5.20.2010

Exclusive New Single From Adam Franklin



If you were a fan of Swervedriver, or more recently Magnetic Morning, then you know who Adam Franklin is and you know that you want to hear the first single off of his upcoming album. The album is being released as Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody and is called I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years. The first single, "Yesterday Has Gone Forever", can be heard exclusively right now at the Big Takeover's website. I assure you that it's well worth your time to stop by and give it a listen, as it will also be worth your time to snag a copy of the album when it drops on June 29. For more info about this release and all other things Franklin and Swervedriver related, check out the official website where you can also download free live versions of all of the classic Swervedriver LPs!
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5.04.2010

It's A Good Point, Right?


Not a sell-out.

UK newspaper
The Telegraph ran a story today on author Jodi Picoult. Picoult has a new novel coming out, her 17th, and seems to be hankering for a critical respect that has thus far eluded her, despite quite good sales numbers. I confess to never having read any of Picoult's books, nor ever really having a strong inclination to do so, as I've always viewed her (perhaps mistakenly, I have no idea) from a distance as a purveyor of disposable "chick-lit." However, in the Telegraph piece, she does make a compelling case for why writers like herself shouldn't be out-of-hand dismissed by critics or "serious" readers, a case that most interests me as it could be applied to music/musicians:

"What kills me about the whole commercial/literary debate is that what we consider to be the classics were the commercial literature of their day. Shakespeare, Dickens or Austin – they were all widely read. It's a good point, right?"


This sentiment is true of much of what we consider to be the great pop/rock/soul/etc. music of the past as well. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Temptation, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and so on, and so on, all of these acts were met with critical success, large album sales, and little fan derision as a result. All of these acts are still viewed as classics today and despite huge successes (and bank accounts), few would venture to rob them of their artistic integrity as a result.

In music today, and many other artistic mediums, it is all too common for early adopters to jump ship right as the rest of the world is discovering what they already knew. As if what is important is not the quality of the work, but being one of the elite few who are aware of it. These same "fans" are often quick to dismiss an artist for licensing a piece to a TV show, movie, advert, etc. The question I ask is why is it wrong to make a buck off of one's hard work? If the piece comes from a place that is pure (i.e. this does not hold true in all cases for commissioned work) and adheres to an artistic vision that we've celebrated prior, then who are we to deny our favorites the chance to make a little cash for giving us the art that adds so much joy to our lives?

It stands to reason that in order for one to continue to make their art they will have to find some way to monetize the work, and in a world where album sales are no longer going to cut it in that department, new avenues must be pursued. We, as fans of music and other art, must shift with the times and stop slagging off the artists that we love for making money or beefing up their fanbases. We must adapt to the new media landscape and accept the ways in which it has changed the game. We must use pejoratives like "sell-out" with much less frequency and understand that a sell-out is an artist who changes their art just to make money, not an artist who simply finds an audience for the work and thus is able to earn a decent living.


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2.28.2010

Audi Impresses With "The Green Police"



While I thought that most of the commercials that aired during the Superbowl this year were garbage, this spot touting Audi's green cred stood out as one of the best. The fast-paced and funny premise, the revamp of the Cheap Trick classic "Dream Police", and the effective transmission of the brand's message, all teamed up to make this one a winner.

However, even funnier than the commercial is the way that any mention of environmental conservation brings out the crazy anti-environmentalist fringe in large numbers. Just scroll through and read some of the absolutely hilarious comments below this YouTube video. These people would have you believe that this commercial is an accurate portrayal of the leftist-environmentalist-neo-fascist police state that will inevitably develop in the morally bankrupt America that the coastal liberal elitists plan to install sooner rather than later if they (errrrr . . . we) get the chance. Enjoy!
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Brighter Mornings, Brighter Days



BBDO Toronto teamed up with Tropicana to create this brilliant spot, and the campaign behind it, in order to promote new Tropicana Essentials Orange Juice. On January 8th, a balloon emitting 100,000 lumens was floated above the Canadian town of Inuvik where the sun doesn't come out for months during the winter, essentially bringing light to an otherwise dark place. The campaign, entitled "Brighter Mornings or Brighter Days" will launch immediately after the 2010 Winter Olympics' closing ceremonies.
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Hey Now, Get Your Cheat On



Do you have a little somebody in your life that might need just a wee bump on an upcoming quiz? Show them that true love means helping those that you care about most cheat in pursuit of their goals. Head over to the Paper Pastries' Etsy shop to snag them a "Know-It-All No.2 Pencil Set." There's a set with reminders for chefs too!
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2.26.2010

Go Figure, Conservatives Confused



Yesterday, while reading salon.com, I came across these interesting survey results from John Sides, a professor of political science at George Washington University. The results of this survey of self-identifying conservatives confirm what most of us already know, but few on the right are willing to admit. Republicans have a thing for big government.

As is evident from the above, while conservatives frequently rail about big-spending, big-government liberals, the majority of them, when presented with an actual list of potential areas where spending could be cut, don't actually want to cut anything. This is illustrative of a larger problem that conservative Republicans seem to have, a disconnect between their rhetoric and reality.

In regard to the same poll, I found a comment from blogger Matthew Yglesias that I couldn't agree more with:
Even I’m more spending-averse than this! I’d be for reducing spending on the “war on terrorism” and “tightening border security,” and though I don’t want to cut spending on repairs to existing roadways, I’d be happy to virtually eliminate spending on new highways.
For the whole salon.com analysis, click here.
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2.16.2010

Wayne Coyne's Weird Digs



Today, I happened upon a link to the website of Fitzsimmons Architecture Firm of Oklahoma City. The specific link was to photographs of the home of Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips. The place is weird, to say the least. Though not such a surprise coming from Coyne. Somewhere George Jetson is drooling over this living room.

Click this link to see more pics.
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4.13.2009

Supergrass - "Caught By The Fuzz"



Yesterday, I mentioned how certain aspects of Let's Wrestle's sound reminded of early Buzzcocks recordings. After posting I got to thinking of other bands that, at one time or another, reminded me of the Buzzcocks. The first one that occurred to me was Supergrass. Now, if you're only familiar with their newer records, you're presently thinking I'm out of my mind. But on earlier releases, like my favorite, I Should Coco, the resemblance was at times uncanny. For example, on the standout track and first single (back in 1994) "Caught By The Fuzz." Above, is the best live version of that song that I could find a video of. I wish it was a little bit louder but at least the band is hitting on all cylinders and the vocal just kills.
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Let's Wrestle - "I Won't Lie To You"



Every once in awhile I hear a new song that knocks me flat on my ass from the first note. "I Won't Lie To You" by Let's Wrestle is one of those. Since I first found this one, around the beginning of last week, I've probably listened to it 30 or 40 times. And it still has legs!

Let's Wrestle, the self-described "most miserable and hateful band in North London", is a three-piece that cranks out loud, ebullient, rough-around-the-edges, rock music with pop undertones that'll have you immediately hankering for your old Buzzcocks and Wedding Present albums. On their first EP In Loving Memory Of . . . you'll find songs in the vein of the aforementioned and contemporaries such as Art Brut and labelmates Pete & the Pirates, a comparison that rests on their sound but also on the level of snark, wit, and self-deprecation to be found here.

"I Won't Lie To You" was apparently released as a limited-edition single in the UK around this time last year. The song kicks off with a fuzzy burst of guitar and the killer lyric "No matter how many records I buy/ I can't fill this void" and doesn't let up until the final note. The best news is that, despite their small output thus far, this song is no exception for these guys. There isn't a dud to be found on this EP or amongst the smattering of other tracks you can listen to on their Myspace page. Keep an eye out for these guys because I, for one, think they are going places.
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4.08.2009

Jessica Lea Mayfield - "Kiss Me Again"



The second post that I ever did on this blog was about Akron's Jessica Lea Mayfield. It's been almost 6 months since then, and I am pleased to say that I've seen her get a lot of well deserved credit since that time. She isn't yet the household name that she deserves to be. But, I imagine that she will continue to win over more and more fans as more and more people get the chance to hear her beautiful music.

One very good way to earn more fans is to make a music video of one of the best tracks on your album. And that is exactly what Jessica has done with the above video of "Kiss Me Again." Enjoy. And if you like this, you should definitely pick up her album With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, one of last year's best. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you'll probably come back and thank me.
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