Friday, June 03, 2005

OK--I normally don't make comments about comments. I especially don't when the comments are anonymous. However, I think this particular effort deserves my response--this person raised a few things that warrant some reaction.

First, the comment for those who haven't seen it:
is "mainstream" radio really that aweful? or is it just the need for you to like what others dont and dislike what others do? i have fairly broad musical tastes but with alot of the music today, and the music you recommend, i dont find it as "amazing" as you do. i find alot of it being different just to be different. (not ALL of it, though) even though i am not a fan of most of the music you recommend, i dont trash it, i just ackowledge that we have different tastes and move on. why waste so much of your energy on music that you simply dont like, why not let it be and spend more time enjoying the music that you do? besides, mainstream radio is "pop" radio, as in popular, so i have news for ya, as much as you try to keep the bands you like, hidden from the radio, as soon as more people hear it, it too will join the dark side of mainstream radio. in closing, alternative used to be alternative until it became accepted by the majority.

To begin with, I'd like to reveal something to person X and the rest of the world: I listen to mainstream radio. It's true. At least once a week I tune into a Top 40 station online and sit through a day of what's popular. And, I'll go one step further: I like some of it. Not everything on my iPod would be considered "indie" or help to qualify me as a "music snob". I really like Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, U2, The Killers, Keane, 311, Ben Folds, Rage Against The Machine. I even LOVE the new Gwen Stefani album--full of bubblegum pop lyrics, 80s-like synth and creative loops. And I love ALL things 80s--even anything that tries to mimic 80s music I like!

Anyway, you might call my complaints an exercise in hyperbole. Essentially, I'm exaggerating or over-stating my feelings in an attempt to promote action. See my main concern with mainstream anything is the lack of choice. Many people don't know anything other than what is force-fed them--via radio, Rolling Stone, MTV, etc. Your typical local radio station doesn't provide a very well-rounded exposure to music. Because of that, people begin to associate quality with popularity. That concerns me. We assume that Nickleback must be good because a ton of people like them. If we have nothing else to inform our understanding of "good," we'll continue to believe that way. At the same time, I understand that it is because of mainstream somethings that there are indie anythings. So I'm not wanting to see the "category" completely done away with--I am just wanting something akin to balance. Yes, many things "alternative" eventually become "popular"--no way to argue that, or fight it. My hope is simply diversity. I want to see people have--and make--choices.

That's why X's comments pleased me. X--you checked out some of the music and decided for yourself that you don't like a lot of what I'm suggesting. YES!! That's exactly what I'm wanting--I want people to have exposure to more than Linkin Park, no doubt about that. But if they eventually decide, after such exposure, that they do indeed like rap/rock, then great. Stick with it. I'm just worried about the lemmings who will voluntarily leap off the ledge because they aren't aware of another way. (Is that a little over-dramatic, to compare musical tastes with group suicide?!!?!)

X--thank you for making the effort to listen to new music. Thank you for deciding to not like most of it. Thank you for using what has been given to you--judgment--and not leaving it up to some anemic vee-jay to tell you what you enjoy.

And thank you for leaving the comment.

Inspired by X, I offer today some of my favorite mainstream links.

The aforementioned Gwen has a cool site. You can listen to "Hollaback Girl" (a fantastic track) and see a couple of videos. The Neptunes produce some amazing stuff and this record is no exception. (beware boys--she isn't ugly and the pics on the site demonstrate that!)

If you register, for free, you can stream clips from Coldplay's upcoming album. I was worried about how it could match up to all the hype that's been surrounding the record, but I don't think I'll be disappointed! And the Coldplayer on their site is very VERY cool!

I've always liked Beck for his quirky music and stunning videos. On his site, you can check out some good stuff and either be blown away or utterly confused by him--maybe even a combo.

There might not be a cooler band site than the Gorillaz. b()b is right--you could spend a lot of time messing around the site. Check out the jukebox to sample the albums.

I sign off with no complaints about mainstream radio. Listen to what you like--that's my only suggestion.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I have officially heard the most shocking laugh ever.

Now I've heard a lot of loud laughs. And there have been a few that were really ear-piercing and potentially damage-causing. The 50-years-as-a-smoker laugh is one of my favorites too. There is legitimately nothing to compare this laugh with though. It's this haunting combination of all those laughs--decibels louder than a human laugh, at a shrieking frequency that's causing all of creation to seek cover and full of phlegm and whatever else is in her mouth. (According to what just hit the table, looks like blueberry muffin.....) This is the time when I need to have a mic so I can record it and then post it for all to hear. It really is the kind of laughter that will torment people in Hades.

I'm feeling like a major complainer tonight--I'd better use caution.

How's about some more music? I want to offer some good summer songs. These are good "drive with the windows down" kind of songs.

PASCAL is a band for you if you like that old 60s retro vibe--lots of double-tracked lead vocals, handclaps and jangly electric guitars. "Summer Is Almost Here" is really fun and is a good example of what makes them so endearing.

With an opening guitar riff that could have made it on a Byrds or CSNY record, The Orange Peels come out with a great single (albeit trite and filled with elementary school rhymes) that's meant for the perfect indie summer playlist. I Don't Want To Shine cooks with the pounding snare drum, closely-sung duet-like vocals and harmonica. It's been stuck in my head for a couple days and is number two on my iPod summer playlist.

"I need a reason for love I've never had." With an opening lyric like that, how could I not share this song?! Woody Whatever incorporates so many of the things I love so much about indie/DIY music: quirky drum machine, simple acoustic, clever background vocals, loud tamborine. "Cherry Fountains" is my personal favorite of WW's songs--"The Great Pop" album feels a lot like that song and is worth picking up.

SongsIllinois posted two Fruit Bats songs. I love that band--I'm a sucker for most guy/girl musical combos. Check out "Silent Life" for a good example. (The other song there, "Everyday That We Wake Up It's A Beautiful Day," is reminiscent of Arcade Fire with its lush musical landscape and animal/outdoors sounds. Gorgeous recording!!)

Finally, for those fans of grrrl pop/punk, Dressy Bessy is for you. A ton of experience is represented in this band. Side 2 isn't my favorite track from the upcoming album Electrified but it's a typical DB song. (I personally love the song "Who'd Stop The Rain" but I can't find it for free anywhere.....) This record comes out in two weeks so look for it.

Fight the radio boys and girls!


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

So much music! I believe I could quit my job and spend all day long scouring the world wide web (that always makes me smile--I like it much better than "internet") to find free music. It's everywhere. And it's further proof you should never listen to mainstream music. Kristi is right--it makes you numb.

4 songs for you today.

Doleful Lions gives some of the most meloncholic bedroom music I know--it's very pretty and intimate, always full of melodies that you can't get out of your head, even if you wanted to. This song, The Ghost That Haunts Your World Will Disappear, is another great example of what they offer to the musical world.

If you like funky 70s organs, bass guitars functioning like a lead electric and recordings that sound like they were done in some guy's garage then you will like The Apes. What We Do Best is a great song and example of that very thing--what The Apes do so well.

Seattle singer/songwriter Luke Temple is slowly becoming a voice I really like. He isn't going to blow anyone away with novel musical ideas, but his unique delivery and simplistic recordings connect with me. Give this track, "Shipwreck," a try and some feedback.

Finally, a small theme in my life, that I don't want to get into, is summed up pretty well in this track by Hello Saferide. There just aren't enough songs out there that chronicle a female's attempts at stalking. It's always the boys, so this is a welcome change.

Listen and love indie music peeps.

@m and I say thanks to all who came out Friday to the show. We apologize for not giving our best--we both felt a little "off" that night... But thanks for being there anyway. We enjoyed doing a few new songs and feel encouraged by having people smile and listen to us. A June date coming up--we'll keep you posted. (Until then, protect the night of June 24th--a new location opening for someone.)

Along with new music, I'm thinking that a vocabulary stretch might be a welcome part of the blog. (Though I'm sure both c@it and @m--two of the smartest people I know--will already know the words and their etymologies.) We had a 2 hour conversation the other night about words we like. If it's a good one, I'll share the word of the day that I receive in the email.

Today's word: fetter \FET-uhr\, noun: 1. A chain or shackle for the feet; a bond; a shackle. 2. Anything that confines or restrains; a restraint.

Mainstream music--it hates you and wants to ruin your life!!!

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