at as non-political. Natalie said her thing fans got ticked, and she continued. Her fellow Chicks backed her so much that they posed for that Entertainment Weekly cover. They didn't have to back down from their feelings. They could have refrained from shoving their views in their fan's faces and things might have turned out better.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:55 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006


Here's another musical interlude courtesy of Erik Mongrain.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Page & Plant Go to the "Crossroads"

I give you this musical interlude courtesy of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2006

Open Letter to Dixie Chick

Phelony Jones deals out a reality-based slap to Natalie Maime's face:

To the media, you are porn. You're eye candy. To the rest of us you're just The Fat One with the fat mouth, but to the media, you're a peep show.

"Dear Natalie"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:22 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

June 17, 2006

Dixie Chick Doesn't Understand Patriotism

Dixie Chick Natalie Maines demonstrates she's a typical celebrity who hasn't learned to keep her mouth shut when it comes to things other than her craft:

The Chicks can't hide their disgust at the lack of support they received from other country performers. "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do," says Robison.

"A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole countryÖ I don't see why people care about patriotism."

Love of country is alien to her. And she wonders why fellow musicians and fans shunned her band.

It's not that Maines shouldn't talk politics period, it's that she's a moron on the subject. Stick to the music!

"How the Chicks Survived their Scrap with Bush" [via Michelle Malkin]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:55 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

May the Force Be with You

The All Star Wars Band backed Gnarls Barkley at the MTV Movie Awards. Chewbacca on drums, a storm trooper playing bass, some rebel pilots singing back-up, and Boba Fett standing guard all helping with the song of the year "Crazy."

[via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006


Time to celebrate by banging your head like a maniac. It's National Day of Slayer. No, SLAYER!!!!

UPDATE: Ok, there's a more important reason to remember this date. It's the anniversary of D-Day. I'll have to pop Saving Private Ryan into the DVD player later.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2006

Guns N' Roses Album Out in Fall

Axl Rose said the long-awaited Guns N' Roses album will be out this fall.

Yea right!

When I see it on the shelf in a music department I'll believe it.

"Axl Rose Heralds New Album"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 06, 2006

Web-Powered Music

For those in-the-know when it comes to online music Pandora and Last.fm are two pretty cool services. With Pandora you pick an artist and out comes a selection of songs that are similar you might like. You can play, pause, or skip to other ones. It's a nice way to get exposed to new (to you) music.

Last.fm is a music social network. After adding a plug-in to your music player of choice Last.fm keeps track of what songs you listen to. It builds charts and recommendations based on all the song data.

My biggest downside to Pandora was it didn't talk to Last.fm. The songs I listened to on Pandora weren't communicated to Last.fm. Real-ity Interactive fixed that.

"Web Service Integrates with Pandora"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2006


This is so bad. So bad I listened to it twice.

[via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2005

2005 TAM Music Awards

Nothing really floored me this year. Plenty of good music was made just nothing that made my jaw drop. Coldplay tried but wasn't consistent. My fave King's X got harder and almost made it. There's always next year.

  1. In the Clear by Ivy

    Ivy gave us cool pop, smooth singing, and icy sexiness. This album has lots of hooks and emotion behind the breathy vocals.

  2. Body of Song by Bob Mould

    Mould returns to his power-pop sound his fans adore. Crunchy guitars combine with pop hooks. This is how we like our rock and roll.

  3. Buzzin' Fly Volume 2 by Ben Watt

    This is the first mix album to get a TAM award. Watt tried to create a concept album around the feelings of New York City after the Sep. 11 attacks. There's haunting poetry, funky beats, and plenty of New York style. Watt succeeds in his task.

  4. Confession on a Dance Floor by Madonna

    Yes, she's getting old, but she made a great dance album. It's full of energy and life even though it has some stupid lyrics. Just ignore them and her Flashdance-inspired videos.

  5. Speak for Yourself by Imogen Heap

    This woman touches your soul with her voice. That's talent. This electronica has layers of sound but you can still feel Heap through it all. Electronic gizmos or not, this woman is going places.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:42 PM | Comments (2)

December 01, 2005

Consuming Confessions

I'm liking the new Madonna album more than I thought. She's jumped to #2 most-played-artist on my last.fm page.

Confessions on a Dance Floor is Madonna back on the dance floor. It has it's share of pop house tunes and good hooks. Just ignore the lame Flashdance look she graces on the album cover.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005


Two of my fave musical artists King's X and Bob Mould will be in Milwaukee next Tuesday, 11.15. These guys haven't been to Milwaukee in ages, and they happen to be in town at the same time. I smell a conspiracy. Ah, but I have a plan. Mould will be in Madison Sunday, Nov. 13. I'll be in "Circles" on Sunday and "Fly"-ing on Tuesday. And they thought they could fool me.... Ha!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 06, 2005

Alt Rock iMix

Do you use iTunes and want some good, rockin' alternative rock (whatever that means anymore)? Check out my iMix.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005

Selling a Music Player

Apple tries to make its buyers feel cool, hip, and "with it." Dell takes the ironic dork approach mashed up into an Old Navy ad. They both represent their products well. Apple's iPods are sleek and sexy. The Dell DJ Ditty is a grey box with an LCD screen. On style points Steve Jobs' company wins hands down.

[via dapreview.net]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2005

New King's X

Amazon let me down. They've known my purchases for years and years and yet to let me know that Ogre Tones, the latest album from one of my favorite bands, King's X, came out Tuesday. It's one of those albums I'd be surprised to see sitting on a shelf at Best Buy so online is how I'll get it. Jeff Bezos, back to the drawing board.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

iTunes Game

I'll play too. Here are the top five most played for me:

  1. "Talk"--Coldplay
  2. "Give It Away"--Zero 7
  3. "I Have Seen"--Zero 7
  4. "Eple"--Royksopp
  5. "Nothing but the Sky"--Ivy

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:35 AM | Comments (2)

September 28, 2005

Rush Honored

Finally! The Canadian power trio get some much-deserved love. First, Michele, then Cleveland...someday.

"ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First Inductee"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2005

New King's X

Very, very cool. New King's X! This is really, really cool! Don't believe me? Listen to "Alone."

I've loved the band since high school. They are a power trio in the vein of Rush. Only these guys can all sing, love harmonies, feel the funk, and never felt the need to make 20-minute sci-fi rock pieces.

They've been off major lables for some time. When with Atlantic they mesmerised me with Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and Faith, Hope, Love. A lot of people really like the emotional heft and darkness of Dogman. (Me, I'm a sucker for their vocal harmonies.) Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous was psychedelic but with emotional depth. Their most recent studio album Black Like Sunday had a few good songs, but it was strickly for the hard-core King's X fan. (The songs were ones lying around from the 80s.) I can't say anything about their double-CD live album because I still don't have it. Their new album Ogre Tones comes out 09.27. Now, if you're really gung-ho the band is selling a demo CD from their Dogman sessions.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2005

New Bob Mould

From how much I like the single "Paralyzed" Body of Sound should be a good album and nab a TAM Music Award. It comes out tomorrow. You have a choice of plain old album or the "Deluxe Edition" filled with extras and remixes.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:29 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2005

Lonely Butt

Yes vs. Sir Mix-a-lot, "Owner of a Lonely Butt." It rocks!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005

Pick an Album

In London this fall, bands like Dinosaur, Jr. and the Lemonheads will perform a complete album live. Cool idea. Here are some bands and albums I'd love to see/hear:

What album would you want to hear live?

"Donít Look Back"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:50 AM | Comments (5)

July 14, 2005

A Smart Way to Sell Mixes

Here's a question to my readers who are electronic dance music fans: What's up with Nick Warren's latest Global Underground mix on iTunes? Is it what I think it is: the individual tracks plus Warren's mixes all for one price? The downside of loading all my dance mixes into iTunes is I can't jump from track to track. iTunes can rip them as a single file so I'd have to fast forward to the song I want to hear. Getting the individual songs along with the seemless mix is a great innovation if that's what Apple is doing.

Now if a record company is really smart they'd sell an album along with the individual tracks used to make the songs. That way they'd let budding producers mash things up to their heart's content.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:11 AM | Comments (5)

July 10, 2005

Defending "Stairway"

Michele has always been too harsh when dissing "Stairway to Heaven." Still, I just have to smile at her criticism:

The problem here is also that Zep inadvertently invented a formula for overrated songs: The plaintive singing of cryptic lyrics about five stanzas too long, followed by a guitar solo that makes one envision the guitarist standing on top of a mountain, wind blowing through his hair while his screeching riffs conjure up all kinds of inclement weather because it's that good. And don't get me wrong. I love Zep. But Stairway makes me cringe. Maybe I'm just embarassed that I used to believe this was the greatest song ever written. I also used to believe that you could see the Statue of Liberty in the reflection of a lake on Bear Mountain, but both those beliefs were born of the same drug.

Yeah, the lyrics make no sense, and classic rock stations played it to death. But Jimmy Page is awesome, the song has an epic, bigger-than-life quality and great dynamics, and despite the lyrics the listener can pour anything they want into it. It's an unintentional open-source allegory.

I don't know if "Stairway" is Zep's best song. Some days I'm gung-ho for "Kashmir." Other days is "Stairway." Even once in a while "Rock and Roll" makes its case. (Led Zeppelin IV is the best rock and roll album of all time.) "Stairway" always competes, and nine times out of ten if it pops up on the random shuffle of my iPod, I'll listen to it all the way through.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:03 PM | Comments (1)

July 03, 2005

Live 8

Bob Geldof has done a service with Live 8. It doesn't matter if you agree with all he proposes as a way to eliminate African poverty. He has brought attention to the issue and has gotten many people--important people--talking. But they're not only talking but listening. Bill Gates for one. That doesn't ensure change but it gives us hope.

"Is that Loud Enough for You?"

"Live 8 Rocks the World, but Will It Help the Poor?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005

As Long as She Doesn't Open Her Mouth

That's Jessica Simpson I'm talking about.

"Is it "Cool" to "Love America" Again?" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2005

Return of Nuno Bettencourt

Nuno Bettencourt will come out from the wilderness when he joins Perry Farrell at Lollapalooza for Satellite Party.

Extreme was one of my favorite hair metal bands. Their debut album was ok but full of metal cliches. Their second disk Extreme II: Pornograffiti was a magnum opus. They put the funk in funk metal, crunched away, and the songs simply rocked. Bettencourt was ripping off the best guitar solos at that time. III Sides to Every Story is many fans favorite album. It's not bad. It has its moments, but I think the band took themselves too seriously. It was too much about every song having to have a moral to it. Porno was loose, funky, and rocked from begining to end--and that includes their ballad "More than Words."

A few years ago VH1 had a reality series where they tried to reunite bands of the past. One of them was Extreme. They ran around the Boston area finding Gary Cherone, Pat Badger, and Paul Geary. Those three were ready and willing to reunite. All that was needed was Nuno. VH1 flew Gary to Los Angeles to talk to Nuno. It was a disaster with Nuno refusing to even be shown on camera. That was the last I heard about the guitarist. Let's hope Nuno can still shread like he used to.

"Farrell Bringing Satellite Party to Lollapalooza"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:22 PM | Comments (3)

June 13, 2005

Pink Floyd Reuniting at Live 8

Roger Waters and the rest of Pink Floyd have patched things up enough to play at Live 8 next month in London.

In other Live 8 news Blur's Damon Albarn thinks the show are "too damn Anglo-Saxon." Typical Lefty artistic stupidity. How, suppose, would Bob Geldof get oodles of attention for his poverty-fighting campaign if a bunch of unknown African singers performed? Live 8 is a political event as much as a musical one. Affirmative action need not apply.

"Classic Pink Floyd Lineup to Play Live 8"

"Live 8 Concert Criticized as 'Too Anglo-Saxon'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:00 PM | Comments (2)

June 12, 2005

First Impressions: "ES"

Satoshi Tomiie's new mix album ES, like any good dance mix collection, has a theme. The theme of it is the return of acid house (if it actually ever left). Throughout most of the tracks was that distictive squelchy, squiggly, fuzzy acid synth that typified the dance music of the late 1990s. Along with the acid vibe was a prominent progressive feel. It feels like something coming out of a New York City club where the music is harder, and the dancing more serious.

ES starts with Kevin Freeman's "Time for Revolution." Part of the revolution is one of production. This song feels like it was made in Freeman's bedroom studio (if he has one). I don't mean that in a bad way. The technology to enable artists to make music practially anywhere expands sonic experimentation. All music lovers should appreciate that. "Revolution" goes for the old school, Kraftwerk, Derrick May sound. There's a lack of a distinctive bass drum, acid flourishes, and sirens. This is a good, entertaining start to the mix. What would be more entertaining would be something more carnal.

"Revolution" mixes beautifully into Pastaboys' "Tribute." It's still techno but incorporates dark, progressive sounds. Sexy vocals tell you to "Shake your body down" and "Do it to me, I'll do it to you." Combine that with a minimal melody that attatches to the bass and goes straight to your hips, and you have something almost erotic.

Avenue D's "You Love This Ass" and Bush II Bush's "Piano Track" loosen things up and move into the house range of dance music. A couple uneventful tracks pass until we come to Peace Division's "Peaces of Gold." Here we have something dark and sexy with a nice synth build up that makes it epic sounding. Think a dark, house version of Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters."

Chab's "You And Me" (Satoshi Tomiie ES Edit) and Maskio's "Wait (I Know What You Need)" take us to a progressive level. Texture replaces melody with driving bass and weird, hypnotic vocals. I swear Smegol is telling me, "I know what you need" on the Maskio track.

JheReal's remix of Uppfade's "Friday Loops" is a funky, wide open house song. This is the definite arm waver with ass-shaking bass. Later on Beckers' "Fake" continues the positive energy output with driving keyboards. And if you pay attention to the lyrics (and are old enough) you'll recognize them from Living Colour's "Desparate People."

For a mix released in the summer ES doesn't have any smiley, cheery tracks--Ibiza trance this ain't. Regardless, ES' combination of styles (dare I lable it "tech progressive?") and middle-of-the night vibe should provide ample listening value.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

Renaissance Woman

In a display of musical talent and giving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice performed in a charity concert at the Kennedy Center:

Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago.

The soprano is a granddaughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and his wife Annette, who Rice has known for years. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association, formed in 1990, presented the concert to draw attention to the disease from which more than 100,000 people are known to suffer.

Intelligent, cultured, talented, even rather sexy. The lack of executive experience keeps me from jumping on the Draft Condi bandwagon.

"Rice Takes to Stage to Aid Ailing Soprano"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:44 AM | Comments (3)

June 11, 2005

A New Year's Gone Awry

Alex Lifeson had one really bad New Year's Eve in 2004. He, his son, and his son's wife got into an altercation with hotel security and local police. What started with four felonies got eventually worked down to misdemeanors with suspended sentences. Lifeson is still furious and is now suing.

"Rush Guitarist Lifeson Sues and Speaks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Ozzy Digs 'Em

Touring with both Britney Spears and Ozzy Osbourne. Jada Pinkett Smith's band Wicked Wisdom will take claim to that bit of trivia. Ozzfesters will just love this band.

"Osbourne Defends Wicked Wisdom's Ozzfest Slot"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005

People Actually Bought That?

Rob Thomas' solo album has been certified platinum. Over one million people own that album. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"AC/DC's Back In Black Tips 21 Million Mark"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2005

That Other Big Secret is Still Secret

One 1970s mystery has been solved with the announcement of Deep Throat, but another one still remains: Who is Carly Simon singing about in "You're So Vain"?

"It's about Mark Felt!" Simon, 59, joked by phone Wednesday from her home in Martha's Vineyard, referring to the former FBI official who has said he was Deep Throat.

Vain was a No. 1 hit in January 1973, six months after the Watergate break-in that led to President Nixon's downfall.

But unlike the Watergate principals, Simon says she'll never reveal the answer, not even when she or the song's subject dies. "I don't see why I ever would. What would it advance?

Well, if Simon could get Dick Ebersol to cough up $50,000 I'm sure she could sell the answer to someone for a $1 million who could then make it public and donate the cash to charity.

If the vain man is Warren Beatty will we be hearing from him when he's 90, old, decrepit, and forgotten?

"You Probably Think this Story's About..."

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 05:54 PM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2005

Now this is a Mash Up

Jewish reggae hip-hop sounds like a one-hit wonder/fad but Matisyahu has a strong voice and some serious skills. Check him out on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

[via karmagrrl]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2005


What do politically opinionated celebrities do they don't get their way? They quit. Trent Reznor pulled his band Nine Inch Nails out of the MTV Movie Awards because the music channel wouldn't let them perform in front of a picture of President Bush. Reznor, in language fit for an arrogant psudo-intellectual, said, "Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me." Please. More likely MTV was worried the Bush-hating Reznor would do something with the image causing negative publicity to drop on the network.

Michele isn't boycotting NIN. Good.

"Nine Inch Nails Drops MTV Show over Bush Backdrop"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2005

A Review in the Raw

Michele does a version of First Impressions with the new Weezer album.

"Weezer's Make Believe: a Review as It Happens"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2005

Most Overrated Album

According to Michele's readers it's Elephant by The White Stripes. I can't say much about it. I can only hum "Seven Nation Army" and don't know any other songs. I never got into the whole garage band scene. Thanks to all of you who voted for Nirvana's Nevermind. You tried.

"Overrated Albums: Poll Winner"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2005

Vote More

What's wrong with you people? Nevermind isn't winning. Quit reading this and vote!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)

April 26, 2005

Stuff the Ballot

Vote for Nirvana's Nevermind as the "Most Overrated Album."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2005

Mitch Likes Springsteen

Mitch Berg likes Bruce Springsteen.

But, it took 2,300 words for him to say so.

As I commented there, I'm no fan of Warren Zevon. Maybe I just don't get the joke, or perhaps it's because it's used as the theme for a radio show from 9a-12p on am1500, KSTP in Good Old St. Paul/Big Time Minneapolis, that I am forbidden from mentioning. The mere sounds of Zevon sends my hand to the radio dial and screams to fill the air to prevent my ears from hearing the hosts come on the air.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Music at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005

iTunes' Most Famous Customer

President George Bush.

Surprise surprise. No Dixie Chicks.

"Tunes for the Freewheelin' George Bush" [via Althouse]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

March 31, 2005

New Bob Mould in July

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Any new Bob Mould music will make me happy. But what kicks it up a notch (damn Emeril!) is Body of Song will "employ a guitar-heavy full-band approach." Bob will be rockin'. Sweet!

"Yep Roc Announces Release of New Bob Mould Album!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:26 AM | Comments (2)

March 08, 2005

New Alan Parsons

New Alan Parsons. That's good to hear.

"New Alan Parsons"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:15 AM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2005

CBGB Update

The problems of legendary NYC music club CBGB are more complicated than just increased rent. The club has financial and legal problems with its landlord Bowery Residents' Committee. That organization cares for NYC homeless. At one point CBGB owed the committee $300,000 in back rent. Ironically CBGB could be made homeless itself.

What side will city liberals fall: will they back the rock and roll culture and history of CBGB or will they go with their guilty conscience and support the homeless organization?

"Home of Punk-Rock Battles for Its Home"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:33 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2005

I Don't Buy It

Fred Durst isn't hate hackers even though one of them stole a sex video from his home computer. He actually said this is "causing awareness for homeland security."

To me this just reeks of a publicity stunt. If that was Durst's plan it's working.

"Fred Durst Says: My Cellphone was Not Hacked"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:25 PM | Comments (2)

February 25, 2005

I Did It All for the Publicity

How convenient. A washed up rock star has a porno tape put on the internet. Even better it gets tied into Paris Hilton's hacked Sidekick. Call me cynical, but I think Fred Durst did this for a little more than nookie.

"He Did It All for the Nookie"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2005

CBGB's Priced Out of Market

The legendary New York City club/hole in the wall may close to due rising rent. CBGB's might be the victim of its own success. By being the birthplace of American punk music its hipness made it a desirable location. Thus rents rose. Now, the owner is paying $40,000 a month in rent. Unfortunately that's economic dynamism in action. Sometime in the future we'll find out about another club in a dank, dark part of some city that will makes its mark on music. Then we'll watch this dynamic happen again.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

The Grammys

I have more interest in the Pro Bowl than watching this year's Grammys. Like I'll ask when the Oscars are on in a few weeks, just tell me who won.

What I'm doing tonight is playing around with my new Dell notebook to get it ready for CPAC.

"Grammy Live Blogging (sort of...)"

UPDATE: While not actually watching the show I'm reading about it. Britney Spears won her first Grammy by beating out the Chemical Brothers and other for best dance recording. Grammys voters made up for it by giving Loretta Lynn an award for her song "Portland, Oregon." If you haven't already, go get Van Lear Rose. It's a great album by a classic country artist for those who think they won't ever like country music.

"Britney Spears Claims Her First Grammy"

"Loretta Lynn Wins First Grammy in 33 Years"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2005

New New Order

"Krafty" is the first single from the upcoming New Order album Waiting For the Siren's Call. This will have to do until the album comes out in April for us in North America.

"'Krafty' New Order Confirmed For Coachella 2005"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

New JEW Video

I'm not one to mention music videos--I do remember when they were actually on MTV--but the video for the Jimmy Eat World song "Work" is set in Madison.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2004

2004 TAM Music Awards

  1. Van Lear Rose Loretta Lynn

    She may be old, but Loretta Lynn can rock. It helps to have The White Stripes' Jack White helping with production and bringing in a backing rock band. But what shines on this is album Lynn's storytelling. It starts off in the title song with a lovely tale of her mother and father's courtship. "Portland, Oregon" is a great duet with White about love while drunk. "Have Mercy on Me" is a country/rockabilly gumbo song. "Women's Prison" may seem cliche for a country artist, but Lynn tells the story so well to make it a four-minute musical novel.

  2. Ethnomixicology Outernationalists

    What a wonderful mix of world music chants and instruments, funk, rock, and dance beats--and that's just in one song on this hour+ mix. In the late 80s, REM's Michael Stipe thought the future of music would be indigenous sounds fused with cutting-edge technology. Ethnomixicology fulfills that prediction.

    "Mash ups" may be hot with The Grey Album and Jay-Z's and Linkin Park's joint effort, but Ethnomixicology literally embodies the concept. We need a new term to describe music of such diversity. How about a "mix-up?" You may think that the combination of sounds should be a mistake, but the music sounds too good.

  3. How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb U2

    This album had the most hype with it prior to release. This was supposed to be U2's first "rock" album. What the previous ones were, I don't know. Then with rocker "Vertigo" becoming the theme song for the iPod fans were expecting big things.

    All the typical U2 sounds are here: The Edge's one-of-a-kind guitar; Bono's passionate voice; a flawless rhythm section. The songs pack energy, heart, and sheer love for making music. "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" changes pace with beautiful honesty and Bono's hitting a few high notes. With a song titled "Love and Peace or Else" you may think it's a threat. Instead it's a cry. "We need love and peace," sings Bono in this mid-tempo burner. U2 offered no letdown from All that You Can't Leave Behind.

  4. Hot Fuss The Killers

    Until recently I though power pop was dead. Sugar is no more, and it's been years since the Goo Goo Dolls put out an album that incorporated power to their pop. Pop punk has the guitar crunch. But the vocals are as whiny as the songs' lyrics. So I had to look elsewhere for my pop rock fix. The retro sounds of The Killers grabbed me. Hot Fuss contains hooks, tough guitar riffs, and the Moog syths that transport you to 1983. "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" are full of lyrical wordplay which adds to the subject's troubled psyche. The band is from Las Vegas, but they sound like 80s Euro pop. You can hear echos of The Smiths, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and New Order, especially in Brandon Flowers' vocals.

  5. Crimes of Passion Big Head Todd & the Monsters

    This album is a slow burner on the heels of the rockfest Rivera. BHTM have done this before. After their Sister Sweetly album they came back with Strategem. In both cases the follow-up album is more subdued, but not less interesting. BHTM kind of tricks you with "Dirty Juice" the first song on CoP. While not a full-throated rocker, it's got an addictive groove. Next, you come to "Beauty Queen." The smoky jazz vibe in this one assures you the band has taken a break from high-powered rock and roll. This song like "Drought of 2013" and "ICU in Everything" are the type that requires multiple listenings to really appreciate. Todd Park Mohr tells some good stories in these songs, and his precise, unexpected guitar playing shows the breadth of his talent. The best song is "Imaginary Ships." The dynamic soundscape created is heartbreaking, sublime.

    Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

First Impressions: "Like You Like an Arsonist"

Thank God for iTunes. It's how I discovered a real treat in Paris, Texas new album Like You Like an Arsonist. I adore good power pop (think Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar), so when I listened to PTX's "Bombs Away" I knew I needed to immediately get the rest of the album. All these songs are tight. They ripple with energy. One qualm with my first listen is the lead vocals aren't super dynamic. There's no sign of the annoying whining that plagues pop punk and no Pavement droning, but Scott Sherpe is no Bob Mould. Another flaw is there are few real guitar solos. There are some moments when a riff is repeated, but Nolan Treolo and Nick Zinkgraf can play. They could have stretched out a little.

It's wild knowing a band this good was in my neck of the woods (Madison, WI). Too bad for me it took me this long to discover them.

Below are some thoughts about some of the songs while going through my first listen.

  • "White Eyes": Has machine gun, Ramones-like riffs and a dab of vocal harmony.

  • "Your Death": The fluttering notes at the beginning immediately signal no break from the fast pace. Big thick guitar chords in the chorus. I could live without the tempo shift just before the chorus.

  • "Strike My Heart": The intricate guitar layering and interplay are the key to this song.

  • "One Hot Coma": Do I detect a snarl in Scott Sherpe's vocals.

  • "Hip Replacement": More neat guitar combinations. Power chords with harmonies and stacotto swipes of the strings.

  • "Better Off": The intro riffs drip with power pop purity. Melody and crunch unite to become fist-pumping, tune-humming yummyness. This is the most "emo" of the songs so far. That's probably because there are moments of sparse guitar work where I can focus on the lyrics.

  • "Gemini": Jumpy. Slightly off-kilter rhythm guitar makes for a cleaver change of pace.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:23 AM | Comments (1)

December 23, 2004

Buy the World Some Coke

Mediaguru tells a story of The Smithereens coked up. I wonder if lead singer Pat DiNizio was high when he ran for the U.S. Senate on the Reform Party ticket?

By the way, The Smithereens are a highly underrated band. They have a knack of balancing great pop hooks with muscular guitar crunch. I was hooked with "Girl Like You," and I've never looked back. Go get their greatest hits collection.

"Smithereens=Cokeheads" [via ASV]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

An Outrage!

Today, five new inductees were announced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. U2, The O'Jays, Percy Sledge, The Pretenders, and Buddy Guy made it. Who missed out? Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, the J. Geils Band, and Conway Twitty. Another glaring omission is the Canadian power trio Rush who this year celebrated 30 years as a band. They're a band that has progressed from Led Zeppelin metal to art rock to 80s rock/pop to the stylized music they make today. Through it all there has been fine musicianship, great songs, and intelligent lyrics.

Not to pick on The Pretenders--they had their time in the late 70s and 80s, but Rush has consistently put out interesting music that stretches their abilities and their listeners ears. And would the Hall of Fame seriously consider The J. Geils Band? They had two songs, "Centerfold" and "Freeze Frame." That earns you an "as seen on TV" greatest hits collection, not a place in Cleveland.

According to an "expert," Rush isn't in the HOF because Rolling Stone magazine doesn't like them. So it's Jan Wenner's fault. There is a petition 22,000+ have signed, so I'm not the only upset Rush fan.

"U2, O'Jays Top Rock Hall Inductees" [via Althouse]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:45 PM | Comments (2)

December 07, 2004


Oddly, it's December and my neck of the woods hasn't yet seen snow fall. Wisconsin has a reputation for being one of America's iceboxes so no hint of snow yet is a surprise. If it's because of global warming then I'm even more anti-Kyoto. I bring up the weather, not because I love writing about it, but because a new dance mix album is out. Escape: St. Barth's transports you to a place of sand, sun, and warm, fun house music.

The highlights of this mix include Martin Solveig's "Rocking Music (Joey Negro Dub Mix)" that lives up to its name. It has a great groove and beat with a bouncing bass. GusGus's "David (Tim Deluxe Mix)" entertains with a simple happy synth topped by standard female house vocal. Tim Deluxe does it again with his own "It Just Won't Do." The song has a horn theme where even Sam Obernik's vocal sounds like a horn. The Supermen Lovers' "Starlight (Dub Version)" adds a retro touch to the mix. It brings a funky disco feel with soulful singing and traditional song structure. Near the end there's Lee Cabrera's "Shake It (Move a Little Closer)." It's sweaty, sexy, and makes you want to dance close to someone. This song best captures the summer vibe.

Escape: St. Barth's is not serious progressive house. This is fun, smiley house with plenty of hooks but little cheese which a mix invoking the summer could easily "melt" into.

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2004

New U2

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is in my hands. All the hype along with a brilliant piggy back on Apple's iPod got me excited. But the U2 website was streaming the album so I listened and was let down. This is suppose to be U2's rock album. (If so, then what kind of music were they putting out before?) Nothing else besides "Vertigo" got my heart pumping. It's not that the album is bad, I haven't listen to it enough yet, but I have to change my expectations. For those of you who don't know if they should get HTDAAB here's Mark Saleski's review.

"U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:59 PM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2004

I Feel Like I'm in an Apple Commercial

A surprise was waiting for me when I got home from work: my new iPod. The 20GB model now has 4300+ songs on it--it took about 90 minutes. At one point tonight I had my iPod in one pocket and my digital camera in the other. I've joined the Gadget Geek Gang, and I don't know how to feel about this. Maybe I'll figure it out while I'm reading The Pentagon's New Map.

[Yes, this post became a virtual Amazon.com commercial. It's Friday, I'm having fun, and hardly anyone's reading this.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)

October 03, 2004

Almost a WOW

Way Out West could have been thought of as Nick Warren's gig when he wasn't zooming across the globe DJing. That certainly seemed like it when he and fellow DJ and producer Jody Wisternoff wrote "Intensify" on their second album of the same name. Three years later WOW has a new album. The dance vibe is still there but the twelve songs on Don't Look Now feel more like actual songs, not just dance tracks. Drums and guitars join the synths, drum machines, and computer cut-ups. But what really lifts this album is the new third member of WOW. Omi is what Warren and Wisternoff call their "secret weapon." She's not your standard issue dance track diva. Her voice is warm and breathy. Imagine a deeper sounding Kirsty Hawkshaw, and you'll be in the ballpark. Omi's emotional connection to the lyrics carries the tracks "Anything But You," "Don't Forget Me," and "Just Like a Man."

The songs are full of air. That's a compliment. They're full of space and breathe. They fit perfectly with Omi's voice. The music matches the vocals. That's a big aesthetic plus.

I don't want to say Don't Look Now is bereft of the energy needed for a good electronic dance album, because it's not. "Anything But You" immediately kicks it with a strong break beat. "Fear" has an ex-Echo and the Bunnymen drummer flailing away. "Killa" starts with an big space-filling synth intro followed by a pumping break beat.

Don't be surprised with all the trance elements. Nick Warren is/was one of the best trance DJs in the world. Fans of BT's Emotional Technology will find no complaints with this album. Both are similar sonically in their use of break beats and vocals. WOW tops BT because of Omi's emotional depth.

Giving Don't Look Now a big WOW may be going too far. The last few songs felt too similar and began to melt together in my brain. It is a solid album that lets electronic music fans know artists want to stretch the boundaries of this limitless genre. Given the talent, they can succeed.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:46 AM | Comments (2)

Reuters Gets It Right

Friday night was the beginning of the Vote for Change tour. Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, and others going to battleground states to sing songs and get John Kerry elected. The tour's name is merely a euphemism. These rock stars don't want change in the abstract. They want a particular kind of change--namely the defeat of President Bush. The tour should be named "Vote for Kerry." At least in their headline Reuters points it out for readers.

By the way, I'm so furious as these artists for mixing politics and music in such a partisan way (see Alice Cooper) that I will no longer buy their music new. If I find it used, I'll jump on it because my cash won't be headed their way. They're speaking out which is their right, and I'm speaking out by not financially supporting them.

"Rockers Mix Music, Politics at Pro-Kerry Concerts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

First Impressions: "Creamfields"

This is the first in what I hope will be an on-going series where I listen to an album for the first time and jot down my first impressions--hence the name. An album that doesn't have a great first impression shouldn't imply it's no good. Maybe at the time of my first listen I'm not in the mood for music genre (or in no good mood at all). It's possible for an album to "grow on a person--like mold." [Ten brownie points to the first person to tell me what sit-com that quote came from.] Conversely, an album that has a good first impression may not have the staying power of, say, Sugar's Copper Blue. Individuals evolve, and their tastes evolve with them. The first victim is Paul Oakenfold's new two-CD dance mix Creamfields.

The first disk is filled with hands-in-the-air trance that's full of melodies and hooks but isn't cheesy. Oakenfold's forte is picking excellent songs you can dance and hum along to. These songs send me to the version of the massive Creamfields festival running wild inside my head.

Disk 2 starts off with a more moderate pace and a break beats. "One Day" by NuBreed & Luke Chable sounds more like a electronicized pop song rather than an dance anthem. Things get revved up with Girl Nobody's "Cages" and continues on with The Sneaker's "Scatterbomb." Oakenfold gets back to the epic trance sound with Stel & Good Newz's "Particle" and his remix of U2's "Beautiful Day."

Creamfields is a solid dance collection. It contains melody, vocals, and plenty of irresistible, body-grooving rhythms.As long as Paul Oakenfold sticks to mix albums he's fine. It's when he does solo projects that we should cringe.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 17, 2004

Beatallica Revealed

Ever since a weird combination of Metallica and The Beatles started floating around the Net last year, all we knew about Beatallica was they were from the Midwest. I figured their home was Chicago given the Windy City's population and bigger music scene. Nope. Michael Brandenburg, A.K.A. Krk Hammettson, and his fellow four horsemen all call Milwaukee home.

"Meet the Milwaukeeans Who Meld Metallica, Beatles"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

Hornsby Over Kerry

Here's my theory of what will happen tonight: With Clinton, Obama, and Edwards setting the bar high, the expectations are that John Kerry will look lifeless compared to them. However, he will deliver a good speech. The man has been public speaking since he was a high school debater. However, the talk will be that he found a way to rise up to the level of Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. Thus, Kerry will get high praise for just a good performance.

I'm skipping out on watching John Kerry's speech live. I'll be savoring the sweet sound of Bruce Hornsby.

UPDATE: I didn't get to see Hornsby because the show sold out. Since I could still buy tickets last night I figured I was okay. Instead, I saw Napoleon Dynamite.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 05:54 PM | Comments (2)

July 28, 2004

Celebrity Republican Spotted

Alright! If I wanted to only consume pro-Republican music I found an artist I can listen to: Sammy Hagar.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:43 PM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2004

Not Music to My Ears

As an update to this post on Big Music donating oodles of CDs to libraries here are what some Wisconsin libraries are getting:

Among the 592 CDs shipped to the Marshfield Public Library, there are 22 copies of Ricky Martin's "Sound Loaded," 20 copies of Samantha Mumba's "Gotta Tell You," 16 copies of "The Three Tenors in Concert," 12 copies of Georg Philipp Telemann's "String Concertos/Musica Antiqua Koln-Goebel," and 12 copies of Mandy Moore's self-titled album.

"We ended up with quite a mix," said Marshfield Public Library director Lori Belongia. "They are not current top 40. There's a mix of country western, pop and rock, a fair amount of classical, a fair number of opera and a number of Spanish titles." Out of the 40 to 60 CDs Abbotsford Public Library received, 10 will be added to its collection, said librarian Jane Medenwaldt. The library will try to exchange the rest of the CDs with other libraries.

"CD Settlement Delivers Duds" [via Slashdot]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2004

Swimming in CDs

Big Music settled a price-fixing suit with a bunch of states. Besides paying out a boatload of money to consumers they donated CDs to local libraries. Here are some of the "hits" Southeast Wisconsin libraries received:

  • 188 copies of Michael Bolton's Timeless
  • 375 of Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971
  • 104 copies of Will Smith's Willennium
  • 11 of Martha Stewart Living: Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween
  • 81 copies of Barry Whites' Staying Power
  • 26 copies of Ricky Martin's Sound Loaded
  • 1235 copies of Whitney Houston's The Star-Spangled Banner

What, no King's X? The selection was determined by "how much time artists spent on the Billboard charts" which means the public has some really bad musical tastes.

"Music to Whose Ears?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Moore Is Dumb

"What a statement!" is what I am sure all you are saying.

From his open letter to the Aladdin Casino:

I understand from the news reports I've read that, after Linda Ronstadt, one of America's greatest singers, dedicated a song to me from your stage on Saturday night, you instructed your security guards to remove her from the Aladdin, which they did.

What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still in the United States. And in the United States, we have something called "The First Amendment." This constitutional right gives everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say. All Americans hold this right as sacred.

Now, let's check that pesky First Amendment thing:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Hmmm, "Congress shall make no law..." Not "The Aladdin Casino shall make no law..." The Aladdin is a private establishment. They can make whatever rules they want. They can invite in anyone and ask anyone to leave, for whatever reason they want.

Get it right, there Big Mike.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Music at 06:19 PM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2004

A Perfect Ten

The voters at Michele's weblog had the good sense and taste to pick Pearl Jam's Ten over Nirvana's Nevermind as the best album of the 90s. I would have been happy with Metallica's black album too as long as the overrated Cobain disk didn't win.

"Best Album Poll Winner: Exit Sandman"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:01 PM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2004


Colin Powell doesn't look anything like the original construction worker from the Village People, but I'm glad he didn't go for the leather look.

"It's Fun for Powell at the 'YMCA'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2004


This weekend marks the start of Summerfest, Milwaukee's annual Summer Get Together. Yet, our benefactor is in An Undisclosed Location.

Today's lineup features Kenny Chesney (with Uncle Kracker), Live, Tantric, O.A.R, and Sister Hazel.

If I had to pick a night to go, it would be Wednesday, June 30. Nickelback with 3 Doors Down, Styx (Domo Arigato!), The Fixx, Tesla and Loverboy.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in MusicSummerfest at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

Life is Good

Big Head Todd and the Monsters will be in Milwaukee 08.01.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2004

A Score and a Half in Lincoln-Speak

Reuters is good for something. They have a nice piece on the 30-year anniversary of Rush (at least with Neil Peart in the band).

"Rush Trio Celebrates 30 Years Together"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2004

New Beatallica

Beatallica is some of the funniest stuff I've heard in ages. This month, their self-title second album is available for your downloading pleasure.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:19 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2004

Here Are Some Bad Songs

No need for me to follow the "worst song" meme that Blender started. I put together a list last year that I still stand mostly stand by. One song I'd add would be William Hung's version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." I've never heard, never will (hopefully), but after seeing him doing "She Bangs" how could it be any good?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2004

Highly Recommended

I just downloaded Motown 1's from iTunes. Oh, do I love "Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Always have, always will. The album is loaded with other great songs. Get it. There's no way you'll be disappointed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:06 PM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2004

Why Ask Why?

Last week, I didn't get why Bob Dylan is selling underware. Neither does Slate's Seth Stevenson.

"Tangled Up in Boobs" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2004

Not Funny

Weird Al Yankovic is having an awful Easter. His parents were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Parents of 'Weird Al' Found Dead at Home"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2004

Love Sick

I don't get why Dylan is hawking underwear, but being a red-blooded male, I don't care.

[via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:03 AM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2004

Cobain's Suicide

This subject would normally be avoided on TAM, but it is the 10th anniversary of Cobain's suicide. It wasn't Cobain's idea to become the most beloved/talked about/overrated musician of my time. He probably would be grotesquely offended at hoopla made about him on MTV and in music magazines. Nirvana's Nevermind did give rock and roll a good, solid kick in the posterior. But to turn its release into a B.C/A.D. moment was a quick trip to la-la land. The songs on the album are good (not great, except for "Smells Like Teen Spirit"). They proved punk and alternative music could rock. However, if it wasn't Nirvana, it probably would have been Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, or some other band. That doesn't take away from what Cobain et. al. did. It just means that those on the "Kurt is god" train are riding with the shades down.

When I found out Cobain died, I wasn't surprised. Too many before him decided to go down the path of least resistence and succom to drugs, alcohol, suicide, or just hard living. I also knew then that his suicide would take him to musicial cult status. For some reason, a rocker's death, especially self-inflicted, turns them into a myth.

"He Can Really Rock Like a Magikist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:16 PM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2004

Yes, Sir

My boss is an old Yes fan. When I mean old Yes, I'm talking about their art-rock, 19-minute songs/compositions, and post-psychadelic album covers. Me, I'm a Trevor Rabin-era Yes fan. He moved the band out of their progressive doldrums and into the domain of pop rock. While doing that they maintained their magnificant musicianship. I bring this up because Yes has come out with their old albums remastered and filled with bonus tracks. A few nights ago, my boss had Tormato playing in the store. (I wonder what the patrons were thinking?) My curiosity drove me to discover that 90125 had also been remastered. I bought it, and it hasn't left my CD player since. The remastering brighten all the instruments. The keyboards were crisp, and I heard vocal harmonies I never heard on my old CD. The bonus tracks include the Cinema (the band name before Jon Anderson joined) version of "It Can Happen," and an extended dance mix of "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and an a capella version of "Leave It." 90125 has stood the test of time. For an album born of the 80s there's no cheese factor. The songs are catchy and full of energy, and you will be amazed at the production. The layering of instruments and vocals is stellar.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:23 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2004

Rush Tour Dates

Rush will go out on tour to celebrate their 30 years as a band. They'll be in Milwaukee 06.07 barring any further Alex Lifeson legal problems.

"Rush Sets 45-Date Anniversary Tour" [via Blogcritics]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2004

Pontificating at the Grammys

The head of the Grammys gave his traditional speech tonight during the ceremony. This year it was about music education and digital downloading. The argument is that reducing music and arts education in schools is harmful to children.

The Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences doesn't seem to understand the basic economic idea of tradeoffs. Because Man has unlimited wants he has to decide which are most important. A middle income family can choose to go either to Disney World or Yellowstone. They can't afford to go to both. A growing company can choose either to spend their advertising budget on an expensive Super Bowl commerical or a farther-reaching direct mail campaign. They can't choose both. When it comes to education, schools have limited financial resources and time. If a school is failing to teach its students to read and write other less important subjects have to be sacrificed. It isn't a question of not considering music and art important. It's just a question of priorities. If the Academy really wants to help schools, they should be promoting effective, efficient reading methods so money and time can be spent on enriching music and art classes. Ripping on President Bush for not finding WMD in Iraq doesn't solve the problem.

The next topic was digital downloading. Recording Academy president Neil Portnow announced the debut of What's the Download a website focused on informing the public about music downloading issues. Will it help clarify some of the confusion surrounding downloading? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure opponents of Big Music will have a field day ripping apart the website.

For more Grammy coverage there are few better places than Blogcritics.org.

UPDATE: For a more lighter re-cap, there's the Journal Sentinel's Dave Tianen

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2004

Tears for Fears is Back

My favorite 80s band have reunited to make a new album and will go on tour this summer.

"Tears for Fears Conjure 'Happy Ending'"

"Tears for Fears Wants to Rule World Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:32 AM | Comments (1)

January 09, 2004

We're All Getting Older

All is not Dean-related here at TAM. Michele (remember, the voodoo for Sunday's game) posts that Jimmy Page turned 60 today. I guess that means I have to stop making fun of Mick Jaggar being to old to run around onstage.

"I Get Older as the Minutes Go By"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2004

Alex Lifeson Update

Unproductivity has a link to a story covering multiple perspectives of what happened.

"Rock Band Guitarist, Family Arrested for New Year's Eve Scuffle with Deputies"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:18 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2004

List of Lists

Everybody loves "best of" lists. Heck, you read mine [and here and here]. Blogcritics has the list to end all lists for 2003.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

BHTM Cruise

For Big Head Todd and the Monsters fans who still have lots of money left after Christmas and can leave on almost a moment's notice the band is offering a Carribean cruise that leaves on 01.09. Warm weather, beautiful scenery, and special performances by the band. Oh, how nice it'd be to be independently wealthy right about now.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

I'd Get a Shorter Stage Name Too

Alex Zivojinovich, AKA Alex Lifeson, the guitarist of Rush was arrested after a scuffle with Naples, FL cops. Blood was spat, a stun gun was zapped, someone fell down the stairs. Just your standard drunken rocker rampage. Or maybe it was Lifeson acting out the musical revolution portrayed in Rush's 2112 but with blood spitting replacing the music.

"Rush's Lifeson Scuffles with Cops" [via fraterslibertas.com]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2003

2003 TAM Music Awards

I know you've been waiting for this all year. The TAM Music Awards are here.

  1. Unclassified Robert Randolph and the Family Band Guitar fans, we have found ourselves a new god. While sitting behind his pedal steel guitar sounds remanisent of Hendrix, Allman, and Satriani spill out on his listeners. But while you can here the past in his "sacred steel" the sounds are distinctively all Robert Randolph. Notes bounce, cry, and sing on songs like "Going in the Right Direction, "Good Times," "Run for Your Life," and the wonderful "I Need More Love." The Family Band's rhythm section of Danyel Morgan on bass and Marcus Randolph on drums are tight and bring bring a solid dose of funk to the music. The only drawback to Unclassified are the sugar-sweet, forgettable ballads "Soul Refreshing" and "Smile." But that's the price you pay for guitar work touched by a higher power.

  2. Day I Forgot Pete Yorn
    The sophomore slump was the big question with Yorn's second album. Since it made this list, I don't think it was a letdown. What Yorn did on Day was turn up the pop factor with some great hooks on songs like "Crystal Village," "Long Way Down," and "Come Back Home." Some may compare Yorn to Bruce Springsteen. I think he sounds more like the Eagles. Both comparisons put too much on the guy. Here's hoping he continues to make good, honest, pop rock.

  3. New York City The Peter Malick Group Featuring Norah Jones
    This EP probably wouldn't have been release if not for Jones' huge, award-winning debut, Come with Me. The story behind this recording is guitarist Peter Malick heard Jones singing in a New York club in 2000. He asked her to record some songs and perform with his band. The result is proof that Norah can go beyond pop standards and jazz. On "Deceptively Yours" and "All Your Love" Jones pulls out a sexy, smokey blues. On "Strange Transmissions" and "Things You Don't Have to Do" she rocks. When you give a great singer great songs with a great band you end up with a great recording. That's just what New York City is.

  4. De-Loused in the Comatorium The Mars Volta
    Progressive rock never died, it just faded away only to be taken up by former members of the cult-fave At the Drive-In. A way to describe De-Loused is a hybrid of Rush with Husker-Du. It has hardcore crunch and energy with epic musical composition. De-Loused is a concept album, but I'd be damned to know what the story is. Normally that would turn me off, but the music is so mesmerising. Guitars and drums are going as 100-miles an hour. The vocals remind me so much of Geddy Lee's helium voice. The album echoes Rush, but this is nothing like what the Canadian power trio would put out. It's punk, hardcore, and thrash metal touched with oodles of cerebral maddness.

  5. Martin Scorses Presents the Blues
    Without the blues our pop music would be so much different. There wouldn't have been Motown. No Led Zeppelin. No Jimi Hendrix. No Rolling Stones. No Beatles. It seems a little unfair to have a huge collection of timeless songs compete with new stuff that came out this past year. Too bad. The box set along with the oodles of individual CDs make for a great understanding and appreciation for a great American artform.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2003

Someone Smack Sony on the Nose

Sony Music is not listening to the cries of their customers who want more music for less. While Universal Music Group has begun rolling out their CD price-reduction plan (not as broad as I hoped), Sony tries to double dip into Thorns fans' pockets by putting out a new version of their debut album with a bonus acoustic CD which came out just this past May. For those who haven't purchased the album, getting it now is a sweet deal. Two disks for under $14 dollars on Amazon. But for those of us who already are enjoying the lush harmonies we're peeved to have to buy the album again.

Shop at Amazon.com
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2003

You're Gone

James has posted who he wants boot off the HOF island. He's still looking for other suggestions. I'd have to look at the list but have no time now. I'm just ticked Rush isn't in there and it sounds like they're never in the running.

"Rock Hall of Fame, III"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 05:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2003

HOF Survivor

James Joyner want readers to suggestions on who to drop from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'm going to bed and won't take up his challenge. But what irks me about the HOF is Rush still hasn't made it.

"Rock Hall of Fame, II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

MJ's Road to Pervertdom

We shouldn't be flippant about child molestation charges, but Michele attempts a musical anaylsis of Michael Jackson's path to pervertdom.

"Essential Media: Charting the Demise of MJ through his Music"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2003

Michele's Album List

Michele is listing the best 100 albums of the 90s. For some reason, I didn't think her and I would be musical comrades, but she started off with two good ones.

"Best Album's of the 90's"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2003

Living Colour is Back

One album I have to get soon is Living Colour's Collideoscope. Their last album, Stain, came out ten years ago. Tom Johnson calls the new album a "grower."

"Living Colour - Collideoscope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:15 AM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2003

Where Have All the Solos Gone?

There's a review of Pat Benetar's latest album, Go. The reviewer's most pressing complaint are the five-second guitar solos. It might be another bad influence of Nirvana, but the guitar solo in modern rock has vanished. I'm not talking about the 10-20 minute epics of Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton, or Eric Clapton. I'm talking about that 20-30 stretch in the second half of songs where the lead guitarist solos off the song's melody. The last band to seriously do this was Pearl Jam. Today, if you want to hear a guitar solo on radio, your only choice is Audioslave's Tom Morrello. Now, we're stuck with grinding rap-rock bands like Korn and Linkin Park where you wonder if the guitarists have the talent to even pull a decent solo off. The dearth of solos has gotten so bad that standard heavy metal/hard rock bands Metallica and Rush both decided that solos didn't fit in their most recent studio albums. They're both rock legends with outstanding guitar players, but they couldn't find a place in any song for them to stretch out? At least Alex and Kurt still shred live.

"Death of the Guitar Solo? Pat Benatar: Go"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2003

Looking for Suggestions

We're in the final stretch of 2003, and I'm already mentally putting together the TAM book and music lists. I could use some help. What were some of best non-fiction books and music that I might have missed? On the book side, I've read David Frum's The Right Man, Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style, Bernard Lewis' The Crisis of Islam, and I want to read Anne Applebaum's Gulag before the year is out. On the music side, I've enjoyed St. Moritz Vibes, Feeder's Comfort in Sound (that would be a controversial pick because it's from 2002 but wasn't released in the U.S. until this year), and Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won.

This is not all I've read and bought. I've got to keep something secret to surprise you. But I want some help on books and music I've missed. If I get a bunch of suggestions (via e-mail, comments, links, or trackbacks) I may toss all of them into a big hat and pick a name. Then I'll select something off your Amazon wish list.

And one last item. I'm thinking about doing a TAM Weblogs award this year too. So I'll take suggestions on what you think has been the best weblog in 2003.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in BooksMusic at 05:35 PM | Comments (2)

October 31, 2003

Rock 'n Roll Miles

Ed Driscoll posts on what happened when Miles Davis put together the "greatest rock 'n roll band you ever heard."

"Miles Goes The Distance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2003

Mix it Yourself

Letting people not only listen to music but interact and remix it is a great idea. I'm not a hip-hop fan and have never heard of Fabolous, but I'm tempted to get the CD. This may bring us to the day when buy a CD (or download) and get all the tracks that make up the songs along with the originals. Like most DIY, most of it will be really bad, but gems will be discovered and music careers made.

"Consumer Remixable CD On the Way"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2003

iTunes for Windows Activated

Any posting will be put on hold while I download and play with iTunes for Windows.

UPDATE: I'm perturbed. iTunes only works for Windows 2000 or XP, not Windows ME. There goes my late night of legal downloading. :-(

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

A Confession

Michele admits to owning an Oasis CD. Heck, I picked up The Masterplan in Boston and have been listening to them again.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Bo Black is Finished

Bo Black's almost 20-year reign running Summerfest is over. She stepped down three months before her contract expires. Entertainment director Bob Babisch takes her place until a permanent replacement is found.

"Summerfest's Black Steps Down Before Contract Expires"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:30 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

Boss in Brew City

For those headed to Miller Park Saturday, a Bruce Springsteen concert should be a memorable experience. But the Boss had another unforgettable show in Milwaukee 28 years ago.

"The Night the Boss Bombed in Brew Town"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2003

Badger: The Next Macarena

The badger song is now on CD. Buy it! Heck buy a t-shirt too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

Greatest Guitarists

The latest Rolling Stone features the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Like many lists, this one is messed up. It's bad enough that Kurt Cobain made the list, let alone got in at #12. The White Stripes' Jack White got the fad vote and was put at #17. Joan Jett makes the list (#87), but Bonnie Raitt doesn't.

The talk about the list inspired a few co-workers and myself to put together our own lists. I poured over my album collection to find suitable selections. Sadly, I'm too young to have enough listening experience to put together a list of 100. But I did get to 50.

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Jimmy Page
3. Steve Ray Vaughn
4. Duane Allman
5. Eric Clapton
6. Chuck Berry
7. Joe Satriani
8. Jeff Beck
9. Nuno Bettencourt
10. Eddie Van Halen
11. Carlos Santana
12. Kirk Hammett
13. Alex Lifeson
14. Pat Metheny
15. Vernon Reid
16. Mark Knopfler
17. Dick Dale
18. Buddy Guy
19. Keith Richards
20. Ty Tabor
21. Trevor Rabin
22. B.B. King
23. George Harrison
24. Steve Vai
25. Dave Navarro
26. David Gilmore
27. Angus Young
28. Billy Gibbons
29. Prince
30. Richard Thompson
31. Bod Diddley
32. Tom Morello
33. Pete Townshend
34. Joe Perry
35. Steve Howe
36. Bonnie Raitt
37. Lindsey Buckingham
38. Brian May
39. John Fogerty
40. Steve Miller
41. Todd Mohr
42. Peter Frampton
43. Stanley Jordan
44. George Thorogood
45. Les Paul
46. Tony Iommi
47. Phil Collen
48. Bob Mould
49. Robert Cray
50. John Lee Hooker

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

Big Music Lawsuits

It's easy to laugh and get angry at Big Music for suing a 12-year-old, but stores do sometimes prosecute youngsters who are caught shoplifting. Big Music haters can now use the battle cry, "Pick on someone your own age!"

"Girl, 12, Settles Piracy Suit for $2,000" [via Drudge]

"File-Sharers Scoff at Lawsuits"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:34 PM | Comments (2)

September 09, 2003

Please Shut Up!

A Dixie Chick opened her mouth and proved again why musicians rarely should talk about politics.

"Dixie Twits"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2003

Did ScrappleFace Write This?

The RIAA will announce an amnesty program this week. Participants would "delete all unauthorized music files from their computers, destroy all copies (including CD-Rs) and promise not to upload such material in the future. Each infringing household member will have to send a completed, notarized amnesty form to the RIAA, with a copy of a photo ID."

How would Big Music enforce this? Would they make surprise visits to people's homes to check if their CD-Rs only had legal music on them? Who will be dumb enough to go to the trouble of notarizing a form?

"Music Biz to Give File Sharers Amnesty" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:01 PM | Comments (2)

Universal Lowering CD Prices

Music buyers are seeing economics in action. Universal Music Group has announced they will lower their CD prices. This will allow big retailers like Best Buy to sell their CDs for around $10.00. It shouldn't be long until the other members of Big Music follow suit. At least Universal is realizing that suing your way to profitablity may not be the best business plan.

"Universal Music to Cut CD Prices to Under $13" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:53 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2003

Harley Concert Review

The concert got panned by the local newspaper music critic. About the big mystery performer Elton John, Dave Tianen wrote, "Elton John is the Rocket Man. He is Captain Fantastic. He is not a biker brother." He the offered the reason why the concert fell flat:

In keeping the entire lineup secret, Harley planners forgot what would seem to be a basic fact of life in the concert business - people go to concerts because they happen to like the performers in question. By keeping their lineup secret, Harley guaranteed that their all-star lineup would play for an audience that was essentially indifferent to their presence.

Moreover, it was a lineup that seemed selected by someone who didn't know any bikers. Bikers like their music with a streak of the renegade, a touch of larceny and a nip of danger. These are party-like-Cossacks, show-us-your-you-know-whats folks. ZZ Top and George Thorogood are their fare. Elton John is a pop star, arguably a great pop star, but a pop star nonetheless. For a biker audience he figured to be an awkward fit, and he was.

This was a case where the acts were picked to fit the target demographics of Harley owners. Tim McGraw satisfied the country music rider, Kid Rock was for the youngins, and Elton John was the big name that was suppose to please everybody. But surprisingly what H-D forgot was that the concert-goers were bikers, not just people going to a concert. I say surpisingly because H-D rose from the ashes to become a great American success story because they are so in tune with their customers. They've created a brand community where people gather to ride, talk, and buy H-D stuff.

Besides ditching the secrecy which only allowed for disappointment, H-D could have filled the day and night with lesser acts that were more fitting for a biker audience. Many riders wanted to see Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. Steppenwolf, who play THE biker anthem "Born to Be Wild," could have moved from playing Saturday to Sunday. Sure it would have resembled a state fair concert, but lots and lots of people would have showed up and had a good time. But like I wrote yesterday, the concert was the only glich in an otherwise awesome week.

Outside of Milwaukee, this isn't a story. There was only one little mention from one concert-goer who didn't think John fit the event. So while we nash our teeth for a day the outside world just thinks that Milwaukee threw one hell of a party.

"For Bikers, Rocket Man Never Took Off"

"McGraw, John Honor Harley-Davidson B-Day"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2003

Album Sales Up in UK

This will put a wrench in the works of Big Music who think downloading is hurting music sales. Note that sales rose because prices went down.

"Singles Market Crashes by 41 per cent, Album Sales Up at All Time High" [via Techdirt]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2003

A Taxing Solution

Jay Currie writes:

As the RIAA's "sue your customer" campaign begins to run into stiffening opposition and serious procedural obstacles it may be time to think about a "Plan B". A small levy on storage media, say a penny a megabyte, would be more lucrative than trying to extract 60 million dollars from a music obsessed, file sharing, thirteen year-old.

A tax for online song trading, where have I heard that before?

"Blame Canada" [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2003

Music's Future According to O'Reilly

In an interview, Tim O'Reilly had this to say on the future of the music business:

In the end, I think that DRM is a non-starter, at least as currently conceived. It's baffling to me that the content industries don't look at the experience of the software industry in the 80's, when copy protection on software was widely tried, and just as widely rejected by consumers. As science fiction writer William Gibson said, "The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." The software industry was the first to face the issue that bits are easily copyable. It was also the first to try to create artificial boundaries to that copying. But because copy protection greatly inconvenienced customers, it slowed the adoption of any software that used it. We're seeing exactly the same thing now with music, where copy protection schemes have caused consumers to reject the crippled offerings of the commercial online music services.

And it's just foolish, because we have many counter examples of free services being replaced by higher quality paid services. A good example is the ISP industry. In the late 80's, many of us in the computer industry got our email and usenet news via a cooperative dialup network called UUCP. Users agreed to have their computers call each other at specified times to exchange mail and news; it took about 3 days for a message to propagate from one end of the network to another. But as soon as Uunet, the best connected site on the usenet, started to offer higher quality commercial connectivity, the free uucpnet vanished in a matter of months. And of course, once Uunet switched to offering TCP/IP networking, the commercial internet was born.

This isn't to say that some mild access controls might not be appropriate. For example, ISPs require you to have a subscription account, and to identify yourself by logging in. But there are no cumbersome controls on what you can do after that point.

For this reason, I believe that the content industries will flourish online once they stop fighting their users and start offering them what they want at a price they think is fair. That's the way it works in every other field of commerce! And we're already seeing this with Apple's music service, the closest yet to a system that users feel is fair and usable. As soon as Apple rolls it out on Windows (or as soon as competing vendors learn the lessons Apple is teaching), we're going to see a whole new ballgame.

And as the content industries are discovering, existing copyright law is quite enough legal protection for them to put a stop to the most serious of copyright infringers. This is much the same lesson learned by software vendors.

I forgot about software companies trying to use various technologies to prevent piracy. That fix failed yet we still have companies like Microsoft making money.

When O'Reilly says that "existing copyright law is quite enough legal protection for them to put a stop to the most serious of copyright infringers" is he supporting or opposing RIAA's lawsuits against college students and their issuing of supoenas?

If consumers decide that they only want to buy music online if it has very few use restrictions (i.e. plain-old MP3s) and if P2P networks continue to operate (impossible to shut down) then Big Music will have to, at least, use legal attacks against the biggest suppliers of illegal music files. It won't completely close up the free music hole (there still is pirated software), but it would ease the bleeding.

"Tim O'Reilly Interview: Digital Rights Management is a Non-starter" [via Scripting News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:47 PM | Comments (3)

July 30, 2003

10 Worst Songs

Dylan Wilbanks, Mark Hasty, and James Joyner are yapping about really, really bad songs. Here's my list of the 10 worst:

  1. "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys--This song is a farce of themselves.

  2. "Faith" by Limp Bizkit--How could this song make this band stars? Fred Durst sounds like he's wetting the bed while singing. Then he starts screaming like his mother just found out.

  3. "Radioactive" by The Firm--Jimmy Page wasn't playing his standard rock blues. He was playing some warbbling, annoying instrument that looked like a guitar.

  4. "I'll Never Let You Go" by Steelheart--The laws of physics prevent any man's voice from getting that high. And the singer looked like a Barbie doll.

  5. "Could've Been" by Tiffany--Sweet, sugary, sappy, and bad.

  6. "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation--That cheesy synth line drills through your skull. And they play it all the time at Packers games to make the locals feel a little hip.

  7. "Mony Mony" by Billy Idol--He tried to turn this into a dance punk song and had it end becoming a lame fist-pumping anthem we're stuck with on 80s compilaiton albums.

  8. "Here I Go Again" (slow version) by Whitesnake--There were two versions of this song. The one I truly hate is the slow, quiet version that took all the heavy riffs out of the original. It was just a plain, vanilla ballad, not even a power ballad.

  9. "When I See You Smile" by Bad English--This song was a prom staple. Typical hair metal power ballad except this was even sappier. I liked the band, but fast-forwarded past this song every chance I got.

  10. "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips--Sugary, lightweight, and completely lacking in substance. At least the red head was cute.


UPDATE: I forgot to mention THE worst song I have ever heard. Even if I think about it I cringe. That song would be Styx's "Mr. Roboto." It's bad Queen, bad Broadway, and has insipid lyrics. So that means I have 11 worst songs.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:21 PM

July 26, 2003

Legal Downloads on Campus

Finally, Big Music is looking for some model beyond selling CDs. The industry is talking to colleges about legal media downloading services that would be similar to cable television. This won't stop the lawsuits because legal downloads would still leak out onto illegal file-trading systems.

"RIAA, Colleges Seek Piracy Fix"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003

BuyMusic.com Review

My music tastes are a bit out of the mainstream. So if I could find some stuff I wanted the selection should be enough for the average Joe. I looked up King's X. Great, there were six albums listed. Not bad since their other albums are through independent labels. I clicked on Faith, Hope, Love and discovered I could almost download the entire album. All the songs are available except "Faith, Hope, Love." For the Gretchen Goes To Nebraska album two songs can't be downloaded. I'm guessing BuyMusic.com couldn't get all the proper permissions from artists, companies, and songwriters for every song, and that's why it's unavailable.

Then there are the restrictions. Some albums and songs only allow a limited number of downloads, transfers to music players, and CD burns, while others allow you unlimited transfers and burns. Rush's greatest hits collection Chronicles lets you have unlimited transfers and burns. That's great, but even better is the price. For only $9.99 you get 28 songs. If you went to a store, you could easily pay twice as much. So without having to hunt through used music shops or wait for your used copy you bought through Half.com to arrive, you can be listening to Rush's greatest hits.

A way around the burning restriction (if the song has any) is to burn the song onto a CD then rip it back onto your computer as an MP3. I can't think of a reason why that wouldn't work.

You also have to use Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player 9. If you don't like that, you'll have to wait until iTunes comes to the PC.

BuyMusic.com also has some quirkiness. You can download U2's Wide Awake In America for $9.99, or you can download the four individual tracks for $0.99 each. And I can't believe they really are selling a KISS 4-CD box set for only $9.99. If I'm wrong, my cable modem will get quite a workout tonight.

What isn't available? There's no Janet Jackson, but there is Michael Jackson (not all songs off Thriller are available). No Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or the Rolling Stones, but there's plenty of Elvis. There's a lack of dance/electronica music. Showing no catagory tipped me off, but I did some searches anyway. There's nothing from the Chemical Brothers, John Digweed, Prodigy, or Sasha; and only a anthology from Moby.

BuyMusic.com has a service that looks to be a serious alternative to illegal music downloading.

For some other opinions, there's a discussion at Metafilter and links from PaidContent.org.


In a related story, Michael Jackson doesn't want online music pirates to go to jail. Let's see, would we be better off filling jails with Kazaa users or with real threats to society?

"Pop Icon Michael Jackson Comes out Against Locking up Music Pirates"

UPDATE: Some more opinions on BuyMusic.com from tingilinde and Damien.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 05:12 PM | Comments (5)


BuyMusic.com wants to be the iTunes for the PC. If this works as well as iTunes does, this could be a winner. The price sure is right: $0.70 a song. Since the company couldn't get uniform licensing deals with Big Music like Apple could there will be different restrictions on different songs.

As of this moment it isn't up yet, but later today I'll see what this service has to offer.

"New Music Download Service Launches"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:09 AM | Comments (0)

Studio Security

With music being made with computers and the ease of releasing stuff on file sharing networks, studios are employing new security methods to keep working projects from leaking out to the public.

"Web Music Leaks Spur Studio Clampdown"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:48 AM | Comments (3)

July 20, 2003

Beatallica Rules!

Beatallica is in the same vein as Dread Zeppelin. They take two styles of music and slam them together into something unique. Imagine if John, Paul, George, and Ringo lived in San Francisco in the early 80s surrounded by the embryonic speed metal scene while hanging out with Weird Al. You'd end up with Beatallica. Let's call it a mash-up with instruments. The lead singer and drums are dead on Metallica while the songs are Beatles. And the lyrics constant call for beer is a riot.

There's even a Flash music video.

[via mtpolitics]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2003

Big Music's Gift to Lawyers

While it's important for businesses to protect their intellectual property, Big Music's hunt for illegal traders is turning into lawsuit mania.

The RIAA's subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk's operations manager.

About 75 subpoenas a day are being approved. There's going to be a lot of lawsuits filed. Since many music traders are also webloggers when the summons are delivered we'll all be reading about it.

From a cost benefit perspective, this approach looks like a loser. Big Music will file suit and suit and hackers will write new programs to hide their music trading. The industry ends up losing and further angering customers. I'm usually the last person to call for a tax, but maybe the answer to online file trading is to tax Internet connections. The tax would go to copyright holders, and people would be able to trade as much as they pleased with no fear of lawsuits.

"Music Industry Targets Users for Illegal Music Sharing"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2003

Jimmy Eat World Weblog

allrockalert.com is Jimmy Eat World's "Studio E.zine." One element is a weblog. Nothing but an intro post, but it will be a neat way to follow a good band as they work on their next album. For access, all you have to do is sign up for the JEW e-mail list by going to JimmyEatWorld.com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2003

Lollapalooza and Sausage Swat

I just got back from Lollapalooza. Even though I'm starting to get into more organic, roots music (like John Hiatt, the Thorns, and the Jayhawks), I'm glad to know I could still enjoy a bunch of loud, high energy rock and roll.

I'll post a review later along with some Selig bashing for letting Randall Simon get away with assault.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in MusicSports at 12:45 AM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2003

BoDeans to Play County Fair

Here's hoping I don't have to work on 7.26 (screw the Blogathon). The BoDeans will be playing at the Washington County Fair. Who cares, you ask? Well, admission will only be for entry into the fair. That means you'll be able to see one of Wisconsin's best bands and a national act for only $5 before 4 p.m. and $8 after. This is the deal of the summer.

"BoDeans to Play at County Fair"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2003

Those selfish R.E.M. bastards!

They want to control what music their fans can trade on computer networks.

A prime example is the service run on R.E.M. fan site Murmurs.com. "Give It Away," named after one of the band's songs, is a peer-to-peer network that uses WinMX software to connect R.E.M. fans and allow them to trade live and unreleased music by the pop/rock veterans. The service was launched in October 2001 and its creators say it averages about 170 gigabytes of regularly traded material.

R.E.M. has given its blessing to the service, says site founder Ethan Kaplan, on the condition that it is not used to transfer album tracks or official, label-released material. The Give It Away download page contains specific instructions on what is and is not allowed for sharing on the service. The only exceptions to the "officially released" rule are R.E.M. b-sides and fanclub singles, which "the band have given their permission to share on this service," reads the statement.

And how is this different than Big Music being opposed to the stealing of music?

"Share in the Place Where You Live" [via Boing Boing]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2003

Paying for Music

Since those college students who settled with Big Music have been receiving a substantial amount of donations it looks like people are willing to pay for music online. It's just that they don't want to pay the people who actually own it. They're willing to pay copyright violators instead of the copyright holders. Part of it is the incompentence of Big Music in failing to create an online music industry. And another is Big Music's strong arm tactics. Another part is people's thinking (or lack thereof) that is something's easy to do it's okay to do.

"Fined Student Gets Donations to Tune of $12K" [via Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:03 PM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2003

Rush Groupie

Aaron Haspel of God of the Machine is really, really cool. Why? Because of this:

14. I know Geddy Lee and Neil Peart of the legendary Canadian trio Rush.

Learn more about Aaron here. Oh, and read his weblog too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2003

VH1's Greatest Songs

There's something wrong with a best song list when Britney Spears tops Bruce Springsteen. I'm not a fan of The Boss, but come on. "Born in the U.S.A." is powerful, a timeless anthem. Britney's "... Baby One More Time" is bad singing combined with bad lyrics that sound like they should be an S&M anthem.

There's more I can complain about. Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" isn't even Trent's best song. "Head Like a Hole" is his definitive song. The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" isn't as good as "We Are the Normal." Anything by Eminem or Nelly should be rejected immediately. Finally, picking Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit" continues the trend of making Kurt Cobain's band the most overrated in recent history.

Mark "Welcome to Wisconsin" Hasty has a list of his own. He immediately gets kudos for putting Sugar's "Helpless" on his list (#24). Sugar was my favorite band of the 90's even if they only put out 4 CDs.

I may just put together a list of my own. No promises. I might get distracted with something else. It happens all the time to me. And the list might not be 100 songs, but I think I've got enough CDs to dig through to put something together.

"VH1's '100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years'"

"100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:36 PM | Comments (3)

Metallica Uses Lo-fi and High Tech

There have been complaints that Metallica's St. Anger sounded like it was recorded quickly in a "shoebox." Well, that's not that far from the truth:

Metallica achieved the primitive sound and schizophrenic vibe of St. Anger by combining old recording technology with cutting-edge editing software. While Rock had previously rigged Lars' kit with multiple modern microphones and dampened the bass drum with pillows, spending as much as a week perfecting a snare sound, this time Rock spent five minutes setting up the drums and recorded the rest of the band with a combination of cheap PA mics and vintage microphones.

With the bare-bones recording equipment in place, Metallica started coming up with riffs together and rocked them out like a group of friends hooking up just to mess around. Once they'd concocted rhythms they liked, they'd combine them and record long jam sessions. Lyrics were written by the entire band moments before a song was recorded, and Hetfield's vocals were recorded in one or two takes to capture the immediacy of the moment, glitches and all.

"There was really no time to get amazing performances out of James," Rock said. "We liked the raw performances. And we didn't do what everyone does and what I've been guilty of for a long time, which is tuning vocals. We just did it, boom, and that was it."

After recording it was off to the computers. Slicing and dicing went into effect. As producer and bass player, Bob Rock put it, "I've spent 25 years learning how to do it the so-called right way. I didn't want to do that anymore."

But is it any good? I'm still determining that. Let's just say, so far, it isn't bad.

Even if you don't find St. Anger to be that good or are in the mood for Kirk Hammett guitar solos, getting it to access the Metallica Vault may be worth the price. It's full of mp3s from three concerts. Included is ex-bassist, Jason Newstead, singing "Seek and Destroy."

"What's Up With The Sound On The New Metallica Album?"

UPDATE: It's not about St. Anger, but Metallica's drummer, Lars Ulrich is mad that the Army isn't using music heavier than theirs when interrogating prisoners in Iraq.
[via astralpunch]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:20 PM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2003

St. Anger's Violent Tendencies

I've been getting a bunch of referrals from Blogcritics on St. Anger. I'll return the favor with a reviewer who put is plainly: "this CD just punches a listener in the face." It's a forceful jab to the mouth, but it doesn't quit.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2003

Stealing Hurts the Artist

Tony Rosen has a sensible view of music "sharing" (i.e. stealing). And you don't need a legal degree with emphasis on intellectual property to understand it.

[via Tiger]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

P.B. and P.J.

Lots of posts on music recently, and here's another one. Pearl Jam has evolved from a alt/classic rock band and into a jam band with the requisite devoted fans. If it wasn't for groups like the Dave Matthews Band and Phish, Pearl Jam would be considered this era's Grateful Dead (and the remnants are still touring w/o Jerry Garcia). Eric Olsen wonders what the implications will be with Eddie Veder and the gang leaving Epic.

Now, if only Eddie would lay off the Bush bashing and they could make some good songs like they did on Ten and Vitology.

"The Music Biz in a Pearl Jam"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2003

St. Anger

Thrash is back.

UPDATE: There are conflicting reviews of the album on Blogcritics. Ian Jeffs called St. Anger "one of the best Metallica albums" he's heard in years. Then there's Chris Puzak who thinks it's a "wasted opportunity."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2003

Zeppelin #1

Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart, and the DVD did pretty well too. Here's a Tom Johnson review if you can't decide if you should get it.

"Led Zeppelin - Winning the West Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2003

BT News

I like to consider myself a person with rather eclectic musical tastes. Last week, I was gung-ho about the new Led Zeppelin CD set (still digesting it; a review someday). The week before, I was surprised that King's X came out with a new album (that too I'm digesting). Yesterday, while looking through the hundreds of concerts set to have Milwaukee's lakeshore rocking later this month, I found BT will be manning the wheels of steel on July 4. If that wasn't enough, the Summerfest website linked to a BT weblog where I found out about a new single (streaming audio is found at the weblog) and upcoming album.

You may ask, "Who's this BT gent?" At least you might ask that in that way if you're some well-mannered Brit. BT is a one of the bigger names in electronic dance music. For a person who cut his teeth on late 80s hair metal and Led Zeppelin moving from rock to dance can be quite a shocker. But the trend from metal to dance music started with the industrial metal of Nine Inch Nails. Discoverning the art of the remix led to the Chemical Brothers and the Crystal Method which led me to the trance music of John Digweed, Sasha, and BT. I haven't lost my love of for the energetic beat of rock, it's just that my tastes have broadened.

Back to BT. He's been making dance music for over ten years (he has a greatest hits album). His break came with a remix of Tori Amos' "Blue Skies." Other people he's remixed include Sarah McLachlan, Depeche Mode, and Madonna.

His sound has ranged from the dreamy melodic trance of "Flaming June" to the urban funk of "The Hip-Hop Phenomenon" to the alt-rock of "Never Gonna Come Back Down." His production work on *NSYNC's Celebrity album was described as "dirty pop." The song "Pop" was filled with instruments and vocals digitally chopped up and distorted. While it made for a mildly interesting listen, the song is by *NSYNC with all their flaws.

Well, I now know where I'll be July 4th.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:22 AM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2003

Metallica Thursday

The cynical Mr. Tom Johnson isn't thrilled with the new Metallica album coming out a few days early, but for me, this is turning out to be a summer packed with interesting disks. I am a little worried that I saw big promotional posters for St. Anger in Wal-Mart of all places. And I don't mean in the music section. I saw them over by the cash registers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2003

Live Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin's live CD and DVD sets came out today. I don't have them, so no review yet. But Tom Johnson has one posted at Blogcritics.

And then there's news Jones, Page, and Plant might reunite.

"Led Zeppelin--Winning the West Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 04:30 PM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2003

Page, Plant, Bonham, and Jones

Attention Led Zeppelin lovers. We are less than a month away from the release of live DVD and CD sets. Oh the anticipation. I can never get enough of the greatest rock band ever.

"New Led Zeppelin Live DVDs and CDs Coming in May!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:05 AM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2003

Yorn Hasn't Forgot a Thing

Pete Yorn is back with his Day I Forgot. Past music history has looked poorly on second albums of breakout artists, but after a few listenings of Day Yorn won't go the way of Hootie and the Blowfish. Like his Musicforthemorningafter he continues with his meloncolie pop rock that sounds more like the Eagles than I really want to admit.

For a pop album to really win me over the chrouses have to be sharp, punchy, and totally appetizing. "Come Back Home" and "Crystal Village" both meet those critieria. "Pass Me By" has atmospheric "Ooooos" that smooth over a song so well. Then the strongest song, "Long Way Down" comes at you with the best chorus on the album. The words, melody, and guitar riffs fit very well.

Day isn't a second coming of Yorn. He doesn't change his sound. In fact, the songs on this album could have been added as a second disk to Music. For fans who were looking for Yorn to "grow" they'll be dissapointed. But for those, like me, who heard a good thing with Yorn the first time, they should be satisfied with Day I Forgot

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2003

Legally Ripping the Beasties

David Skinner digs into the Beastie Boys' anti-war track, "In a World Gone Mad." He doesn't have anything good to say about it:

The beastly protest song--"In A World Gone Mad," it's called--is the Beastie Boys taking themselves seriously, despite a long and hilarious run that would recommend they do otherwise. Available via free download on their website, it has all the chest-beating of a Beastie classic without any of the redeeming lightness. But not only is it heavy, it is dumb. And worst of all, the protest track is musically banal, its squeaky sound and nervous rhythms a step backwards for these bold musicians.

For more on anti-war songs, there's my article over at Enter Stage Right.

"Stardumb: Beastie Boys"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:35 PM | Comments (3)

March 31, 2003

War Songs

In the lastest issue of Enter Stage Right I look at a few pop music war songs. It's an extension of post a few days ago.

"Pop Music in a Time of War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:15 PM | Comments (1)