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A brief history of Christian rock

» A brief history of Christian rock, which is altogether stranger and more interesting than you ever could have imagined.

The All Saved Freak Band is a different kettle of fish—at once more powerful and more disturbing, and a reminder of how apocalyptic convictions, Christian or otherwise, can go sour. The band began when a drugged-out Chicago guitarist named Joe Markko moved to Ohio, where he met a fiery street pastor named Larry Hill.
Convinced that the Chinese and/or Russians were coming, Hill set himself up as patriarch of an isolated survivalist Christian commune, replete with guns and goats. When he performed, Hill wore a wide Amish hat and a priest's habit, and he sang to hector and convert. But the band didn't really gel until Hill and Markko were joined by Glenn Schwartz, an incendiary blues shromper who had played guitar for the James Gang but had publicly renounced commercial rock. Living collectively, the band made a handful of intense and very strange records, including the Tolkien-inspired folk-rock rarity "For Christians, Elves, and Lovers". In 1975, in response to Hill's authoritarian brutality, Schwartz's family attempted to kidnap and "deprogram" the guitarist. The attempt failed, and the band's third record was called Brainwashed.

You can listen to clips of ASFB's music on their website(1) Comments  / [ 07/31/07 ]

OK Go has a Flickr feed!

» Hey! Did you know that OK Go has a Flickr feed(1) Comments  / [ 07/25/07 ]

All our tortured heroes

» All our tortured heroes [ 07/20/07 ]

The Music Industry Doesn't Seem to be Able to Sell CDs Anymore

» New Media I: Plunge in CD Sales Shakes Up Big Labels details the record industry's decline and is notable for two things:

  1. Paul McCartney is releasing his next CD on the Starbucks Label, and released the first video for the album on YouTube. Sir Paul's explanation: "It's a new world."
  2. This piece: "[Music executives] ... add that the labels squandered years on failed attempts to restrict digital music instead of converting more fans into paying consumers. "They were so slow to react, and let things get totally out of hand," said Russ Crupnick, a senior entertainment industry analyst at NPD, the research company. "They just missed the boat."

I (and many others) have been making that exact point for the last 8 years. Add to their shortsightedness, the music industry's well-earned reputation for completely reaming anyone (particularly artists) who doesn't have the clout to withstand them. As I said to my husband the other night, it's hard to have sympathy for anyone who's both stupid and evil.   [ 06/04/07 ]

Modified Toy Orchestra

» I just like the idea of the The Modified Toy Orchestra(1) Comments  / [ 04/02/07 ]

The Police Reunite for the Grammies

» Rock and roll really is a young man's game, isn't it(11) Comments  / [ 02/12/07 ]

OK Go rocks my world

» Maybe the most delightful music video I've ever seen. (Thanks, Sydon!) (1) Comments  / [ 12/13/06 ]

Banksey + Paris = BLO

» Remember Banksey? He has smuggled "500 doctored copies of Paris Hilton's debut album into music stores throughout the UK, where they have sold without the shops' knowledge". BLO [ 09/12/06 ]

Entertainment industry: mix tapes are stealing

» The entertainment industry's new term for making mix tapes for your friends: songlifting. They just don't know when to stop.  [ 08/10/06 ]

Reebee Garafolo's history of pop music chart

» As seen in Edward Tufte's Visual Explanations, Reebee Garofalo's hand-drawn Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music [Flash required], covering 1955 to 1978 and representing more than 700 artists and 30 styles of music. If that's too hard to read, you can you can try this reproduction of the pages on Tufte's site or zoom in on the the poster, which is available for purchase. (via rw [ 07/27/06 ]


» Here's a musical genre I had never heard of, and would never have predicted: Nerdcore hip hop, also known as "geeksta rap". CmdrTaco reviews the Rhyme Torrents Nerdcore Compilation.

It's like a Weird Al mad libs lyric, where the rapper tries to rhyme whatever techish things pop into mind. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. MC Hawking is a great example. His track essentially an MC Battle style rap that relies on the synthesizer voice gimmick. But damnit it actually works. The lyrics are tight and amusing. I wish the hook was stronger, but thats a track I'll enjoy listening to. [...]
[A]t the end of the day, sometimes you just need to find a bit of music that you can relate to. And when you hear 'join me in the basement cuz it's warcraft patch day / time for D&D a frontalittle mainstay' day, so it's time to play D&D.... well, thats my Tuesday too.

Be sure to check out some of the artists listed on Wikipedia, for example, Commodore 64.

Formed by four members of a math club and breakdancing troupe in 1982 at a concert in New Jersey, Commodore 64 were the first group to release a single produced entirely using an Apple Macintosh computer, "Horton Hears A Ho" in 1999.

The MC Hawking entry includes sample lyrics ("I explode like a bomb. No one is spared. My power is my mass times the speed of light squared." - From "E = MC Hawking") and a fictional discography from the official website. Awesome.  [ 07/13/06 ]

Protest music, banned by corporate radio and TV, lives on the Internet

» Where is the protest music of today's young singer-songwriters? In MTV's trashcan, on corporate radio's "don't add" lists, and on the Internet(1) Comments  / [ 07/06/06 ]

Goodbye, Top of the Pops

» The BBC is to axe Top of the Pops, after 42 years of tracking the music charts on TV. [wikipedia [ 06/21/06 ]

Do online sales cut musicians out of the profits?

» Well, this is disappointing, if not surprising. Weird Al says he makes less on downloaded songs than on CDs, in spite of the lower overhead required for online sales. (There are, of course, IT costs but these would be borne primarily by the store selling the music, not the recording company.) And the recording industry can't understand why so many people don't mind cutting them out of the profit stream—they've made a career of doing that to musicians. (thanks, Kevin!)

According to widely circulated data from the coverage of The Alman Brothers suit against Sony BMG, you could expect something like $45 of each thousand songs sold to be paid to you in royalties. That's around 4% of the amount paid to Apple for your work, and around 5.7% of what was paid to the label. For The Almans', that works out to $24,000 when taking Nielsen SoundScan data of 538,000 Almans' songs sold as downloads since mid-2002. I don't have SoundScan data on your sales, but I'm sure you do. So the labels and Apple got 96% and you got %4. And as you said, there were no packaging, shipping or storage costs for your album sold though iTunes.

  [ 06/19/06 ]

Red paper clip guy up to Alice Cooper

» I know you've already heard about the red paperclip guy. He's all the way up to an afternoon with Alice Cooper. (thanks, kelly!) (1) Comments  / [ 05/10/06 ]

Jane Siberry's payment incentive system

» The Freakonomics blog examines how musician Jane Siberry's a voluntary payment system uses incentives to subtly influence her fans to pay more than perhaps they otherwise would. (via rw [ 05/05/06 ]

Muzak transforms into audio Experience Design

» Muzak has turned from creating "Stimulus Progression programming" designed to enhance employee performance to creating audio soundscapes that reinforce branding. "Take Armani Exchange. Shoppers there are looking for clothes that are hip and chic and cool. They’re twenty-five to thirty-five years old, and they want something to wear to a party or a club, and as they shop they want to feel like they’re already there. [...] For Ann Taylor, you do something completely different." Dana McKelvey, Muzak audio architect.  [ 04/13/06 ]

Rival Little-people KISS tribute bands duke it out

» Rival bands clash over little-person KISS tribute. MiniKiss and Tiny Kiss tussle over who owns the concept of a little people KISS tribute band. (thanks, lizard!) (1) Comments  / [ 04/13/06 ]

Seven Songs

» Inventory: Seven Songs With Factual Or Logical Mistakes In The Lyrics. "Young MC, 'Bust A Move': Though Young MC is completely logical throughout most of this song — he's absolutely right, in most situations, you should bust a move — things get a little confusing in the last verse."  [ 04/11/06 ]

Kate Bush thinks she is so cool

» Most. Indulgent. Album. Ever.  [ 03/24/06 ]

The re-emergence of Acoustic-Era Pop

» How Pop Sounded Before It Popped describes the resurgence of interest in turn-of-the-20th-century pop music, long shunned by roots enthusiasts for its crass commercialism — and for the uncomfortable questions it raises about the artistic merit of entertainment that is based on racial stereotyping. "Acoustic-era music is the historical underdog. These are scratchy records, with 19th-century aesthetics, with racist material all over the place, with artists you've never heard of. This stuff is completely unknown, and it's a treasure trove." Richard Martin, co-owner of Archeophone Records, a label that specializes in acoustic-era pop.  [ 03/22/06 ]

Acoustic-era Pop Resources

» The Cylinder Preservation Project has created a free digital collection of over 6,000 cylinder recordings from the turn of the 20th century. And Archeophone Records is selling recordings from this era.  [ 03/22/06 ]

Take a Trip Thru Time....

» My brother-in-law has a new CD: Take a Trip Thru Time With... The 23rd Century. You can listen to the songs (or download the whole album) before you buy. I was able to listen to this project as it was being made, and I really like it. It seems I'm not alone [ 03/21/06 ]

Hip Hop at the Smithsonian

» The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has begun an initiative to collect a broad array of artifacts (including oral histories) about Hip Hop Culture and music [ 03/01/06 ]

Indie bands shun Hummer

» General Motors wants their Hummer vehicle to be hip, but in spite of their best efforts, most indie bands won't sell them their music. "My standard line is you guys will play a hundred million gigs before you see this amount of money. Usually they come back with, 'We'll do anything BUT Hummer.'" Lyle Hysen, head of Bank Robber Music, a licensing group that pitches songs to film, television and advertisement companies. (via rw [ 02/27/06 ]

Power Law Action in Hitmaking

» A new study suggests that social feedback has a profound effect on the popularity of a song.

Participants who could see how often a song had been downloaded tended to give higher ratings to songs that had been downloaded often, and were more likely to download those songs themselves. That created a snowball effect, catapulting a few songs to the top of the charts and leaving others languishing.
The researchers divided the socially influenced group (which could see the download information) into eight different "worlds", so that only the downloading decisions within that world were visible. [...I]n one world, a Milwaukee pop punk band called 52Metro were stars, reaching number 1 in the download charts. In another world they were losers, ranked 40 out of 48.

This, of course, is the complaint bloggers have always had about the "democratic" nature of blogging and the power of A-list popularity.  [ 02/10/06 ]

Artistshare lets fans finance the work

» Artistshare has developed a new music business model that allows artists to build and manage their fanbase, and to monetize their "creative process" by enlisting the help of their fans and involving them in the creative process. In 2005, ArtistShare produced the first Grammy-winning recording with internet-only distribution.

The creative process is delivered to the fans through the Participant Offers. These Participant Offers are specifically tailored to the Artist’s fan base and include unique opportunities for the fan to witness the creative process of their favorite artist. This creates a myriad of product possibilities for the Artist as well as a very personal experience for the fan.

Meta sells. (via c'ist [ 02/10/06 ]

Lomax Recordings: Jelly Roll Morton

» The Economist: Jelly on a roll tells the story of folklorist Alan Lomax's encounter with Jelly Roll Morton, and the amazing recordings they made together.

So fans of jazz, music in general, or just the incomparable richness of the human scene can relish Morton's musings complete, in state-of-the-art sound. Softly strumming the keys like a singer of tales, he recalls the "tough babies and sweet mamas" of the fabled red-light district of Storyville, and such denizens as Sheep Bite, Toodlum Parker and Chicken Dick. He conjures up a New Orleans funeral, from the wailing dirge to the graveyard to the raucous march back to the wake, with all its sorrow and jubilation—in his words, "the end of a perfect death". [...]
Throughout, he uses these sessions as a platform to demonstrate his views on jazz—not loud and blaring in the modern style, but subtle and melodious, with an irresistible beat and ample scope for dynamics and imagination.

(via dm [ 02/10/06 ]

AFC Lomax Collection

» The American Folklife Center's Lomax Collection contains 70 years of Alan Lomax's work.

Included in the collection are sound recordings of traditional singers, instrumentalists, and storytellers made by Lomax during numerous field trips to the American South, the Caribbean, Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, and Italy; original video footage, shot in the South and Southwest, Washington, D.C., and New York City, that was used as the basis of Lomax's American Patchwork television series, as well as videotapes of all the programs in the series; 16mm footage of performances by Howling Wolf, Son House, and others during the Newport Folk Festival in 1966; videotape of folk dance performances; and work elements and originals of numerous films made by Lomax.

  [ 02/10/06 ]

Rounder Records Lomax Collection

» Rounder Records is producing the Lomax Collection.

The Collection begins with Lomax’s first field trips with his father in the penitentaries of the American South in the 1930s, and follows his journeys throughout Haiti in 1936 and 1937, Great Britain, Italy and Spain in the 1950s, his subsequent trips throughout the American South in the late 1940s and again in 1959 and 1960, and his visits to the islands of the Caribbean in 1962 and 1967.

  [ 02/10/06 ]



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