Slash hosts post concert party at TAO

Friday night Slash hosted his after concert party at TAO. After opening for Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, his wife Perla and a large group of friends gathered for a dinner of signature dishes at the Asian Bistro, including the rocker’s favorite, General Tso’s Chicken.

On the red carpet he shared that he loves coming to Vegas because it is so close to Southern California and he has so much fun here. He said he has some projects coming up for his movie production company, Slasher Films, but said there are no plans for him to get in front of the camera as he is only going to produce.

Slash and the group, including Laura Croft from Holly’s World, arrived upstairs in the club to great fanfare, taking over several tables on the dance floor as fans crowded to get pictures. He joined DJ Ross One in the DJ booth, announcing to the crowd that he was going to play make shift DJ and, “and interrupt your regular programming for an hour or so.” Slash started off his set with Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle and Crazy Train, setting the stage for the perfect night. After getting the party started, Slash returned to his table to watch the crowd enjoy his specially selected play list.

Photo credit: Tony Tran/Powers Imagery

Cara Jean Wahlers and Grover Parido: Goodnight Charlotte

RIYL: Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Joni Mitchell

Goodnight Charlotte is the debut album from Cara Jean Wahlers and Grover Parido. It’s an intimate collection of songs that feature the primary instruments of Wahlers’ wonderful singing voice and Parido’s cello playing. This unique paring of singer/songwriter and cellist working together for an entire CD may not be new, however, on Goodnight Charlotte, the music is fresh and vibrant and the lyrics are thoughtful, creating a unique experience.

Wahlers’ songwriting is very visual, creating a sense of place and time. As a storyteller, she’s reminiscent of Lucinda Williams or Joni Mitchell, two names her publicist has included as influences. The singer’s voice recalls the elegance and naturalness of Mary Chapin Carpenter, another great singer/songwriter who can put you at ease, even though she’s breaking your heart.

Parido’s cello playing adds another layer of poignancy to Goodnight Charlotte. The instrument is such a melancholy instrument to begin with that no matter how hard Parido may try, his performances tinge the songs with sadness. Take a listen to “Black Dog,” a beautiful tale about a long lost love, and you’ll understand. Parido takes a solo on every single song and his presence fills in the empty spaces of Wahlers’ sparse guitar playing. This partnership between Wahlers and Parido is effective and lifts the material above the usual coffeehouse fare.

Still, it would have been interesting if they’d included a couple of songs that were just Wahlers backed by her guitar, and maybe some other acoustic instruments. The singer has a strong enough voice ad her guitar playing is subtle enough that she could have survived without the cello. This would have given Goodnight Charlotte just enough variety to make the album a classic. That said, it’s still a fantastic debut and will keep me looking out for this duo when they release future albums. (CDBY 2010)

Cara Jean Wahlers MySpace page

Stream Videos With KMPlayer

The Internet has made many things possible for people, including the ability to cut the cost of cable without sacrificing entertainment. If you don’t like the idea of downloading content due to viruses or other concerns, you can still enjoy digital media by connecting to streaming videos.

A streaming video is a collection of data that plays in your media player as it arrives. You do not have to download a file and save it before you can play it. Because you are not saving the data, you do not have to worry about malicious spyware, malware, or viruses attacking your computer. You can find streaming videos from a variety of online sites, including Ustream and Hulu.

Before you can access streaming video, you will need to install a media player on your computer. While you could purchase a commercial version, you have another alternative: KMPlayer. This open source program is available free. Since you have access to the source code, you can be sure nothing malicious, like a virus, is hidden in the program. In addition, the simple user interface is easy to use and takes up very little space on your hard drive.

The media player you choose can have a major impact on streaming videos. Media players that pack in extra features can take up more room on your computer, causing your operating system to run slower than it should. This can negatively affect the connection speed of your Internet, which can then cause viewing issues with the streaming video. KMPlayer, with its small footprint, works great for streaming videos because it won’t slow your system down.

If you’ve been thinking about ways to cut back on your spending but you don’t want to sacrifice your entertainment options, consider downloading KMPlayer and taking advantage of streaming videos. You won’t be disappointed.

Think Before You Buy That Computer!

If you’re not careful, you could spend way more than you planned on a new computer. Even if you have a list of features in hand when you start to browse, the available brands, models, and options can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at some good rules of thumb to save money on your next electronics purchase:

Time it Just Right!

Although the holiday season can be a deep-discount free-for-all for any type of electronics, this isn’t the only good time to buy. As new models are released in the spring, the older units often see major price cuts. You might also find a few good graduation and back-to-school deals in the early and late summer.

Every Possible Discount

Many shoppers find they can get a deep discount as a student or employee. Don’t forget to search around for rebates or bundled packages. These aren’t always well advertised, so you may have to visit the manufacturer’s website or social networking page to find then. Don’t be too timid to just ask your retailer for a deal. You’ll be amazed at how often this works!

Use Free Software

If you purchase a computer with a lot of expensive, bundled software, the price can go sky high. Consider purchasing a device with the hardware options you need, but little in the way of applications. With the wide range of open-source programs available, you can probably get what you need for free! If you’re a YouTube fanatic, download free programs like Virtual Dub to edit your creations and Handbrake to convert them to any format. Are you into sharing video files with your friends? The Xvid open-source program provides free codecs to make watching any type of file easy! Can you believe all of this is absolutely free?

By using these tips, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of money you will save!

Congratulations! You’re a Web Designer!

Don’t you just wish it was that easy? Actually, you might be surprised at how easy it is to create your own website. Let’s take a look at some simple ways to get your feet wet:

Start off Easy

A lot of seasoned professionals will tell you that learning a programming language is essential to creating a website. Well, it is important once you get going, but it’s not absolutely necessary at first. The easiest way to start is to choose a one-stop-shop hosting services. Look for one that will sell you a domain name, provide hosting services, and supply a free, drop-and-drag web-design tool. Will it be a fully functioning ecommerce site with a shopping cart and everything? Probably not, but it will work perfectly well as a start. You’ll have plenty of time to learn the technical stuff like HTML, CSS, PHP, JAVA, and more once you become addicted to creating websites.

Don’t Forget to Make it Pretty

When you create your first site, you’ll definitely want to show it off, and who wants to show off an ugly, boring site? No one, that’s who! Just like you shouldn’t be intimidated by the programming side of the house, don’t let graphic design put you off your game. Just imagine how proud you’ll be when your friends see your new site complete with custom-made images you created with free, easy-to-use programs like GIMP and Blender! They’ll might even ask you how much it cost to buy those designs, but it can be our little secret.

Easy File Transfers

Once you get going, you’ll probably want to add a few multi-media functions for the full experience. Video and audio files can take a long time to upload to your host without a little help. Try a free program called 7 Zip to compress your files before use Filezilla Server to transfer and complete the extraction.

With these tips, your Xvid codec and music files from Ares should transfer fairly easy, making your website a high traffic spot.

How Far We’ve Come – From Pong!

If you’re over a certain age, you certainly remember when Pong changed your world! Suddenly, you could spend hours sitting in front of the TV batting a little blip across the screen with your electronic paddle. Before you knew it, your favorite pin ball machine was replaced with a Space Invaders console, and we were all rapidly propelled into what we know as the electronic world of today. For you youngsters, this wasn’t so long ago. It’s only been about 35 years since the dark ages when a typical household didn’t even know what an online game, a personal computer, or – gasp – the Internet was!

Ancient History

Although something that you might recognize as a computer was developed in the 1950s, this technology remained the exclusive realm of scientists and true nerds until relatively recently. When you consider that the early space ships had less onboard computing power than a hand-held calculator, it’s easy to see we weren’t missing much. Even when the early Apple computers were the dream of every geeky kid in the ’70s, the lack of a user-friendly interface prevented mass appeal. So, what made the difference between obscurity and I-have-to-have-one? If you gave the award to any single feature, it would have to go to graphic design. With graphics that appealed visually to the general public, the personal computer was ready to go mainstream!

Where it’s Taken Us

In this short period of time, society has came a long way in terms of computing power. Instead of spending hours playing Pong alone in the basement, we’re meeting people from around the world as we play online games like Tower Defense and Assault Cube. Our popular movies have special effects that wouldn’t be possible without the advancement of computer-based graphics, and even our business-related software like File zilla and Oracle have become easier to use and understand.

Just imagine what another 35 years will bring!

Need a Remote Control Program? Download It!

If you’re wondering why anyone would ever need a remote control program, let me explain. This isn’t used to control your entertainment center; a remote control program is used to take control of another computer from a distant location. With this type of app, you can access a webcam in your own, edit your child’s Open Office document before school, or access photos from a different machine to show to co-workers.

Remote Control for Businesses

How often have you been called with a problem in the middle of the night? If it’s a frequent occurrence, you probably dread hearing the phone ring. Sometimes, you can provide a fix over the phone, but, once in awhile, nothing will do but a drive into the office. With free desktop software like TightVNC, Putty, and Filezilla you can save time and gas money by connecting to your work computer from home. Before you know it, you’ll be back in bed and ready for a full day at work in the morning.

It Works Great for Home Use, Too!

If you’re thinking you’d never need a remote control program for your personal machine, you couldn’t be more wrong! Recent news reports have shown several cases of people checking their home web-cams from work or vacation only to discover a robbery in progress. With a simple call to 911, the robbers were apprehended and nothing was lost! Without the ability to remotely control a home computer, this wouldn’t have been possible!

All This for Free!

Before you start thinking this must be an expensive set-up, it can be yours for free! Simply take advantage of one of the many free programs available for instant download, and you could remotely control your machine today. You just never know when you might need this useful feature.

Maintain complete control of your electronic devices with free remote control programs.

Audio Bullys: Higher Than the Eiffel

RIYL: Primal Scream, The Ting Tings, Basement Jaxx

Yet another lesson in why bands should choose their names carefully. The word ‘bully’ suggests someone aggressive and intimidating (and, conversely, someone insecure and a little scared). The Audio Bullys, however, are no such thing. They’re beat mongering rockers, like Hard-Fi pulling the late shift in an Ibiza club. (Singer Simon Franks and Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer should do a duet, just to mess with people’s head over who’s singing which line.) The band’s third album Higher Than the Eiffel has some good ideas – lead single “Only Man” is armed with one hell of a hook, and closing track “Goodbye” is a nifty modern-day take on the Specials – but is sorely lacking a filter, not to mention an editor. Two of the first three songs contain fragments of ideas stitched together, much like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, but there is no flow. Why did “Daisy Chains” need to end with an a cappella bit? (Answer: it didn’t.) “Shotgun” is the only song here that takes advantage of melding two separate ideas into a whole, but it arrives a bit too late to care, thanks to the album’s 56-minute (!) run time. Take out some of the clutter, and this bully could have been a contender. (The End Records 2011)

Audio Bullys MySpace page
Click to buy Higher Than the Eiffel from Amazon

George Michael: Faith (Special Edition)

RIYL: Madonna, Michael Jackson, ’80s-era CHR

The world will probably never see another album rule the world like George Michael’s Faith did from 1987 to 1989. Twenty million copies sold worldwide. Number One on the R&B charts, a first for a white artist. Six Top Five singles, four of which went to #1. As pop records go, it was a monster, and while Michael Jackson’s Bad, released two months earlier, notched one more #1 single than Faith did, Faith managed to outsell Bad by two million copies. It also, strangely, won the Grammy for Album of the Year two years after its release.

George Michael - Faith - COLOR5

Looking back at the album today, it’s easy to see why it was so popular; the songs have held up remarkably well (unlike, say, a good chunk of the songs on Bad), and Michael covers a lot of territory in the process, from contemporary dance pop (“I Want Your Sex,” “Hard Day,” “Monkey”) to mid-tempo ballads (“Father Figure”), while throwing in a Bo Diddley-style jam (the title track) and a jazz-fueled torch song (the underrated “Kissing a Fool”) for good measure. Michael’s voice has tremendous range and versatility, and his production is downright minimal in an era known for bombast. It’s a dead brilliant pop record, and the fact that Michael was a mere 23 when he made it is, well, sickening, really.

The bonus disc of Epic/Legacy’s re-release of Faith culls together B-sides and remixes from the era, which includes instrumental versions of “Faith” and “Kissing a Fool,” Michael’s covers of “I Believe When I Fall in Love” and “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” and, at long last, the full-length version of Shep Pettibone’s remix to “Hard Day” (the version that appeared on the Faith CD is a good two to three minutes shorter). Also included are Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ mixes to “Monkey” (single edit, 12″ mix, a cappella). Very shrewd move on Michael’s part to get them involved, as the song would not have reached the top of the charts without them. Curiously, the track “Fantasy” is included as well, though it first appeared as a B-side to Listen Without Prejudice Vol. I track “Freedom ’90.” Tough to argue with its inclusion, as it’s a gem, but there are some UK-only and promo-only remixes to “Faith” and “Father Figure” that should probably be here instead.

The DVD contains all of the music videos from the period, as well as the MTV promo film “Music, Money, Love, Faith,” where Michael gears up for his first solo world tour (don’t blink, or you’ll miss his chreographer, a then-unknown Paula Abdul). The uncensored version of “I Want Your Sex” is included as well as the censored one, and both clips seem pretty tame by today’s standards. (Michael wearing nothing but a sheet, horrors!) The best bit is the 40-minute interview Michael did with British TV personality Jonathan Ross, where he delves deeply into Michael’s personal life, even asking him if he’s taken an AIDS test and whether or not he wears a condom. Fans of George Michael, or ’80s pop in general, will find much to love here. (Epic/Legacy 2011)

Candi and the Strangers MySpace page
Click to buy Faith from Amazon

Steal This Song: Little Tybee, “Nero”

There are few slopes that are as slippery as music that could fairly be described as precious. A wrong move in any direction, and that ‘c’ becomes a ‘tent’, if you know what we mean. It was therefore with great trepidation that we clicked Play on the song from Little Tybee, a group of Georgians whose press release was quick to mention Fleet Foxes. And don’t get us wrong, we like Fleet Foxes…but do we need a dozen of them?

little tybee

As it turns out, “Nero,” the first song from the band’s upcoming album Humorous to Bees, is probably being done a disservice by being compared to anyone, but you know how press releases work – they need to mention a couple of successful bands to give the reader a reference point (and truthfully, that’s exactly how we like it). If anything, the song reminds us of a less amped version of the Noisettes’ song “Wild Young Hearts,” perhaps refitted for play in a jazz club. Trade out drum sticks for brushes, throw in some fiddle, and groove, man. Good stuff. The record drops in April. Hopefully this will tide you over until then.

Click here to download Little Tybee’s “Nero”

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