The Somking Gun has Iggy Pop's rider. It's more entertaining than the average tour rider. Lust For Laughs: "Apparently written by roadie Jos Grain, the Iggy rider is peppered with witty gems, tasteless asides, and typos."
Spin's band of the day is DriveShaft. Yes, the DriveShaft from Lost, featuring a bass-playing heroin-addicted hobbit.
We'll try to catch up on this week's Lost along with all of the other TV from the last week (including TAR, Studio 60 and South Park) later.
Chicago Tribune MySpace, MyStage: "Who needs a record deal? Artists now can sell their music directly through MySpace... Such technology allows musicians to bypass big distributors and sell directly to their fans. But there can be a downside, those in the music industry say. Go-it-alone acts don't have nearly the marketing muscle or publicity power of traditional hit-makers, so independent artists must find ways to market themselves, book shows and sell their music in a crowded field."
But the problem without the traditional intermediaries is that the intermediaries often add value. In the unfiltered mix of music in the market, there is a lot of crap. Additionally, many artists appeal only to a particular niche audience. Intermediaries help to filter the music towards the audiences. While MySpace, CDBaby and others help independent musicians stand on the same footing as their signed counterparts, the bands on labels have more capital and access to the press. Those matter.
Simply throwing some songs up on MySpace enables artists to distribute music to their audience easily. That does not, however, help an artist find the audience.
Logjam has a new video for "The South Will Rise Again":
It's no joke: IU study finds The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to be as substantive as network news: "Interestingly, the average amounts of video and audio substance in the broadcast network news stories were not significantly different than the average amounts of visual and audio substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart stories about the presidential election."
Perhaps this says more about the lack of substance in the network evening news programs than in the amount of substance in The Daily Show.
Is the era of the record store over?
Tower Records was sold in a bankruptcy auction to a high bidder who plans to liquidate. "Tower Records, which has 89 stores in 20 states and owes creditors about $200 million, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in August. In its filing, the company said it has been hurt by an industrywide decline in music sales, downloading of online music and competition from big-box stores such as Wal-Mart."
Tigh, for one, welcomes our new Cylon overlords.
In this third season premier, Battlestar Galactica showed why it may be the smartest and bleakest show on television. Suicide bombings? Chargeless detention? Warrantless arrests in the middle of the night? Enemy collaborators? Double agents? BSG is not a simple political polemic about Bush and Iraq, but is about posing the big questions and not providing a simple answer.
Is it right to commit electoral fraud to avoid getting occupied by the Cylons on planet Craphole? Right now, Zarek, Roslin and tens of thousands of Colonials are probably thinking that a little fraud wouldn't have been a bad thing.
While the entire double episode (Occupation/Precipice) was excellent, the scene between Roslin and Baltar in the detention cell stood out as the pinnacle of the episode (as did a similar scene between Roslin and Baltar during the lead up to the election in Lay Down Your Burdens Part 1, mostly due to the killer performance of Mary McDonnell.) Here, Baltar (Baltar!) emerges as the voice of reason, arguing against suicide bombings.
Baltar is a wonderfully self-absorbed character. Every time he has the opportunity to do something selfless, he always chooses to do just that which serves his self-interest over the public interest. Every time he has been offered a chance at redeeming himself, Baltar has chosen to take the easy way out of that immediate situation. And yet, James Callis performs the role with enough humanity to make Baltar more than just a villian. Perhaps the Six in Baltar's brain is correct and he will serve some larger purpose in the end.
The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan also spoke with Moore: Ron Moore Talks Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.
Although they can contain spoilerly bits for upcoming episodes, Moore's podcast commentaries are worth listening to for more insights into the writing process and choices. For example, Ellen Tigh's Seinfeld reference was a deliberate homage.
Thanks to La La, WOXY returns to the net today and is once again a free service. More details at the Digital Music Weblog: La La aquires WOXY, streaming radio gets kick in the pants. WOXY mk.III is set to become not just a streaming radio station, but to become more of a recommendation community. As WOXY already hosted a popular set of music discussion message boards, this could become very interesting.
At the very least, it is one more outlet that is devoted to introducing listeners to new music. Upcoming Lounge Acts will include Headlights (today!), The Purrs, Asobi Seksu and The Wrens.
Newsweek: How long before Borat gets sued? Meet the Real People in 'Borat': "Given the likelihood that Baron Cohen's movie will make piles of money—and the loose legalese of those release forms—someone is sure to try taking Borat to court. It's one of the few lessons in American life that Borat doesn't learn on screen: in this country, we sue."
New York magazine runs a long interview/profile with Stephen Colbert: Stephen Colbert Has America by the Ballots: “The funny thing is, I knew when we were developing this show, we were doing a show that parodies the cult of personality... And yet, if the show was successful, it would generate a cult of personality. It had to. That means it’s working."
More people are buying their music online, rather than on CD. According to the IFPI, "18 per cent of recorded music sales [are] now being made through digital channels. Digital music sales in the US increased by 84 per cent to US$ 513 million in the first six months of 2006."
Earl Greyhound may have the best combination of stage presence and performance of any band in NYC. Seriously, they're that good. The power trio, with Matt Whyte (guitar/vocals), Kamara Thomas (bass/vocals) and Ricc Sheridan (drums) powers through their songs with vigor and volume in a throwback to bands like Zeppelin and T.Rex.
As much as I dug Earl Greyhound the first couple of times I saw them play this year (with the Walk Ons opening at Mercury in January and at a Deli show at Asterix in May), not many of their songs stood out. In both of those sets, the performances were notable, but I didn't walk out humming any songs. Of course, the Asterix show was a veritable sonic assault from every angle.
But Saturday's CD release show at The Annex was a revelation. While some of the EG catalog is still searching for a hook, the band played a couple of stand out songs ("All Better Now," and "S.O.S.") After listening to Soft Targets a few times, there are enough hooks and style variations. In particular, "It's Over" and "Yeah I Love You" are lighter and poppier, but don't forget how to rock.
But, Earl Greyhound are just such great performers that they could play a set of only "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and it would still rock.
Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker, Off to the Races: "Whether or not Earl Greyhound are the Next Big Thing is irrelevant—watching them will convince you that they are.
Kevin O'Donnell, The Village Voice: Hard Targets: The rockneck-inducing splendor of Earl Greyhound.
The Bamboo Kids are on the most consistently fun local acts. They're just playing straightforward top quality garage rock with some edge.
Magnetic Field is one of my favorite venues. They don't have live music every night, but when they do, it's usually someone worthwhile seeing. And, it doesn't hurt that it's in the neighborhood.
This week's Battlestar Galactica shows that sometimes the creative and business sides of television don't always share the same interests.
For scheduling, a season premier can be a two-hour event. The network can capitalize on the excitement of a highly-anticipated hit show returning to sell twice as much advertising. But having the third episode of the season be a double length episode? Not too likely.
But after watching the first 3 hours of Season 3 over two weeks, the rhythm seems off. Originally, Occupation, Precipice and Exodus were to be the first 3 hours of the season. But when Exodus became too long to fit into a single episode, it was cut into two episodes. On the podcast, Ron Moore noted some of the scenes that were added to flesh out the Exodus story from to a full two hours. So the first four hours of the season will air over three weeks, but the extra hour seems to be in the wrong week.
But, once again, this was a great hour of television which set in motion the events not just of the resolution of the episode, but also the arcs for the season.
What was up with Honey Bunny's vision?
Lesson for all future Amazing Racers, courtesy of the Cho brothers: if, while on a train, you pantomime talking on a cell phone to talk to a ticket agent and book tickets, your opponents might actually get on a cell phone and book tickets. Actually, if you give any opposing team the idea of something to do to get ahead, the opposing team will probably do that.
Flight drama! The last few races have been relatively weak on teams actually having to work the airport to get better flights. It's good to see teams working the airports.
The simple juxtaposition of perception diverging from reality is entertaining. For example, "We do not think we're in last" while a "currently in last place" caption is on screen.
And finally, the rules changes for TAR 10 have at least one change for the better. The new NEL penalty is a major improvement. It's a real penalty affecting time-- the most important part of racing. And, it affects teams at the end of the next leg-- so, unlike losing time at the beginning of a leg, the penalty won't be eliminated at a bunch point.
The only drawback of this penalty, as opposed to a time penalty at the beginning of the next leg, is that it is more difficult to explain. The beauty of the Amazing Race is that the rules are all straightforward and easy to understand: Teams of two racing from place to place, solving clues and completing tasks to get the next clue. The last team to arrive is eliminated. That's it. It's a simple formula that is difficult to improve upon. The new NEL penalty, however, is logical, and shouldn't be too confusing to explain in the next episode.
As far as the effect on the tension of finishing the next leg, the NEL penalty could go both ways. If the non-eliminated team arrives in the middle of the pack, with one of the other trailing teams far behind, the trailing team's demise is not certain until that team hits the mat. However, if the non-eliminated team is in a close footrace to the mat with another team to avoid elimination, that could detract from the drama of the situation.
No matter what happens with the finishes on the next leg, this penalty is a major improvement.
ear Feeder will scan the music on your computer and then use that data to create RSS feeds containing information about your favorite bands. It's a clever idea, at the least.
See the music that Google Talk users are listening to. The top 3? Snow Patrol, The Fray and The Killers.
Studio 60 is perhaps the most talked about new show on television this year. And for good reason-- it may be the best of the new crop, but also the one that fails to live up to its potential.
The problem with Studio 60 is that the sketch show (the show within the show) is not funny. It's about as funny as recent Saturday Night Live. That's not good. And that would be fine if the show didn't believe that the sketches were funny. But the Sorkin-penned Studio 60 thinks that his alter-ego's show is the most brilliant comedy writing since the Colbert Report. It's not.
If the show realized that, it would be more believable. The actual show-- the light-hearted drama show-- would live in the reality-based community. And it would be funnier, too.
In Slate, Spencer Ackerman looks at the real-world context of Battlestar Galactica: Battlestar: Iraqtica: "Like many science-fiction shows before it, BSG concerns itself with the porous membrane between humanity and barbarism. Unlike most of its predecessors, however, it has the benefit of an open-ended, real-life war as its backdrop, making its lessons about barbarism unavoidably resonant."
Rumor has it that LiveNation and The Bowery Presents are battling for control of two neighboring venues in Williamsburg. Both parties would consolidate the two into one large (~2,000 capacity) venue. Curbed speculates that the two venues are Galapagos and Northsix: Crazy Rumor of the Week: Williamsburg 'Supervenue'?
Aside from the fact that Galapagos and Northsix may be the only two neighboring music venues in Williamsburg, Galapagos is looking to move into a new space as part of an ambitious expansion plan. The new location would include a 300 seat performance space with "a separate theatre enviornment and a cinema." In addition to expanding to a larger space in Brooklyn, Galapagos hopes to partner with other venues in Berlin, Mumbai and Beijing to offer emerging artists the opportunity to perform to a global audience.
In other Williamsburg venue news, New York Magazine's Fall Nightlife Preview pegged the new, larger-capacity Luna Lounge for a "fall" opening. The new space on Williamsburg's Metropolitan Ave. is expected to fit in between the Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom in the NYC venue hierarchy.
AP: Television theme songs are fading fast: "Today, show themes are doing a fast fade as the networks crunch their programming budgets."
The theme song can put the viewer in the mood and mindset to watch the show. The Sopranos does this particularly well. The opening theme song is the voyage through the Lincoln Tunnel to Tony Soprano's New Jersey. Danny Elfman's theme for The Simpsons is a throwback to the classic television show themes. Even when The Simpsons debuted back in 1989, that long orchestral theme was an anachronism.
And, over the last 17 years, television shows have become shorter, in order to fit more commercial time into that same hour or half-hour. On mid-era and later Simpsons episodes, the full theme is rarely shown, to have enough time for story in the episode.
The theme song is all about setting the mood and tone. One of my favorites is Lost's non-song theme. The simple black and white title card and disturbing shifting chord is disconcertingly eerie. Since Lost usually does a good job of setting up some odd event or feature in the cold open or previouslies, the disconcerting evil chord works.
Of the other BRR-favorite shows, Doctor Who's theme is a classic. TAR works well at setting mood, but isn't particularly memorable.
Battlestar Galactica's theme music not only conveys a sense of the isolation and loneliness of the surviving colonists, but also manages to be almost the exact opposite of the vaguely-John Williams theme from the 1970's BSG series. All distance from the Lorne Greene series is good. Unlike the traditional series that run the same credit sequence week after week, Galactica flashes forward to scenes from later in the episode. Not only that, but the credits did (until this third season) update the count from the whiteboard of extinction.
Finally, I'm simply ambivalent about the The Office theme music.
Paid Content reports: Pittman’s Pilot Group, Hirschhorn Invest In Music Blog Stereogum.com: "Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group and former MTVN digital head Jason Hirschhorn have invested in Stereogum.com, the popular music-scene blog founded by Scott Lapatine."
Update (10/29), the Post confirms: MTV Guru Hirschhorn Takes Stake in Stereogum: "Armed with new money from both Pittman and Hirschhorn, Stereogum, already singled out by everyone from Entertainment Weekly to The Wall Street Journal as one of the best music resources on the Web, plans to add more writers and go 'deeper and narrower' with its indy-rock music coverage."
So, CMJ is next week. We're not playing this year, and without some other source of a badge ("hi, I blog at a site that has a readership of, um, me"), I won't hit all that many shows. But going through the schedule, here are a few that look promising, in no particular order:
(There are only a few names I recognize on the Tuesday schedule and even fewer that I've heard. This may be the night to just pick a venue at random):
This doesn't include any concurrent non-CMJ shows. Is there anything I've missed?
The NY Times looks at the state of the rock music club ecosystem in the city: Where the Beat Goes On: "For every Bottom Line or Fez or Continental that has shut down or quit live music in the last couple of years, a Rockwood Music Hall, Union Hall or Studio B has opened up — and maybe a Fontana’s or Club Midway as well. And in the next few months, at least five major spaces are set to open, giving the city’s rock infrastructure its most substantial expansion in years."
The most interesting part of the article is the development of the "vertically integrated" booking chain and the competition between Live Nation (ClearChannel) and The Bowery Presents. The Bowery group did secure the lease on Northsix and will renovate it, add upstairs balconies, and convert it into the "Music Hall of Williamsburg."
Further east, the Times reveals that Live Nation will have a hand in booking the new ~300 person capacity Luna Lounge. Live Nation is also adding Rebel (formerly Downtime on W.30th St, cap. 325) and the Gramercy Theater on 23rd St. (cap. 600) to its venue roster.
Are there enough acts able fill these medium/large rooms?
Previously: Williamsburg Mega-Venue Coming?
Zoot gets in a saxophone dispute on the Muppet show:
The Good, The Bad and The Queen is Damon Albarn's (Blur, Gorillaz) latest project. The BBC has a live set: Electric Proms: The Good, The Bad and the Queen:
There's plenty of talent in the line up. Britpop renaissance man Damon Albarn, has brought together two musical legends in Paul Simonon of The Clash and Tony Allen of Fela Kuti, one of the most exciting drummers in the world. The band is completed by ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong. The band take to the stage looking like a gang of vagabonds dressed in shabby suits - Damon's top hat completes the look.
The sound is a vaudeville music box of delights - enchanting lullabies that have a dark, mysterious edge but they still receive a warm reception from the crowd. "Three Changes" ups the tempo as the audience dance and cheer, much to the relief of Damon Albarn. The band finish on a high with "TGTBQ" and the audience leave in the knowledge that they've witnessed something quite magical.