Strokin’ to Dick Clark?

Hi gang. Things have been quiet around here recently, undoubtedly due to all the fantastic holiday fun. Yours truly went through a shitty stomach virus and is currently recovering from frickin’ strep throat of all things. Strep throat. Something I haven’t had since i was a kid. Oh well, maybe shingles will be next and some other funky garbage.

Speaking of sickness. If you’re down wit’ it, then hopefully you’ll be tuning in to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve 2006 tonight at 11:30 PM EST on ABC. Yes, be a loser like me and ring in the new year the good old fashioned way. Dick’s still recovering from last year’s stroke and will be sharing duties with dork almighty Ryan Seacrest. Should be a great time. My fondest memory of a rockin’ eve was one year when Anson Williams helped host the pre-taped crap. Anson Williams still rulz. So happy new year to you all and thanks for help making 2005 the …year that it was.

Can we get an interview with Donny Most?

The smell of desperation

Hey Everyone,

I don’t think we’ve ever been formally introduced. My name is Kevin Federline. I’m 6 feet tall, have brown hair and brown eyes. I enjoy horseback riding, long walks on the beach and the wind whipping through my hair. Ha ha ha.

And thus begins Kevin Federline’s web site. I can’t wait till the whole ball of wax gets rolling. This is exactly the kind of musical talent the business has been needing for so long now. Federline’s style of rapping should climb the charts successfully and prove that there really is room for another white rapper. So much so in fact, that I’m sure all the money dumped into his PR and marketing will be rewarded threefold. If nothing else, it should give him some lunch money that he can use on a bottle of Colt 45 and some Brut aftershave.

Naughty Warners, naughty downloads!

Look, you can’t have it both ways. Either you want people to pay for their downloads or you don’t. As soon as you win one battle, then you decide to show your true greedy asses off and get in a price-fixing mess. Yep, those fine folks at Warner (and perhaps some of the other big cheese labels) are now the subjects of an investigation in price-fixing mp3s. How fucking surprising. This is exactly just one o the myriad reasons that the war against free file sharing will most likely not be won. It’s not about the artists at all, but how much money the corporations can make. Is it any wonder then that so many “illegal” (whatever the hell that means anymore) P2P systems continue to flourish? Slapping an FBI warning on discs is hardly a deterrent, and then seeing companies pull shit like this, as well as putting all that anti-copying bullshit on certain discs that just makes things worse all over only proves these people are completely incompetent.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been an advocate for free P2P programs ever since Napster was in its original heyday. Why? Simply because to me it was never any different then lending a friend an album, tape, or CD to copy for himself to enjoy, or to make a mix tape or disc out of my collection, and vice-versa. I still buy music out the wazoo, but then I always have. Considering, then, that no one’s still making any money except these labels even when they do start charging for downloads, only furthers my belief to keep on kicking it for free. Music sales didn’t take a dive because of file sharing. They took a dive because labels like to turn out more crap than good product.

Kara’s Flowers: “Myself”

Before there was Maroon 5, there was Kara’s Flowers, which consisted of four of the five members that would eventually make up Maroon 5. They only released one full length CD, Fourth World, and “Myself” is a great example of the group’s potential at the time. With frontman Adam Levine’s distinct vocals anchoring the quiet/loud track, “Myself” could easily be mistaken as a Maroon 5 track.

I’m not a big fan of “Maroon 5″ as a name for a rock band, but it’s far better than “Kara’s Flowers.”

Listen to a song clip here.

Soy Girls – a new threat

No, the Soy Girls are not some new band, but rather a new brand of band fan. Fans of music that will only – and I do mean only listen to music played by vegans who use instruments that are animal-friendly. Talk about a new strain of hippie virus! Look, I’m all for people getting along and all, but I like meat, and I like rock and roll. Evolution (and not that sci-fi fantasy Intelligent Design*) has given my race – the human race – a set of teeth designed to rip through meat. I eat my rock and roll bloody and I rock out bloodier. I don’t want any soy lite variation of pussed-out muzak. Now let’s listen to some GG Allin and tear into some steaks.

(*Note: The Spotlight Kid’s views are his own. If you don’t agree with them…feh.)

The Decemberists: “16 Military Wives”

Known mostly for their theatrical indie pop, The Decemberists recorded this surprisingly catchy track for their most recent album, Picaresque. Against a driving acoustic guitar, frontman Colin Meloy moves through lyrics that criticize American foreign policy, the media and the pseudo-pundits in Hollywood. Politics have never been this fun!

Listen to a clip here, although its brevity doesn’t do the track justice.

Desperately seeking ‘Deck’

Okay, so seven or eight years ago I’m standing in the J. Crew store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, doing a little Christmas shopping, when I hear a fantastic cover version of “Deck the Halls” over the in-store sound system. I’m a sucker for a great Christmas cover, so naturally I walk up to the front counter to ask the cashier about the song.

“Is this Book of Love?” I ask, thinking it a rhetorical question. What other band has a female lead singer with such a beautifully bored delivery?

The guy behind the counter shrugs. “I have no idea. We use a music service. They just send us the CDs, and we play ‘em.” He looks behind me, at the long line of busy holiday shoppers. He doesn’t offer to go around back and check the CD’s case to confirm the artist for me. I can’t really blame him for that. Much.

So I leave the store, the syncopated fa la la’s echoing in my head, certain that it had to be Book of Love, and that a little searching on the Muze system will help me track it down.

Fast-forward seven or eight years…and I still don’t have the song. Muze had no record of it. iTunes doesn’t either. Neither do any of the dozens of Christmas music compilations I’ve checked. They have versions by SheDaisy, and Whitney Houston, and any number of other artists…none of whom sounds remotely like Book of Love.

My greatest Christmas wish is that someone out there can help me find this song. The song might be by Book of Love…or it might not. The vocal is a dead ringer for BOL’s Susan Ottaviano, but maybe it’s just someone doing a great impression of her. The lyrics are standard “Deck the Halls”, but the arrangement tweaks the melody a bit–particularly on the fa la las. Instead of “fa la la la LAAA, la la la LAAA”, it’s more like “FA la la la, la LALA la la.” Got it?

So, how about it? Have you heard it? Can you find it? Will you help make a young(ish) girl’s long-held Christmas dream come true?

Satellite radio gives music execs a shiny new ulcer for Christmas

Never mind the rampant, royalty-free downloading going on via myriad unauthorized web sites. Forget about how iPod culture has made buying actual CDs obsolete. Those issues are old news. The fresh new worry wrinkling music executives’ foreheads is the new satellite radio receivers being produced by XM and Sirius, which will allow users to record satellite broadcasts, manage song inventories, and create playlists–much like Apple’s popular iTunes software.

The key difference? Labels get significantly lower compensation for music played on satellite radio than they do for songs sold on iTunes or purchased on a CD. Thus, the black hole draining the music industry of its revenue widens a little further…and sales of Zantac and Excedrin rise a little higher.

Those little stick figure cartoon kids put on a damn good live show

This is pretty sweet. The Gorillaz played five shows in Manchester, complete with a monster clip show assembled by Jamie “Murdoc” Hewlett and including De La Soul (doing their “Feel Good, Inc.” bit). To listen to the live show and watch the superbly synchronized clip show, click here. You’ll be happy. You’ll be feelin’ glad. Sunshine in a bag, however, is entirely up to you.

Pagans need not apply…angry mom alert!

I just saw a commercial on TV for Worship Jamz, in which kids down with the Lord get to boogie their butts off to hot contempo inspirational tunes. I’d like to point out here that Rock and Roll in all of its various genres is the debbil’s music and the debbil’s music only. Any good God-fearing parent knows this as they persuade their kids to not be all wild and free as they once were in their freaky baby boomer generation. Trade in those doobies for some pop scripture, kids! Not since “Put Your Hand in the Hand” was a righteous hit has there been such an awesome movement of RAWK embracing the cross.

However, the moms and children who bought this disc over on are seriously upset! Why, this isn’t the two-disc set being sold on TV! It only has EIGHTEEN songs instead of THIRTY! Shame on them! No “Above All”? You gotta be kidding me! Oh well, at least it still has “(You Are The) Awesome God” (dude). Damn those Amazon charlatans for releasing the debbil’s version of Worship Jamz! This is almost as terrible as when there were two versions of The Smurfs’ All-Star Show album back in the ’80s. The girl next door to me had the version released by Sessions. i had the far groovier K-Tel version with MORE SONGS plus a POSTER! And guess which one was sold on TV? That’s right! The Sessions version!!! Damn thee, debbil!

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