Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Joanna Newsom and the Brooklyn Philharmonic

I remember when Keith first told me about this girl. I think he was going through one of his "I'm obsessed with this girl singer/songwriter" stages. Either way, I remember putting on his headphones and listening to this girl wail on a harp and sing in an almost off-key manner.

Well, she's grown up a lot since that little music session in the University Cafeteria. Just reading New York Magazine, I came across her name and an announcement for one of her shows. It's amazing how a really good musician can become an overnight sensation within a few short months.

Besides the fact that she will be playing a show in the near future here in New York City, she's also playing it in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (aka BAM) which Brooklyn Industries is currently selling bags for.

And to put the icing on the cake, she's playing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Even though that does sound like a group of rowdy gangster together with their musical prodigy, it doesn't sound half bad. You know, going to a show in Brooklyn for a Philharmonic. That's pretty much news to me because I never knew that.

On a sidenote. Heath Ledger died on Monday night. You know, just in case you didn't hear about it within the first ten minutes of the breaking news.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The New Macbook "Air"

When I think of laptops, I think of two things:

1. Apple. It's something about their products that make them seem much more superior than the rest.

2. Weight. Those heavy consoles that you have to put in a bag that's even heavier without the extra weight in it.

Luckily for me, I don't have to think about these things anymore since Apple and Steve Jobs took care of it for me with the new Macbook "Air".

Now, here is the part where I laugh my ass off about this product. It's thinner than a credit card, it's got no cd drive and it's probably only made for business meetings or sudoku puzzles.

Either way, looking at this sucker makes me fall in love with it. Yes, I have fallen in love with a piece of machinery that will probably fail to make as much money as say, the iPhone?

I'll probably end up buying it and regretting that I can't watch episodes of Family Guy on it. Probably better off with an iPhone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

National Geographic is scary sometimes

National Geographic released this video the other day on their youtube account. It's probably the sickest video I've ever seen besides "Miracle of Life" in Biology class. Or that science safety video with the test tube breaking off into the man's hand then fiilling up with blood.

Yes, so apparently ancient rituals for the people of Thailand include being possessed by gods and then brutally damaging themselves either by poking sharp objects (or blunt objects) through the skin in their mouths. Yummy. There are also people who like to whack themselves in the back with sharp swords or pretty much cut off their tongues with an axe.

But do you know what the scariest part about this video is? Everyone else is ok with this. They see it as a sacrifice to the gods and encourage people to mutilate themselves. So I'm a little freaked out.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I've been saying it all along...

This video pretty much speaks for itself. I am going to go download this song.

Right now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Comeback with Finger Eleven

Well it's been a while since I've written, but now that I have returned I have a pressing issue I would like to discuss.

It's called the Comeback. A lot of musicians do this. They come out with an album and it gives them enough fame to keep their names in the heads of the people who listen to them. Then, they disappear for long moments in time. You don't really remember what they used to sing, but you remember the name. That's the most important part because then the musician comes back. You have a vague reminder of what they used to play, but you really don't remember and frankly you don't really care.

So they come back with some mega hit about breaking up or losing out, but the song is a hit. It's not because those who have heard the band before will listen to them again, but the band has suddenly hit a new generation of people who like their new song. Maybe I should give you an example.

I was going through the iTunes top songs list (I'm a sucker for radio music) and found the new single from Finger Eleven. Now, any angsty youngster in the late 90's/early 2000's will know of the band. They were the ones that wore the black clothing and hated the world for giving them such a painful life to live. Now, seven years later, they have returned and they aren't so angsty.

I think someone got their heart broken? Yeah?

But anyway, what shocked me the most is that this song is now probably on the same list of crappy songs that all comeback artists try to submit themselves to. With influences from bands who probably formed after they had their fifteen minutes, Finger Eleven should just change their name to Pussy Whipped or Cry Babies.

Let's hear the song:

Now, let's hear what they used to sound like:

And now, the point when they sold out:

I think the entire philosophy of the comeback is to re-introduce the band from the black hole they fell into. However, this is probably the worst comeback I have heard yet. I mean, Korn did a better job than them. God.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I haven't listened to the new Smashing Pumpkins album mostly because I don't really like the band. But this post isn't about my somewhat extreme hatred of Billy Corgan's vocal performances on 97% of his recordings. Well, ok. Maybe it is a little bit.

The Seattle Stranger posted this hilarious satire of the Smashing Pumpkins frontman. This is basically what I imagined him to sound like in my mind.

My favorite part:
This band has always been the headlight on the barreling locomotive of modern youth; with a title like Zeitgeist, nobody can argue. I brought back original Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain—recovered and reverent of yours truly, he's the epitome of a new leaf turned over—plus another chick bassist and some new guitar guy. Zeitgeist (Say it! It feels good!) arrives this week, in four different forms: The Best Buy version is different from the Target version is different from the iTunes version, which is different from everyone else's version. Most zeits would've settled for a single geist, but ours demands more marketing strategies, so I offer it four.
Read the rest here.

And the award for best vocoder use goes to...

Someone recently showed me this song by Imogen Heap called "Hide and Seek."

At first I didn't know what to make of it. It's very simple - just a vocal and some disjointed lyrics, really. But the melody and harmony will just grab you and for 4 and a half minutes you will sit in attentive silence.

Here is the video for the song, courtesy of Youtube.
Back when I wrote about that Editors' song, I said I didn't like it when artists are in their own videos. At least, not when it is in some way that seems out of place - like they're playing the song in their rehearsal space while the camera cuts to shots of some storyline you and I could care less about.

Well, I think it might not be so bad in Imogen Heap's case. The video seems to try to be a visual of what the song is - it's just her and her voice. The light around her face intensifies when she whips out a big, beautiful vocoder chord. I like that because when I listen to music I visualize textures, and lights doing things like that.

If you'd like to hear more, check out her myspace.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Pool Part-ay!

Every Sunday there are big pool parties at McCarren Park Pool where bands play for free. There is a giant slip and slide and a game of dodge ball, and some BBQ. What's more, it's right in the heart of Williamsburg (the hip part of it anyway). So it is absolutely worth your time if you've got no plans on a Sunday.

And if you do have plans then drop them because this is better than whatever you've got going on. Unless you're having your own pool party with free music and your pool happens to be bigger (not likely).

It just happens to be beautiful out today so I will be going to this one. Here is the line up.

Sunday, June 8:
The Octopus Project:
Erase Errata:
Dan Deacon:

For more information and future lineups go to

Nintendo taught me everything I know about sex.

Here's a little bit of weekend blogging. Don't know if you've seen this but it is f-u-nn-y.

So the next time anyone tells you that videogames do nothing but rot your brain, show them this video and they'll see just how educational they actually are.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Avril Lavigne will steal your girlfriend and make tons of money doing it.

Avril Lavigne is in trouble. And no, not for the reason I always thought she would (sex tape?), but for something a little more serious. Apparently, she's stolen musical ideas from an old 70s band called Rubinoos. Here is the deal according to AOL Music Online:
Tommy Dunbar, the founder of the Rubinoos, filed the suit in California's Northern Federal District Court in San Francisco July 2. The suit alleges that "Girlfriend" bears striking similarities to the Rubinoos' song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," co-written by Dunbar and former Rubinoos' road manager James Gangwer, and released by Beserkley Records in 1978.
Someone has been nice enough to post a video comparison on Youtube so I'll show it to you here and you can decide for yourself.

Here's what I think. The ideas are too similar. They might be different keys, and different chords but who the hell is this musicologist that was hired and declared the songs to be in different meter? Was it a 15 year old Intro to Music student? I don't mean to get too geeky about this one but it bothers me that Dunbar might lose this case because I doubt he has got the money to hire the kinds of lawyers that Avril can. The songs are too similar, I think. Just because one sounds like a shitty 70s rock song and one sounds like a shitty 2007 song doesn't mean the man's claims are unfounded.

I know that in songwriting it just kind of happens sometimes that you steal an idea without meaning to, or without evening knowing you did. But if it does happen I suppose you have to give credit where it is due when someone calls you out on it. Though, I imagine it gets hairy when you're being sued by a middle aged rock star who has no way to make money off of his music anymore and sees your accidental thievery as his last chance to pay off his mortgage. He might not be so forgiving.

But I think Avril and her producers definitely stole directly from this man and should pay the price for it. They have to give him credit. If they don't then it'll just be another sad example of the giant music industry crushing the little guy in order to allow for the crimes of the big guy, er... girl.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Dear Editors, that IS the saddest thing I've ever seen.

"Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors."

This is the new single the Editors have put out and in the song, singer Tom Smith declares that that the image the title conveys is the saddest thing he's ever seen. I think I'll have to agree with him on that one. The audacity it would take to do that. Makes me angry.

But on to the single and video. The song immediately puts forth new sounds for the band as it opens with gentle chords on a piano. Soon enough, however, we return to the angular and well-reverbed-and-delayed guitar lines driven by a signature Editors beat. This is good stuff. Listen and watch here:

I'm not crazy about the video though. I just wonder when rock bands as a whole will refuse to be in their own videos. I mean - we have Youtube now. So if I want to watch the Editors playing this song, I can do it.

If I want to watch a music video for the song I would much rather watch some visual rendering of the song, in whatever way that comes about. Maybe that includes the band, but I think the idea of a band playing a song in a random location while some weak story goes on around them is silly now. Take note, Editors. Now you know what pleases me.

If only my morning commute looked like this...

The White Stripes are doing more and more than convinces me that they were sent from the heavens to show us humans how to be awesome. What did they do this time, you ask?

Rumor had it that the band was going to be playing a secret show in Winnepeg, Manitoba. So a bunch of the band's fans decided to head over there to catch the show. Little did they know, a show was coming to them.

Mr. and Ms. White boarded a transit bus and proceeded to play a couple of songs for the people on their. The fans caught the performance on tape and here it is for your viewing pleasure. Just head on over to Youtube.

This is pretty much one of the coolest things that could ever happen to fans of a band. I would have crapped my pants. It actually sounds like several people are doing just that in the video, too. I mean, can you imagine? Now all I need is for British Sea Power to show up on the Q train.

Read about some more music news on Rolling Stone's Daily Music Blog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I don't mean to be a geek but...

I am one, so you're just going to have to deal with it. I just came across this amazing little item on the Internet and I wanted to share it for all the people who will actually appreciate this thing.

Check out what this thing can do:
That’s where this thing comes in, as it has 4 interchangeable Marvel backgrounds and another 4 Marvel characters (Spiderman, Hulk, Green Goblin, and Dr. Doom), which are hinged for easy posing. This allows your kid to easily arrange his set, and, frame by frame, piece together his movie. Once the masterpiece has been finished, you can play it back on your TV using the paltry on-board memory or put your movie onto a SD card and then put it on your computer, video player or a DVD in order to preserve it forever.
Thanks to Coolest Gadgets for that.

The likelihood that a 10 year old is going to make a more interesting and engaging movie than that new Fantastic Four movie? Pretty damn high, I'd say. So I'm all for it.


R.E.M. have done something I have always wanted to see a band do - rehearse. A few lucky fans have been able to watch them do this in Ireland where the band is having an open rehearsal for their new material. I think this is really cool. According to Spin,

Stressing this was not a conventional concert, Stipe, wearing an off-white suit-jacket and sneakers, informed the sold-out crowd it was getting to witness R.E.M.'s creative process first hand. Just so nobody was under any illusions, a neon back projection spelled it out: This is Not a Show.
R.E.M. is one of my favorite groups and I look forward to hearing what they've got in store for us next. Apparently, it's heavier and guitar oriented. It makes me wonder when that instrument starts to get old for musicians. I mean, I don't hate the guitar and I don't think anyone should stop using it if that's how they want to write songs, but I just wonder if they ever want to just drop it and try something else.

Not to say that R.E.M. hasn't tried different sounds in the past. It's just that I don't know how successful they were at making them coherent enough to be good songs (what the hell happened with UP! you guys?). So I guess the longer they decide to play loudly on their guitars, the better.

So now I'm going to show you a little video I found a while back on Youtube of R.E.M. performing for the first time on Letterman. This might even be their first television performance, actually. In any case, it's inspiring. Just look at them in this video and then imagine them travelling the proverbial road to stardom - getting to the point where people travel across the globe to watch them rehearse. Damn.

But we like Timbaland just the way he are...

What the hell is Timbaland thinking? Quit making music? Is he serious? This makes me sad because he is one commercial artist who consistently put out good work. He has a knack for hot beatz and the melodies and choruses that get stuck in your head for entire days.

Surely he doesn't need to work anymore - he must have more money than entire communities of people in Middle America do. But has the fun really all gone away? Is working with amazing performers like Justin Timberlake and Bjork getting stale?

Please, tell your story Timbaland! We must know why you decided this! This is what he said to Gigwise:
Music is boring right now. I'm too innovative for the world. I've been doing it so long, I'm about to throw in the towel. I'm about to de-crown myself and pass it over to one of the up-and-coming producers under me. They won't be able to be me - there's only one Timbaland - but there's a certain sound that I try to teach.
There is something admirable here - like the desire to pass along the talent and the technique. But could he be any less modest about it? Jeez. I suppose it's just the old hip hop bravado at work. I'm the shit and you are not and maybe one day someone will be the shit like me but it's not likely to happen in my life time. That's putting it politely, anyway.

And what's that about music being too boring? This is straight up ignorant. There is always new music to listen to that is breaking ground and the fact that one of the most ground breaking producers in commercial hip hop doesn't seem to believe that is a little bit sad. Maybe he just ran out of places to steal his samples from.

My guess is that this is phase and the online magazine just caught him at a time when he is re-evaluating his life. Perhaps we may next find him in a tibetan mountain with monks. But if this is anything like Jay-Z's "retirement" a couple years back then you can be certain you'll be hearing a new Timbaland single in about 6 months.