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Archive for "Music"

February 26, 2009

“Used to be so deep…”

This amuses me.

I was doing a search for statistics on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises for my weekly music-game column over at Green Pixels, and for some reason stumbled on this article about late-’80s/early-’90s punk band Pennywise. I was pleased (if a bit surprised) to learn that the band is still together and performing, but the part of the article that really amused me goes like this:

The band’s punk credibility was boosted by some Sex Pistols-like antics. During an appearance on the syndicated call-in radio show “Loveline,” [guitarist Fletcher] Dragge intentionally vomited on strait-laced co-host Dr. Drew. The interview took place at alternative rock station KROQ-FM in Los Angeles in 1995.

What the article does not tell you is that a day or two later the band played a show at Peabody’s Down Under in Cleveland, Ohio. I happened to be in Peabody’s legendary green room while they were telling the story to a friend of mine — it’s possible my band was actually opening that night, but I honestly don’t remember — and was as aghast as you probably were the first time you heard this story. But then Fletcher did something that in some ways is even worse.

Continue reading ““Used to be so deep…”” »

January 14, 2009

Selling Out

Not too long ago, the New York Times ran an article about the rise of music licensing. It’s an interesting article, and it makes a lot of good points about the growing importance of licensing to musicians’ careers. I imagine if you thought about it you’d probably agree that a well-chosen commercial can make a big impact on a musician’s career these days. Just think of any recent Apple commercial: Would Feist be enjoying the popularity she currently has if Apple hadn’t used “1 2 3 4” to relaunch the Nano? Somehow I doubt it. I imagine, at least, that she probably wouldn’t have been on Sesame Street.

So I agree with the article up to a point. But then the author starts dishing out gems like this one:

What happens to the music itself when the way to build a career shifts from recording songs that ordinary listeners want to buy to making music that marketers can use? That creates pressure, subtle but genuine, for music to recede: to embrace the element of vacancy that makes a good soundtrack so unobtrusive, to edit a lyric to be less specific or private, to leave blanks for the image or message the music now serves.

I’m sorry, Mr. Pareles, but that is just so very much bullshit.

Continue reading “Selling Out” »

January 12, 2009

Lyric of the Day, 1.12.09

Lemons” by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
from the album No More Beautiful World

Bring on the change.
Let’s keep it simple, now:
Don’t confuse your wants with your needs.
Believe in love,
forsake your greed,
and give away what you want to receive.

January 9, 2009

Lyric of the Day, 1.9.09

Fuel” by Ani DiFranco
from the album Little Plastic Castle

People used to make records,
as in a record of an event:
the event of people
playing music in a room.
Now everything’s cross-marketing
it’s about sunglasses or shoes
or guns or drugs; you choose.

January 7, 2009

Lyric of the Day, 1.7.09

“Courage” by New Model Army
from the album B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks

We walk every morning in silence
Past the mills on Whetley Lane
Where the lights went out for the very last time
And they never came on again
The spokesmen all shred crocodile tears
In the glory of the News at Ten
But the proudest eyes are long since dry
And they’re never going to cry again

Dear Friend, I salute your courage and I toast to your health
And I wish you all the luck in the whole wide world
May you never be broken like they say you will

November 3, 2008

New Review: Guitar Hero World Tour

Oh man do I love music games.

For example, did you know that I was the first person ever to write about the original Guitar Hero? It’s true — I was down at RedOctane doing a completely unrelated story and they asked if I wanted to see the game.

I did. And I got to write about it before anyone else in the world. I still think that’s pretty neat.

Anyway, that’s not what I came here to talk about. I came to talk about my review of Guitar Hero World Tour, which has just gone up at Green Pixels. Head on over and check it out, won’t you?

October 10, 2008

New Feature: 10 Crucial Rock Band Downloads

Oh lookie, Green Pixels has just put up my 10 Crucial Rock Band Downloads feature. This was one of those where you look around in the middle of doing the research and think, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

Let’s fight about my choices. But over there, not here.