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Archive for October, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Off to NYC!!

Hey kids, Off to NYC for the week.. See you after Halloween! Oh, yeah.. Enjoy the NYC inspired MP3’s as well.

Saint Etienne – New York Skyline

The Kills – What New York Used to Be

Serge Gainsbourg – New York U.S.A.

LCD Soundsystem – “New York I Love You”

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – NY, NY (punk version)

Frank Sinatra – New York New York (Chew fu big room remix)

Microsoft Zune 8gb/16gb Media Player (2nd Generation) (Product Review)

The Zune 8GB has the same form factor as the first generation iPod Nano. Being part of the 2nd generation mp3 player to come out of Microsoft, the Zune 8GB was designed to directly compete with the largest selling model of iPods, The nano. (Microsoft also offers an 80gb and 120gb harddrive version of the Zune (Similar to the iPod classic). But this review will be focused on their mini 8gb/16gb player.)

At 1.4 ounces (47 grams), it weighs about the same as the current iPod Nano. The main difference in the navigation is that while we’re all familiar with the click-wheel, the Zune has a touch pad which allows navigation by sliding in both horizontal or vertical directions as well as click-selection (you can turn the slide pad feature off if you want via the settings).

There are two compelling features the Zune has that the Classic iPods and Nano’s do not have — WiFi (for wireless synchronization) and an FM radio tuner. You can synchronize the music collection in your PC/laptop with your Zune via WiFi so you don’t need to bring the cable connectors all the time except when charging. The Social feature also allows you to share music to anyone who has a Zune, wirelessly up to 30 meters (We were unable to get this feature working with multiple Zune’s hmm. So much for the Social). Having an FM tuner is also a plus, a feature I wondered why Steve Jobs would not add in the iPods. You need to turn off WiFi when not in use so it doesn’t drain the Zune’s batteries.

The Zune Desktop Media player is simple yet does the job well. (This current generation software works very well, That being said it’s still not as polished as Apple’s iTunes software) After registering and creating a Zune account , I was able to login and pull down all the official album art covers of my music into the player. iTunes’ cover flow might be superior but it really looks a bit dull to look at when all you see are gray default album covers. Sound quality is at par (almost indistinguishable) with the iPod Nano, with volume scale from 1 to 20. The good thing about the music management is that you just tell the Zune Desktop player which drive folder to use and anything you drop into that folder gets detected and synchronized into your Zune player on your next synch.

At 320 x 240 pixels, the screen size is just enough though I wish they’d use up all that extra space. Music and video playback is smooth and crisp.

Overall the Microsoft Zune is great leap forward for this product. Microsoft has yet to have anything as close at the iPod Touch which is leaps and bound ahead of any Zune product. But for a standalone iPod Nano competitor the 8gb/16gb Zune is a great little MP3 for the Windows only crowd.

For complete Zune information please visit

Pros: Small size, high capacity, light weight, very portable, easy to use, wireless sync and sharing, high resolution screen, touch pad control, Zune Pass (Subscription based music service. Similar to Rhapsody) FM radio.

Cons: Small screen, Zune desktop software is not as easy to use as iTunes, Windows only compatibility. Small number of 3rd party accessories support.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Original Jane’s Addiction Lineup To Play L.A.

The original lineup of Jane’s Addiction will perform for the second time this year tonight (Oct. 23) amid signs that the pioneering alternative rock band might solidify reunion plans after a 17-year hiatus.

The group will play about 10 songs at the tiny La Cita bar in downtown Los Angeles, bass player Eric Avery and guitarist Dave Navarro said on their respective blogs. The 390-capacity venue is reportedly sold out of the $5 tickets.

It will mark the band’s first gig since it performed at the inaugural NME Awards in Los Angeles six months ago. That was Avery’s first show with Navarro, singer Perry Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins since the band originally broke up in 1991. Avery declined to participate in subsequent reunions, but is now indicating he is more amenable to the idea.

“We never know what the future has in store for us; especially with this band,” Avery said on his blog. “But, at least right now Jane’s Addiction has a future that one would have to call somewhat promising. We are a great band.”

Beastie Boys In The ‘Middle’ Of New Album

As the Beastie Boys prepare to begin their barnstorming Get Out and Vote tour, the group is also at work on the follow-up to the 2007 instrumental album “The Mix-Up.”

“We’re actually in the middle of recording it right now,” group member Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz said. “We hope to have it out sometime next year. It’s a lot of vocals, a lot of words — very wordy. And it’s political, depending on what you call political. You know, if toilet talk and fart jokes are political, which they can be, in that sense yeah, very.”

Any chance of new material getting played on the “Get Out and Vote 08” tour? “I don’t think so,” Horovitz laughs. “It’s always weird when you play the new songs that people don’t know. Anytime we play new songs, it always seems like a brick.”

Horovitz says the decision to stage Get Out and Vote came down to the simple fact that in the last presidential election, 70 million registered voters didn’t make to the polls.

“70 million people is a lot of people to not vote,” Horovitz says. “So this all happened really quick, like a month or so ago and within the past few weeks, literally. We were just stressing on what to do and then we were like, ‘We’re a band and we play shows, so let’s go to these swing states.’ We thought it would be a good idea to get people to vote.

“Basically, we just called a bunch of people and asked them if they wanted to play,” he says. “It’s literally like, whoever called us back (is on the tour).”

The seven-date trek begins Oct. in Charlotte, N.C., and runs through Nov. 2 in Denver. Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Crosby & Nash, Santogold and Tenacious D will play in different incarnations throughout. Horovitz says the Beasties also reached out to De La Soul, Nas, Nine Inch Nails and Moby, but those acts were unable to participate for scheduling reasons.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stephen Malkmus: Gardenia (Video)

Morrissey to write autobiography

Morrissey has revealed that he is set to write his autobiography.

The former Smiths singer told Janice Long on BBC Radio 2 that the book would span his career in the music industry, although he did not reveal how far through writing it he was or when he hoped to release it.

“So much crap is written about me, it’s hard to live with sometimes,” he said. “It all gets burned down in history and becomes a part of your legacy.”

Morrissey went on to claim that his forthcoming new album, ‘Year Of Refusal’, was his best album yet.

“It’s fantastically strong,” he said. “It’s very, very strong and it’s interesting for me after all these years, but it’s the strongest.”

The album is set to be released in February.

Eagles of Death Metal: Wannabe in L.A. (Official Video)

Black Keys, ZZ Top To Write Together

The Black Keys will head to Los Angeles this weekend for songwriting sessions with ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons and producer Rick Rubin, in the hopes of creating material for the latter group’s upcoming, Rubin-produced album.

“There are so many people who love them and what they did,” Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach tells of ZZ Top, with whom Rubin is planning to make a more back-to-basics blues rock album. “Billy came to our show in Columbus, Ohio, and played us some new songs, but this will be the first time we’ve gotten together in a musical way.”

“I’m such a big fan of those guys … it makes total sense,” Gibbons said earlier this year of the Black Keys. “And that’s pretty down and dirty, which is good for ZZ Top.”

The Keys are briefly off the road, having played a Democratic party fund-raiser on Oct. 17 in their Akron hometown, alongside fellow Akronites Devo and Chrissie Hynde. The evening concluded with all the acts onstage together covering the new Pretenders song “Break Up the Concrete.”

“It felt like that once-in-a-lifetime experience — something so Akron-centric,” Auerbach says. “I’d walked by Chrissie in a bar in downtown Akron before but I never said hi. She knew who we were. Both she and (Devo’s) Mark (Mothersbaugh) were saying the nicest things, about how we made them feel proud of Akron again. It was a heartwarming experience.”

In tandem with the Keys upcoming European tour, the band will on Nov. 18 release a concert DVD, “Live at the Crystal Ballroom,” taped April 4 in Portland, Ore. The film was directed by Lance Bangs, who also handled the video for the Keys’ “Strange Times.”

“Lance basically said, ‘Hey, do you mind if I bring some cameras and shoot?’ And we said, ‘Sure!,'” Auerbach says. “This was the only one we filmed, so it’s a warts and all performance and is pretty raw.” The DVD is rounded out by footage of the Keys recording their latest album, “Attack & Release,” with Danger Mouse and three music videos.

Also on the horizon for Auerbach are production gigs with Hacienda and Buffalo Killers at his Akron studio.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AC/DC: Black Ice (Album Review)

AC/DC … Their sound is like Noel Edmonds’ hair – unadulterated since 1974.

Of all the adjectives that could be applied to AC/DC, “unique” is perhaps the least likely. There must be hundreds of bands exactly like them in bars and pubs around the world, ruining locals’ attempts to have a quiet pint, performing songs called things like Spoilin’ for a Fight, attempting to leaven their hackneyed blues-rock with a few risqué gags about tits and bums. And yet, in one sense, AC/DC are unique. It’s impossible to think of another band that’s been praised so much and rewarded so lavishly for doing so little, at least artistically.

Their sound is like Noel Edmonds’ hairstyle: it was hoisted into place at some point in 1974 and has remained almost entirely unaltered ever since. Those who queue up to buy Black Ice, like those who queued up to buy its 15 predecessors, do so knowing precisely what they’re going to get. There will be staccato guitar riffs, Angus Young’s admirably unflashy and economical soloing and songs with rock’n’roll in the title. And there will be smutty puns. No one over the age of 12 or outside the offices of Viz has ever made so much capital from the words “big”, “hard” “stiff”, “up” and “balls”.

You could perhaps compare AC/DC’s dogged single-mindedness to that of the Ramones, but even they felt the need to briefly adopt the warp-speed stylings of hardcore punk in the mid-80s, which by AC/DC’s standards marks them out as worrying dilettantes. And the Ramones split up after 22 years. Nothing – not line-up changes, changing tastes nor even death – can flatline AC/DC’s career. If the global warming doomsayers’ worst predictions are realised and the world is entirely subsumed beneath a flood, there seems the distinct possibility you will find AC/DC bobbing about atop the deluge, still gamely performing a hard-edged blues-rock number, probably called something like Balls Deep.

A cynic might say that the kind of person who can distinguish a good

AC/DC album from a bad one is like those faintly disturbing wine buffs who can tell you the terroir in which grapes were grown just by holding a glass to the light: it’s a specialist skill garnered through a lifetime of intensive research, a considered judgment based on infinitesimal differences, entirely beyond the ken of ordinary mortals. The cynic has a point, although it’s pretty obvious even to a layman that much of the band’s thrilling early malevolence departed with their late lead vocalist Bon Scott – a man rejected by the Australian army on the grounds of being “socially maladjusted” – and that their sound reached a peak of perfection on Highway to Hell and Back in Black, the albums made immediately before and after Scott’s death.

There are moments when Black Ice boasts the same irresistible appeal to the lower self with which those albums are packed, when AC/DC’s sound seems fundamental and undeniable: the crunching chords with which the chorus of Rock ‘N Roll Dream introduces itself, the gripping slide guitar riff of Stormy May Day, the way Young’s guitar weaves and stabs around Brian Johnson’s vocal during War Machine’s verses, She Likes Rock ‘N Roll’s gleefully idiotic chant of a chorus. Equally, there are moments where the most remarkable thing about AC/DC seems to be the prodigious feat of memory that enables the members to recall which song they’re playing.

But Black Ice clearly isn’t a record particularly interested in what the layman thinks: if you’ve sold 200m albums worldwide, you don’t really need to go around touting for new clients. It’s a record aimed at the band’s existing audience, and far more important than any qualitative highs and lows is the fact that everything you might expect is present and correct. Black Ice delivers not just songs called Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream and She Likes Rock ‘N Roll, but one called Rock ‘N Roll Train as well: a veritable bumper harvest. If there isn’t actually a song with “balls” in the title, there is at least Big Jack, the titular hero of which can boast among his many attributes “a full sack”. It’s business as usual, and it’s a brave or foolhardy soul who would bet against business being extremely brisk.

Phil Spector murder retrial gets underway

Jury selection in the murder retrial of famed music producer Phil Spector began in Los Angeles today (October 20).

Approximately 80 potential jurors were narrowed down to 18 at the proceedings in Los Angeles Superior Court. Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who presided over Spector’s first trial last year, asked questions to ensure the jurors could be fair and impartial.

“What we do not want…is people with an agenda,” Fidler said.

One potential juror revealed that her son had been murdered, and another said he believed celebrities often have an unfair advantage because they can afford attorneys that others cannot.

Spector, 69, appeared in court today in court with his wife, Rachelle, reports the Associated Press.

Spector – the pioneer behind the 1960s Wall Of Sound technique – is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson at his Los Angeles mansion on February 3, 2003.

After five months of heated testimony last year, the jury reached a 10-2 deadlock in favour of convicting Spector, which resulted in the judge declaring a mistrial.

Alleged Guns N’ Roses Leaker Pleads Innocent

A man accused of placing unreleased Guns N’ Roses songs on the Internet pleaded innocent yesterday (Oct. 20) in Los Angeles federal court.

Kevin Cogill, 27, is charged with violating federal copyright law. No date has been set for the trial, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The FBI says that Cogill posted nine tracks from Guns N’ Roses’ upcoming album “Chinese Democracy” on the Web site Cogill was arrested in August at his Los Angeles home and released on bail the same day. He faces three years in federal prison if convicted, and five years if the court finds he posted the songs for commercial gain.

Guns N’ Roses said in a statement at the time of the arrest that while it did not condone Coghill’s actions, “our interest is in the original source” of the material. Mrozek declined to comment on whether there would be any additional arrests.

“Chinese Democracy” is due Nov. 23 exclusively in Best Buy stores. The project has been delayed multiple times over the years as singer Axl Rose shed all his original bandmates.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Franz Ferdinand Keeps Grooving On Third Album

Franz Ferdinand makes good on its stated desire to produce a “dirty pop” album with “rhythm- and dance-based” songs on “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand,” due Jan. 29 via Epic.

Throughout, the Scottish band lets its funky bass lines handle much of the heavy lifting, decorating them with vintage synth melodies straight out of the Genesis (opener “Ulysses”) or Sparks (“Live Alone”) playbooks.

Elsewhere, the band’s cold grooves nod to Wire (“Turn It On”), Can (“Send Him Away”) and “Miss You”-era Rolling Stones (“Kiss Me,” “What She Came For”), while “Dream Again” is a more subdued number with drum machine backing and closer “Katherine Kiss Me” trots out acoustic guitars.

Franz Ferdinand recorded the 12-track album at its own headquarters in Govan, Glasgow, and the London studio of producer Dan Carey. “Tonight” follows 2005’s “You Could Have It So Much Better,” which has sold 378,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Following a handful of one-off performances last week in New York, the band returns to the road for a short European tour beginning Nov. 13 in Paris.

Here is the track list for “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand:

“Turn It On”
“Kiss Me”
“Twilight Omens”
“Send Him Away”
“Live Alone”
“Bite Hard”
“What She Came For”
“Can’t Stop Feeling”
“Lucid Dreams”
“Dream Again”
“Katherine Kiss Me”

Majors create new music format (For some unknown reason)

Okay, so when I say “slotMusic,” do you hear “Blue-Ray” or “HD-DVD”? Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG have joined SanDisk to create a new music media format, slotMusic. Emerging from the land of electronics in the form of tiny disks, slotMusic cards have one gigabyte of capacity (enough for songs, liner notes, album art, videos, and the like), and they are to sell for approximately a price of a CD. At the risk of sounding like a slotMusic infomercial, here is the companies’ description of how they work: “slotMusic cards enable [people] to instantly and easily [listen to] music from [certain artists signed by Universal, Warner, EMI and Sony BMG] without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. Users simply insert the slotMusic card into their microSD-enabled mobile phone or MP3 player to hear the music without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use.” Yow!
(Via KEXP)

Friday, October 17, 2008 is proud to present ROCKTOBER.. Saturday October 18th at Vain Gallery. Our latest art show in Seattle, WA- Rocktober is a tribute to Rock N’ Roll with music-driven, rock inspired works by: MATTEBLACK, METHANE STUDIOS, Michael Lane, Sarah Joann Murphy and Many more. CLICK HERE for directions to the Vain Gallery.

Art on display through November 30. (Sat, Oct 18 to Sun, Nov 30)

The Strokes to record fourth album in February

In an interview with the BBC, Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture revealed the band is going to be heading into the studio next year to begin work on their fourth LP.

“We are looking at going into the studio in February now and getting back to being a band again,” he told the BBC.

Fraiture also discussed why its been nearly three years since The Strokes have put out any new material:

“It started with Nick (Valensi) having twins with his wife (two years ago) and he asked for a good amount of time off.

“After about six months he was ready to come back but other members of the band were doing their own thing. Albert (Hammond Jr) was doing his thing with his solo project and Julian (Casablancas) needed time off.

“One thing led to another so studio time kept getting pushed back.”
(Via BBC)