Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Worst Music Videos...EVER!

Music Videos became popular in the 80's with the introduction of MTV. Thousands and thousands of bands made these videos as either promo's to their upcoming album's or sometimes to make a statement. Sometimes, a band will even hire a director to make a piece of art that is comparable to the music that is representing. MTV and VH1 used to be the mecca of music videos...but in recent years MTV and VH1 has been showing less music videos and more reality tv junk.

Every once in a while I will stumble on a music video that will make me cringe. Sometimes you will find a music video that will make you seriously question the "vision of the director".

Here is a list of music videos that I consider: The Worst Music Videos...EVER!

Number 5 : Quiet Riot - Cum On Feel the Noize

I do not know who thought of this music video idea but it is hilariously bad. Lets think about what that conversation would have been like...

"Hey Bob, How's that Quiet Riot music video idea coming along"
"Well...I was thinking about a demonic stereo that wouldn't stop playing"
"Yeah that would be great! But wait...who would be scared of a radio that won't stop playing.."
"I know! A teenager...who was just sleeping! Waking up to a radio that won't shut off would be the Worst!"
*Sorry for the Spanish Subtitles*

Number 4: Miami Sound Machine - Dr. Beat

This video is pretty bad. I couldn't sit through and watch the whole video. The song is almost just as bad as the video. Some very important societal questions come up in this video..."Why is there a woman trying to commit suicide because she is dancing?" "Why is Dr. Beat wearing a hat with blue floppy ears and wearing red face paint over his eyes?" and "Why is there a little black kid break dancing while all of this is going on?" WHATS GOING ON?!?

Number 3: Leonard Nimoy- Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

There was a time when it seemed like a good idea for star trek actors to pursue a music career. That was not a good time. Spock decided to branch out and do nice songs with little kids about Bilbo Baggins. I don't have to say anything else.

Number 2: David Hasselhoff - Jump In My Car

The Baywatch man is at it again, this time astounding viewers with cheesy graphics, shooting stars, bad green screening, and of course a drop kick with flames in the background. Oh baby!

And Finally!! Number 1: Mervi Vesala - Ohjaaja ...aka...I Wanna Love You Tender

This Finnish band has some of the funniest choreography I have ever seen. Oh and did I mention its supposed to be in SPACE!!!!!!

Some of you may be wondering why I left off the internet sensation Zladko "Zlad!" Vladcik's Electronik Supersonik....

The only reason why I didn't keep it on the list is because Zlad! made his video and song to be super bad...It would have won for sure if it was trying to be a serious video.

here is Electronik Supersonik!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Concert Review: Stephen Marley w/ Dub Addis @Lincoln Theatre

Last night was an amazing night.

I had heard that Stephen Marley was going to be playing in Raleigh about three days ago. Going was a last minute decision and quite frankly it was a good decision. The 23 dollar ticket price kept some of my friends from joining me, but those who did had quite a surprise.

The first surprise of the night came when I entered into Lincoln Theatre...the concert wasn't sold out. The second surprise was when I found out that Stephen was doing an acoustic only show!!

We wandered up towards the front of the stage to see Dub Addis open up for Stephen Marley. Dub Addis is a great band whose band members originated from Ethiopia and Durham NC. They mixed their African Roots with Reggae vibes and honestly it really worked. When we first saw them on stage there was literally no one on the floor but by the time they had gone through half of their setlist a swarm of people were getting into the Reggae vibe. The long instrumental was by far the best part of their show and by that time people were definitely feelin' the vibe.

Then it was time for Stephen Marley.
I was literally 3 people away from Stephen as he opened up with Rainbow Country. After an amazing start Stephen played a bunch of his stuff as well as a bunch of his dad's stuff. All of his songs on the Mind Control album were fantastic live and acoustic. Some highlights include a Lonely Avenue with a fantastic acoustic slide guitar, Chase Dem, Hey Baby, Mind Control had a complete different feel as acoustic numbers but it really impressed me. (So much that I now have his acoustic album) All of the songs where filled with the crowd dancing and singing along with Stephen Marley. The only thing that I was dissapointed about the new album was that it was missing Let Her Dance. When he played Let Her Dance the entire crowd was dancing and singing with a ton of energy.

He played a lot of his dad's songs, but he definetley did not overdose on them. Some songs like Three Little Birds was almost entirely sung by the audience!!

For an encore he played High Tide or Low Tide and it was the most beautiful song that was played all night. His ensemble played the most gorgeous version of the song that I have ever heard. Seeing that High Tide or Low Tide is one of my favorite Bob Marley songs I was thrilled. It sounded so good that when I closed my eyes I was sure that I was at a Bob Marley concert. It was really a pleasent surprise.

Oh wait. I forgot to tell you the biggest surpise.
In the opening lines of Iron Bars, Stephen Marley announced that he had a special guest with him that would join him on this song. Then Juilan Marley came out and sang Iron Bars!!! It was amazing!!! Rasta Flags were waved and the Marley brothers nailed the song.

All in all it was a great concert.
One of the best I have been to in a long time.

Go out and see Stephen if he comes near you!
and buy the new acoustic album from Stephen.
Stephen Marley - Hey Baby (Acoustic)
Stephen Marley - Traffic Jam (Acoustic)
buy Mind Control Acoustic

and Juilan Marley just came out with a new album titled Awake.
I also just got this album...I have yet to listen to it but I am sure that it is going to be great.
Juilan Marley - Awake
buy Awake

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Humpday Covers: Sweet Child Of Mine...

This Humpday we will explore the wonders of GnR's "Sweet Child of Mine".

Now even if you loathe Axl Rose you should really check these alternative takes on one of the songs that defined GnR's career!

The first is off of the soundtrack for the Adam Sandler film Big Daddy. Sheryl Crow decides to do a pop-ish cover of "Sweet Child of Mine"... complete with violin's and an electric keyboard solo in place of Slash's face melting solo.

Sheryl Crow -Sweet Child O' Mine 
buy Sheryl Crow

The next is cover is by a group called Taken by Trees.

Taken by Trees spawned from the ex-Concrete's singer Victoria Bergsman desire to follow somber melodic styles. This version of "Sweet Child of Mine" bleeds of emotion, without whining or screaming, or even guitar solo's.  This indie band truly captures the feeling of the song. I think that any She and Him fan would really dig this cover...Maybe even a Fleet Foxes Fan could dig this!

Taken by Trees - Sweet Child O' Mine
buy Taken by Trees

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Shuffle: May 17th

This Sunday, the shuffle has brought me a song by the Clues. The Clues are a band that isn't that well known but they should be. The Montreal based band is made up of ex-Arcade Fire and ex-Unicorns members. Their debut album comes out May 19th. I am looking forward to listening to the Clues seeing that I am both a Arcade Fire fan and Unicorn Fan.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Humpday Covers: Classic Rock (Late, but worth it)

So its Saturday, not Wednesday and there wasn't a humpday covers this week. You may all be wondering why and honestly its because I thought that I had scheduled this post to be delievered Wednesday morning, instead I forgot to schedule it at all.

SO because its sooo late I have decided to do more than one cover this week.

This weeks cover(s) are going to be focusing on Classic Rock.

From a very early age I was engulfed in the awesomeness of the 60's and 70's music. Later on I grew to love and respect the 50's, try to play synth with the 80's, wear plaid and sing along with the 90's, and finally get into indie rock in the 2000's.

Now I love music from all of those decades, but Classic Rock still holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it was because classic rock had long guitar solo's, songs that lasted well over 5 minutes (or really catchy ones that lasted barely two), or the general feeling of the music.

However, covers of these songs that I love are really hard to come by... Especially covers of The Who. I am almost never satisfied with any Who cover.  Pearl Jam's cover of Rain O'er Me pissed me off, even though I like Pearl Jam. I have decided I will attempt to put together a collection of covers that will inspire and hold up to the classic rock greats.

First up,
John Lennon.

The late Beatle has had a ton of his songs covered. The Instant Karma album for instance, is a benefit album for Darfur that features two discs of cover songs by popular artists. One of my favorite covers of John Lennon is done by the Flaming Lips. I feel that this cover gives the orignial its proper justic while still having that Flaming Lips feel to it. Here is Nobody Told Me, orignially by John Lennon.

Flaming Lips - Nobody Told Me (John Lennon Cover)
Buy Flaming Lips


Journey, on the edge of the classic rock boat but it has definetly made its mark. So much so that if you even start singing "Don't Stop Believing" in a group of people a sing-a-long will ensue. I will spare all of you with the acappella version of "Don't Stop Believing" and I will give you the Colin Hay sounding version by Jon Regen. It is a beautiful cover that will even satisfy those who have grown to lothe the song.

Jon Regen - Don't Stop Believing (Journey cover)
Buy Jon Regen


So this shouldn't count because its a classic rock cover by a classic rock artist...but its still worth it. Cream is great and I have yet to hear a cover that gave it justice...well accept for this short cover of Sunshine of Your Love that Jimmy Hendrix played on BBC. There is a signifigant story to this particular recording of the song. The story goes that Jimi was supposed to appear on LuLu's program. He was supposed do "Hey Joe", She'd be waiting in the Wings to join him to sing... Jimi knew this, and he wasn't about to let some women steal his thunder. So, unrehearsed, and unknown to the producers of the show, Jimi simply says, "We're gonna stop playing this rubbish..." and goes on to dedicate his next number to the members of Cream, and goes into a Instrumental Version of "Sunshine of your Love". You can hear him say they are gonna kick them off the air. He was never on BBC TV again after the incident. 

Jimi Hendrix - Sunshine of Your Love (Cream cover)
buy Jimi Hendrix

If the response to this post is generally good I will do another classic rock covers post.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

With the Needle that Sings in Her Heart- Experiencing the End of the World

Imagine the struggle I faced while trying to tell my parents where I was going last night. "Hey Mom, Dad? So, I'm driving up to Lexington (yes, that town thats an hour away? you know, that place where the American Revolution began?) to see this musical based on this CD that I really like, Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea". Yeah, the one with the guy who sounds like he's dying. Anyway, I won't be home until late."

It's a struggle those who are familiar with that CD know all too well. People can try all they want to explain the "cult" that has formed around that album, what the album is actually about, or how an entire spring musical can be based on it's story; but it's pointless. The cult is just a bunch of people who have been exposed, though minimally, to the depths of Jeff Mangum's (that's NMH's lead guy) brain; those who have followed the documentation of his psyche after reading Anne Frank's journal. Luckily for those who struggle with loving this album like I do, there are people like Amanda Palmer and Stephen Bogart; people who have the resources, musical and theatrical skill, and appreciation for Neutral Milk Hotel's music. People who can approach whoever it is that funds Lexington High Schools theatre program and say, "Hey. Were doing an original adaptation of this album for our spring musical. It's sorta about Anne Frank and the struggle of the Jews during WWII. Ok?"

Well, three nights of sold out shows later, I would say whoever that person is is glad that they trusted Amanda Palmer, a Lexington High grad who sings in the band The Dresden Dolls, and her longtime friend and Lexington High's theatre director, Stephen Bogart. Their combined effort resulted in the most gut-wrenchingly astounding production I have ever seen,"With the Needle that Sings in Her Heart."

It was a show that was purposefully undefinable, which was to be expected. The near-fifteen minute introduction consisted of the cast members frolicking around the theatre, screaming various phrases which ended up getting jumbled together, setting the stage for what would be explained to the audience as "the end of the world."

Eventually, we got introduced to the play's main parts; a guy who was both the "ringmaster" and the Jeff Mangum character, played by Alex Parrish, and Anne Frank. The rest of the show dealt with the experience of Anne and her sister during their time of captivity. In what I found to be the most interesting aspect of the musical,there was a muse-the "ghost", or perhaps more accurately, "idea"-of Anne, which slowly made its way across a tightrope from top left stage onto top right stage- where Jeff's room was.

Present on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea are sound clips and lyrics which relate to very youthful concepts, such as the first words of the CD,"When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers", and the multiple instances of carnival imagery. This was present in the musical as well, as the show presented scenes from the concentration camp as they would have been seen by a young girl, who, in an attempt to at least mentally escape, had begun to create her own forms of entertainment.

One of the most memorable scenes dealt with a fight between the gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades over which one of them was the best. This happened after a fellow inmate attempted to push her atheism onto Anne,which led her to begin to question why this was happening. There were times when both the audience and Anne were brought back into reality from the fantasy world, and it was in these time that Jeff would begin to sing songs from the album from his perch atop the stage. The kid who sang was brilliantly talented, as one must be in order to get those songs across to people. I talked to him in passing after the show. His eyes (along with everyone else exiting the theatre, including my own) were watering.

How could anyones eyes not water, though, after watching this injustice unfold in front of your eyes? From the opening scene of the play, with the kids running around throwing a ball while King of Carrot Flowers pt. I played in the background, the audience was engaged. We saw the procession of the inmates as the funeral dirge, The Fool, played. We were there when the psychotic ringmaster argued silently with Amanda Palmers character over a skeleton, as Two Headed Boy was introduced. We wondered alongside the characters who our enemies are during Oh Comley. In the closing scene, we saw Anne's body- the body of the Communist Daughter- getting thrown into the heaping pile of her friends and her sister, with Two Headed Boy pt. II being bellowed out by Alex Parrish.

Again, how could anyone not cry after watching the end of the world?

I'm not going to put any tracks up on here from the album. I spent too long years ago listening to only a few tracks, never taking it in as a whole. I won't let that happen to you. What I can give you, however, is a link to the webcast from last night's performance-

(all photos courtesy of Amanda Palmers flikr account)

While were at it, I might as well help Jeff Mangum in his advertising for American Express' "Partners in Preservation" campaigning in the Greater Boston area. It's a grant thats up for a number of local, historically significant landmarks, one of which is the Paragon Park Carousel in Hull, Massachusetts. I honestly can't count how many times I've been there, nor can I explain how significant that particular carousel is to me (my mom used to bring me up there all the time, partly because any kid loves carousels, and partly because she used to go to what was then Paragon Park back in the seventies.) Vote here.

Sunday Shuffle, May 10th

This week has been hectic. There has been a lot of traveling and goodbyes, so the posts this week have been a little on the weak side. However, I am done with school and back at home with a new record player/converter for both the stereo and the computer. Currently I am falling back in love with CSNY's Deja' Vu.

I do not know what makes listening to a record better than listening to a digital recording.  It could just be the novelty of listening to a record, the actual "richer" sound, or the nostalgia of it all. Regardless, I have been exploring some obscure records over the last few weeks, so expect to see some new posts in the future.

Today is mother's day! But it is also Sunday. So that means that it is time for the Sunday Shuffle!

This Sunday's Shuffle is...

The Rainbow Press
There is little known about the Rainbow Press. It is late 60's rock band with a touch of psychedelia. In the past couple of years it has become somewhat collectable. 
Have a listen!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Shuffle: May 3rd 2009

This weeks Sunday Shuffle is a little song by M.I.A. 

There isn't much to be said other than this song came up on my shuffle. It is a song called Shells that was released on the extended version of Kala late last year. There are two versions of the song, one where MIA sounds like a chipmunk and a slower version that is presented here.

Hope you enjoy this shuffle,

M.I.A. - Shells (Slow)
buy M.I.A.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some Serious backtracking/Choose your own adventure!

So, instead of doing a backtracking for the past few weeks (mostly because of the lack of notable occurrences), I wanted to take a look at what I was listening to last year at this time.

Let's rewind. It's my Junior year and I'm probably struggling to finish my 10 page Junior paper, which of course seemed like the worst thing in the world, aside from the SAT's on Saturday, which
I absolutely was (not) studying for. I think we can all agree that that time in our lives should never, ever, have to be relived.

What was getting me through that god awful week?

The Velvet Underground? Seriously, me? Apparently the stress of the time was taking its toll on me, as instead of
listening to some nice upbeat tunes (though, I suppose Mr. Elton John counts), I instead chose the heaviest music I own. Lou Reed's dark, drug-laden lyrics are, though immensely poetic, not exactly the best pick-me-up. Whatever, I'm sure the Elliot Smith helped...

So, for those of you out there who are unfortunately going through similar times, let's do this Goosebumps style- choose your own adventure.

Want to delve deeper into the peril that is your life? Check this out. That's one of the coolest versions of The Velvet Underground's Herion that I've ever heard...thanks to Grateful Breed for the download.


Want to hear some stuff that will surely get you out of your own head? How about this song, Sabali, by Amadou & Mariam. They met at Mali's institute for the Blind, and have since become known worldwide as the "blind couple from Mali." They're stuff includes traditional Mali music, with a handful of interesting instruments mixed in; their unique sound has been dubbed "Afro-blues." A pick-me-up, for sure.


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