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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

  Moving Units, Away from Shady-less D12

Spring Splash! And can you believe the appearance of "D12"?! There was quite a buzz about the group's showing at our Spring Splash; of course, it was all about whether or not Slim Jim himself would be strap snapping in his way to our lovely town of Riverside. I highly doubted this, and, unfortunately, my instinct (as well as those of most of the people) were confirmed. The crowd was PUMPED up when "D12" hit the stage and began performing, but the enthusiasm gradually died down as it was appearent that Slim was not going to slip slide his way in any time soon. Halfway through their set, a good number of the crowd had taken off, and you could really see the disappointment in the faces of the members of "D12". I guess "D12" is not destined to be a Shady-less wonder, and they'll have to bask out in the baking sun.

A surprise however, was the opening band, "Moving Units". I hadn't heard of this disco, new-wave pop retro group that, following in the same vein as The Strokes, The Vines, etc., have dug deep back into the 70's and 80's to resurrect some ancient forms of music. The set was nice, and the band is quite promising. I don't think they'll ever transcend the imitation of groups such as Talking Heads and Television and make a name for themselves. One of their songs "Unpersuaded" sounds almost exactly like Television's "Marquee Moon", and the comparisons of this song to Television's style are simply unending. But I can't help but like it. Television was great, but they broke up in the early 80's. Now I can have them back again. Who said cloning wasn't good?
Gary 11:00 PM


  And the award for 'Best Use of "Hump" In a Pop Song' goes to...

...Coldplay (aka "The Nappies") in an upset over Tenacious D!

This is just friggin brilliant. Via SF Gate's Daily Dish:
Proud father Chris Martin and his Coldplay bandmates have recorded a song and accompanying video to celebrate the arrival of his baby daughter Apple -- under the name the Nappies.
The humorous promo -- in tribute to the birth of his child with Gwyneth Paltrow on Friday -- features the band in heavy metal style wigs and is introduced by legendary Beatles producer George Martin.

During the video, a bare-chested papa Martin raps, "There's [bleep] going down that you can't disguise/ When your boobs dem got ten times the size/ The cups gone up from an A to D/ It's bad for you but it's fun for me."

In a more serious moment, the British singer uses the comical sketch to assure his wife and baby: "I'll be there through the thin and the thick/ I'm gonna clean up all the poo and the sick."
To see the video, in all its majesty, go to Coldplay's main site (www.coldplay.com, of course) and a relevant small pop-up should appear. You must click immediately, as they're only going to post the video for a limited time. Finally, you'll see Chris Martin singing in a manner that reflects his actual lifestyle, hehe.
Bren 1:42 AM


Monday, May 17, 2004

  More on the Dashboard covers...

So it's not on their official site, but as a voracious email-list subscriber, Dashboard will be rereleasing A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar tomorrow at its original price, only this time they'll throw in their REM covers, Michael Stipe covering "Hands Down" (I think, I may have the song wrong) and interviews between DC and Stipe.

Now all of us who already bought the album can smack hand against forehead.
Camille 7:42 PM



Friday, May 14, 2004

  A little old, but still funny: Justin L. Abrotsky of Rec Room Magazine names the top ten album covers of All Time.

I particularly like his commentary on #7, Rubber Soul:
Dude, look at those guys. They're all like cool and shit. They got the modified mop top haircuts going so they still got their classic look without seeming stupid. They're all drugged up (especially Ringo, he looks lost). They're wearing all dark colors. They're out in some chill ass forest or something. Lennon is looking down on YOU, as if to say "We're better than you and there's nothing you can do about it." And you know what? They're fuckin' right....

Eamon 12:32 AM


Saturday, May 08, 2004

  Harder now that it's over

Ryan Adams has temporarily closed down his website... in respect for the end of "Friends".

You can see for yourself here.

Interesting tidbit from the article:
The prolific star has seen his two Love Is Hell EPs combined into one complete album this week. It features his version of the Oasis classic Wonderwall.

The band's Noel Gallagher has claimed that it is the best version of the song he has ever heard.
I have no problem with that. Also, "This House is Not For Sale" was Ryan Adams' best version of a Ryan Adams song since the Ryan Adams of 2001.
Bren 8:37 PM


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

  Same guitar, but with more 0's and 1's

After all these years it appears that the good people at Gibson (and I don't mean Mel) are still innovating:
As Gibson Guitar Corp. launches a new digital model, company CEO Henry Juszkiewicz can close his eyes and almost hear the music.

"The defining moment will be when a certain lick in a popular song is out there, and it can't be done with anything else but a digital guitar," Juszkiewicz says. "It only takes one example to really inspire people."

That, Juszkiewicz hopes, will usher in the age of the digital guitar -- much the same way as the Beatles and Rolling Stones inspired a generation of young people to pick up a standard electric guitar in the 1960s.

"It opens a whole new palette of possibilities," Juszkiewicz says. "It's a little bit like hearing stereo as opposed to mono."

(...)

The advantages of the digital guitar come down to sound and control. For 70 years, the electric guitar pickup has translated string vibrations into an electrical signal fed to an amplifier. The player can control the tone and volume, but output is limited to a mono or stereo signal. The signal itself is noisy by today's standards, and stray frequencies often cause an annoying hum.

(...)

The digital guitar uses computer chips to clean up the signal -- Juszkiewicz describes the new sound as traditional but "on steroids."

It also allows the player to control the sound of each string. For example, the guitarist can have a heavy metal crunch on the low strings, medium distortion on the middle strings and a clean sound on the high strings.

"You'll be able to record all these different sounds and textures. It's unbelievable, I think," said Dave Cleveland, a Nashville session guitarist who planned to buy one of the new instruments. "It's going to revolutionize the whole recording part of guitar playing."

Cleveland said technology already exists to do some of the same things as the digital guitar, but it's bulky, inconvenient and limited.

"With this, you're getting the sound of the pickups and can run analog into a regular guitar amp, plus you can monitor everything through the guitar. It's like having a mini recording studio," he said.
But on the other hand, for those purists out there,
But some question whether guitar players, by and large a picky lot who are attached to their vintage amplifiers and instruments, will want the bells and whistles.

"I agree that there are certain things it can do," said George Gruhn, owner of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. "But what it comes down to is people want an electric guitar for soul. I don't see it taking over the world.

"The best sound comes from a traditional magnetic pickup played through an old-style tube amp," Gruhn added. "All of the newfangled stuff doesn't give the tonality that guitar players are looking for."
I'm not generally an advocate for sonic purism or traditionalism. Have you tried listening to your record player in the car? Besides, once Jack White gets a hold of one of these guitars, he'll plug it into an amplifier that pre-dates the Suez Crisis, and everybody will hail him for how "rootsy" he is.

Anyway, this is an interesting innovation, and I'll be excited to pick up one of these digital guitars when it finds its way into my price range, right around the second term of the Jenna Bush administration.

And speaking of Mr. White, a guitar with such user-friendly mechanisms for assigning different sounds to different strings is going to be a big boost for anyone looking to start a 2-piece rock band. We could soon see a generation of Yeah Yeah Yeahs', or at least one of Local H's.
Bren 6:21 PM


Saturday, May 01, 2004

  Hi, everybody. My name's Eamon. But feel free to derisively refer to me as "the new Darren" behind my back.

Now, to get right down to business: here is a free download of Ben Folds's April 5th concert in Urbana, IL. It's a terrific show, sprinkled with rarities ("Silver Street," "The Ultimate Sacrifice," the album-worthy "One Down"), inspired covers ("Careless Whisper," "Champagne Supernova," Ben's ever-popular take on Liz Phair's "Chopsticks"), and three brand-new songs (!) slated to appear on Ben's next studio album ("Rent-a-Cop," "Sentimental," and "Late," a tribute to Elliott Smith).

Those new songs alone make this THE Ben Folds bootleg to have if you want to remain the coolest kid on the block. Download it when you have a couple hours to burn.

The setlist:

1. There's Always Someone Cooler Than You
2. Zak and Sara
3. Silver Street
4. One Down
5. All U Can Eat
6. Polka and Hardee's (not really a song, but still worth a listen)
7. Rent-a-Cop
8. Late
9. Best Imitation of Myself
10. Free Bird / Rock This Bitch
11. Careless Whisper
12. Philosophy / Misirlou / Chopsticks
13. Sentimental / Learn to Live with What You Are
14. Kate
15. The Luckiest
16. Army
17. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
18. The Ultimate Sacrifice
19. Champagne Supernova
20. Rockin' the Suburbs
21. Song for the Dumped

(encore)
22. Hava Nagila / Eddie Walker
23. Not the Same

P.S. Ben claims on Track 10 to have given some 75 performances of "Rock This Bitch," which started as an improvised joke on Ben Folds Live. Given the runaway popularity of the song, I have to wonder whether the guy who shouted out the song-title suggestion way back in 2001 has stepped forward to claim credit – and whether he's as proud of himself as he should be.
Eamon 1:03 AM




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Andy
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