9.17.2008

Roots, Mates of State, Ting Tings to Rock Nick Jr.

Re-affirming its place as the coolest kids show around, is Nick Jr.'s Yo Gabba Gabba which alternately terrifies and thrills.
"The Roots, Jimmy Eat World, Ladytron, MGMT, Mates Of State, Datarock, Mixmaster Mike and the Ting Tings are among the musical guests confirmed for the new season of Nick Jr.'s award-winning kids show "Yo Gabba Gabba," which premieres Sept. 22. Rapper Biz Markie will return with his "Biz's Beat of the Day" segment, while Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh will reprise "Mark's Magic Pictures," a drawing segment. Film/TV stars Jack Black, Jack McBrayer, Rachel Dratch and Amy Sedaris will also appear throughout the new season."
via Billboard.com earlier today.

Watch Now - The Shins "Try Again"

New Music: Kanye West's "Love Lockdown"

Kanye West is streaming the proper studio version of his new single “Love Lockdown” on his blog now. West also revealed the single’s deflated-balloon artwork. Sounds like Kanye's making the best of his work with Daft Punk.

He's also asking Jenny Lewis, among other airport travelers, what she thinks of his new single.

9.03.2008

Ben Folds Five reunites for MySpace concert


The members of now defunct piano rock trio Ben Folds Five will reunite for a one-off show for a performance of their final album, 1999’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

The trio will perform September 18 at UNC's Memorial Hall in the band's hometown Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and marks the band's first concert since disbanding in 2000. The reunion is all part of MySpace’s new “Front to Back” series which features bands performing a signature album in its entirety. The shows are recorded and are later posted on MySpace.

“Of our three albums, this one brings back the most vivid memories, Folds recently told Rolling Stone.
“It was actually written to be one song of many movements, which is why there are motifs that appear throughout the album. That should make Reinhold a natural to be played front to back.”

Tickets go on sale Monday, September 8, with all proceeds to benefit Operation Smile.

Mp3: Ben Folds Five - "Army"

9.02.2008

Previously on Lost makes beautiful music

People either love LOST or hate it. Scads of fans spend hours dissecting each frame. Or not. The point being that there's not a whole lot of middle ground regarding ABC's groundbreaking drama. And as with any cultural phenomenon, there is no lack of fan created material, most of which is subpar with scant few exceptions. Harry and the Potters for example. But a duo from Brooklyn has taken fanboy love to an unusual extreme. Adam Schatz and Jeff Curtin, who together make up a band called Previously on Lost, recently toured the West Coast with their own unique brand of homagery for the series. Namely, a song for every episode of season four, with what the band calls “recap-rock.”

Like Sufjan Steven's/Flaming Lips/Beck's incredibly nerdy child, each jangly and joyous track reviews a week’s episode, and though the lyrics are often tongue in cheek, “Ladies and gentlemen, we lost a few friends this week / And something has to be said / For these best lost friends of ours”, the gentlemen are clearly devotees.

Highlights of their album The Tale of Season 4 and the Oceanic 6, include "Wherever Sun Go", "Be My Constant", "Ballad of Sayid Jarrah" and our favorite "The Island Won't Let You Die." Consider this a must for all Lost fans as they look for something to tide them over until next February.

MP3: Previously on Lost - "Just Wink"
MP3: Previously on Lost - "Be My Constant"

8.31.2008

Best use of the Muppets: Bonus Points

This was posted by Sound Advice friend Po Safe Beats in response to our previous statement regarding Muppets on the Internets (a statement we standby incidentally). Actually, this is pretty awesome too.

Watch Now: Bert & Ernie - "Ante Up"

I was not aware of that Toby Keith

From the out of left field desk comes the following. Truck salesman and Country Western singer Toby Keith, perhaps best known for his post-Sept. 11 song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," says he's a Democrat, and furthermore that he was impressed by a certain senator from Illinois recently.

While promoting his new movie "Beer For My Horses" Mr. Keith was asked about the role of patriotism in the upcoming presidential election. He responded, "There's a big part of America that really believes that there is a war on terrorism, and that we need to finish up.

"So I thought it was beautiful the other day when Obama went to Afghanistan and got educated about Afghanistan and Iraq. He came back and said some really nice things.

"So as far as leadership and patriotism goes, I think it's really important that those things have to take place. And I think he's the best Democratic candidate we've had since Bill Clinton And that's coming from a Democrat." Did you feel your paradigm shift just then? Curiously, Keith did not play at the Democratic Party's National Convention that concluded Thursday.

Two songs here, Keith's and a comparable form of jingoism.

MP3: Toby Keith - "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" (The Angry American)*

*seriously, that's the title

MP3: Team America: World Police - "America F*ck Yeah"

8.28.2008

The Award for best use of the Muppets on the Internet goes to...

The internet is home to many wonders. Witness the wonders of this, this, and this. But after an extensive and exhaustive search, we at the Sound Advice Labs have finally found the best thing ever created on or for the internets.

Behold!



There's also another, slightly less cool take here.
This should make up for our previous slight on the muppets.

8.26.2008

Your 2008 NFL Playlist

Imagine if you will a movie devoid of a soundtrack. Or a child who has forgotten how to laugh. While certainly adequate without, we can agree that both these scenarios are missing something. They feel incomplete. And this is why music is so important. It serves to heighten emotion, add tension and/or suspense, or otherwise enhance an intimate moment. It's just not the same without it.

So clearly music an integral part of any gathering and nowhere is this more apparent than while attending or watching a sporting event. How else is a true believer to show his or her allegiance if not shrieking a familiar anthem at the top of his or her lungs? How is the other team to know we are the champions if we do not tell them through song? As the NFL season is upon us, it is essential to have a finely crafted playlist created for those trying and often thrilling times. Game on.

Your NFL Mini-Playlist

  1. "Renegade" - Styx
  2. "Blitzkrieg Bop" - The Ramones
  3. "Crazy Train" - Ozzy Osbourne
  4. "Hell's Bells" - AC/DC
  5. "Hammer to Fall" - Queen
  6. "Mama Said Knock You Out" - LL Cool J

8.20.2008

China blocks iTunes over Tibet album

Apparently, the goodwill part of the goodwill games is in short supply as China has reportedly cut off access to iTunes. Apparently, Chinese officials received word that people were using Apple’s music service to download the The Art of Peace Foundation’s Songs for Tibet compilation, featuring tracks by Alanis Morissette, Sting, Moby and other artists.

According to the non profit foundation, album proceeds will support, “peace-related projects that are dear to the Dalai Lama” (read Free Tibet) and China doesn’t take to kindly to people trying to free anything, least of all their beloved Tibet.

Most upsetting for the powers that be was the announcement that over 40 athletes at the Olympic Games downloaded the compilation. Thus, the "Great Firewall of China" began restricting access to iTunes on Monday.

Some Chinese are upset with Apple’s involvement with the Free Tibet campaign, calling for an outright company boycott (iPhone included), and are seeking to prevent Sting, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, and nearly everyone else involved with the album from ever entering China.

Listen Now: Bob Marley and the Wailers - "Get Up Stand Up"

Pandora to go silent

This truly could be the day the music died...again. According to founder Tim Westergren, music genome project and recommendation service provider Pandora may have no choice but to close up shop because of high royalty fees. Despite an estimated one million daily listeners and a new iPhone application that attracts roughly 40,000 new customers per day, Pandora’s founder said in a recent Rolling Stone interview, “We’re approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision. This is like a last stand for webcasting.”

Pandora's demise stems from last year's decision by a federal panel, the Copyright Royalty Board, that doubled the per-song performance royalty of tracks played on Internet radio stations. The board decided that the fee to play a music recording on Web radio should increase from 8/100 of a cent per song per listener to 19/100 of a cent per song per listener by 2010. Multiplied by the millions of songs in the catalogue and the thousands of listeners Pandora serves worldwide, this translates to roughly $17 million this year according to Westergren.

“I was on the bus when I get this message on my Treo,” Westergren tols the Washington Post. “I thought, ‘We’re dead.’ ” This year Pandora could lose 70 percent of its $25 million revenue made primarily through ads appearing on the site to royalty fees. Pandora is currently part of a negotiation between Webcasters and SoundExchange, who represents artists and record companies, to lower said fees.

Streaming radio stations such as Pandora are subject to per transmission fees while traditional radio stations do not pay any royalties. Satellite radio stations face a much smaller fee. On June 26th, 2007, thousands of Internet radio stations went silent to protest the higher fees.

8.18.2008

What's on athlete's playlists?

MSNBC finds out what's on olympian ipods. Some very interesting selections.
Watch Now - "What's on Athlete's iPods?"


Olympic Playlist Winners

  1. Beyonce
  2. Eminem
  3. Lil Wayne - "I'm Me"
  4. Garth Brooks - "The River"

8.16.2008

Jackson Browne sues John McCain

Singer Jackson Browne is suing U.S. presidential candidate John McCain for copyright infringement, accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of using the his hit "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad without permission.

On Thursday, Browne filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The suit also names the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party as defendants and includes a permanent injunction against further use of Browne's music and at least $75,000 in damages.

The campaign ad mocked Democratic rival and Illinois senator Barack Obama for suggesting that the nation conserve gasoline by properly inflating tires, with Browne's famous song, "Running on Empty," providing the soundtrack.

The suit claims the unauthorized use of the song is a copyright violation as well as a breach of the U.S. Lanham Act falsely implying that Browne is both associated with and personally endorses McCain for president.

Brian Rogers, a spokesperson for McCain's campaign, told Reuters news that the Arizona senator was unfairly targeted in the lawsuit because the ad was the work of the Ohio Republican Party.

"We had nothing to do with the creation or distribution of this ad whatsoever," Rogers told Reuters. "Mr. McCain's name should quite simply be removed from this lawsuit immediately."

Iser said the Republican Party of Ohio, "acted as an agent and in concert with Sen. McCain and the Republican National Committee" adding, "It certainly looks and smells like a McCain campaign piece,"

Though this is not the first incident of a song used without permission by a campaign, this issue is especially heated because Ohio is one of eleven so-called battleground states in the presidential race.

Iser said the ad, the Ohio Republican Party removed from the Internet in response to a cease-and-desist demand from Browne.

Listen Now: Jackon Browne - "I am a Patriot"

7.23.2008

When two substances collide: Andrew Bird kicks off U.S. tour


“I’m tired of playing all these instruments. It’s quite taxing,” lamented indie music superstar and whistling champion Andrew Bird toward the end of his July 16 show at the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre in Reno, Nev. As a featured artist for Reno’s 2008 Artown festival, Bird kicked off his national tour performing fan favorites including “Fiery Crash”, “My Skin Is” and “Nervous Tick Motion of the Head to the Left” and five songs from his upcoming untitled album, two of which the had never played for an audience.

Decked out in striped green and pink socks, three piece tweed suit and tie and tousled hair Bird looked more like a mad scientist than a classically trained violinist turned indie darling, and to some extent he was. Flanked by his band, a sock monkey, glockenspiel and a modified gramophone, Bird looped Theremin-like whistles, staccato guitar riffs, and driving rhythms with his voice that impressed with its strength and range. Bird’s creations weave together music layers into a sonic tapestry that seems to move forward as if under its own power. In two hours Bird performed on the glockenspiel, violin, guitar and keyboard several times looping a track and switching instruments mid song.

Bird’s articulate phrasing and effective dynamic use, created an altogether unique sound that soared and fluttered as a leaf on the wind unpredictable and scattered but also purposed and graceful. The evening brought to mind sonic chaos of Radiohead and My Morning Jacket but also the harmonies of the Beatles and Beach Boys.

This was particularly evident on “First Impossible” a tune Bird himself described as, “tricky.” owing to a complex beat pattern that took advantage of the offbeat employing them with both skill and elegance, as Bird often does. The song conjured telegram rhythms coming to full and unexpected stops and starting again just as quickly creating a disorienting, fractured piece whose rhythms eventually broke down washed over the audience in waves ending miles away from where it stared.
Bird was full at ease with his audience whom he treated more as guests in his living room rather than paying audience members disarming them with humor and engaging them with colorful anecdotes. Several times during the evening Bird asked the audience for patience and leniency as the band ironed out some bumps and kinks in the set list. And though there were minute missteps in the newer tunes, Bird and company handled trademark complex rhythms and melodies, intricately and delicately designed with Swiss watch precision at dizzying and sometimes breakneck speeds.

Though there were only four people on stage they seemed backed by a virtual symphony of sound layering ethereal whistling skills, eccentric rhythms and to create an organic and distinctive sound and one of the most original and entertaining voices in music.

7.21.2008

Andrew Bird Photo Gallery

Last Wednesday, indie rocker and world champion whistler Andrew Bird kicked off his 2008 US tour at the Grand Sierra Resort's Grand Theatre in Reno, Nevada. Bird premeired five songs from his upcoming album. A full review will be forthcoming as soon as I get a free second. Until then, enjoy the gallery.

7.14.2008

New Radiohead Video Premieres

Aaaargh! The new Radiohead music video for "House of Cards" is insane. A more objective review coming soon. Posting may be spotty for the next few days as more professional duties call for now. In the meantime, prepare to be dumbfounded as this video uses no cameras. Details to follow.

Watch Now: Radiohead - "House of Cards"

7.11.2008

All Star Cast, VH-1 Honour The Who

Tune into VH1's annual Rock Honors concert tomorrow for an all star tribute to Brit rock legends and CSI theme songsters The Who featuring Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips and, of course, Tenacious D. The guests of honor will wrap up the show with a 40 minute set which should include classic Who standards, but may also feature the first live performance of "Slip Kid" since 1976. Though you may have to be in the LA audience to hear it as the performance may be cut down for time.

A candid Roger Daltrey told Rolling Stone recently, “What they use on the TV will probably be the same old stuff...They’ll probably just show ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ ‘Baba O’Riley’ and ‘Who are You?’”

Daltrey also revealed in the same interview that the Flaming Lips are working on a Tommy medley and that Pearl Jam will cover “Love Reign O’er Me” which also appeared on the soundtrack for the film "Reign Over Me." “It’s gonna be weird having them play Who songs while we’re there,” says Daltrey.

Proceeds will be donated to multiple charities, including the Teenager Cancer Trust, an organization that builds hospital wards for teenagers with cancer with which Daltrey has been involved for years. Check here for local listings.

mp3: The Who - "Magic Bus"

7.10.2008

Fleet Foxes Premiere Video for "White Winter Hymnal"

Fleet Foxes, SXSW wunderkinds and current critical darlings, are striking while the iron is still hot by releasing their video for "White Winter Hymnal". The video, which blends equal parts harmony, mysticism, and claymation is a perfect complement to the song's ethereal nature.
Directed by Foxes frontman Robin Peckenpold's brother Sean, the video examines a life gone by and how quickly it can come and go. As fleeting and fragile as fame itself.

Watch Now: Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"


White Winter Hymnal from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

7.09.2008

Obama to Crowd: You Are Not Lil' Wayne


Because when you're a presumptive nominee absolutely everything that you say gets national attention is it a surprise to anyone that, when Barack Obama name-drops current pop music chart king Lil' Wayne, people start talking?

The presumptive Democratic nominee and avowed Dylan and Steve Wonder fan demonstrated the depth of his pop culture knowledge by referencing Lil' Wayne during a speech discussing the importance of staying in school as opposed to pursuing a career in the recording arts.

"You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil' Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school," Obama told a cheering crowd during a town hall style meeting in Powder Springs, Georgia while lamenting high school drop out rates and encouraging students to continue to pay attention to academic studies in order to pursue a career.

Obama added that he knows that some young men think that they cannot find a good job unless they choose music or basketball. This message continues Obama's "tough love" message that encourages parents to "turn off the video games, get off the sofa, and if their child is in trouble in school, not cuss out the teacher."

mp3: Lil' Wayne - "Playing With Fire"

WTF: Turbo Tooth Tunes

From the WTF desk: Much has been made in recent days about bands operating as corporate schills from the Beatles' catalog on Guitar Hero (not happening by the way), Ludacris getting in bed with AT&T, and a host of others. But just when it appears that things cannot possibly get more surreal than pretending to be Aerosmith, along comes this.

Introducing Turbo Tooth Tunes from Hasbro. The toothbrush that pumps music into your head while you brush. Devo, with their re-worked "Brush It", joins the ranks of Miley Cyrus, Smash Mouth, the Transformers, and other brush-safe pop icons to help get those whites pearly once again.

The best part about the whole deal is the diagram that shows "science" in "action". That should be more than enough to convince people to plunk down ten bucks (each add'l track extra) for theirs. Happy brushing!

Mp3: Devo - "Watch Us Work It" (sadly, not available for Turbo Tooth Tunes)

7.08.2008

Ben Folds Announces New Album

Everyone’s favorite Dre covering, blue streak swearing, piano-rocking rock star Ben Folds has a new album hitting record store shelves Sept. 16.

Way To Normal
is Folds' first studio LP since 2005’s Songs For Silverman and will be released on Epic Records. Though Folds has played some high-profile shows over the past couple years from opening for John Mayer to being backed by a symphony orchestra, the new album is still an unashamedly rock and roll record.


“It’s a fairly un-orchestral record,” Folds told Paste magazine in a recent interview. Folds continued, “It’s a fairly lyric-driven rock record. We’ve looked at taking a few of the songs on the new record and scoring them for orchestra and, uh, it was kind of slim pickins.”

Notable tracks include titled “You Don’t Know Me”, an eccentric duet with Regina Spektor (is there any other kind)? Also on the album, a experiment that hearkens back to Fear of Pop called “Free Coffee” on which Folds gets an electronic effect on his trusty piano by taping Altoids cans to the strings and running it through a distortion pedal.

Folds’ trademark irreverence is still in full effect on several tunes includin “Bitch Went Nuts,” which tells the story of a relationship that went wildly wrong after the song's narrator’s lover goes crazy and stabs his basketball. The song, according to Folds, is a comment on relationships from the male point of view. Says Folds, “If you ask loads of women what went wrong in a relationship, they’re going to give you a variety of answers. But you ask men, especially at a bar somewhere, and they’re gonna go, ‘Uh, bitch went nuts!’”

Check out tour dates here.

MP3: Ben Folds: Such Great Heights (Postal Service cover)

7.07.2008

Springsteen Releases Digital Charity EP


Bruce Springsteen, who led a digital revolution of sorts by pressing the first Dual Disc album is now putting the internet to use for something other than viral videos and online contests: namely a Digital Charity Live EP. Springteen's Magic Tour Highlights collects four live tracks with corresponding videos from this spring's E Street Band tour supporting the Boss' newest album Magic.

The EP features collaborations with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, and Alejandro Escovedo, as well as E Street keyboardist Danny Federici's (photo right) final performance with the band.

Columbia records is set to release Magic Tour Highlights to digital retailers July 15, with a portion of the proceeds will benefiting the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.

Magic Tour Tracklist:

  1. "Always a Friend" [ft. Alejandro Escovedo] (live in Houston, April 14, 2008)
  2. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" [ft. Tom Morello] (live in Anaheim, April 7, 2008)
  3. "Turn Turn Turn" [ft. Roger McGuinn] (live in Orlando, April 23, 2008)
  4. "4th of July, Asbury Park" (Sandy) (live in Indianapolis, March 20, 2008)

Guitar Hero Update: World's Best Pretend Guitarist, Zep Says No

In the interest of full disclosure, I think the Guitar Hero video game series is a scourge that often destroys lives by having gamers invest hours in the game rather than actually learning how to play the proper guitar. That being said, I love video games and love being amazed and normally I wouldn't post a video of someone playing a game (especially GH), but Chris Chike's perfect 100 percent score on Guitar Hero 3's Expert-Level "Through the Fire and Flames" is surreal to put it lightly.

Said Chike of his Guiness record breaking effort, "I was almost in shock when I finished the song and had hit the 100 percent -- I am so glad I caught it on video or even I wouldn't have believed it happened."

Check out the video below for full aggro amazement!



How I Feel About Guitar Hero: South Park "Guitar Hero"

In other GH news, despite the game's success, you won't see any of Led Zeppelin's iconic tunes being mutilated any time soon, this according to the Wall Street Journal.

The band, specifically guitarist Jimmy Page, is "not comfortable" giving gaming companies access to the group's master recordings, a necessary step in adding a band to any game.

This is welcome news especially since Robert Plant has started schilling for JCPenny's, and the Beatles and Aerosmith have already caved to the Guitar Hero pressure.

7.05.2008

The List: Top Songs About States

In observance of the July 4 weekend, this week's edition of "The List" examines the best songs about states.


The Rules: songs must be about about states or commonwealths (songs about territories or provinces are ineligible), only two songs may be country songs, 5 song limit.

Sound Advice List: Best State Songs
1."Washington Bullets" - The Clash
2."Nebraska" - Bruce Springsteen
3. "California Love" - 2Pac and Dr. Dre
4. "Ohio" - CSNY
5. "Kentucky Woman" - Neil Diamond
Dig through your vinyl collection and mp3 backlog and see what you come up with. Post your favorites here or tell us what some of your favorite state songs are.

7.04.2008

Born on the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July to all. Take a minute today to think about what this holiday meant, means, and what we can do to make things better in the future. Though there are many versions of this song, from Jimi Hendrix to the Dixie Chicks, this is my favorite.
Watch Now: Marvin Gaye - "The Star Spangled Banner"

7.03.2008

Next President to be Featured in New Boxed Set

Whomever emerges victorious from the general presidential election in November gets a bonus prize (in addition to leading the free world). The life and times of either John McCain or Barack Obama will be featured as a supplemental track on the album Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 Presidencies, as a digital download.


In the vein of Sufjan Stevens' state project, this three-disc boxed set, delivers exactly what it says on the label, featuring the tracks "Martin Van Buren: The Little Magician," and "John Adams: Armed With Only Wit and Vigor and the U.S. Navy" which should pair nicely with They Might Be Giants' "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" and "James K. Polk".

Presidencies' auteurs have brought along additional artists to wax historical including Vince DiFiore (Cake), Alan Sparhawk (Low), and Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), but a host of others, but surprisingly not Stevens. The album's official release date is Sept. 9.

Have a sneak peek at the album's Monroe track and register to vote for the subject of track 44.

Your New Band Name Has Arrived

Creating a good band name is a difficult thing. A band's name should encompass the tone, style, and personality of the group all while being memorable, clever, and most of all, catchy. A band name can be clean and simple (The Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience), complex (...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead), or seemingly nonsensical (Vampire Weekend, The Sea and Cake, et. al). Get it wrong and you'll end up like this.

But fear not good reader, Band Name Maker is here to help. The process is simple and outlined on the site. "Use band name generator engine to create random band names using our extensive database of hand-selected words. Our tool is useful for coming up with cool band names for rock, punk, emo, or other musical styles. If you like, type in your own word or phrase and our engine will randomly use that in the generation process."

We plugged in the word "centaur" and here's what happened:

  • Centaur Ire
  • Dirty of the Extra-Strength
  • Centaur Attack
  • Centaur Cadillac and The Gray Zenith
  • Lone Centaur
  • Centaur Wish
  • Centaur Shore
  • Teal of the Anti
  • Centaur Meat
  • Corrosive Centaur
Give it a go and see what you get. Post up your favorite originals or some of your favorite real band names here. Good luck.

7.02.2008

Rock the Vote Ups the Ante with Contest, Against Me!, Saul Williams

In observance of the upcoming July 4 holiday, we bring you yet another internet contest. Rock the Vote is launching a contest called DemROCKracy in which bands get their fans to register to the vote in the upcoming election you may have heard about. The grand prize for the group that registers the most voters is a spot playing Rock the Vote's Ballot Bash before the Democratic National Convention August 25.

In other Rock the Vote news, Against Me! weighs in about the importance of the democratic process, and Saul Williams again rocks our world.

Watch Now: Against Me! - Rock the Vote

Watch Now: Saul Williams - Rock the Vote


7.01.2008

Featured Video: Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

English teachers around the world are relieved that the Oxford Comma is finally getting its day in the sun. Enjoy the boys from New York City and their song about how it's possible to get your point across without being grammatically flawless. And how girlfriends can be so uppity sometimes.
Watch Now: Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

6.30.2008

Duffy Goes Acoutsic: Glastonbury

While Amy Winehouse may be busy punching people, and Jay-Z is busy doing novelty covers of Oasis, Duffy got down to business of making great music at England's biggest festival. Enjoy this stripped down version of her tune "Mercy" from Glastonbury 08.

Watch Now
: Duffy - "Mercy" (Acoustic)


Note: If you're having trouble getting updates via your reader, let us know. Will update you as soon as we figure it out. Thanks.

6.28.2008

The List: Best Summer Songs

With the mercury rising and the Fourth of July weekend bearing down us, the time has come to do what every good music geek does: create a list. We're going to try a game, and if it works, we could make it a weekly thing. So roll open the windows, crack open a cold one, and decide on the best summer songs of all time.

The Criteria: memorable hook, stong dance beat, and/or sing along chrous/lyrics. Here're our to five (in no particular order):

  1. Low Rider - War
  2. Ramblin Man - Allman Brothers
  3. E-Pro - Beck
  4. Summersong - The Decemberists
  5. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
Let us know your picks for the top Summer Songs, and don't forget to take the survey!

6.26.2008

Livin' la Vida: Coldplay Auditions Opening Acts via YouTube

The internet: the gift that keeps on giving. Radiohead's MySpace Music video contest lead off the week, then Beck leaked two tracks from his upcoming album, followed by Weezer's YouTube single hitting the waves. Now it is Coldplay's turn as they premier a YouTube contest giving unknown groups the opportunity to open for one of the biggest bands in the world during the Viva la Vida tour. The contest is cooperating with radio stations in six markets: Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Hartford, Philadelphia and San Jose, CA, the tour stops scheduled to feature fledgling artists/contest champions.

Contestants are to upload their videos onto YouTube, where a panel of judges of radio station employees will watch them and whittle the field down to fifteen. After that, fan voting reduces the finalists to three (sound familiar?). Coldplay will watch the final trio and give the green light to their favorite. The gran prix: 20 minutes of stage time as Coldplay’s opening act, $2,000 and ten tickets to the concert. To enter, check out Coldplay’s tour page.

6.25.2008

New Weezer Track Written With Help from Fans: "Turnin' Turnin'"

Count geek-rockers Weezer among those seeking to give the fans what they want. “Turnin’ Turnin’” written with the assistance of the Weezer faithful hit the interwebs today, the result of Cuomo’s call to fans for songwriting advice. This surprisingly tight, catchy track would have been right at home on “The Red Album” and is certainly better than some of the tracks that made the album.
Watch Now: Weezer - "Turnin' Turnin'"

It is Inevitable: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Trailer Released

The first teaser trailer for Joss Whedon's groundbreaking Internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has officially gone online. Though it was scheduled for tomorrow someone "discovered it early", according to Whedon so they went forward with it today. And it's every bit as fantastic as we'd expected.

Neil Patrick Harris's pathetic-loser-neurotic supervillain is clearly done the way Whedon envisioned Buffy's nerd trio originally, and his mad scientist goggles are spot-on. Nathan Fillion seems pretty fantastic as well, and he's most definitely singing in a couple of shots. Click through for more!

6.24.2008

Beck "Leaks" Two New Songs, Plans Jukebox Revolution

In keeping with the changing landscape of music distribution, Beck has released the first two cuts ("Orphans", "Gamma Ray") from his upcoming album Modern Guilt via his iLike page. Both tracks are streaming in their entirety alongside the previously-released “Chemtrails.” Modern Guilt is due to drop on July 8. Unless your local bar has TouchTone jukebox that is. Starting on July 1, over 10,000 Touchtone jukeboxes will make the entirety of Modern Guilt available. Because nothing says pub music like Beck.

6.23.2008

Sign of the Apocalypse: Beatles Music on Guitar Hero

Following the success of two weeks of the Beatles‘ music on American Idol, the Fab Four’s catalog may be branching out again: Reps for the band are reportedly talking to both Activision and MTV Games about possibly releasing a Guitar Hero or Rock Band based around Beatles’ tunes.

According to a source close to the negotiations, the final deal could be worth millions, but first must get the approval of both Apple Corps. and EMI. Apple Corps’ tight grip on the Beatles catalog has loosened since Jeff Jones became the company’s chief executive, as evidenced by the band’s music appearing in American Idol, Cirque du Soleil Love show and the film Across the Universe.

“To my view, it’s only a matter of time before we see Beatles songs that are the original recordings in motion pictures, in television work, and yes, maybe even one day in a commercial,” said Sony/ATV chief executive Martin Bandier, who holds more than 200 Beatles copyrights. Whichever video game company wins the battle to release a Beatles-themed game, a source says a deal “could be reached in a matter of weeks.”
/via Rolling Stone

Trendsetters: Radiohead Holds Music Video Contest

At last someone is putting MySpace to good use as prog-rockers Radiohead host a unique contest which highlights just why democracy was invented.
It's one thing to let your fans remix your songs, it's quite another to let them direct an offical music video. This kind of risky venture is hardly a first for Radiohead, as evidenced with "In Rainbows" groundbreaking release format, but it takes serious guts to entrust fans with your art, allowing them to dictate its direction. This time quite literally.

This time, Britain's avante-garde art-rockers are clearly up for anything, putting the creation of their next music video in the public's hands. The final field has been narrowed to 13 candidates as the contest draws to a close, with the champion crowned on June 30.

The winner gets a $10,000 prize, with the video becoming a part of the official Radiohead catalogue. Head over to the band's MySpace to vote for your favorite.
/add'l info via Paste.com

6.20.2008

Too Sexy for Coldplay

Coldplay recently revealed that they recorded a song with Kylie Minogue, called Lunar, but it was deemed "too sexy" to make the cut for their new album, 'Viva La Vida (Or Death And All His Friends)'.


"At this point we cannot be that sexy," Frontman Chris Martin said, referring to why the track didn't make the cut for the new album. "It's a song called 'Lunar' and Kylie is particularly brilliant on it.

Martin
said that the track would appear on an LP the band will release as early as 2009.

"It will be on a record...some time at the end of next year. It will be track nine, I imagine."

Martin went on the say that another song, a full vocal version of Life In Technicolour', an instrumental song on 'Viva…' will also appear on the album.

6.19.2008

Found Footage: Star Wars Done Right

Parody is a difficult thing to do. For any pastiche or satire to work, the tone, style, and mood of the original must first be emulated and then expanded upon. Such is the case with this gem from the Sound Advice Archives: "The Saga Begins" a Star Wars themed parody of Don McLean's "American Pie". What might first seem a simple and straightforward mockery, is upon a closer listen a pitch perfect musical re-interpretation and, in a masterful stroke, Yankovic is able to keep McLean's original internal rhyme scheme. Simple proof that a being a talented musician doesn't mean being all angsty and sad. Plus, it's about a billion times better than Madonna's massacre of a cover version. See "The Saga Begins" below in all its satiric majesty.
Weird Al The Saga Begins

6.09.2008

Of Bishops and Ninjas: The RZA's WU-Chess

It is extremely difficult to describe this phenomenon any better than it has already been done on the website proper.

"Designed for chess enthusiasts addicted to hip-hop music, WuChess.com is the place where your favorite music, movies and celebs will be all while you get your game on. WuChess members will get exclusive offers such as MP3s you can't get anywhere else, playing a surprise celebrity guest, access to one of a kind video clips and many more surprises. This is hardcore chess with half the stuffiness.

WuChess understands that it is important that today's youth develop life strategy skills, so to help their efforts a portion of WuChess revenue will be donated to the Hip Hop Chess Federation's scholarship fund.

Welcome to the next level."

For those who think that hip hop is about money, bitches, and bling, hopefully this will be an eye opener.

5.26.2008

TOP FIVE: Spring 2008


At the behest of a fellow blogger, whose opinion I respect immensely, I have decided to get back at it. I was feeling sort of down on the state of music recently, only to discover about twenty new bands just in time for spring. Here're the Top Five for Spring 2008:

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
The unsung heroes of SXSW, Seattle's Fleet Foxes specialize in harmonic pop and lazily precise guitar work. They draw from diverse influences and traditions including folk, pop, choral, gospel, sacred harp singing (yup), West Coast music (read Beach Boys), traditional Irish music from Japan, film scores, and their NW peers. Their subject matter ranges from the natural world and familial bonds to bygone loves and stone cold graves. Said one fan, "when we saw them, we were standing in a puddle of our own tears." MP3 - White Winter Hymnal

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Purists may shy away from this album, but Narrow Stairs is precisely the album Ben Gibbard and Co. needed to propel them from "well knowns" to "standard bearers" for the indie rock scene. While at once being epic ("I Will Own Your Heart", 8:23) and minimal, this effort is far more driving and guitar driven than any of their previous works. Not to be missed, this album will undoubtedly break the top 10 of year end lists. MP3 - Bixby Canyon Bridge

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
Getting away from "normal rock and roll sounds" has worked remarkably well on this album. There are bits for everyone here including country, electronica, and guitar driven anthems. This album is the first to feature other band members on vocals and is quite a departure from the gentle riffs and falsettos to which fans have become accustomed. MP3 - Sec Walkin

Last Shadow Puppets - Age of the Understatement
The Last Shadow Puppets are Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and the Rascals' Miles Kane. This duo was so inspired by the likes of Scott Walker, early Bowie, and David Axelrod, that they recorded this album of hot-blooded, bold and brassy tracks. Full of drama, wit, and melody, it takes on the form of a Spaghetti Western run amok in Chelsea. The album's lush orchestration was recorded by the 22-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra doing their best Ennio Morricone impression. Look for this duo on select US dates in September with full band and a large string section. MP3 - Age of the Understatement

Vedera - Stages (EP)
Vedera gives us just what we need as the weather heats up: a shimmering, bittersweet blast. This band’s sound recalls the melodic whimsy of artists like Sixpence None the Richer, The Cardigans, and The Sundays. Their take is more straightforward though, as bright moods light up even the most plaintive ballads as the minor chords get cracked open by crystalline tandem vocals, allowing one of the record’s many glittery hooks to burst through. While it may be a bit over produced for some who prefer a more gritty feel, Stages is a refreshing breath of fresh air with a vocalist whose voice is as strong as Neko Case's and as clear as Jenny Lewis's. MP3 - Still Standing

3.21.2008

Hot Tip: Joss Whedon's New Musical to feature Doogie, Mal Reynolds

While it's not rock n' roll per se, the latest leak from Whedonesque is intriguing and at least laterally connected to the music scene. According to the official Joss Whedon fansite, a new musical featuring Neil Patrick Harris (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) and Nathan Fillion (Waitress, Serenity)is in the works. Whedon said, "During the strike I started writing a musical intended as a limited internet series, 3 episodes of approximately 10 minutes each. Writing with me was my brother Jed, his fiancee Maurissa, and my other brother Zack. To my shock and surprise, we finished it. To my greater shock and surprise, we managed (with the help of many people I'll be praising at length soon) to drag it into preproduction (yes, just as Dollhouse was given a start date two months away and all my comics were due.) And today, after a grueling week of writing everything ever while trying to be a producer, I got to start shooting. A musical.

"This much I will say: It's the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he's too shy to talk to. And I'm having the time of my life."

Whedon also offered a bit more casting info for the film, listing:

"'DOCTOR HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG'

Neil Patrick Harris.....as Dr. Horrible
Nathan Fillion..........as Captain Hammer
Felicia Day.............as Penny

And a cast of Dozens!"

This is hardly a surprise coming from the mind of Buffy: The Musical, "Once More with Feeling". No information is currently available about when or where this will go live, but the series' name alone is already one of the most creative things announced this year.

3.20.2008

Artist Spotlight: Sahara Hotnights

Greetings once again. Welcome to our latest feature, Artist Spotlight. Each month we will endeavor to bring a little attention a little known or breaking new artist. This month, Swedish Fem-Band "Sahara Hotnights"

From the Runaways to the Donnas, the garage has served as a safe haven for women who would rather be rock stars than groupies. Similar in tone and style to fellow Swedes The Hives and Division of Laura Lee, Sahara Hotnights' brash, smashmouth style thrives almost exclusively on heavy riffs, and seamlessly blends the essential elements of garage rock, power pop, punk and an even heavier attitude. Taking their name from an Australian racehorse, the ladies from Hotnights roll out the screeching '70s punk guitars for "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist, Where's the Fight?)," talk riot inducing trash on "Only the Fakes Survive," and rock a fierce and fiery Blondie tribute with "Keep Up the Speed." Their latest album, “What if Leaving is a Loving Thing” is out now on the Stand by Your Band label.
For fans of: Tegan and Sara, The Hives, Tilly and the Wall.

Hear it Now
Alright, Alright (Here's My Fist, Where's the Fight?)

3.05.2008

Found Footage: Space Alone

Behold our newest feature: Found Footage wherein whenever we find video of musical relevance or awesomeness, we'll pass it along to you. The first installment is a short and sad animation Space Alone by digital animator/graphic designer Ilias Sounas. While it may seem a bit sci-fi for a music blog, the soundtrack is an excellent example of how music can complement images. Enjoy.

Found Footage - Space Alone


2.24.2008

B-Side Music Presents - T&A: Cover Edition

For this installment of T&A we'll take a look at two landmark covers: The Muppets' cover of "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads and Mindy Smith's cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene"

First, the Triumph: Mindy Smith - "Jolene"

From an album of Dolly Parton covers comes a dusty, blistering, sagebrush anthem that contains everything a great country song should: a cheatin' man, a Dobro, simple lyrics, and a strong and steely voice that is both fragile and fierce. There are all kinds of sonic layers here that add complexity and interest to a song that could have easily become dispensable. Smith's instrumentation and phrasing make this one of the great covers.

Watch Now



Now the Atrocity: Kermit the Frog - "Once in a Lifetime"
I consider my taste in music to be pretty eclectic. I have at times even been told that I like music that is unlistenable or even weird. But even the hippest of hipsters will have a hard time justifying this one. David Byrne is already pretty weird but add the "Muppet Factor" and the bizzare-ometer rockets off the charts. I love this song. I love the Muppets. But not together. I don't want peanut butter on my pizza and I don't want the Muppets singing my favorite hits from days gone by. It's just wrong.

Watch Now (if you dare...)

2.10.2008

Pop Goes the Presidency: Obama's "Yes We Can" Video

For decades theme songs have been an essential, often defining facet of a political campaign. When Franklin Roosevelt first ran for president in 1932, Democrats adopted "Happy Days are Here Again" which encapsulated FDR's promise of relief from the Great Depression and "Happy Days" remained the party's anthem for decades thereafter. But there has never been anything quite like this unsolicited viral video supporting Barack Obama that popped up on YouTube last week.

The song features Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's voice set to will.i.am's melody and music and features the likes of Scarlet Johansson, John Legend, Kate Walsh, Common, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kelly Hu, and a slew of other celebrity supporters who either sing or speak along with the text of the speech.
The song's chorus is one of Obama's campaign slogans: "Yes We Can."

Rapper, songwriter, producer, and frontman for the Black Eyed Peas will.i.am, says he was inspired to create the video while watching Obama's speech after the senator's second-place finish to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary. While "Yes We Can" is the latest in a long line of campaign songs, it shares something in common with its predecessors: inspiration.

For an effective theme song, optimism is essential. In 1960, Sinatra revised "High Hopes" when John F. Kennedy ran for president including, "Everyone wants to back, Jack/ Jack is on the right track/ 'Cause he's got High Hopes!/ He's got High Hopes!" In 1992, Democrats used Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" as the backdrop for Bill Clinton's similar promise of change.

Is isn't always a love fest though as some candidates have appropriated songs without approval. McFerrin told Republicans to stop using "Don't Worry" and Bruce Springsteen, a frequent Democratic supporter, vehemently objected to Ronald Reagan using "Born in the USA" as an anthem.

With the advent of the digital age of music, "Yes We Can" hails a new era for the campaign anthem. Will.i.am's creation is infinitely ahead of last year's racy, half-serious, and self promoting "Obama Girl". Will.i.am told the AP, "It was as if [Obama] was talking to me," continuing, "It was as if he was talking to and defending everything that made me who I am. I took that speech, and I wanted everyone else to be inspired by that speech as I was."

"The Internet and technology empowers people," will.i.am said, "and the 'Yes We Can' song is proof that they don't need a big record company or a big movie company ... to go out and captivate people's attention."

Watch Now - Yes We Can

video

1.01.2008

The Fastest Review Alive: Kate Nash "Made of Bricks"

Welcome to 2008 B-Siders. As part of our continuing revamp, we present you with our newest feature: THE FASTEST REVIEW ALIVE. In the FRA, we will review an album, giving you as complete a snapshot as possible, in depth analysis and insight all in under 100 words. Let us know what you think. First up: the stateside debut from the UK songstress Kate Nash, "Made of Bricks".

FRA: Made of Bricks - Kate Nash

Eclectic, experimental pop music with a quirky and playful sensibility permeates this album which is grounded by Nash's distinctive vocals, a sort of hybrid of Regina Spektor and Lily Allen. Since the album's release in the UK, Nash has quickly risen from "critic's darling" to an authentic and genuine artist and rightfully so. Reggae infused riffs, brassy yet delicate phrasing, and no straight forward, nonsense lyrics make this a bonafide hit. Features the singles "Foundations" and "Dickhead". While Made of Bricks may just be hitting the states now, this album is universal.