Category Archives: music

Music not heard in America

American music is boring. Lets take a trip around the world. I am going to introduce an occasional feature about music that is not part of the American mainstream.

 

The Feeling “Join with us”

I originally had a link for the video, but UMG did not like the video I linked to, so I added the Amazon link instead.

 

 

Rex the dog “I can see you, can you see me?”

The Hot Grits “Headlights” from New Zealand

I am not a Kola Nut.

For the past few years my father has been listening to their station and he realizes that they play the same old crap over and over. I decided to call their request line and ask for them to play Sparks. During their founding and until 1977, they made music that was influential and would fit the format of any oldies station. Amateur Hour, This town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us, Get in the Swing, Something for the girl with everything and Never turn your back on Mother Earth would be quite appropriate for their format.

As stated in a previous column about the Spirit of Radio, it seems today’s industry seems very focused on focus groups and formula playlists. Radio of the past was not afraid to take risks. In the old days you were able to listen to New Order and the Pet Shop Boys on KROQ, but due to grunge music in the 1990s electronic music became ignored.

If we want to keep the radio industry alive, new music from the past and present needs to be exposed. Until then we will be glued to our ipods and other forms of entertainment.

Rhapsody, lame music service

I was interested in the free album offer used to promote the grand re-opening of the Real/Viacom music store. However when I tried to join they said if you place your credit card on the sign up details, we will subscribe you to Real Superpass which would cost you 13.33 a month if you did not cancel. So I decided to leave out my credit card details.

Also Rhapsody also prides itself on people being able to listen to 25 full length songs for free each month as long as you are a member of the site. When I tried to sign on with my details, I was never able to listen to a full length song.

As what they always say in economics, there is always no such thing as a free lunch. There is also coverage in Betanews explaining how disappointing their service is during its first few days it has been open.

For now, I am staying with itunes and Amazon for my major label online music needs. And if I am interested in imported music I will go with 7digital at least.

If you want to try something adventurous and independent, I also recommend emusic.com. I have been a member for two months and downloaded quality music from Cut Copy, Sparks, The Presets and Thom Yorke. There will be a link on my site about emusic.com, if you find their selection good join up today.

A new vision, a new life?

If politics seems futile in California. Maybe I need to discover a new vocation. I would love to become a radio personality to serve the public pop music at its finest. Southern California is deprived of a good dance music radio station. If station owners and their program directors are not willing to change a station’s format. Maybe I could use up the late night shift to test out new formats.

I was thinking if I could come up with a good radio play list and demo tape, I would like to see myself having a weekly radio show for 2 hours to play the best music that is never played. It is sad that I would rather watch videos on Youtube and Myspace than to listen to radio today. Maybe we need to bring back the Spirit of Radio today.

Give people a reason to turn on their radios and bring forth listeners to the station that would hire me.

Since MTV does not air music videos anymore. Maybe blogging about music that America will not likely hear may be a positive development.

Sneaks 2007- What the Los Angeles Times failed to cover

Spring, the arrival of new growth and new music as well. The Los Angeles Times in their Calendar section overlooked many critical music releases that people may have found of interest. Inland Utopia decides to correct the injustice by listing some of the good titles upcoming. I understand they had space considerations, but to help out the music industry I wanted to advertise some of the latest music coming soon.

March

Tracey Thorn- “Out of the Woods” – Everything but the girl vocalist release her first solo disc in 25 years. (March 20)

April

Client- “Heartland” British electronic pop female trio delivers the goods with their third release. (April 10)

Marillion- “Somewhere Else” Listen for yourself on their website and make your mind up, chances will end up you will have them taking you Somewhere Else. (April 10)

Porcupine Tree- “Black Planet” Steven Wilson and his band bring forth melodic progressive rock and metal fusion in this upcoming collection. (April 24)

May

Rush- “Snakes and Arrows” Rush returns after five years with their next studio album with a theme of religiosity in America with a hard rock sound. (May 1)

Erasure- “Light at the end of the world” After singer Andy Bell released his solo record Electric Blue, it gave him and keyboardist Vince Clarke inspiration to make a more upbeat collection of tunes. (May 22)

June

Dream Theater- “Systematic Chaos” With a new record label the band returns to give fans the elements of what has made them popular through the years. (TBA)

Numb – Review

Pet Shop Boys- Numb [Import]
I decided to plop down $3.50 on the latest Pet Shop Boys single at worldwide Internet music site 7digital. This download package included the original demo of the Dianne Warren penned ballad “Numb”, and two b-sides “Party Song” and “Bright Young Things”. If you don’t like sad songs the b-sides will make you a bit upbeat or even reflective.
“Party Song” is a modern day tribute to those 70’s dance songs that made you want to go dance all night. The song was allegedly offered to Dead or Alive frontman Pete Burns and it seems its rather similar to “Jack and Jill Party”. Fans have mentioned that perhaps the band decided to go ironic with their record company by being sarcastic by having to write an upbeat song for their Fundamental project.
“Bright Young Things” was supposed to be released for the Stephen Fry movie of the same title. However the song does share some of the elements from the movie that was released back in 2004. Time is passing by and the party is going to end soon however you are going to make life last before you end your journey.
“Numb” was the song that hitmaker Dianne Warren wrote about her deceased mother was originally offered to Aerosmith however they rejected it. So Dianne offered it to the Pet Shop Boys for their PopArt project, but it got moved to the Fundamental release. Neil found it weird singing in the American vernacular, but the meaning and feeling still is powerful.
Unfortunately for us Americans you will not be seeing the music video for this poignant song on VH1. The music video uses Russian imagery that is much similar to their “Battleship Potemkin” score production from 2004 which shows the feeling of the bleakness of pain.

For us Americans the music single is dead, however if you want more of the pop craftmanship of the Pet Shop Boys download the song today.

Consumerism

I am pissed at Best Buy for saying that they have a special edition with 2 bonus Killers tracks but they only provide the regular edition. So I have to visit 7digital to pick up 1 of the 2 bonus tracks. I listen to most of my music digitally because my music players scratch my discs up. ‘All the Pretty Faces’ is actually a very good track. However I will need to find an alternative source for ‘Daddy’s Eyes’.

Then we go to Mcdonalds for their Monopoly game this year. I was offered a chance for 50 bonus points for using my American Express card so it was not that much of a loss. However the store did not provide a gameplay opportunity because I bought a premium chicken sandwitch. I hope my local Mcdonalds store will offer the gameplay opportunities else I am going to be a sad panda.

Pet Shop Boys are indeed Fundamental to Pop music.

The Pet Shop Boys have not been as popular in the last decade in the United States, but Fundamental seems to be one of the critical releases in pop music. The song writing and production with Trevor Horn have brought listeners with a return to form. Fundamental’s first single was “Im with Stupid” which had a subtle diss on the leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom which was a great taste of the cd.

Think of Fundamental as the complete Pet Shop Boys. Its an  amalgamated package of their total style. It is both upbeat and downbeat. There is music for all to enjoy. Unlike Release it has more electronic elements so for those who disliked their guitar oriented sound, they have indeed gone back to their roots.

What songs from the preview will be interesting?

  • Psychological
  • Minimal
  • Integral
  • Numb (Thank god Aerosmith did not get offered the song)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah Show
  • Twentieth Century

There has been no announcement for an American release yet. I am prepared to shell out the money to import this with its bonus disc Fundamentalism

The Spirit of Radio

The Los Angeles Times has recently posted a story about how this one wealthy businessman has established a non commerical free form radio station in Arizona. The current culture of radio has poisoned many Americans interest in music radio. KCDX was how this wealthy businessman who also owns formula oriented radio stations kept the station as his private yet public paradise.

Formula driven playlists get tired and annoying, take for example KCAL and KOLA in San Bernardino County. These radio stations play the same crap over and over where familiarity brings forth burnout. This is why I have been driven towards buying music and reading websites such as Popjustice and Arjanwrites to find out the real spirit of popular music.

We need radio stations who have diverse playlists of different music, this is one way we can defeat the payola crisis the recording industry has faced. Maybe make it a requirement for radio stations to deadicate 1 hour a week to playing bands and musicians who have not charted on the Billboard charts under the 100th placing. It is unfortunate that the new Morrissey, Placebo and Goldfrapp have not been aired on KROQ compared to songs by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Matis Yahu who regularly get played on that station.

I conclude that this is the reason that ipods regularly sell well. The ipod makes you the DJ and we have control over the playlist and format of the music we like the best.

If you like new and vibrant music take the time to write and call your local radio stations. Your favorite bands need you.