The Riff - October 2007

Friday? Drop By for Music News Day

| Fri Oct. 26, 2007 2:00 PM EDT

Music News

  • OiNK founder Alan Ellis posted bail after his arrest on Tuesday and gave a defiant interview to the Daily Telegraph, saying "I haven't done anything wrong... there is no music sold on the site," adding, ominously, that the music download directory was "no different [than] something like Google." Really, so I'm a moron for not buying OiNK stock too?

  • The B-52's are inspired enough by my collecting of a few of their videos here on the Riff that they've decided to record a new album, their first in 15 years. "Hey," they said to each other, "if the Riff likes us, I bet we still got it!" Well, actually, no, that's not how it happened, they say was a vacation in Maui or something that inspired them, but still, maybe we helped.
  • 1,730 guitarists strummed in unison at a stadium in Guwahati, India today in an attempt to break the world record for most guitarists playing together at a stadium in India. Or just "biggest guitar ensemble." Their song of choice? "Knocking on Heaven's Door." An organizer told Reuters, "Though we set a new world record, we are sad as we were expecting more than 2,000 guitarists." Talk about a negative Nelly.
  • San Francisco officials have withdrawn a planned honor for Snoop Dogg. What? No! Apparently a representative from mayor Gavin Newsom's office was supposed to present a proclamation for the rapper and a party promoter at the Exotic Erotic Ball, an annual Halloween- and sex-themed event this weekend, but the Newsom administration is a little jumpy after all the bad publicity they received for "Colt Studio Day." So this probably nixes my idea of an official "Fuck with Dre Day?" That settles it, I'm voting for Quintin.
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    Vanity Fair's Top Movie Soundtracks of All Time Kind of Boring

    | Thu Oct. 25, 2007 5:13 PM EDT

    The Real Best Soundtracks

    The esteemed Vanity Fair has put together a list of the 50 greatest movie soundtracks ever, set to be announced in their next issue. The top ten has been revealed early to drum up some publicity, and I'm falling right into their trap—I can't help it, I love lists! Here's what they said:

    10. The Big Chill
    9. American Graffiti
    8. Saturday Night Fever
    7. Trainspotting
    6. Superfly
    5. The Graduate
    4. Pulp Fiction
    3. The Harder They Come
    2. A Hard Day's Night
    1. Purple Rain


    Wait, are these just the top ten selling movie soundtracks of all time? I mean, they're all fine, and achievements in one way or another, but what about great, ground-breaking soundtracks that didn't exactly go platinum? Here's a couple ideas:

    Bruce Springsteen Edges Out Kid Rock for #1 Spot; a Relieved Nation Weeps With Gratitude

    | Wed Oct. 24, 2007 6:14 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-brucekid.jpg

    He couldn't stop George W. Bush, but at least this is something. Billboard magazine is reporting that The Boss' new album Magic just barely beat Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus for the #1 spot this week, with only a few hundred copies separating the two titles. Both albums debuted at #1 (Rock last week and Bruce two weeks ago) and their sales figures fell significantly from previous weeks, with both albums selling just over 77,000 copies, but a few more good Samaritans making sure that Kid Rock's reign was short.

    While I haven't heard Kid Rock's whole album, and Kelefa Sanneh of the New York Times kind of liked his show (huh?!), the first single, "So Hott," is probably the most-mocked song of the year amongst people I know, its lyrics ("I don't wanna be your friend/I wanna fuck you like I'm never gonna see you again") so profoundly stupid they almost read as parody. Although, come to think of it, doesn't Thom Yorke sing the first line of that, er, couplet, in "House of Cards" on the new album? Is Kid Rock the American Radiohead?

    Back to the charts: in another sign of declining music sales, Jimmy Eat World's latest long-player, Chase This Light, debuted at #5, one notch higher than the 2004 debut of Futures. However, the new CD actually sold only 62,000 copies, less than two-thirds of the 99,000 first-week figure for Futures. And that's without OiNK!

    Neato Viddys on the Intertubes: Portishead

    | Wed Oct. 24, 2007 5:50 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-portishead.jpg

    Yesterday, news emerged that legendary (and legendarily unreliable) Bristol combo Portishead were "one day" from finishing their long-awaited third album. Could it be true? With the 'head, one hesitates to get one's hopes up, but just in case, perhaps this is a good time to familiarize ourselves with the band's previous work, or remind you why you care.

    Senate Investigates Lack of Radio Love for Arcade Fire (Really!)

    | Wed Oct. 24, 2007 4:52 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-radio.gifWith the FCC poised to relax media ownership rules again in December, the U.S. Senate is starting to get the message from constituents that maybe it's not such a great idea. During hearings today, Merge records founder and Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan testified about the sad state of radio:

    The deregulation that followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act allowed for unprecedented consolidation in commercial radio, which has resulted in a homogeneity that is often out-of-step with artists, entrepreneurs, media professionals and educators—not to mention listeners.

    Of course, he couldn't resist getting in a couple plugs for Merge artists Arcade Fire and Spoon:

    In 2007, two of the albums we released–by the bands Arcade Fire and Spoon–both debuted in the Billboard Top Ten. They appeared on Saturday Night Live. The mainstream print media has written extensively about them, and both bands tour the world, playing highly successful, sold out concerts. Yet both of these bands have been virtually absent from the commercial airwaves.

    Well how do you think they got in the Top Ten? Mac was out there promoting to their target demographics: our nation's elected officials. Actually, he's not being entirely honest: Arcade Fire has received significant radio support, even from giant mainstream juggernauts like LA's KROQ (see "Wake Up" at #37 on their 2005 year-end countdown... right above Foo Fighters). But Arcade Fire are the exception that proves the rule.

    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World

    | Wed Oct. 24, 2007 10:51 AM EDT

    At the risk of becoming a dreaded aggregator, here are a few choice tidbits I couldn't help shaking my head at:

    Belgian cops being politely asked to stop hitting the bars and brothels while on duty.

    Technology's response to gropers gone wild on Tokyo's subways.

    And, my fave: these lucky bastards dancing women around the world vs. this doomed one who found a huge, honking diamond while with his fiance and actually believes it's going in his collection since she already has one. Smart money says she'll either be wearing it by Thanksgiving or dis-engaged.

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    Tuesday? Ensues Music News Day

    | Tue Oct. 23, 2007 7:10 PM EDT

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  • Police in England shut down today what they called "the primary source worldwide" for illegal, prerelease music downloads. The invitation-only "OiNK" site turned out to be run by a 24-year-old dude in Middlesbrough, northeast England. Look, they caught the kid in his bathrobe:

    OiNK's servers in Amsterdam were shut down as well, but here's an OiNK memorial site if you're feeling sad.
  • Def Jam chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid confirmed his support for Nas after the rapper announced his new album would be called Nigger, saying "Anything Nas wants to do, I stand beside him." The Rev. Al Sharpton, on the other hand, condemned the choice, saying "We do not need to be degrading ourselves… we get degraded enough."
  • Lance Bass describes life in the closet during his years in 'NSYNC to MTV News, saying he had people close to him sign non-disclosure agreements, and that the band's management and publicists didn't advise him against coming out, because, he says, even they didn't know. Huh.
  • The BBC has been criticized for allowing a racist remark by Iggy Pop to go uncensored and unacknowledged during the network's live broadcast from Glastonbury in June. Pop told a story about visiting "Paki shops" in Camden, using a term that the BBC said has now passed out of "polite usage."
  • CDs Out Today and a Word From Critics

    | Tue Oct. 23, 2007 5:58 PM EDT

    CoheedCoheed and Cambria
    No World For Tomorrow
    (Sony)
    Rolling Stone: "Impressive" (3.5/5 stars)
    Blender: "Blazing" (3.5/5 stars)



    DaveDave Gahan
    Hourglass
    (Mute)
    The Guardian: "Magnificence" (4/5 stars)
    Rolling Stone: "Depeche-sounding" (3/5 stars)



    mojo-cover-carrie.jpgCarrie Underwood
    Carnival Ride
    (Arista)
    Slant: "Cliché-addled" (2/5 stars)
    NY Times: "Clever" (no grade)



    mojo-cover-serj.jpgSerj Tankian
    Elect the Dead
    (Reprise)
    Billboard: "Arty" (no grade)
    AllMusic Guide: "Ambitious" (4/5 stars)

    Nawt from Dawt

    | Tue Oct. 23, 2007 12:37 PM EDT

    gbg.jpg

    Slate's Patrick Radden Keefe links to a post reminding us that, no matter how good Ben Affleck's new movie Gone Baby Gone may be, the man is simply Nawt from Dawt. Keefe's review is worth a read, too, especially for this anecdote:

    Even for our finest actors, the Boston accent is Everest: an irresistible, but insurmountable, challenge. . .This may seem like a minor matter to you. But for those of us who grew up possessing, or shedding, a Boston accent, it's a deal breaker. Consider, if you will, the embarrassing hilarity that tends to ensue when my dear father, unapologetic owner of a medium-thick Boston brogue, returns an off bottle of wine at a restaurant because "I know the taste of cork. And this tastes like cork."

    Cork, indeed. Go Sawks!

    Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things - 10/22/07

    | Tue Oct. 23, 2007 12:52 AM EDT

    Top Ten 10/22

    With CMJ happening in New York this week, that's all the blogs are talking about. Lucky them. Your intrepid, ridiculously-named reporter was not there, I'm just listening to music on the hi-fi, or the lo-fi, as the case may be.

    The Dream10. The Dream – "She Needs My Love" (from Love/Hate out Dec. 11 on Def Jam)
    (stream at The Fader)
    Hey, it's super-slo-mo choruses! Remember how much I love those? Combine that with Dream's songwriting skills (this is the guy who wrote "Umbrella") and you have a track that veers between sing-along almost-ballad and car stereo-pounding thumper.

    9. New Young Pony Club – "Get Lucky" (video)
    This new wave-y track from the UK combo appeared in my Top Ten a while back already, but this video is so odd, both charming and disconcerting, I felt like it deserved a re-entry:

    mojo-photo-southrakkas.jpg8. South Rakkas Crew – "Crazy Feelings" (from The Mix Up on Mad Decent)
    (listen at the Mad Decent site)
    First I thought the bassline was from The Other Two's "Selfish," and then the chorus kicked in and I realized, that's the Jacksons. Not the Jackson 5, the Jacksons, Triumph-era. That's the trouble with samples: you suddenly realize you might actually like the original. Aack!

    7. Travis Barker vs. Soulja Boy – "Crank That"
    Yes, this is the drummer from Blink 182 and +44, playing over the still-inescapable "Crank That." While you just want to be annoyed with him, all tattooed and rich and bashing the living bejesus out of his drums to overcompensate for being like 4'11", this is truly, unbelievably awesome.

    6. Roisin Murphy – "Let Me Know" (from Overpowered on EMI)
    The former Moloko lead singer has struck out on her own in a somewhat typical British solo artist style: too pop to be cool, too weird to reach America. Hello, Robbie Williams! It's too bad, because this is glammy, perfectly-executed electro-disco that should be bigger than Madonna, and the video illustrates why: it can make even the most mundane moments of our pathetic lives feel special.