Entries Tagged as 'music'

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmusic

Top ten names of rock bands, just before they picked their current names

No Gravatar

10. Silver Beatles

9. The Strolling Roans

8. Guns and Ammo
[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that band members must smile in their promo pictures

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 3-G/222:  The “band face.” What does it actually say? – this forward-chinned, full view of the nasal passages? – this…sour look…that bands have had in their promo shots since some time in the late sixties? What does it say? Maybe it is some anemic statement: “We are arteests! We will take this picture because “the suits” say we have to, but we will not smile! – so there!” Is it a threat? “If you buy our record, we will  beat you up.” Maybe it is just another sophomoric attempt, on the part of musicians, to put on the “troubled soul” cloak of the phony bohemian. (If that were the case, though, their purpose would be better served by simply sulking in a chair for every shot.) Whatever it is, it is getting silly. Because it is silly, it is now an impotent gesture. It will stop.

The Punishment: Any band member who does not smile in a promo picture will be facially decorated by the Imperial Artist. Offenders will have a big smile drawn onto their face with multi-colored Sharpies. They will wear this smile during the entire promotion and touring process for whatever album they next release.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: Happy birthday, Herbie Hancock

No Gravatar

Hello, welcome to a special Friday Audio Files column that exists for the sole purpose of wishing “happy birthday” to the great Herbie Hancock. (h/t to pal Ethan.)

J-a-z-z   F-u-n-k!

My favorite Herbie album is probably Secrets, though the man has a huge catalogue of great material from which to choose, making any attempt at a “favorites” list something of a fool’s errand.

[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that people must be officially approved before claiming that they “listen to everything”

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 9-X/32-CMany make this claim, in an attempt to prove their sophistication: “I listen to everything.” This claim, of course, is a reference to their musical tastes. (Usually, it indicates a complete lack of musical taste, but that is subjective and the Emperor would never want to be subjective.) The sad part is that this claim is usually made by those who make it in referencing the fact that they have pop, rock, rap and country on their playlists. This, to these ignorant auditors, is, “everything.” (And, no, it does not count that you listen to variants within rock and pop. One is not being musically explorational because one listens to Led Zeppelin and Slipknot and Rick Springfield. It is also fair to point out that music is not automatically experimental because its composer wears wool caps in the summer.) In short, most who make the claim of listening to “everything” are like an ant on a beach who, tuckered out after a good three-inch walk, exclaims “Well, I have now seen the world.”  He has seen grains of several different shapes, but, the fact remains, they are still a particular kind of sand. Henceforth, no one may claim that they listen to “everything” until their playlist contains at least 75% names  and works from outside the popular realm and whose works are not available on collections of “relaxing music” sold in endcaps at Target.

The Punishment: Those who wish to make the “everything” claim must be cleared by the Emperor, himself. He will quiz the person in question, who will need to score an 80% or above on a quiz filled with questions like: “Who wrote ‘Koyunbaba’?” — or, “Who was Count Basie’s legendary rhythm guitarist?” — or, “What American orchestra is best know for interpreting French Impressionism?” — or, “What Irish traditional band once teamed up with Roger Daltry for a recording of ‘Behind Blue Eyes?” Those who fail and still continue to make the claim will be chained to the dungeon wall and forced to listen to the entire catalog on their own MP3 player performed by a precocious child with a comb and some wax paper.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: The pathos of Jacko, plus muumuus and balloons

No Gravatar

I’ve been listening to vintage Michael Jackson lately. The ancient stuff.

And I continue to be struck by the transformation MJ went through over the years.

This has been documented ad nauseam, but it still makes for compelling speculation, mostly because the metamorphosis was so stunning. How exactly does one go from wholesome teen idol to David Cronenberg creature? What forces must conspire to create such a mess?

[Read more →]

art & entertainmentmusic

Non-stinky rock n’ roll side projects

No Gravatar

Ah, the rock n’ roll side project: in any long career it’s difficult for a rock star to resist the temptation to indulge. Weary of their official identities, worn out by fan expectations, they seek in a change of name or collaborators a reinvigoration of the creative juices.  So yes: while Mick Jagger’s Superheavy was indeed pretty rotten, it is easy to understand why he joined up with Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, one of the Marleys and that chap from Slumdog Millionaire.

THIS IS BAD, DON’T LISTEN TO IT:

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmusic

Top ten things overheard at last night’s Grammys

No Gravatar

10. “How are LeAnn Rimes and Busta Rhymes related, exactly?”

9. “Yes, I’m Vanilla Ice. Now can I show you to your seat?”

8. “In what month is thing scheduled to end?”

7. “What’s the difference between ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Record of the Year’?”

6. “Exactly when did Taylor Swift join Cirque du Soleil?”

5. “I hear Snoop Dogg got endorsement deals in both Colorado and Washington State.”

4. “I haven’t seen this many commercials since the Clios.”

3. “This year they’re giving a Grammy for Artist Whose CD Was Easiest To Open.”

2. “I’m glad Adele mentioned she was pregnant. For a second there I thought she was up for Best Group Performance.”

1. “Excuse me, but I want to introduce Lady Gaga to the Goo Goo Dolls…Gaga, Goo Goo!…Goo Goo, Gaga!…Oh, and look who just came in: Kajagoogoo!”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

music

Musical nightmare

No Gravatar

I had a nightmare that someone remixed and combined the theme to The Big Bang Theory, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” into one 10-minute song with 40,000 words that covered everything that ever happened or ever will and threw in more cultural references than anyone could count.

The song promptly went to #1. Then the Earth exploded.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmusic

Top ten names of rock bands, just before they picked their current names

No Gravatar

10. Silver Beatles

9. The Strolling Roans

8. Guns and Bayonets
[Read more →]

diatribesmusic

Cafe Music Crankiness

No Gravatar

Those who know me know this is continuing struggle of mine: music played at cafes.

I was recently at a cafe, OCF on South St, and the music was spectacularly bad. When I arrived it was thumping techno — not electronica or lounge — TECHNO. After a little while I approached the barista and semi-tactfully explained that the music was intrusive, poorly-selected, and too loud for the cafe. So he changed it, to a mix of…

…calypso music. I’m not joking. I thought he was, at first, to spite me, but no, he was serious. That’s what hipsters do. They tend shop at cafes in ironic ugly Christmas sweaters, playing calypso.

But at least the calypso was pretty soft and not too offensive, even if it made no sense to play it on a freezing cold December day. Once that mix was over, the playlist of fail continued:

- Electronica, none of which was listenable
- The full “Loveless” album by My Bloody Valentine. Now this is an “important” album and I get that. It’s overrated, though, because Kevin Shields’s legendary perfectionism and layering process makes the sound more muddled than it should be. Hence how good Japancakes’s cover (of the whole album) sounds. Regardless, anyone who knows MBV knows it’s not cafe music.
- Drone music

You read that right, too. Drone music. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Like a blog entry wwwwwwrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiittttttttteeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnn lllllllllllliiiiiiiiiiikkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeeee ttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiissssssssss.

[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that the harmonica shall be banned in all music (except for one cat)

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 87/8-P: The harmonica is hereby banned in the Empire. There shall be no more sonic poison vomited into sparkling guitar cocktails served by unwashed Dylan wannabes wearing neck-holders and moaning and spitting into cheap Hohners. The Emperor has decided that, artistically speaking, the harmonica is the proverbial fart in church; it is an Almond Joy bobbing in the public pool; the accidental, mid-wipe finger-punch through the toilet paper; the over-the-top scatological humor in the formal blog post; the plump and throbbing zit perched between the azure eyes of a beauty queen. The harmonica is a heinous-sounding buzz-saw backing a choir of angels. It adds about as much musicality to the average song as pants would add to the hydro-dynamics of a cruising Great White. (The only valid harmonica musician of all time is Toots Thielmans — he, alone, shall continue to be allowed to play, until such time as he may go up to the great Jam Session in the Sky.) Next week, all harmonicas shall be seized and destroyed in the Imperial Harmonica Smasher. (Yes, we built one. And, yes, it is as cool as it sounds.)

Everyone knows the definition of “perfect pitch” is when you throw a harmonica into a dumpster and it bounces off of a broken accordion. (Thank, yeeew – the Emperor’s here every week. Try the veal!)

The Punishment: Those caught with contraband harmonicas will be thrown into the smasher along with their offensive, metallic tooters — whose natural sounds will have been far more disturbing than the ensuing death screams of the besquished owners could ever be.

PS: John Popper is not a valid defense against this decree, so don’t try it. If anything, just bringing his name up will make the Emperor even more angry.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning. 

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye shall no longer quote crappy lyrics on Facebook or Twitter

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. Cmi7: It may seem a tad common for one of his dazzling grandeur, but the Emperor does enjoy a little stint on Facebook or Twitter from time to time. (This invariably leads to finger-blisters for the Imperial Scribe who keeps a list of dictated future decrees.) But, for the love of ME, people, could you stop posting vapid, pedestrian, mediocre excerpts from song lyrics that a three-year old could have churned out during an inspired potty squeege? Sweet Jesu — what compels a person to take the time to type up “Yeah, baby — yeah; you’re mine and I’m yours and that’s the way it will always be”? This is such a good lyric that it had to be electronically broadcast to the world? This made you sit up and say, “Wow — that’s deep. I must share this.” Cripes. Meanwhile, Johnny Mercer dwells in Facebook obscurity — in the dark refuse pile of the un-tweeted — despite having written: [Read more →]

getting oldermusic

If music be the food of nostalgic embarrassment, play on

No Gravatar

At the age of 27, I have an iTunes library that more closely resembles someone who’s already outlived the national average life expectancy. The sections of Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and the three Kings (Albert, Freddie, and B.B.) alone probably comprise something like twelve days of music. God could create the heavens and the earth again and still not be out of the ’60s.

But my digital music collection is just the way I like it. I’ve got everything I love and almost nothing I don’t. Sure, individual songs like  T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” inevitably infiltrate my anti-garbage firewall (read: are added by friends to annoy me), but they’re nothing a “delete” key can’t fix. It’s wonderful. And it’s awful. The digital age has enabled my music library to reflect Current Me, and in a certain way, that’s a real shame for today’s youth.

[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that lyrical lip-tasting shall cease

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. i-124-B: The Emperor is aware of how hard it is for young musicians and lyricists to approach the profundity of their Springsteenian and Dylanesque heroes — those stretchers of poetic and pop-cultural boundaries. He knows (not from experience, mind you, but from within the depth of his infinite wisdom) what it feels like to struggle with a lack of intellectual and artistic development in the face of a monumental desire to write something truly powerful. In short, the Emperor empathizes (theoretically). He cannot, however, allow these young lyricists to continue crossing the line of sensuality and over into  increasingly frequent  implications of cannibalistic desires. Lately, there have been far too many references to the “taste” of the lips of one’s lover, in popular tunes. This is not sensual and edgy, my young and comically rebellious friends. This is gross. Ye shall quit it.

The Punishment: Violating lyricists will be tied up and forced to listen to three weeks of non-stop jokes about cannibals, like this one: Two cannibals are sitting around the fire, eating. One cannibal says to the other, “I can’t stand my mother-in-law.” The second cannibal replies, “So, just eat the noodles.” THANK YEEEW! (Try the veal.)

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

language & grammarmusic

I help caption proofreader

No Gravatar

A raper named Rick Ross got into a fight with another raper named Young Jeezy at something called the BET Hip Hop Awards. But the proofreader didn’t catch the spelling error in the photo caption. Hey, proofreader, the word you’re trying to spell is rapists. You’re welcome.

Michael Cade's audio filesmusic

Audio files: Justin Bieber and the New World Order; the screams of dying stars, etc.

No Gravatar

Some links about music and sound.

[Read more →]

musicreligion & philosophy

The killing frost thaws: Pussy Riot = free birds?

No Gravatar

Yesterday, some odd news came to light when Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced public sympathy for the imprisoned Pussy Riot girls. According to the New York Times, my favorite newspaper ever:

Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev said Wednesday that he believed that three female punk rockers jailed for a profane stunt in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral should be released rather than serve out their two-year sentences, weighing in on a case that has drawn widespread condemnation in the West.

Sounds good. Those of us who consider ourselves free speech absolutists have reason to celebrate, right?

Wait! Not so fast.

[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that reggae may no longer be played on rock stations

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 3T-45: Rock and roll stations are no longer permitted to play reggae music. Reggae is the polar opposite of rock and roll. There are no similarities between rock and roll and reggae. The rhythmic stresses occur in different places. Reggae is “laid-back” and rock and roll is “in-your-face.” Barry Manilow fits a rock station playlist about as well as Bob Marley does. (And, no, excessive marijuana use is not enough of a connection between rock and reggae to justify its presence on the playlist.) Hearing reggae on a rock station is like finding a picture of one’s grandmother edited into a pornographic video: it just breaks the whole vibe; lets the air our of the balloon; jams on the brakes; busts the groove; kills the buzz — and all those other cliches that you lowly minions always identify with. It’s a bird in the face of roller-coaster-riding Fabio. When the Emperor is cruising along, slamming his face against the dashboard to “Hell’s Bells” he doesn’t want it followed up with “One Love.” You can’t do the devil’s horns thing to Marley, plain and simple. When the Emperor wants to suck on a juicy mango and loaf in a hammock, he welcomes all things Rastafarian. But when the Emperor feels the need to bang the royal head, he doesn’t want a pillow thrown in front of it. (It just ain’t a party until the crown gets dented.)

The Punishment: DJs who play reggae on rock stations will have headphones duct-taped to their heads and they will be forced to listen to Don Ho singing “Tiny Bubbles” for one solar year.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

 

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: Special July 4, 2012 unstoppable summer listening guide!

No Gravatar

A lot of big hits have been racing up the summer pop charts in recent weeks.

Unfortunately, I can’t name any of them.

So I’ve decided to create a super-great SUMMERTIME PLAYLIST of my own.

[Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to ridiculous musical genre names

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 9000: Henceforth, no one is allowed to come up with asinine categories for types of music, especially categories that revel in their own masturbatory paradoxicality, like “folktronica.” Likewise outlawed are terms like “synthcore,” “shoegazer” and “melodic death-metal.” Creators of such silly genres need to be informed, in clear terms, that no level of verbal skullduggery will ever conceal the vapid, hackneyed and generally worthless nature of their insubstantial compositional flatulations. The Emperor, for instance, is The Emperor because he is intrinsically superior, not simply because he wears a blinking neon cape with ermine trim and exquisite silken underlay. (Although he does look dashing in his neon cape.)

The Punishment: Violators will be chained in the bowels the Dungeon of Serious Woe and forced to listen to their own pretentious drek for a period of thee years. If able to survive this heinous ordeal, they will be released into the custody of Barry Manilow who will keep them as pets until the end of time.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Next Page »