Monthly Archives: September 2008

Paul Newman: A Legend

This was foreseen; Paul Newman finally passed away from his long bout with cancer. Paul Newman was always a mainstay in my household growing up. Only now being in my mid-20’s, my generation is probably lost on many of Paul Newman’s greatest works, which is a disgrace. Many bonding moments were shared between my father and brother while watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and even Slapshot. Fact is, we will never see this kind of performer again; his charisma, intimidating screen presence,  deadening stare with those baby blues, comedic timing, commandeering all his films, and simply pushing his co-stars further than they could ever go by themselves. Aside from his brilliance as an actor, he was also a philanthropist; with his brand of foodstuffs, Newman’s Own, he donated 100% of profit to charity. An incredible loss for Hollywood. It was rare for such a humble man to exist within the industry. I will end this homage with a couple comedic quotes from the man, the legend:

“If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”

“I picture my epitaph: ‘Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.'”

Brilliance.

– Ant

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Muxtape Gone For Good. RIAA Strikes Again.

Muxtape was a fantastic resource for music lovers and fans of the now declining art of the mixtape. It enabled users to upload their own mixes for other users listening pleasure. Cue the RIAA; they always have their glass up against the door. Any site getting major traffic that is giving music away for free, whether it be music people “own” or not, is going to get shut down these days. Fact is, they keep shutting down site after site that actually propel the industry. The general public is much more knowledgeable about various music ever since Napster, which would have otherwise been unknown without our cosy Internet portal. One by one these sites are dropping like flies; it’s quite a shame when the music community suffers because of it. The digital rights war rages on.

– Ant

Jack White On Coke…

“On”, meaning talking about, and “Coke”, meaning the cola, not the recreational dopamine. A follow-up to a previous post, Jack White’s new song “Another Way To Die”, which was penned for the new 007 film Quantum of Solace, was used in a new promo for Coke Zero. In what seems to be another ridiculous marketing mix, Coke Zero is going through a quasi makeover to integrate itself with the new James Bond flick, temporarily changing its moniker to Coke Zero Zero 7 (Did I see you just roll your eyes?). Coke being the ever-opportunist never asked White’s permission to include the new tune in the advert, and his reaction was disappointment.

“Jack White was commissioned by Sony Pictures to write a theme song for the James Bond film ‘Quantum Of Solace’, not for Coca Cola,” read the statement. “Any other use of the song is based on decisions made by others, not by Jack White. We are disappointed that you first heard the song in a co-promotion for Coke Zero, rather than in its entirety.”

Is this Jack White being pissed about his hard work not being portrayed in its entirety, or an angry artist wishing he had is hand in the Coca-Cola kick backs? Oh the eccentricities of rock stars.

– Ant

Bon Iver Stands In

In celebration (and brilliantly living up to the name) of Okkervil River‘s new album, The Stand Ins, Will Sheff recognized on opportunity: letting his peers actually stand in to perform each new song. With some videos remaining to be released, so far songs have been covered by the likes of A.C. Newman (of The New Pornographers fame), Crooked Fingers, and Bon Iver. The latter being a rendition of “Blue Tulip”, which is almost unrecognizable from the album version, laced in Justin Vernon’s patented high octave falsetto. I think it is the best video out of the set released to date. What do you think?

[Okkervil River’s The Stand Ins is now in stores.]

Vinyl Lovers Rejoice!

2008 has been a great year for vinyl enthusiasts; CD sales and worth have been sinking like a stone, giant music retailer Best Buy started carrying vinyl as an experiment in select stores nationwide, and musicians are releasing collectors editions of their new albums on vinyl. I want to start highlighting some albums on vinyl that I personally buy, or those of which I think are worth buying. Vinyl is definitely still a niche medium, but more and more people are turning to the 12″ grooved disks to preserve the passion that having a respectable music collection was once all about. In the days where people’s music libraries consist of digital albums in iTunes, it’s great to hold on to a tangible item that is maintaining or increasing in value. The digital age has given us musical ADD; listening to music has almost become pedestrian, with our entire catalog at our fingertips, we have shuffle and repeat. That is the beauty of vinyl, music becomes an event again, an ode to music appreciation. So with all that said, let’s get right into it!

Ben Folds new album, Way To Normal, is set to release September 30, 2008, and wow has he put together a stunning package for a vinyl virtuoso. Not only does the limited edition package come with 180-gram double vinyl, but includes the CD, an exclusive bonus CD, 60 minute DVD, 36 page booklet, and the whole shibang is put into a collectible 12″ x 12″ foil stamped box. Wow. Kudos to you Ben, kudos to you. To most, that would be enough, right? He goes on to say the first 1,000 orders of this delux dream will include an autographed poster by the man himself. That was a marathon description. Count me in.

Portishead released their first album of new material in 10 years, Third, on April 29, 2008. They released the no longer available limited edition (of 10,000) box set which included (seen above):

  • double vinyl copy of Third
  • etched “Machine Gun” 12″
  • limited edition art print by Nick Uff
  • “P”-shaped USB stick featuring Third and four films (Ade’s House, Machine Gun; The Rip Live @ Mr. Wolfe’s; We Carry On; and The Truly Spectacular Universal Conference Film)

While it is sold out and no longer available through official means, you can most definitely find it on eBay and the like.

When Radiohead shocked the world by releasing In Rainbows in a choose-what-you-pay digital download, the future of an actual physical release was unknown. Then before they even signed to a record label for physical release, they had a limited edition vinyl release in the works for self distribution via their website. As you can see, it came in unique packaging and included the double vinyl LP, the album on CD, a CD of extra material, a digital download of the album, and a short but beautiful picture booklet. As with the Portishead album, this edition has sold out but you can manage to find it on eBay.

What vinyl albums have you been buying? Do you like vinyl? Hit the replies.

– Ant

Reminder: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Consider this your unfriendly reminder, douche bags. The next two weeks is It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia mania; they just rolled out their official blog (which will have more original hilarity), the third season is being released on DVD tomorrow (9/9) and the fourth season begins next week on Thursday, 9/18 at 10p.m. With those of you unfamiliar with the show, it’s not your mom and pop’s sitcom of yesteryear (they thought Archie Bunker was offensive?). FX is known for airing edgy original material, but this show takes the bakery. The show has been described as Seinfeld on crack, being that it is essentially about nothing and the subject matter will almost always offend an ethnic group, women’s rights activists, the homeless, children, your grandmother; OK, they have offended everybody. Hell, they even turned sweet old Mr. Belding into an alleged child molester. What kind of hijinx will the gang get into this year? Will green man be back? Night man?

– Ant

Listen Up!

Built To Spill are one of my favorite bands. That being said, listening to their discography, you can’t help but see how they have influenced so many bands of this generation: Band Of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab For Cutie, and Pedro The Lion, to name a few. Full of memorable riffs, bass grooves, and toe-tapping beats, Built To Spill are the epitome of consistency. There is not one of their albums that is not enjoyable if not fantastic. They are known for their live show, which is truly a showcase for their technical musical abilities. I usually nominate an album per band featured in every edition, but choosing one would be a slight of hand.

My Morning Jacket on tour now.

My Morning Jacket are on tour now.

LIVE: Speaking of My Morning Jacket… Having seen them live on Saturday night at the House of Blues right here in sunny rainy Orlando, FL, I can honestly say, it ranks with the best shows I have had the pleasure to see. I always say, a concert should not just be a band up there playing their songs verbatim, I could do that in my car, they should add something new, show their musical prowess. After all, you are putting on a SHOW. MMJ are the quintessential concert band, going off on 5-10 minute guitar solo tangents, adding entirely new portions to a song, and even mixing songs together. True amazement was awarded when they started playing “Highly Suspicious”, my least favorite MMJ song of all time (bordering hate). How they made that song enjoyable is a true testament to their live presence. 2 sets and 2 1/2 hours later, it was a night I will always remember.

The Spring Standards are brand new to the music scene, and according to their myspace, not even signed to a label yet. To be honest, I saw them on Conan O’Brien (see it below) over the weekend, and let’s just say, I was impressed. For an unsigned band that JUST released their debut EP, No One Will Know, recently performing on Conan as well as a video for Paste Magazine, that is pretty impressive. They bring an onslaught of melody and mixed vocals, not to mention their live presence; each member sings, plays their instrument, and also play a piece of percussion all at the same time. Fun indie pop for the almost ending summer.

– Ant