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.
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.
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 United Nations 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.
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.
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.
July 27, 2006
Here's another musical interlude courtesy of Erik Mongrain.
July 23, 2006
Page & Plant Go to the "Crossroads"
I give you this musical interlude courtesy of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
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.
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.
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!
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."
June 06, 2006
Time to celebrate by banging your head like a maniac. It's National Day of Slayer. No, SLAYER!!!!
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.
When I see it on the shelf in a music department I'll believe it.
"Axl Rose Heralds New Guns N' Roses Album"
April 06, 2006
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 Last.fm with Pandora"
April 04, 2006
This is so bad. So bad I listened to it twice.
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.
December 01, 2005
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I'll play too. Here are the top five most played for me:
September 28, 2005
Finally! The Canadian power trio get some much-deserved love. First, Michele, then Cleveland...someday.
"ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First Inductee"
August 30, 2005
New King's X
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.
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.
July 24, 2005
Yes vs. Sir Mix-a-lot, "Owner of a Lonely Butt." It rocks!
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"
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.
July 10, 2005
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.
July 03, 2005
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?"
July 01, 2005
As Long as She Doesn't Open Her Mouth
That's Jessica Simpson I'm talking about.
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"
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'"
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.
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.
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"
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"
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"
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"
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.
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]
May 30, 2005
Now this is a Mash Up
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.
"Nine Inch Nails Drops MTV Show over Bush Backdrop"
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"
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"
April 27, 2005
April 26, 2005
Stuff the Ballot
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.
April 11, 2005
iTunes' Most Famous Customer
President George Bush.
Surprise surprise. No Dixie Chicks.
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!"
March 08, 2005
New Alan Parsons
New Alan Parsons. That's good to hear.
"New Alan Parsons"
March 07, 2005
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"
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"
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"
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.
February 13, 2005
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"
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"
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.
December 31, 2004
2004 TAM Music Awards
First Impressions: "Like You Like an Arsonist"
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.
December 23, 2004
Buy the World Some Coke
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.
December 13, 2004
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.
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.]
November 24, 2004
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.
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.]
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.
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"
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.
August 17, 2004
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"
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?"
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.
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.
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"
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'"
June 26, 2004
This weekend marks the start of Summerfest, Milwaukee's annual Summer Get Together. Yet, our benefactor is in An Undisclosed Location.
June 02, 2004
Life is Good
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"
April 25, 2004
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.
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?
April 21, 2004
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.
April 13, 2004
Why Ask Why?
Last week, I didn't get why Bob Dylan is selling underware. Neither does Slate's Seth Stevenson.
April 11, 2004
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"
April 08, 2004
I don't get why Dylan is hawking underwear, but being a red-blooded male, I don't care.
[via Power Line]
April 05, 2004
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"
March 18, 2004
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.
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.
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
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"
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"
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"
January 02, 2004
List of Lists
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.
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.
December 31, 2003
2003 TAM Music Awards
I know you've been waiting for this all year. The TAM Music Awards are here.
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.
November 26, 2003
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"
November 25, 2003
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"
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"
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"
November 10, 2003
Living Colour is Back
"Living Colour - Collideoscope"
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"
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.
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"
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"
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. :-(
Michele admits to owning an Oasis CD. Heck, I picked up The Masterplan in Boston and have been listening to them again.
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"
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"
September 20, 2003
Badger: The Next Macarena
September 10, 2003
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
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!"
"File-Sharers Scoff at Lawsuits"
September 09, 2003
Please Shut Up!
A Dixie Chick opened her mouth and proved again why musicians rarely should talk about politics.
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?
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.
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.
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"
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.
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?
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.
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.
July 30, 2003
10 Worst Songs
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.
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"
July 22, 2003
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.
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"
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"
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"
July 20, 2003
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.
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"
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.
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.
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"
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.
And how is this different than Big Music being opposed to the stealing of music?
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.
June 23, 2003
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.
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"
Metallica Uses Lo-fi and High Tech
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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"
June 06, 2003
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."
June 05, 2003
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"
June 04, 2003
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.
June 03, 2003
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.
May 27, 2003
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"
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!"
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
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.
"Stardumb: Beastie Boys"
March 31, 2003