Mixed Media

Friday Implies It's Music News Day

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 5:23 PM EDT

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  • Rapper T.I. may be in serious trouble after he was arrested in a sting trying to purchase machine guns and silencers. Police also found a half a pound (!) of marijuana in his car. A phalanx of supporters attended a court date in Atlanta today, including up-and-coming hip-hop star Young Jeezy, where T.I. pleaded "not guilty."

  • Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr was named a Visiting Professor at the University of Salford in Manchester, where he will deliver "a series of workshops and masterclasses to students on the BA Popular Music and Recording degree." Professor Marr, what do you do if your lead singer is lying about how much he's paying the drummer and the bassist?
  • The recording industry goes after Usenet for illegal music file-sharing. Usenet. Wasn't that what all the geeks in the computer lab at college were on back in like 1988? What next, oh record labels: going after on-hold music? Commodore 64 music composition programs? Home taping?
  • A dude in a gas mask freaked Annie Lennox out at a concert in Boulder, Colorado on Tuesday night. Lennox saw the man approaching and fled the stage, later apologizing to fans but defending her reaction, calling the guy "freakish and disturbing." The man was also wearing, uh, platform boots and a cape. Is this the hot look this season in Boulder?
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    LJ's Gabby Glaser Goes Solo

    | Fri Oct. 19, 2007 3:23 PM EDT
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    Gabby Glaser's first solo release, Gimme Splash, has all the great sounds that her 90s alternative band Luscious Jackson cranked out: 70s funk and hip-hop inspired drum beats, wah-wah guitar licks, minor-sounding chord progressions and sultry, un-forced vocals.

    But Gimme Splash lacks the soft-touch keyboards of Luscious Jackson. Gone are the higher pitched vocal melodies of Luscious Jackson's lead singer Jill Cunnif. Glaser's 11 songs rock harder, and have her signature lower-register vocal range and fuzz-pedal guitar sounds. After listening to this CD a couple of times, I could definitely pull out my old Luscious Jackson albums and pinpoint exactly which tunes Glaser wrote.

    This is a solid first album that is as sexy as it is tough.

    Dennis Kucinich's Deep Pockets

    | Thu Oct. 18, 2007 6:34 PM EDT

    Last week, Stephen Colbert revealed that pocket-sized Democrat Dennis Kucinich carries a lot of stuff in his pockets—a copy of the Constitution, a union card, a green tea bag, and—courtesy of a 2003 Mother Jones profile by Charles Bowden—a baseball card of Cleveland Indian Rocky Colavito and a quotation from Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno. This week, Kucinich made a good-natured appearance on the Colbert Report, emptying his overtsuffed pockets, and even getting in a nice comeback:

    Colbert: "This is the famous pocket Constitution. Did you shrink this down yourself?"

    Kucinich: "No, no, no. George Bush already did that."

    Lights Out San Francisco

    | Wed Oct. 17, 2007 7:37 PM EDT

    logo-dark.png Sydney led the way last March. San Francisco is going dark this Saturday night, October 20, from 8-9pm, to send a message on global warming:

    Lights Out San Francisco is a citywide energy conservation event on Oct. 20, 2007. On this night, we invite the entire city of San Francisco to install one compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) and turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour.

    Word has it that both bridges and the Transamerica Pyramid are on board, and many restaurants will offer candlelight dining. There's also a great party going on in Dolores Park. Drop by. . .

    But why just one CFL? And why wait for your city to catch on? Join in from afar.

    Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

    Neato Viddys on the Intertubes: The B-52's

    | Wed Oct. 17, 2007 6:58 PM EDT

    B-52s

    Looking for tunes as part of a random "consulting" assignment led me to the B-52's today, reminding me how much I love them, although you really shouldn't need an excuse for that. Most people will know "Rock Lobster" and "Love Shack," but I was introduced to them by MTV after their 1986 album Bouncing off the Satellites (I was in the middle of Nebraska, how else was I supposed to have heard them?), so let's go backwards from there and look at some of their less-widely-known tracks.

    Terror on the High Seas and the Future of Media

    | Wed Oct. 17, 2007 5:18 PM EDT

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    Here's the update you've all been waiting for. New York media/celebrity gossip blog Gawker passes on a report that pirate attacks (yes) are up 14 percent this year. (Yes, pirates still exist. Now they have power boats and machine guns instead of corsairs and cannons. Yes, Mother Jones has covered pirates in the past. Basically, modern pirates are kind of like Dennis Kucinich: They might need to be taken more seriously, but they're just too amusing to really think critically about.) Anyway, is Nick Denton's Gawker the future of media? Old-media New York magazine investigates.

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    Has Rock Lost Its Soul?

    | Tue Oct. 16, 2007 8:30 PM EDT

    Snoop vs. Axl
    Photo collage by Adrian Roberts

    Sasha Frere-Jones opens up the, erm, "race box" in this week's New Yorker with an extended piece lamenting the racial "re-sorting" of popular music. It's a dangerous topic, and he's to be commended for bringing it up, but I'm not sure where it's all going. Frere-Jones wrote an eye-opening (if slightly more specific) essay on the same theme a few years back; called "When Blackface Has No Face," it seemed to lament the lack of, well, current white "minstrels" (his word), or white artists playing music from traditionally black sources. He gives the examples of DJ Shadow and Diplo, both of whom were known for DJ sets celebrating black (and brown) music but solo albums full of "white signifiers" like electric guitars, sluggish tempos and dramatic strings. The current NYer article brings up Arcade Fire and Wilco, but the message is the same: white people are making really, really white music these days. It's an interesting question: why aren't there more white people making hip-hop?

    Tuesday Spews Music News Day

    | Tue Oct. 16, 2007 7:05 PM EDT

    Newsy News

  • U2 are planning Ireland's first skyscraper, which they will call "The U2 Tower." The nearly 400-foot structure will be designed by Norman Foster; the band's new studios will occupy the building's peak. Doesn't this sound like a cartoon? Will they have superpowers? Presumably to help fund this venture, the band are releasing special 20th-anniversary editions of The Joshua Tree next month. That was 20 years ago? Ugh.

  • J Dilla fans are being asked to support Lupus research by joining the Alliance for Lupus Research's walkathons. The events, set to take place later this month in cities around the U.S., will feature "J Dilla Project teams." The ground-breaking hip-hop producer died from the disease in 2006.
  • Relive the magic that was Live Earth with a CD/DVD package out November 20th from Warner Brothers, and a digital version hitting the intertubes two weeks earlier. Free Nobel Prize with purchase.
  • Rapper Nas has caused a bit of a stir by announcing he will call his next album, ahem, Nigga. The LP is set for a December release. The New York artist told MTV he'd planned to use the title for his last album, but instead decided on Hip-Hop Is Dead.
  • Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things - 10/15/07

    | Mon Oct. 15, 2007 11:45 PM EDT

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    This week, French techno duos get silly, Joy Division gets the dub treatment, Beirut gets, uh, weird, and who likes Radiohead? Everybody likes Radiohead!

    10. Daft Punk & Various Artists – 10-Minute Louis Vuitton Fashion Show Score (Video below, audio at Discobelle)
    Where do they get the time for all this stuff? This stripped-down mix features rearranged Daft Punk hits as well as sly references to Kanye, Justice and Ratatat; it almost makes me kind of care about the silly fashions. What's next, Daft Punk score the Chili Cookoff?

    9. Justice – "D.A.N.C.E." (Live on Jimmy Kimmel, 10/9/07)
    In the biggest electro-prank since the KLF had a metal group perform for them at the BRIT awards in 1992, Justice thumb their nose at pseudo-live performances, standing off to the side of the stage as a variety of Hollywood Boulevard celebrity impersonators mime along to the song. Look, it's Stevie Wonder on drums!

    Jah Division8. Jah Division – "Heart and Soul" (mp3 at The Social Registry or listen at Jah Division's MySpace)
    Okay here's what a nerd I am: hearing this buzzy, dubby cover instantly reminded me that New Order and reggae have come together at least once before: on the phenomenal "silver" Peel Sessions EP, where they do an extended cover of Keith Hudson's "Turn the Heater On." Man, so good! I'll have to get an mp3 up of that next week. Anyway this is good too.

    Underworld7. Underworld – "Crocodile" (from Oblivion With Bells on Different Records)
    (mp3 from Are You Light Green)
    What a long strange trip it's been for the British electronic combo. After lineup (and life) changes, it's surprising to realize this is only their fifth studio album in their "Mark 2" incarnation. They used to excel at a kind of ecstatic, hands-in-the-air release, but times have changed, and now they're more thoughtful. "Crocodile" has their standard driving beat, but Karl Hyde's filtered vocals are melancholy: "All these things/In me," he sings, unable to name them.

    Cut Copy6. Cut Copy – "So Haunted" (from In Ghost Colours out in March, 2008 on Modular)
    (Stream at The Fader)
    Australia's Cut Copy made a great, underappreciated album in 2004, Bright Like Neon Love, whose fashionable cover helped it get lumped in with all the other minimal electro/rock of that heady year, but the surprisingly solid songwriting made it something special. Now they're back, and, jeez, kind of different. "Haunted," for its first 2/3, is a full-on rock song, making the sweeping electronic breakdown all the more exciting. Plus, major bonus points for use of the tinkling xylophone we heard on LCD Soundsystem's "Someone Great."

    Monday Music Blog Roundup

    | Mon Oct. 15, 2007 4:37 PM EDT

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  • My Old Kentucky Blog rounds up all the "Umbrella" covers. Tegan & Sara, Mandy Moore, Plain White Ts, Dresden Dolls? Check, check, check, check.
  • Diplo is "journaling" his DJ tour, and his adventures include drunken stage-falls in Baltimore, Russian bootleg CDs, and, apparently, hanging out in the Amazon with his dad.
  • Idolator finds a strong candidate for the "Worst Village Voice Media Music Writer" award. Ooh, it's so hard to choose!
  • Abba to Zappa ranks the Top Ten Right-Wing Rockers. Elvis, Ted Nugent, we knew about, but Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet?! I did not know this much is true-hoo-hoo.