Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jello Biafra & the Melvins Follow-up Due in September

A second round of material from Jello Biafra & the Melvins will be released by Biafra's label, Alternative Tentacles in September. The follow up to Never Breathe What You Can't See will include remixes from Ministry's Al Jourgensen and Dälek. If you haven't heard NBWYCS yet, it is amazing, so be sure to check it out. You can listen to two of the tracks here.

Related News:

Melvins to Release Collection of Old Rarities
Jello Biafra Lashes Out Over Use of Dead Kennedys Song on American Idol

U2 and Sting confirmed for "Live 8" concert

U2 and Sting have confirmed they will perform at the Live 8 concert, designed to recreate awareness generated for world poverty by the original Live Aid concerts twenty years ago in 1985 and to coincide with the G8 summit in Scotland on July 6-8.

In addition to U2 and Sting, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Dido, Keane, Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox, Madonna, Muse, Scissor Sisters, Sir Paul McCartney, Joss Stone, Stereophonics, Snoop, Robbie Williams, and REM are set to perform in London.

The Philadelphia show will include Philly's own Will Smith, the Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi (who owns the Philly Soul arena team), Stevie Wonder, Puff Daddy and Jay-Z. Eminem is also rumored to be on the Philly bill. Another rumor floating is that the Philly show will be free.

Other shows will also take place at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Circus Maximus in Rome.

A-Ha, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lauryn Hill and Brian Wilson are set to perform in Berlin, while the Rome show will have Faith Hill and Duran Duran. Parisians will be treated to Jamiroquai, Craig David, Youssou N'Dour and former French tennis star Yannick Noah.

While not confirmed, Franz Ferdinand has expressed interest in performing at a Scotland location since the G8 Summit will take place in their home country.

Artists to Watch: Broken Trophy

Many independent bands from the U.S. often find success overseas before they are recognized in their home country. Indeed, many bands make it a point to push themselves abroad given the difficulty in breaking through on U.S. radio and other media outlets monopolized by just the largest of acts.

Broken Trophy has found another way to achieve success at home and abroad: by having both a U.S. and European version of the band. With their unique approach, Broken Trophy is building a multi-continent buzz with their infectious groove-rock taking hold on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lead singer and primary songwriter Lewin Barringer was born and raised in Philadelphia. Lewin co-founded and toured nationally with the band Standing Wave, which played an average of 300 shows a year and shared the stage with many top acts including Blues Traveler, String Cheese Incident and G. Love and Special Sauce. After 7 years, Lewin has left the side-man role to form Broken Trophy. In an effort to expand his and the band's horizons, Lewin moved to Italy in September of 2004.

Adding to Broken Trophy's overseas success is British producer/musician/songwriter Simon Widdowson. Originally from Leeds, England, Widdowson moved to Minneapolis and toured the US extensively in the late 1990's as a solo singer/songwriter and with a band, averaging over 200 shows a year for 5 years. He independently released a handful of albums which received national airplay and strong press reviews. Moving to Portland, Oregon in 2001, he opened the legendary Are You Listening? Recording Studio and Art Space where he went on to engineer and produce critically acclaimed albums for artists such as: Decemberists, Hindi Guns, Man of the Year, Pete Krebs, David Smith, Nicole Campbell, Papillon, Charmparticles, Little Sue and Stephanie Schneiderman. Simon's musical contribution to Broken Trophy adds depth and color that helps create the unique sound achieved on both the new album "Out here and Alone" and in their live performances.

Broken Trophy is rounded out by two of Italy's premier players: Pietro Bertilorenzo, who has performed with Tullio De Piscopo and Tony Esposito, on the Bass and Michele Leonardi, who has performed with Zucchero & Antonio "Rigo" Righetti, on the drums. To keep things truly international, Allen Graham from the American version joined the group for some recent dates in Germany.

On their latest release, Out Here and Alone, Indie-Music.com writes: Broken Trophy doesn't stick to the same old heartache ballads sung by young new singers; the words here are more mature." Such praise has come from many sources and the band is sure to gain more attention around the world. In between shows, I managed to catch up with Lewin to learn more about the band.

Why did you move to Italy?

The main reason I moved here was to try something new! I had done several national tours in the USA with my old band Standing Wave and had seen some minor success with that. The William Morris Agency and Philadelphonic Management represented us. They kept us on the road a lot and we did a lot of tours with G. Love & Special Sauce, Blues Traveler, Leftover Salmon and others. However as is the case with many little bands who are being over worked and under paid, the band personnel began to unravel and the group split up. After that the drummer and the bass player from Standing Wave and I started Broken Trophy. We recorded the album in the summer of 2004 and then I moved here in September.

What's the music scene like there compared to the States?

The music scene here is actually very similar to the scene in the states. There are a lot of GREAT musicians struggling to find enough gigs to keep the bills paid. However I would say that the biggest difference are the audiences. The crowds here REALLY pay attention and really appreciate good musicians. The fact that I am an American musician in Europe doesn't hurt either.

It seems that American music is the only US export that the rest of the world isn't revolted by! The general European attitude about Americans isn't great. They think that we all cook our dinners in microwaves and watch Fox News non-stop. Of course I try to tell them that that is reality for only a SMALL percentage of US citizens!

Do you run into other American musicians over there?

Yes a lot of them! I was surprised to see how many small bands from the States actually come to tour here! Also there are 2 really great musicians from NYC living close to me here in Tuscany. Jono Manson, who is a living legend from the New York R&B / Blues Rock scene of the 80's and 90's lives about 20 minutes from me. He and I have been friends for about 12 years and it is great to have him nearby. Also there is a great player named Jamie Dolce who has been working the scene here for about 5 years and is doing really well.

Are you playing in other European countries too?

Yes we are. We are planning an Eastern European tour for July and recently did a tour of Germany, which was incredible, in March. Germans aren't known for their warmth and their charisma, so it was really interesting to see their reaction to our music. The popular thing there is hard industrial music, basically the opposite of what Broken Trophy does. At one of the first shows in Berlin, we got onstage around midnight and we were faced by a crowd of green Mohawks, studded leather jackets, tattoos, piercings that made me squirm and a lot of folded arms and disgusted glares. I pretty much figured that they were going to hate us and think that we were a bunch of Pussies! But at the end of the night we sold a ton of CD's and the people LOVED us! One guy who bought a CD and talked to me for a little while sticks in my head. He was telling me how happy our music had made him, but the whole time his voice was monotone and his face was expressionless! It was very strange, but I was glad that we reached our goal of making the crowd have a good time!

Are you brining the band over to play the states?

Yes we are planning a tour of the Southwest/West coast in August. It should a lot of fun, the Italians in the band have never been to the US and they are really looking forward to it. I am looking forward to hitting some of the same venues that I played at while I was in Standing Wave and seeing my old friends.

What's your approach to songwriting?

I don't really have a standard approach to songwriting. I normally just start playing around on the guitar and sometimes a certain chord progression just catches my attention and then I start working on it. Usually the music comes first, but every now and then a little lyric and melody will pop into my head while I am driving or something and I will run and grab my guitar and work it out. That is the way that "Better Alone" was written.

Over your career, you've played in bands that are really known for their live performances. How do you go about trying to capture the energy of the live performance on a recording when you make a new cd?

Actually I don't try to capture that energy on an album because I think it's impossible for the band to recreate that live show feeling without a crowd there. And for the listeners so many factors play into what makes a great show. Things like what you had for dinner before the show and things like what the guy next to you at the concert smells like, all contribute to the overall experience. My idea about making albums goes like this. When we record a new album we play the songs in 3-4 minutes arrangements. There are usually very few solos, unless it is a key part of the song, and I don't do any "fancy" vocal improv work. We don't rearrange them so much that it changes the songs completely, but enough so that it is different (mostly shorter) than at a live show. Then when you come to see us play live, you hear your favorite song from the album, but we jam it out and do something extra with it. I have always liked bands that did that and adopted the idea a long time ago for the projects I have worked in.

Who are some of your influences as either a songwriter or guitar player?

Well if you look at my pictures on the website I am clearly a Beatles fan, thus my haircut. Beatles hair all the way! Also Nick Drake is a big influence. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Coldplay and that seems to making it's way into my songwriting a little bit. Pete Yorn is another songwriter that I really like too.
As far as guitar players go, my playing is not really that influenced by anyone. I love Stevie Ray Vaughn of course. Pat Metheny, Marty Schwartz, Bill Palmer and the Edge have all grabbed my attention simply by doing something that no one else does on the guitar. It's not all about a lot of notes and speed, but more about style and phrasing.

Name a band I might not have heard of, but should be listening to.

Oooh that's easy! There are two. "HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD!" They are a great band from Santa Fe New Mexico on the Frogville Records label. Frogville Records is a great label that is putting out some really great music and HYF is my favorite band on it.

The Second band would be "A Toys Orchestra." They are an Italian band and their live show literally brought tears to my eyes. The arrangements, and the execution of the songs were so perfectly done on stage that I was speechless for about an hour. Marco and I went to the show together and walked out changed forever.

What's your take on the current state of the music industry establishment?

The music industry is in such a fascinating turn over right now and I am very interested to see where it will end up. Mainstream music is mostly a joke right now. Sure I like Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and U2 and any others that are doing good music, but that's not who I am talking about.

For example, any thing that comes out of Disney beyond cartoons should be immediately put in the garbage. Sorry Britney, Justin and Christina, but you guys represent all that is wrong with the music industry today. Mass produced, NON-original, bubble gum crap. Changing images every 3 months doesn't fool anyone. YouÂ’re not growing up or becoming more daring. YouÂ’re being put through the mill, put on TV and soon you will all be put on the shelf.

Musicians like the guys in The Rolling Stones, Metallica, U2 or R.E.M didn't ever "play the game." They stuck to their guns, stood for what they believed in and now they are legends. Madonna actually kind of did the same thing, but she had MTV on her side when MTV was still cool.


I have no doubt that Lewin and Broken Trophy will stick to their guns and will continue to play music they believe in. Broken Trophy is currently touring in Europe and is scheduled for U.S dates in August. "Out Here and Alone" is available internationally through CD Baby.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Will Smith to play Ozzfest?

The Fresh Prince may be hangin' with the Prince of Darkness this summer as reports have his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, considering bringing Will onstage with her band "Wicked Wisdom" when they play Ozzfest this summer. Wisdom features Smith on vocals with Satnam Ramgotra (Nikki Costra, Alien Chatter) on drums, "Pocket" on guitar, "Rio" on bass and Cameron Graves on keys.

The band is slated as part of the second stage lineup. The full line-up is scheduled to include:

Mainstage:

BLACK SABBATH
IRON MAIDEN (July 15 – Aug. 20)
VELVET REVOLVER (Aug. 23 – Sep. 4)
MUDVAYNE
SHADOWS FALL
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
IN FLAMES

Second Stage:

ROB ZOMBIE
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
AS I LAY DYING
MASTODON
A DOZEN FURIES
THE HAUNTED
ARCH ENEMY
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
BURY YOUR DEAD
IT DIES TODAY
SOILWORK
TRIVIUM
GIZMACHI
WICKED WISDOM

Bo Bice #1 seller on Barnes & Noble charts

Bo Bice's version of "Inside Your Heaven" is the number one song on Barnes and Noble's singles chart. The American Idol runner-up is beating out such luminaries as Coldplay, Joss Stone and Bruce Springsteen. American Idol winner Carrie Underwood is fourth.

Bice isn't the only one benefiting from his Idol fame. His band "Sugar Money" is selling their pre-Idol recordings and t-shirts on their website and they are popping up on eBay as well. The Sugar Money site also offers some free mp3 sample downloads, including sourthern-rock tinged tunes like "Jesus is My Neighbor" and "Hold On."

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Franz Ferdinand: Rockin' in Russia

by Becky Blumenthal.

Franz Ferdinand finally left the house in the Scottish countryside where they have been recording...for Russia!

At two sold-out shows, on May 19 in St. Petersburg, and on May 20 in Moscow, Scottish indie-rockers, Franz Ferdinand previewed 6 songs from their next release. In addition to being their first time in Russian territory, it was the first time fans got a taste of what the boys have been working on. They played "What You Meant," "Radio," "You Could Have It," "I'm Your Villain," "Evil and a Heathen" and "Robert Anderson Is Christ."

After the Russia shows, the band packed up and headed to New York City to work with producer Rich Costey to master their upcoming release. They are unsure of a title, but the record is tentatively due in September. Currently, their only confirmed U.S. gig for 2005 is the Austin City Limits festival, which takes place September 23-25 in Austin, Texas.

You can check out frontman Alex Kapranos'studio diary on the band's website.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Johnny Depp Memorializes Hunter S. Thompson

When Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide last February, we contemplated his life and death in light of his own words, "[b]eing shot out of a cannon is always better than being squeezed through a tube." (Kingdom of Fear). This man who unabashedly imposed himself onto the world and into his work, wanted to have his ashes fired out of a cannon over his Woody Creek ranch. Plans to fulfill his wishes and more are now coming to fruition.

Yesterday, Thompson's neighbors agreed to elaborate funeral plans, which will, in fact, involve blasting his ashes out of a cannon. The cannon will sit on top of a 150 ft. memorial (roughly the equivalent of a 5-story building) depicting Thompson's gonzo logo - a fist clenching a peyote button. Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (if you haven't seen it, run, don't walk to your nearest video store - but only if you have read the book! If not go to the library first), will pay the costs of constructing the giant memorial.

The structure will be temporary and remain veiled until the funeral service on August 20. Don't get too excited about attending the service yourself, as it is by invitation only and the townsfolk are doing everything they can to discourage onlookers.

More on Hunter:

Rolling Stone Obituary and Collection of Hunter S. Thompson Writings

Flying Dog Brewery Releases Gonzo Imperial Porter (with a 9.5% Alcohol content, Flying Dog says "it will bite you in the ass if you don't show it the proper respect")

Modern Drunkard Applauds Thompson's Life

Nine Inch Nails Protest MTV Censorship of "Unmolested" George W. Bush Picture

Nine Inch Nails was originally slated to perform at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, which will be taped this Sunday and aired Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 pm Est. Apparently, however, MTV was not thrilled with NIN's planned political statement. When MTV asked NIN not to use a picture of George W. Bush as a backdrop for their performance of "The Hand that Feeds," the band (ha, or I should say Reznor) pulled out in protest. Reznor had the following to say about the situation on NIN.com:
Nine Inch Nails will not be performing at the MTV Movie Awards as previously announced. We were set to perform "The Hand that Feeds" with an unmolested picture of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently the image of our President is as offensive to MTV as it is to me. See you on tour this fall when we return to play in America.

TRENT REZNOR
5_26_2005
On Tuesday, Reznor also announced a Fall 2005 Arena tour with Queens of the Stone Age. Reznor promises tour dates and presale announcements on NIN.com in early June. I would be more excited about this tour, as I have always been fond of NIN and Queens are amazing live, but I just can't get into With Teeth, which seems to have none of their former bite. If I were Alanis Morissette I would say that was ironic, but, thankfully, I am not.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Winamp Plug-in Offers iPod Users an Alternative to iTunes

If you are an iPod owner, you know one of the most annoying things about your mp3 player is having to use iTunes. Besides general functionality issues, you can only sync your iPod with one copy of iTunes. So, for example, if you want to maintain your music library on your work computer and your home computer, you would have to load your CDs manually on both devices, instead of transferring from one to the other with your iPod. Also, you can only add songs to your iPod from one computer.

Winamp is more user-friendly and doesn't wed you to one device, but until now it was incompatible with iPods. On Monday a new plug-in, ml_iPod, was released allowing iPod users to bypass iTunes and manage their music with Winamp.

Some feedback on the plug-in from a Wired article:

"A lot of the feedback I get is people thanking me for freeing them from iTunes," said Fisher [the developer]. "It shows the dissatisfaction people have with iTunes."

"iTunes takes up a lot of resources on the computer. Winamp is a lot faster," Fisher said. "Indeed, a lot of our users are still using Windows 98, which iTunes doesn't work on."

"Everything is a breeze and the interface is even easier to use than iTunes," wrote Doug Sheffer on a Winamp message board.

"Using it with third-gen iPod and Windows ME," wrote Brian Cape in the Winamp forum. "Absolutely superb, no problems at all. Congratulations and thanks -- I thought I was going to have to upgrade my PC to XP in order to use the iPod."

Upon Further Review: David Gray's "A Century Ends"

Gray's Debut Is an Oft-Ignored Masterpiece
by Jim McCoy

David Gray: A Century Ends
(U.K.- Hut Recordings; U.S.A.- Caroline Records) 1993

Long before White Ladder sold millions upon millions of copies, David Gray worked his craft in relative obscurity. The irony, of course, is that this English-born, Welsh-raised singer/ songwriter had quietly managed to create three-plus album's worth of music that contained many tracks that were every bit as passionate and inspired as the material on his breakthrough album - and none of it was being played with any frequency outside of his native countries and Ireland. He was bounced from one record label to another (and finally to none at all), all the while continuing to pursue a career in music despite his many commercial failures. In fact, two of his three albums issued before White Ladder's release - A Century Ends (the subject of this review) and Sell, Sell, Sell - were out of print at one time.

Fortunately, the success of White Ladder sparked an interest in Gray's back catalogue. It also provided his former labels (Hut Recordings, which is a subsidiary of Virgin, and EMI) an opportunity to cash-in on an artist that they had failed to support and properly promote while he was still in their fold. The reissued A Century Ends - Gray's 1993 debut recording - is a simply a singer/songwriter masterpiece. Stripped down of the synthesizers and electronics used to great effect on White Ladder, Century paints a moving portrait of a man, his guitar and his soul.

On the opening track, Shine, Gray manages to effectively meld only open-tuned acoustic guitars and a deep electric bass line underneath his booming, powerful voice, which transmits bittersweet - yet beautiful- lyrics about two departing lovers whose well-traveled "road is strewn with goodbyes." Although both realize that their "love has faded like a summer run through" as they continue to "walk down the shoreline one last time together," Gray provides tender assurances and encourages his leaving lover to "dry your eyes...rise from these ashes, like a bird aflame," so that each may "go where we can shine."

In contrast, the title track that follows is a band-backed anthem against a society where "honesty [is] still out fashion" and "Memory Lane" finds itself set afire. Despite the potentially cumbersome lyrical content addressing the evils of excess, complacency and corruption, Gray manages to craft a concise, powerful rocker with a seamless series of musical changes that is all the while unburdened by the hollow, preachy melodrama that typically renders songs of this ilk un-listenable when in the hands of lesser artists. (Or, those not named "Bob Dylan.")

The third track, Debauchery, is a folkish, acoustic-based ditty detailing the story of "a lonely man" who finds much-needed salvation in the arms of "a drunken ferry boat woman" one pale winter day. Gray's blatant accent, which is usually undetectable in the singing voices of most other artists that hail from outside the U.S., gives the tune an air of familiar authenticity that puts it on-par with what might be expected from a fine folk singer in the green Welsh or Irish countryside.

Although several other songs on A Century Ends are worthy of specific mention, it is Gathering Dust that stands out most prominently among the disc's seven remaining tracks. Devoid of drums or percussion, the song is nonetheless deceptively dynamic and powerful. The song - clearly inspired by Van Morrison and clocking in at a most radio-unfriendly six minutes-plus, is an introspective, melancholy inquiry as to why the subject, "for no reason, but that I must" is "throwing away the best thing that I've found." When he laments that "my young heart's in tatters and I'm sure it will be a long time healing/it's so hard to see what I'm doing this for, when loneliness is all that I'm feeling," any young, struggling man who has ever stood at the crossroads between the comforts of unconditional love and the free pursuit of another - perhaps more personally meaningful - calling is able readily to identify with the conflict in Gray's voice, which is far more credible, powerful and confident than that found on most recording debuts.

Fans of White Ladder, but not necessarily David Gray, may not take as much of a liking to the purer sound of an album free of the modern, yet tasteful, electronic treatments and drum sounds found on both the aforementioned and Gray's A New Day at Midnight. For fans of David Gray and other artists in the singer/songwriter mold (especially Van Morrison), you are simply cheating yourself if you do not hear this album at some point.

Bo Bice Robbed, Carrie pre-selected? Another American Idol Scandal?

Were the American Idol results leaked ahead of time? That's what folks think on the Bo Bice message board on BiceSquad.com. A Bo Bice supporter posted a link that was allegedly published on the online edition of the UK news outlet "The Independent." The mystery link dated May 22, 2005, days before Fox unveiled Carrie Underwood as the winner, identifies Carrie as the new American Idol:

Britain's stars shine for Europe
By Jason Nisse
22 May 2005

Ten British-based business people have been named among the 25 Stars of Europe by American magazine BusinessWeek. However, only five of them are actually British, showing the international nature of the UK business community.

Among the more predictable names in the list are Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco; BT boss Ben Verwaayen; and Nigel Newton, who signed JK Rowling for Bloomsbury Publishing. More surprising are Andrew Black and Ed Wray, the co-founders of Betfair.com; and Simon Fuller, the pop impresario whose American Idol TV competition was won this year by Carrie Underwood.


Another Bo fan, on the same message board, stated:

"I read about the article on another website last night. Someone wrote the paper and asked how they could print that when the winner had not been determined yet. The paper wrote her back and said they were sorry and the story would be retracted and that they had no inside information. Another editor on another paper stated that they may have thought Carrie was the winner because her song is first on the the CD and all the other finalist were listed in the order they left."


The link to The Independent does not show the reported text, and reads "page not found." But, the original text can still be viewed via Google's "cache" and the headline is still in the archives of the Europe Business Post. Was Bo's near miss rap sheet too much to let him win? Who knows. Even if The Independent's story was real and innocent, it'll certainly fuel American Idol conspiracy theorists who've long suspected some funny business with the show's voting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Coldplay being out sold by a frog?

Reports indicate that a popular ringtone "The Crazy Frog's Axel F" is going to hit the top spot on the UK singles charts. Axel F is even outselling Coldplay's latest single "Speed of Sound." Don't worry boys, we think you'll be around alot longer than the Crazy Frog!

Coldplay delivered a great performance last week on Saturday Night Live's season finale and is gearing up for a blockbuster summer tour:

6/05/2005 Olympia, Paris
6/15/2005 Hamburg, GER Volksparkstadion
6/17/2005 Cologne, GER Fuhlinger See
6/19/2005 Berlin, GER Wuhlheide
6/22/2005 Dublin, IRE Marlay Park
6/27/2005 London, UK Crystal Palace
6/28/2005 London, UK Crystal Palace
7/1/2005 Glasgow, UK Bellahouston Park
7/2/2005 Glasgow, UK Bellahouston Park
7/4/2005 Bolton, UK Reebok Stadium
7/5/2005 Bolton, UK Reebok Stadium
7/7/2005 Arnhem, NET Gelredome
7/9/2005 Munich, GER Coubertin Platz
7/10/2005 Saint Poelten, AUT Nuke Site
7/11/2005 Verona, ITA Open Air

The tour continues throughout the summer and into the fall with more European, Canadian and US dates.

Celtic Music Spreading Via the Net

Austin, TX - For five years, the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine has been the leader of hottest new Irish/Celtic music online by featuring free music downloads from Celtic bands.

The Celtic MP3s Music Magazines began as a newsletter linked mainly to MP3.com. It was a way to promote publisher, Marc Gunn's band, the Brobdingnagian Bards.

"Then, something amazing happened," says Gunn. I heard some of the best Celtic music I'd ever heard. And it was unaffiliated with any record label. From that point on I decided to help these great Celtic music groups find an audience."

Since then, the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine has featured CDs and MP3s from bands like Enya, Black 47, Natalie MacMaster, Silly Wizard, The Chieftains, Brobdingnagian Bards, Altan, Loreena McKennit, Clannad, The Dubliners, Lunasa, The Corries, Solas, U2, Planxty, The Clancy Brothers, Afro Celt Sound System, Capercaillie, Ewan MacColl, The Corrs, Irish Rovers, Seven Nations, Tannahill Weavers, and many more.

The vast majority of the music is Independent Celtic music from traditional Irish music and tunes to Scottish folk songs, Celtic rock to a tiny bit of Celtic New Age music.

With well-over 6,000 subscribers to the weekly ezine, the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine is the headquarters for free independent Celtic music online.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dee Snider Calls for Rockers to Unite for Bo Bice

With the end of this year's American Idol competition upon us and the somewhat surprise appearance in the finals of rocker Bo Brice, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame is calling on rockers everywhere to call in their votes for Bice.

Commenting on Bice's success on his radio show, Snider said he thought it'd be great for rock in general if Bo won. He thinks it's great for a "cock-struttin' rocker" to be beamed into middle-America's living rooms. Snider thinks rock is in crisis and rock personalities are an endangered species. On Bice, Snider says "he's a real rocker, he's got drug busts, the whole thing..." Snider even noted that Katie Couric was a little squeamish when talking about Bice's Idol success. Dee suggested Katie lighten up and that maybe a wardrobe malfunction would do her some good!

Snider is a DJ at rock station WMMR in Philadelphia and hosts the syndicated "House Of Hair" show that airs on stations across the country. He is also kicking off a summer world tour with this band Twisted Sister.

Missy Higgins coming back in the US for debut album

BURBANK, CA - Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins is set to return to the US to support the June 7 release of her acclaimed debut album "The Sound of White."

The disc is the #1 selling CD of 2005 in Australia. It was recently certified six times platinum and is currently #2 on the national charts Down Under.

Recorded in Los Angeles by John Porter (Ryan Adams, The Smiths, Los Lonely Boys) and mixed by Jay Newland (Norah Jones), "The Sound of White" has already received rave reviews for its raw sounds and evocative lyrics. The album led Interview magazine to pick the 21-year-old as one of their "14 Faces To Watch" in 2005 and MTV recently picked Missy for their show "Advance Warning," which showcases rising talent.

Having built her Australian success on tours supporting the likes of John Butler Trio and the Finn Brothers, Missy recently completed US and UK tours with highly touted singer - songwriter Ray Lamontagne. She is currently doing her first headlining tour of England and every show has sold out in advance.

Missy will launch her album Stateside with an appearance on "Last Call With Carson Daly" on June 7, and an early show at the Mercury Lounge in New York on Thursday, June 9. The following week she will play four west coast shows with up-and-coming Blue Note recording artist, Amos Lee. In July, Missy will join forces with Howie Day and Gavin Degraw. All dates listed below:


Thu June 9 Mercury Lounge NYC (8:30pm)
Tue June 14 The Knitting Factory Los Angeles
Thu June 16 The Independent San Francisco
Sat June 18 Roseland Grill Portland
Sun June 19 Crocodile Café Seattle
*Thu July 14 Northerly Island Chicago, IL
*Fri July 15 Basilica Block Party Minneapolis, MN
*Sun July 17 Universal Lending Pavilion Denver, CO

*w/Howie Day and Gavin DeGraw

Hot Hot Heat: Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia

Posted by Becky Blumenthal.

This past Sunday, May 22nd, Hot Hot Heat stopped in Philadelphia as a part of their tour to promote their sophomore release Elevator. Following two years of non-stop touring, Hot Hot Heat have given their fans more of the genre-crossing fun songs that they loved from Make Up the Breakdown. At this show, Hot Hot heat not only proved that they are back, but that they have grown up.

Hot Hot Heat is like a blast into the danceable era of the new-wave 1980s. But looking around the audience Sunday night, most of the people were not even born in the 1980s. That aside, they put on a terrific performance, that seemed to not only please the fans, but themselves as well.

A day after performing at a large festival in Irvine, California, Hot Hot Heat eagerly welcomed the personal attention of the Trocadero. With less than 1,500 capacity, the intimate feeling provided the perfect atmosphere for the young-and-ready-to-dance audience. Hot Hot Heat entered the stage with a startling, disco-style light show that accompanied their synth-infested music perfectly.

I've seen Hot Hot Heat twice before, and this was definitely their best performance yet. Whether it was the love that the audience had for the band, the infatuation with the new album, or the nostalgia of older songs like "Bandages" and "Oh, Godamnit," it was a great concert. The show was great all the way through, beginning with very appropriate, talented opening bands, The Blue Van, and Robbers on High Street.

Hot Hot Heat released Elevator on April 5, and it is filled with similar infectious melodies to Make Up the Breakdown, which make it irresistible, but the songs show maturation. While Elevator is a great follow up, it's really the relentless hooks, the sugary manic keyboards, and Steve Bays' repetitive lyrics of both albums that make Hot Hot Heat the lovable, danceable band that they are.

Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, these electcro-pop indie darlings just make you want to dance. And that's exactly what the audience did, myself included. Even those who decided they were "too cool" to dance, couldn't refrain.

After waiting too long for Hot Hot Heat to return to Philly, the fans received the show they had been waiting for. What made the show so incredible was the balance between the band and the audience. Unlike other bands, HHH truly feeds off the energy from their fans and need them as much as the fans need the music.

The playlist consisted of:

No, Not Now
Goodnight, Goodnight
This Town
Island of the Honest Man
Ladies and Gentlemen
Get in Or Get Out
Pickin' It Up
Jingle Jangle
Dirty Mouth
Middle of Nowhere
Talk To Me, Dance With Me
I Owe you an IOU
Save Us S.O.S.
Bandages

Encore:
Elevator
Oh, Goddamnit
Running Out of Time

Do yourself a favor, and catch Hot Hot Heat in a city near you.

May 24, 2005 - North Hampton, MA - Pearl Street Nightclub
May 25, 2005 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club
May 26, 2005 - Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
May 27, 2005 - Columbus, Oh - PromoWest Pavillion
May 28, 2005 - Cleveland, OH - Scene Pavillion
May 30, 2005 - Detroit, MI - State Theatre
May 31, 2005 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave at The Eagle's Club
June 1, 2005 - Minneapolis, MN - The Quest
June 3, 2005 - Chicago, IL - New City YMCA
June 4, 2005 - auburn, WA - White River Amphitheatre
June 7, 2005 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
June 9, 2005 - Reno, NV - Reno Events Center
June 10, 2005 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre
June 11, 2005 - Banta Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
June 13, 2005 - Los Angeles, CA - Avalon Theatre
June 15, 2005 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
June 17, 2005 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theatre
June 18, 2005 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
June 20, 2005 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
June 21, 2005 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The venue
July 13, 2005 - Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live *MTV Taping

Monday, May 23, 2005

Is Montreal the “New Seattle”?

by Becky Blumenthal.

Back in the early 1990s, Seattle was the place to be if you were a music lover. Home to the infamous Nirvana, Hole, Pearl Jam, and, Bikini Kill, Seattle produced most of the popular music of the day. Unfortunately, the nineties are over, and Seattle is still cool, but no longer the haven of new music. Now, the place to be is Montreal, which is quickly becoming the musical city du jour. Last week, it was Williamsburg, before that Omaha, but now it's in Jack Frost Territory.

The American music scene seems to have a knack for depending on the originality of small cities, although, until now, it's typically stayed within U.S. boundaries. Only a five-hour drive from New York City or a one and a half hour flight costing a mere $150, Montreal is more accessible than we realize. While it has always had the reputation as being a place of musical experimentation, the eyes of America have not been focused on the city since the 1976 Olympics.

Why Montreal? That's a tricky question. Montreal is actually divided between the Francophones (French speakers) and the Anglophones (English speakers). In this case, the Francophones own the town, making up over sixty percent of the population. But, the Anglophones are bringing new attention to the music scene. Aside from mainstream acts Rufus Wainwright and Simple Plan, Montreal bands didn't begin to make heads turn until the Arcade Fire's rise in popularity last year.

Montreal is an ideal city for a band, both politically and economically. While Anglophone music is banned from the radio in Montreal, a governmental agency known as FACTOR: the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, provides financing for demos, videos and tours of musicians who apply for aid. For example, The Dears, the Stars and the Unicorns have all applied for and received money from FACTOR.

Some musicians living in Montreal joke that the bad weather keeps them inside writing songs and rehearsing. A key reason for the popularity of Montreal: cheap urban real estate in a cultural haven. A growing music scene requires lots of cheap space for musicians to live, record, play and rehearse. What makes the real estate even cheaper is that tax credit is given to spaces that are used for artistic purposes.

Despite the fact that these English speaking bands are in the minority, they are thriving. Bands like Godspeed you! Black Emperor, the Dears, the Stars, former Smashing Pumpkin and Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, the Unicorns, the Stills, and Kid Koala are all making waves.

No, Montreal hasn't given the music world an equivalent of Seattle's Nirvana. Nor does Montreal have it's own unique sound, like 'grunge.' But, much of the music that your friends are listening to is from Canada, so maybe you should check it out too, eh!?!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sufjan Stevens’ Next State is…. Illinois!

by Becky Blumenthal.

Sufjan Stevens has made it his goal to write an album about each of the fifty United States. According to his website, Stevens has chosen Illinois as his next subject. In 2003, he released Greetings for Michigan, about his home state, with eloquent folk songs about automobile factories, finding God, and depressed towns. Since then, fans have been eagerly awaiting to hear what state he would conquer next.

Congratulations to Illinois! The second installment of his massive project, will be released on July 5, 2005. On the upcoming album, Stevens sings about ghost towns, grain mills and the Sears Tower. Illinois also boasts guest appearances by a serial murderer, Superman, a president, and Decatur's famous Chickenmobile.

Stevens promises Illinois to be a 22-track celebration of The Prairie State. By weaving together the sounds of 25 instruments (most of which he plays himself), and numerous musical styles (funk, folk, ambient, jazz), Stevens pushes the boundaries of the folk he is known for.

Sufjan Stevens' upcoming tour dates follow, although more should be announced soon, seeing as though there are none currently scheduled in Illinois.

07/15 - San Diego, CA -- Belly Up Tavern
07/16 - Los Angeles, CA -- El Rey Theater
07/18 - San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
07/19 - San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
07/21 - Portland, OR -- Aladdin Theater
07/22 - Seattle, WA -- Triple Door
07/23 - Seattle, WA -- Triple Door
07/24 - Vancouver, BC -- Richard’s on Richards
07/27 - Boise, ID -- Neurolux
07/28 - Salt Lake City, UT -- Lo-fi Cafe
07/29 - Denver, CO -- Bluebird Theater
07/30 - Aspen, CO -- Belly Up Aspen
08/01 - Phoenix, AZ -- Rhythm Room
08/02 - Tuscon, AZ -- Plush
08/19 - New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom
08/20 - New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson to Celebrate 6-6 on 6

Bruce Dickinson will appear on BBC 6 Music on June 6, to celebrate the serendipity of 3 6's coming together. Apparently, neither BBC 6 Music or the former Iron Maiden frontman read our article from a couple of weeks ago, "Advanced Imaging Reveals 666 is Not the Number of the Beast." Shocking. Well, regardless, it looks like something worth tuning in for. You can click on the BBC link above on June 6 and listen to the celebration as an internet stream.

BBC 6 Music issued the following press release detailing the day's events:

"On the 6th day of the 6th month (June 6th) on (BBC) 6 Music, darkness descends. Throughout the day 6 Music will be playing fan's best suggestions of tracks from the dark side.

Vic vs Bruce- The Hour of Darkness (1500-1600)
Join Vic McGlynn for the final hour of her show when she's joined by 6 Music's rock show presenter and IRON MAIDEN front man, BRUCE DICKINSON. They'll be up against each other, playing your suggestions of the darkest tracks in your record collection.

Backwards Album Competition
We've got a DAB digital radio to giveaway if you can spot which albums are being played backwards throughout 66 on 6 day.

Chat Online to
Bruce Dickinson
(1600 - 1700)
The Iron Maiden front man and more importantly our very own Rock Show presenter, Bruce Dickinson, will be chatting live online to fans around the world straight after the Hour of Darkness.

Submit your questions here. ahead of the chat and you could win some exclusive Iron Maiden merchandise."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Jim Morrison alive in Oregon?

According to a report by the television show "A Current Affair," filmmaker Gerald Pitts claims he has footage of Jim Morrison alive and well in Oregon. Says Pitts: "In 1998, Jim Morrison had showed up at our rodeos, here in southern Oregon, and we discovered him living on a ranch, raising show-quality Arabian horses and paint horses. And I shot some footage of my friend." A Current Affair is slated to show the footage on today's show.

No word on whether Elvis is working on Morrison's ranch.

Artist to Watch: Kierstin Gray

Very few singer-songwriters can deliver a performance that not only pulls you into the show from the start, but leaves you saying "wow" and wanting more when its over. Kierstin Gray did just that this past Saturday night at the world famous Laugh Factory in New York City. Exuding grace and presence, Kierstin captivated the crowd at a party for legendary music PR man Howard Bloom with a jaw-dropping performance at the Global Entertainment and Media Summit.

A soulful storyteller, Kierstin's musical strengths have deep roots. Not only were both of her parents performers in their youth, Kierstin is classically trained in violin, piano and voice. Since taking her show beyond her Philly/New York City "backyard", the Bryn Mawr College graduate has traveled coast to coast and across the Atlantic. Kierstin has used her musical skill to support different communities in raising awareness on a number of issues, from AIDS in Africa, to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in urban areas, to drug rehabilitation and counseling for women and children. In December 2003, Kierstin was a featured soloist with the Tim Janis Ensemble as part of a United States tour by the Sinikithemba Choir of South Africa.

What is also unique about Kierstin is that she left her very good job at an advertising agency to pursue her dream of playing music full-time. In addition to working on her own career, the selfless performer also founded the "Skylark Series" to showcase other female musicians.

The joy of a road trip, the loss found in maturity, and the beauty of love are themes found within Kierstin's latest disc, anything and everything: the second edition. The disc includes one of her signature tune's "Wildfire" (one of my favorites!), which is an ideal soundtrack for your next roadtrip or just cruising around on a summer day with the top down.

Back from a 10 date swing through London, Kierstin is playing throughout the New York metro area:

5.21.05 - Kili Lounge Jazz Brunch (81 Hoyt btwn Atlantic & State, Brooklyn) - 11am
5.21.05 - LREI: Human Rights Coffee House (40 Charlton btwn 6th Ave & Varick) - 8 pm
5.21.05 - Trash Bar (256 Grand, Brooklyn) - 9:30pm
5.29.05 - The Wicked Monk (8415 5th Ave, Bay Ridge) - 8pm
6.8.05 - Coda (34 E. 34th St.) - 7pm
6.17.05 - Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen Street btwn E. Houston & Stanton)- 7pm.

Kierstin Gray is no doubt an artist to watch and a name to remember.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Live Aid II coming to Philadelphia?

The web and news wires are buzzing over reports that Sir Bob Geldof has locked-in London's Hyde Park for a Live Aid II concert this summer. Now, reports are leaking suggesting that, like the 1985 original, Live Aid II would be once again co-hosted in Philadelphia.

The Metro daily newspaper reports that sources informed them that Philadelphia City officials are talking with organizers about an outdoor show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose steps were made famous in Rocky I.

U2, Joss Stone, Paul McCartney and Eminem are rumored to be on the bill for Hyde Park. The Metro said sources indicated that the Rolling Stones could headline the Philadelphia show.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Michelle Shocked Trilogy Due in June

LOS ANGELES – 2005 will be a big year for Michelle Shocked, who will release a new trilogy of albums on June 14 on her own Mighty Sound label through Megaforce and RED Distribution.

The two-time Grammy nominee will present her threesome, continuing the "American Trilogy" concept of her first three Mercury albums.

The three new albums -- titled Don't Ask Don't Tell; Mexican Standoff; and Got No Strings -- chronicle a tumultuous time of life -- including her recent divorce. This isn't to imply that the songs are bitter. In fact, to the contrary they’re executed with humor, imagination, irony and empowerment -- and in voices most have never heard from Michelle. There's rock and after-hours blues and hardcore punk and twang shading her sly lyrics.

The first of these albums, Don't Ask Don't Tell, is a rock album, full of guitar and guts, produced by man-to-watch Dusty Wakeman (Dwight Yoakam, Anne McCue.) The story of what she's gone through is in there, but so are a lot of other stories and emotions. Early comparisons have been drawn to Richard Thompson's Shoot out the Lights with the chromatic eclecticism of an album like Los Lobos' Kiko.

Mexican Standoff – like a line drawn in the sand - is half Latin, half blues. It is Shocked's unique tribute to both her Texas and Latin roots. Grounded in the blues tradition that infuses all of her work, it squares off with the influences of her adopted home, Los Angeles – and an exploration of her Spanish heritage. "You know more Spanish than you think you do," is how she accounts for the showdown between the Texas blues shuffles on one side and the folklorico border ballads on the other. With basic production by Los Lobos Steve Berlin on the Spanglish tracks and Mark Howard on the blues numbers, Wakeman is once again at the helm, bringing the project safely into port.

Sailing in its wake is a very different album, Got No Strings, a playfully animated work in which Shocked re-imagines songs from Disney films – from standards like "When You Wish Upon a Star" to memory-joggers like "Baby Mine" – as western swing numbers. It’s an inspired juxtaposition, thanks in large measure to the contributions of producer/guitarist Nick Forster of Hot Rize/ETown renown, lap steel wizard Greg Leisz, Gabe Witcher on fiddle and David Jackson on bass.

According to Shocked, "I'm not gonna try to convince myself that it was practical. But I do tend to think in concepts of trilogies, tryptichs, trios. It seems like a complete cycle to me."

And you're hearing it here first: There are three more albums right behind these, completely different than these, including gospel/electronica and New Orleans style jazz and a tribute to blueswoman pioneer Memphis Minnie. She says, "You can't stop creative momentum. When it hits, you gotta roll with it..."

Michelle will tour in support of the new material this summer:

Thu-Jun-02 Los Angeles - The Mint
Fri-Jun-03 San Francisco - Great American
Sat-Jun-18 Pittsburgh - Three Rivers Arts Festival
Tue-Jun-21 Tucson - Plush
Wed-Jun-22 Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum
Thu-Jun-23 Salt Lake City - Velvet Room
Fri-Jun-24 Boulder - Fox Theater
Sat-Jun-25 Taos - Solar Festival
Sun-Jun-26 Austin – Antone’s
Mon-Jun-27 Lexington. KY - The Dame
Tue-Jun-28 Baltimore - Ramshead
Wed-Jun-29 New York - Joe's Pub (3 shows featuring each of the 3 albums)
Thu-Jun-30 Philadelphia - World Café
Fri-Jul-01 Ann Arbor Ark - TBA
Sat-Jul-02 Chicago - Hothouse
Sun-Jul-03 Milwaukee - Summerfest
Tue-Jul-05 Portland, OR - Douglas Fir Lounge
Wed-Jul-06 Seattle - Triple Door

Friday, May 13, 2005

Jeff Tweedy to Appear on BBC's Mixing It

Tonight at 10:15 (5:15 EST) Jeff Tweedy will guest star on Mixing It, a BBC Radio program, "celebrated as a bastion of experimental music radio." Tonight's show will feature an interview with Tweedy as well as music from Wilco, Jose Gonzalez, Curtis Roads, Loose Fur, and M. Ward, among others. BBC keeps audio files of past programs on their website, so if you have a hot date tonight you can always check it out later. Find more information about the show, including a full line-up, here.

In other news, the lastest reports indicate that Tweedy, Gary Louris, Mark Perlman and Dan Murphy are still at work recording for Golden Smog in Spain. Special guest Steve Wynn (founder of Dream Syndicate) reports, "things are moving ahead smashingly, and the band is seriously enjoying recording in a different atmosphere." Read more about Golden Smog in our March article here.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals: Cold Roses

by Morgan Clendaniel

Ryan Adams, Cold Roses


Whatever you think of Ryan Adams, it's time to admit a few things. Since Whiskeytown's Faithless Street in 1996, Adams has created a body of work that is impressive not only for its sheer magnitude, but also for the lack of sucking that one would assume would accompany so much output.

In the nine years since his debut, Adams first re-defined post-Tupelo alt-country over the course of three Whiskeytown albums. That would be nine year's worth of work for most artists. But that's not all. He has also released: an almost flawless solo debut, an out-of-nowhere explosion of rock anthems, a disparate collection of unreleased tracks, two EPs worth of Smith's-ish melancholia, a Replacements-Strokes hybrid, and now a new double album. This leaves out the two solo albums to be released later this year as well as the myriad songs that Adams writes and never releases (including a near-legendary bluesy cover of the Strokes' entire first album).

With the exception of Heartbreaker, almost all of Adams' solo efforts are, on some level, flawed. But, what is remarkable is that none are bad. Working at the almost inhuman pace of close to an album a year, Adams has never turned out bad product. And, more importantly, with each album, he manages to write a few of the best songs that anyone will hear until the next Ryan Adams record comes out.

For all of Adams' past albums, the question has been: who is editing this thing? Clearly, writing good songs is not a problem for Ryan. Apparently, brilliant pop songs just flow out as soon as he picks up the guitar. But, in a shocking display of normalcy, some of his songs are not so brilliant. This really shouldn't be a problem to admit, especially if, between the bad songs, you just wrote four amazing ones. But, Adams just throws them all on the album. So, between the glorious bursts of creativity, you have to slog through some less compelling material. But, this is a complaint that has been voiced in almost every piece of Adams-related reportage since Gold; clearly, the shrill voices of the music journalism establishment haven't managed to substantially alter Adams' song selection process, so it's probably time to drop it.

The first impulse on hearing this massive, 78-minute album, is to have the standard reaction: with a little more aggressiveness at the cutting board, Adams could have just released a truly exceptional album with no filler whatsoever. And, if you do the math, there are eighteen songs, and five of them are not at the level set by the other thirteen. Thirteen sounds just about right for a rocking new album, huh? But, say that you just wrote thirteen awesome songs, and five songs that are better than most of the crap you hear most of the time. You'd probably just throw those on, too. The man has some hubris. You can make a pretty valid argument that he deserves it.

Regardless, Cold Roses is, by far, Adams strongest effort since Heartbreaker. Adams re-embraces some of the best aspects of the classic rock bombast of Gold, while further developing the interesting, almost Jeff Buckley-like baroque sounds he started to develop on the Love Is Hell EPs. More importantly, many of the songs are washed with beautiful pedal steel that marks an exciting return to some sort of country inspiration.

The first disc features an exciting spectrum of influences and styles, from the somber "Meadowlake Street," to the rocking "Beautiful Sorta" and the psuedo-power-punk of "Cherry Lane." These songs are pretty damn compelling. Even when Adams gets all weepy, in a way which brought down the Love Is Hell EPs, the band picks him up, and gives the songs enough life to remain interesting. While the second disc is burdened by the bulk of the sub-par songs, it also features the best three songs on Cold Roses. "Let It Ride" features a return to the nonsensical Americana-isms that could sound beyond hackneyed, but which Adams inevitably makes sound incredibly sincere, in spite of both their lack of obvious meaning and their quaint country-shtick. I don't know what "Tennessee is a brother to my sister Carolina" means. I'm guessing Adams doesn't either. Somehow, it's still a great line. "If I Am A Stranger" and "Life Is Beautiful" round out a trifecta of brilliance.

Cold Roses should, hopefully, reverse the bad feelings that many have held after any number of Adams perceived musical and stylistic offenses. No album can be perfect. It's not Adams fault that he came closest on his first try, establishing a nearly impossible standard. Let's just accept that this man is writing some of the finest songs around. No matter how many less-good songs they are buried in, they're still near perfect pop songs (check out "Hotel Chelsea Nights," "Dear Chicago," or "Rock N Roll" from the post-Heartbreaker back catalog for some prime examples). And now, with Cold Roses, he's made another album that is completely worthy of his songs - give or take.

Bill Gates Predicts End is Near for iPod

Looking very much like Mr. Burns, Bill Gates told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview published today, "I don't think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term, however good Apple may be."

The Microsoft megalomaniac went on to say, "I think you can draw parallels here with the computer — here, too, Apple was once extremely strong with its Macintosh and graphic user interface, like with the iPod today, and then lost its position."

Hmm...

Apple was once extremely strong with its Macintosh and graphic user interface

You mean before you put out a, shall we say, strikingly similar product, Bill? Also, that's quite a stretch to compare iPod's current dominance with that of Macintosh back in the day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Robert Cray's "Twenty" Speaks With The Voice of a Disillusioned Soldier

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Robert Cray Band's forthcoming album "Twenty" is set for release on a week bookended by the May 24 birthday of one of this generation's most eloquent protest songwriters, Bob Dylan, and by Memorial Day, May 30. The dates are significant when one considers the subject matter which defines the album's title track, "Twenty."

"The song is about an innocent young guy, who, after the events of 9/11, wants to do his part for his country," Cray explains. "He doesn't know he's going to end up in Iraq, watching the horror that's going on there...and he ends up losing his life. It's a subject that needs to be spoken about and is in some ways, a continuation of one of the songs we did on the last album."

While Cray has generally focused his writing on personal relationships, his song "Survivor" as well as co-producer and bandmate Jim Pugh's "Distant Shore," both on Cray's 2003 CD "Time Will Tell," were also inspired by concerns about what was, at the time of their writing, an impending war in Iraq.

Robert Cray is a five time Grammy winner who grew up on military bases in the U.S. and abroad. His father served in Vietnam, so Robert has personal knowledge of the effect on a family when one of it's members is serving abroad.

On May 24 – the album's street date -- TrueMajority.org, a non partisan, non-profit, grassroots education and advocacy project founded by Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry's), plans to offer the song via streaming audio to its entire online community of 575,000 Americans.

The May 24 release of "Twenty," Cray's fourteenth album, will be backed by an extensive worldwide tour by The Robert Cray Band beginning on the week of release with a May 26 San Francisco benefit for Music In Schools Today. The tour will continue across the U.S. and Europe throughout the summer.

"Twenty"
words and music by Robert Cray
© 2005 Robert Cray Music, Inc (BMI)

When you’re used up, where do you go
Soldier
Mother dry your eyes, there’s no need to cry
I’m not a boy, it’s what I signed up for

When you’re used up, where do you go
Soldier
I can’t take the heat, and I hardly sleep anymore
What’d we come here for

Standing out here in the desert
Trying to protect an oil line
I’d really like to do my job but
This ain’t the country that I had in mind
They call this a war on terror
I see a lot of civilians dying
Mothers, sons, fathers and daughters
Not to mention some friends of mine
Some friends of mine

Was supposed to leave last week
Promises they don’t keep anymore
Got to fight the rich man’s war

When you’re used up, where do you go
Soldier
Late in 2004
Comes a knock at the door
It’s no surprise
Mother dry your eyes

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Copyright Office Proposes Regulations for Use of Sound Recordings

The Copyright Office is proposing regulations for the delivery and format of records of use of sound recordings by nonsubscription transmission services (including webcasters), preexisting satellite digital audio radio services, new subscription services, and business establishment services availing themselves of the statutory licenses set forth in 17 U.S.C. 112 and 114. The Office is seeking to establish the format in which each record of use must be kept, along with directions for delivery of the data to the Receiving Agent, which is SoundExchange, Inc. The deadline for the Copyright Office to receive comments on the proposed rules is May 27. The new Copyright Royalty Judges will assume responsibility for this ongoing rulemaking proceeding on May 31.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Offer Glimpse of Howl

Echo will release Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's upcoming release, Howl, in the UK on August 22, 2005. RCA will release the band's thrid album, presumably a short time thereafter. A clip of the first single, "Shuffle Your Feet," is available for preview on their site. You can't predict what the rest of the album will sound like based on what you hear in a mere 20 seconds, but it sounds as if they have made a dramatic, bluesy departure from their standard indie-pop-rock. Robert Turner told Billboard the following about their new sound:

"There's one in the vein of an old, Johnny Cash song, and there are a couple of songs that sound like Dylan's first couple of albums. On the songs that do have a fuller sound, they're more produced and layered. We used that setup more for our first album than the second; just having fun in the studio layering things, rather than the live electric band, throw-and-go sound."


BMRC will kick of a tour in the UK on June 11. Dates so far include:

June 11: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
June 12: Glasgow, QMU
June 13: Manchester, Academy 2
June 14: Birmingham, Academy 2
June 16: London, Scala
June 18: Leeds, Cockpit
June 19: Brighton, Concorde 2

BMI Launches New Songwriter/Artist Podcast

BMI Senior Vice President Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham announced today that the company is launching a podcast series to bring promising new songwriter/artists to the attention of key industry executives including record company A&R staffers and creative executives at music publishing companies. The BMI podcast, entitled "See It Hear First," will also be available on BMI.com beginning Monday, May 9th.

"The podcast is a natural evolution of our long tradition of promotional CDs and our nationwide series of live showcases promoting new songwriter/artists," said Graham. "Our close collaboration with creative executives at record companies and music publishers has shown a lot of excitement for this new format because of its immediacy and its portability. In addition, the availability of the podcast on BMI.com, which reaches almost a million visitors each month, should be an excellent way of letting new talent reach its audience."

Simultaneously, BMI Licensing Vice President Richard Conlon, who oversees the company's new media area, announced that BMI had been licensing podcasters for nearly a year covering the public performance rights to the BMI repertoire. BMI's licensing website has been expanded to provide a clear path for Podcasters to get more information on licensing music for their programs and to obtain BMI licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Podcasters including Coverville.com and Keener13.com have already signed on to the BMI agreement. BMI plans on rolling out additional licensing programs for this new medium as it grows.

BMI will select songwriter/artists for the podcast from its new signings each month. Repertoire for the first podcast, chosen from exceptional talent from January, 2005 through April, 2005 includes Jetpack, Astaire, somedaynew, and Brendan James. Biographical information and photographs on each of the songwriter/artists are also available on BMI.com/podcast.

"These initiatives," said Graham, "continue BMI's long tradition in breaking new ground for our creators and our licensees by harnessing the power of technology. BMI was the first music company with a web site, the first to license music on the web, and the first to make data on its entire catalog of more than 4.5 million compositions available on the web. The podcast is a logical next step."

GEMS Awards Lifetime Achievement To Howard Bloom

New York, NY — The Global Entertainment & Media Summit (GEMS) will honor artist development genius Howard Bloom on Saturday, May 14th, with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Excellence for his outstanding contributions to music and film.

The Ceremony will take place at the Laugh Factory/Times Square Arts Center during GEMS two-day conference where a host of music, film and media industry leaders will gather and give tribute to one of their own.

Congratulations come from former colleagues in the music and media industry with whom Bloom worked as journalist, as first editor of Circus magazine, where he fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll, and later as head of one of the biggest star making PR Companies in the music business, The Howard Bloom Organization. As noted in Gear Magazine, he helped launch the careers of nineteen year olds like Prince and Joan Jett, and built enduring careers for folks, who were finding their way — John Mellencamp and Billy Idol, and worked with Billy Joel, Aerosmith, and Queen. Bloom is also credited with saving Prince's mega-movie hit "Purple Rain" from being cancelled by Warner Brothers. Bloom also helped put ZZ Top, John Mellencamp, Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Run DMC on the map.

Bloom gained a reputation for picking artists at the outset of their careers at the expense of established names. As noted in Gear, "Howard was remarkable," says Bob Cavallo, Prince's Manager at the time, and later the chairman of the Buena Vista Group and President of Hollywood Records. He got the press to understand Prince as the genius he was rather than simply a sex-crazed R&B guy.

Another example is Joan Jett. Bloom said, Joan is like family. After rejection by 23 record companies, he built her up to double platinum in eighteen months and established her identity as a powerful, self-motivated, independent woman. This was the late 1970’s, at a time when the number of working mothers was shifting to a majority. "Joan had a strong influence, as a media role model, on shaping identity for a generation of young girls, by simply being her self," Bloom noted. This year marks the 25th Anniversary Reunion of the original Joan Jett & The Black Hearts Band.

GEMS Founder Steve Zuckerman said, "I love the man and respect him enormously as a colleague and friend. He's always been there for me. He helped me and many artists through professional and personal crises and offered his creative genius every step of the way."

Bloom has overcome a longtime illness and busy working on current projects that span motivational speaking to corporations, executive coaching, journalism and fostering creative competition. True to Howard Bloom' innovation he's setting up the foundation Cultureshift: International Center for Challenge to Government, Science and Media to make the public more aware of the issues and provide leadership in taking social action. His forthcoming book is Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul in the Machine.

Renee Zellweger Says "I do" with Latest in String of Music Men

Yesterday, Renee Zellweger married country star Kenny Chesney in the Virgin Islands. The couple met for the first time on January 15, 2005, at the tsunami relief benefit, "Concert of Hope." This news wouldn't normally be relevant to Earvolution.com, but we wanted to take a minute to ponder how a woman could go from Jim Carrey to Jack White to Damien Rice to Kenny Chesney. While the attraction to musicians is an easy concept to grasp, I am at a loss as to how you could so easily mix genres. And Kenny Chesney? Renee, the paltry amount of cool points you scored with the color-coded, rockstar boyfriend just vaporized. But who are we to judge, apparently she found a kindred spirit in the crooner who wrote, "You Had Me from Hello," based on her line from Jerry Maguire. *Gagging*

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Raveonettes: All-American Euros

By Lori Kozlowski
Images from The Raveonettes.com

They're inventive, nostalgic, new-old, vintage-mod. They're the Raveonettes - hot Danish imports who have taken American oldies and turned them into gold again by adding a modern sound.

For all you lost souls out there who are searching for another time, another place, turn on the Raveonettes and you can almost feel yourself transport back to a simpler, more bittersweet era. Their longing lyrics paired with their sweet melodies make for a record that is akin putting your heart in a time machine and sending it back to another decade.

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are the dynamic Danish duo who, like the White Stripes, are a male and female combo. After the release of their first album "Chain Gang of Love" in 2003, the band has followed up with "Pretty in Black," released this month.

Recently featured in Esquire, Playboy, the Los Angeles Times, Jane, Maxim, Stuff, and Filter, the band has been all over the country. They also have played the South by Southwest festival in Austin and most recently Coachella in Indio, California.

Clearly, these guys are making their mark on the American music landscape. If Buddy Holly were alive, he’d be strumming a guitar along with them.

In a recent interview with Foo, days after she and Wagner played Coachella, she had this to say about her newfound American success:

LK: So you just finished playing Coachella. How was that experience? Were there any standout moments for you?

SF: It was a really great experience. We were really excited. We played the opening day on the main stage. It was beautiful and we had a beautiful view of the mountains and people were smiling at us. We’ve always wanted to play it. It was our first west coast, California, sweaty festival.

LK: Both of you are from Denmark, so what is it that you love about American music of the 50s and 60s so much?

SF: It’s difficult to say really. It’s so nostalgic, and such simple songwriting.

LK: Your new CD, Pretty in Black, what was the inspiration behind these songs?

SF: Going back to the 50s and 60s, we always wanted to make it new and modern sounding. The lyrics are combination of things we experience on the road and lots of fiction.

LK: Which song on Pretty in Black is your favorite to perform or is really memorable to record?

SF: Live, I really like "You Say You Lie." It's really nice to play it live, especially the extended version.

LK: I have to ask since I live in LA. Tell me about "Ode to LA"? Anything significant there?

SF: Obviously, it was great that Ronnie Spector came in and recorded with us. And L.A. is a city we love very much and we wanted to capture that lightness.

LK: What about your influences? Particular musicians, other artists, writers, painters that inspire you?

SF: Stuff from Hitchcock, lots of film noir stuff. Sune is a fan of all the Beat poets. He has Jack Kerouac tattooed on his arm.

LK: Wagner has mentioned that you guys like contrast in your music. Can you talk a little bit about that...something sad paired with something sweet.

SF: We just find that there is more dimension to it, there is more tension. Tension makes it really interesting and diverse. We like layers to our music. We like it to be varied.

LK: If you were listening to a jukebox and you could only have three artists' records inside, who would they be?

SF: Probably the Rolling Stones Let it Bleed, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, and Buddy Holly, Best of Buddy Holly.

LK: Is there a favorite American city that you like to play or visit?

SF: We always have a fun time in the Southwest. We have a few cities that we are really excited about. We’re in Portland today and I know where the vintage stores are that I like and a vegan place where I know I can get something healthy to eat. There's a wine tasting store here that I love.

The Raveonettes tour continues throughout the summer in the following cities:

2005 Minneapolis, MN 1st Avenue
May 11 2005 Chicago, IL Double Door
May 12 2005 Milwaukee, WI Mad Planet
May 13 2005 Indianapolis, IN Patio
May 14 2005 Nashville, TN Exit/In
May 16 2005 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room
May 17 2005 Austin, TX The Parish
May 19 2005 New Orleans, LA Twiropa
May 20 2005 Tallahassee, FL Beta Bar
May 21 2005 Orlando, FL Social
May 22 2005 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
May 24 2005 Tampa, FL State Theater
May 25 2005 Athens, GA 40 Watt
May 26 2005 Atlanta, GA Smith's Olde Bar
May 27 2005 Chapel Hill, NC Cat's Cradle
May 28 2005 Washington, DC Black Cat
May 29 2005 Baltimore, MD Otto Bar
May 31 2005 Hoboken, NJ / Maxwell's / SOLD OUT
June 01 2005 Philadelphia, PA North Star
June 03 2005 Montreal, QUE Petite Campus
June 04 2005 Toronto, ONT Lee's Palace
June 05 2005 Cincinnati, OH (Newport, KY) Southgate House
June 06 2005 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
June 07 2005 Boston, MA FNX Festival
June 08 2005 Detroit, MI Magic Stick
June 10 2005 Buffalo, NY Show Place Theater
June 11 2005 New York, NY Webster Hall
June 14 2005 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland
June 15 2005 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland
June 16 2005 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland
June 18 2005 San Diego, CA KBZT Festival
July 02 2005 Denmark Roskilde Festival

FreeU2tickets.com shut down

Just days after Pollstar ran a story documenting an apparently unauthorized ticket giveaway by the web site FreeU2tickets.com, the site is no longer visible on the web (although images can be seen in Google's cache archives).

Prior to the Pollstar article, FreeU2tickets.com issued a press release claiming that fans could "get two free U2 tickets and help raise $1 million dollars for their favorite charities" by taking "three steps" to "participate in some of our advertisers' offers."

FreeU2tickets.com now directs visitors to My Reward Choices.com where there is no mention of any U2 tickets. Bono's "One" campaign, however, remains on the list of charities.

The U2 tour is the hottest tour in the world right now with virtually every ticket sold out.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Legendary rock club CBGB to close?

What do Jonathan Demme, Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye, Juliette Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Tommy Ramone, Charlotte Lesher (mother of the late Joey Ramone), Arturo Vega (artistic director for the Ramones), Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, Richard Lloyd of Television, Little Steven, Legs McNeill, Richard Hell, Fab 5 Freddy, Seymour Stein of Sire Records, Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, Bob Gruen, the Bullys, Richard H.D. Manitoba, Dennis McNamara, Daniel Wolff, John Holstrom of Punk Magazine, John Foxworthy of Garage Radio, cultural sociologist Dr. Donna Gaines, Rockefeller University Professor Dr. Sanford Simon, an entrepreneur and survivor of spina bifida, and a teacher in Honolulu all have in common?

They are supporting efforts currently underway to help CBGB & OMFUG stay on the Bowery and are backing a campaign to preserve the club's legacy with an official New York City landmark designation for 313-315 Bowery. The club currently faces a rent dispute and lease expiration on August 31, 2005.

"CBGB is a treasure of New York culture," says Tommy Ramone, "It was the original magnet that drew people from every corner of America to come to New York and participate in its rebirth."

And, in a statement to Project Save CBGB, Seymour Stein of Sire Records said, "At all costs, CBGB's must be preserved. It is more than a landmark. CBGB is an international treasure!"

CBGB's, launching bands since 1973, receives on average about 1,500 visitors a week who do not necessarily attend its shows but who just want to step inside and take a look.

"With daily visitors from Japan, Argentina, Norway, to New Zealand among other countries, CBGB functions as an historic destination in New York as much as does the Dakota Building," says Athena of Project Save CBGB.

Widely acknowledged by music critics as the birthplace of the Punk and Underground Rock movement, CBGB's is also credited with launching the careers of some of the most important artists in musical history - including The Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith Group, Television, and Blondie. More recently, CBGB's has become a shrine to punk's departed music heroes - the club resides adjacent to the street corner designated by the City of New York as Joey Ramone Place.

"Project Save CBGB" was organized with the intention to keep CBGB's on the Bowery, and to preserve it for future generations. We invite you to join us in requesting landmark designation for 313-315 Bowery, under the guidelines established by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

TV Exec: No more Britney Spears; launches indie artist channel

LOS ANGELES, CA – Music Plus TV co-founder Marc Cubas is tired of Britney Spears. He's relieved his kids finally threw out their dated boy band albums. He did like Eminem's 8 Mile soundtrack and its hit single "Lose Yourself" – at least, he did the first 300 times he heard it.

"I'm tired of listening to the same stuff," he complains. Luckily, he has the cure.

On June 15th, Cubas and co-founder Dennis Tzeng are officially launching Music Plus TV, a Los Angeles-based 24-hour live streaming web television station that will devote the majority of its air time to undiscovered and independent artists. "MPTV will showcase the best of the indie music scene," says Tzeng. "So many of these bands and artists have talent and appeal that could be just as strong as mainstream artists, but they don't have access. We’re here to provide that."

By January of next year, MPTV will also have a cable television network up and running with 24/7 programming. The TV station will air independent short films, music videos, documentaries, concert footage, indie artist interviews and original shows.

Some of the programs currently in development include Alternative Angles, Unsigned, Fashion Forward, Urban Roots and In The Garage.

Music Plus TV is currently accepting short film, music video and demo submissions.

Steve Miller Keeps on Rockin'

The Steve Miller Band announced the band's first full national tour since 2000. While in the Los Angeles area, Miller, a renowned blues/rock singer-songwriter-guitarist, will be inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk during a ceremony scheduled to take place at Noon on Monday, July 11th.

The Steve Miller Band has sold over 23 million records since its 1968 Capitol debut, Children of the Future. While associated with San Francisco's "Summer of Love," Miller's roots transcended psychedelia from the start. He grew up in a home frequented by musicians such as Charles Mingus, Les Paul (a lifelong friend) and T. Bone Walker, the father of Texas-style electric blues. Miller's dad, an enormous music fan, would bring traveling musicians home for informal recording sessions. The younger Miller began playing guitar at age five when an uncle gave him a Gibson and Les Paul offered to show him some chords.

Upcoming tour dates for the Steve Miller Band are as follows:

5/26 Lemoore, CA Palace Center
5/28 San Diego, CA Bayside Concerts Embarcadero & Marina Park South
6/16 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Resort
6/17 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Resort
6/18 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
6/29 Denver, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
7/1 Central Point, OR Lithia Motors Amphitheater
7/3 Sacramento, CA (Kelseyville) Konocti Field Amphitheatre
7/8 West Valley City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
7/10 Costa Mesa, CA Pacific Amphitheatre
8/11 Sturgis, SD Buffalo Chip Campgrounds
8/13 Pittsburgh, PA Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake
8/14 Bethlehem, PA Bethlehem Musikfest
8/18 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
8/19 Detroit, MI Pine Knob
8/20 Indianapolis, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center
8/25 Syracuse, NY Turning Stone Resort
8/26 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center
8/27 Vienna, VA Filene Center
8/29 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheater
9/4 Redmond, WA Chateau St. Michelle
9/17 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/22-23 Santa Barbara, CA Chumash Event Center

Friday, May 06, 2005

Starbucks drops Springsteen from Coffee Shops

Citing concerns over "adult content" in the song "Reno" Starbucks has banned Bruce Springsteen's new record "Devils and Dust" from its coffee stores. Starbucks sold nearly a quarter of the 3 million copies of Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" and many thought they would deliver similar numbers for the Springsteen disc. Devils and Dust debuted at #1 in ten countries, including the United States. Starbucks is carrying the disc at their "Hear Music" locations in Berkeley and Santa Monica, California.

The lyrics from "Reno":


She took off her stockings
I held 'em to my face
She had your ankles
I felt filled with grace

"Two hundred dollars straight in
Two-fifty up the ass" she smiled and said
She unbuckled my belt, pulled back her hair
And sat in front of me on the bed

She said, "Honey, how's that feel
Do you want me to go slow?"
My eyes drifted out the window
And down to the road below

I felt my stomach tighten
As the sun bloodied the sky
And sliced through hotel blinds
I closed my eyes

Sunlight on the Amatitlan
Sunlight streaming through your hair
In the Valle de dos Rios
The smell of mock orange filled the air

We rode with the vaqueros
Down into cool rivers of green
I was sure the work and the smile coming out 'neath your hat
Was all I'll ever need

Somehow all you ever need's
Never quite enough you know
You and I, Maria, we learned it's so

She slipped me out of her mouth
"You're ready," she said
She took off her bra and panties
Wet her fingers, slipped it inside her
And crawled over me on the bed

She bought me another whisky
Said "here's to the best you ever had"
We laughed and made a toast
It wasn't the best I ever had
Not even close


A spokesperson for Sony/BMG declined to disclose the specifics of their relationship with Starbucks, but said Sony/BMG understood that a number of factors went into Starbucks' decision. He also stated that Sony/BMG was pleased that the cd is available at two of the flagship "Hear Music" locations and that Sony/BMG has a good relationship with Starbucks.

Springsteen is doing an acoustic tour in small venues in support of the new cd. Tour dates:

May 7 Denver, CO Lecture Hall at Colorado Convention Center
May 10 St Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
May 11 Chicago, IL Rosemont Theatre
May 14 Fairfax, VA Patriot Center
May 15 Cleveland, OH CSU Convocation Center
May 17 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theatre
May 19 East Rutherford, NJ The Theater at Continental Arena
May 20 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
May 24 Dublin, Ireland The Point
May 27 London, UK Royal Albert Hall
May 28 London, UK Royal Albert Hall
May 30 Brussels, Belgium Forest National
June 1 Barcelona, Spain Pavello Olimpic Badalona
June 2 Madrid, Spain Palacio De Deportes de la Comunidad
June 4 Bologna, Italy Palamalaguti Arena
June 6 Rome, Italy Palalottomatica Arena
June 7 Milan, Italy Milan Forum
June 11 Hamburg, German Color Line Arena
June 12 Berlin, Germany ICC
June 13 Munich, Germany Olympia Hall
June 15 Frankfurt, Germany Festhalle
June 16 Dusseldorf, Germany Phillipshalle
June 19 Rotterdam, Holland Ahoy
June 20 Paris, France Bercy
June 22 Copenhagen, Denmark Forum
June 23 Gothenberg, Sweden Scandinavium
June 25 Stockholm, Sweden Hovet

Melvins to Release a Collection of Old Rarities

On May 31, Ipecac Recordings will release, "Mangled Demos from 1983," a collection of old Melvins rarities. The track listing is available at themelvins.net.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Advanced Imaging Reveals 666 is not the Number of the Beast

Apparently, the devil is in the details. Using advanced imaging techniques, scholars recently unearthed a revelation that could send hundreds of Satanists and heavy metal disciples back to their tattoo artists, cause Bruce Dickinson to update some lyrics and render years of Satanic imagery meaningless. Analysis of a fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament reveals that 616 is the mark of the Antichrist, not 666.

A Christian fundamentalist group has compiled an interesting history of the use of 666 in rock and roll here. As well as providing a stroll down rock and roll Memory Lane, it's actually pretty comical, as they brand everyone from The Dead Kennedys to Johnny Cash sinners (Cash because he sang one of Danzig's songs). Also, they have apparently rechristened Rob Halford as "Homosexual Rob Halford." Nice. Although, come to think of it, there could be some utility assuming the role of a Dostoevsky character; from now on I think I'll introduce myself as "Heterosexual Heather Huff."

Austin City Limits Festival Lineup Announced

The following line-up for the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival (September 23-25) was announced today:

Coldplay, Widespread Panic, Oasis, The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers Band, Wilco, Jimmy Cliff, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Guy, Jet, Dierks Bentley, Thievery Corporation, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Mould, Built to Spill, Bloc Party, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Franz Ferdinand, Gov't Mule, Sleater-Kinney, Kasabian,Zap Mama, Robert Earl Keen, Keane, Tortoise, The Doves, The Black Keys, Mike Gordon & Leo Kottke, The Walkmen, Jason Mraz, Rilo Kiley, Spoon, The Secret Machines, The Decemberists, The Bravery, Eisley, Blue October, Grupo Fantasma, Kermit Ruffins, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bettye La Vette, Rev. Dan Willis & The All Nations Choir, Morgan Heritage, Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, Ruthie Foster, deSol, The Frames, Mates of State, Mindy Smith, Martin Sexton, The Fiery Furnaces, Federico Aubele, Mouse on Mars, The Futureheads, Kathleen Edwards Asleep at the Wheel, M83, Tegan and Sara, Mike Doughty, Split Lip Rayfield, Rachael Yamagata, Bobby Bare Jr., Mofro, The, Ditty Bops, The New Amsterdams, Ambulance Ltd, Slightly Stoopid, Dios Malos, Brave Combo, Aqualung, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men, Marc Broussard, Bruce Robison, Missy Higgins, Nine Black Alps, Kevin Fowler, Grady, Willy Mason, The Weary Boys, Wayne Hancock, Rick Trevino, Zykos, Sound Team, Asylum Street Spankers, Pong, Oliver Future, The Real Heroes, Bukka Allen, Hairy Apes BMX, The Lost Trailers, The Gospel Stars, Donna The Buffalo, The Shields of Faith, Star Kids Yoga, The Jones Family Singers, South Austin Jug Band, The Lighthouse Singers, Casey McPherson, Kacy Crowley, Tristan Prettymen, The Massacoustics, Joe McDermott, Sara Hickman, Imagination Movers, Free Sõl, Inara George, KJAE, Austin Hartley-Leonard, Maneja Beto, Austin Collins Band, The Biscuit Brothers, Naturally Seven, Patrick Davis Band, November, Kelley Hunt and Kate York.

Original MTV V-J's Using New Technology to Extend Careers

If you are old enough to remember the early days of MTV, you'll no doubt be able to recite the names of the original MTV V-J's: Martha Quinn, JJ Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Adam Curry, Alan Hunter and Mark Goodman. They were the faces of a sea change in the music and television industries. For Gen-Xers they were the folks who introduced us to 80s music and covered Live Aid, one of the biggest events of our lives.

By the 90s, even though their careers kept going, most of them faded from the public eye - at least compared to the height of their MTV stints. Martha Quinn appeared in several films, co-hosted Star Search and was a regular in various commercials. JJ Jackson, a ground breaking DJ before his MTV days, also went back to continue his radio career. He passed away in 2004.

After MTV, Alan Hunter also appeared in a few films and moved back to his home state of Alabama and founded his own production company, Hunter Films. Mark Goodman, a popular DJ in Philadelphia and New York City before MTV, went back to radio. Nina Blackwood left MTV in 1986 and became the Music Reporter for Entertainment Tonight. She has also appeared in numerous music infomercials over the years and done some radio. Adam Curry, although not an original member of the first five V-J's, was an MTV mainstay from from 1987 to 1994. Now these four are taking advantage of new technologies to extend their careers.

Hunter, Goodman and Blackwood have embraced "satellite radio" - which like MTV represented a sea change when it came on the commercial scene in the late-1990s. Both XM and Sirius Radio are revolutionizing radio broadcasting and both are poised for major growth in the coming years. All three appear on Sirius' "Big 80s" channel and Blackwood hosts "Absolutely 80s" which airs seven days each week on Sirius.

Nina's producer/manager Danny Sheridan said, "Its stimulating to stretch out with new mediums. At first, we had minor concerns that our terrestrial stations might have thought the "Big80s" would be competing with our syndicated shows. But as it turns out, the satellite exposure puts Nina in even more demand. We get emails from fans outside of the broadcast signals of our stations, fans that hear Nina on Sirius or streaming on Indie 103.1, and they want to know how they can hear her on their local radio station too. The cross promotion seems to be a win for everybody."

While satellite radio is hitting its stride, former V Jay Adam Curry is at the forefront of the next sea change in music and media: podcasting.

Podcasting is a way of publishing sound files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new audio files automatically. Podcasting is distinct from other types of audio content delivery because it uses the RSS protocol. This technique has enabled many producers to create self-published, syndicated radio shows.

Users subscribe to podcasts using "podcatching" software (also called "aggregator" software) which periodically checks for and downloads new content. It can then sync the content to the user's portable music player, hence the portmanteau of Apple's "iPod" and "broadcasting". Podcasting does not require an iPod, however; any digital audio player or computer with the appropriate software can play podcasts.

Thousands download Curry's podcasts and his involvement has sparked early interest in the new technology. Scores of amateur podcasters are now producing their own shows from their homes. Satellite radio is taking notice and Curry has signed on to produce and host a four-hour program the will air each weekday starting May 13 on Sirius. Curry will incorporate amateur podcasts into his show.

As we embark on this media and technological transition, its comforting to have these great names from the past guiding us into our musical futures.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!