Friday, April 30, 2010

Apple shutting down Lala

Yeah, I'm pretty ticked too.

Rolling Stone reported this afternoon that, a music streaming site that had recently been acquired by Apple, will be shut down by May 31st. No reason has been given for its closure.

While I did not use the website much, this is still something that annoys me. Lala was a very convenient streaming site; we tended to utilize its playlist feature a lot on, particularly with album reviews and our "Songs That Make You Wanna..." series. The convenience was in being able to add full albums or a playlist of your choice to a story so that you could show your readers rather than just tell them about a song or album.

I've used the Lala feature on this blog myself twice. I like to think it was helpful, though it's hard to say since who knows how many people are actually reading this. I certainly can say that the players helped on ACRN's site. We're going to need to find a new means to post full albums, or even just single songs, for our reviews and features, that's for sure.

At least I've still got my Spotify.

Letterman getting into music business?

Reports are that Late Show host David Letterman and his World Wide Pants Inc. company have opted to start his own record label. The label will be known as Clear Entertainment/C.E. Music.

The first signee to the label is Huntington Beach's Runner Runner. Looks like a good find for Letterman. Perhaps we'll see them on the Late Show soon? Or might that be a conflict of interest?

Either way, this is an interesting venture for Letterman, though he does seem to be an avid music fan from past viewings of his show. And chances for new record labels and up-and-coming artists to flourish are always good, right?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The dynamic duo reunite

Upcoming documentary 180' South will feature songs from various notable artists, including the Shins' James Mercer and Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. According to a Rolling Stone report, Mercer and Brock collaborated on a handful of tracks in Brock's studio.

Other contributors to the soundtrack include Jack Johnson, Mason Jennings and the band Love and Laughter. It will be released on Brushfire Records. Emmett Malloy, whose most recent production is the White Stripes' Under Great White Nothern Lights film, will oversee this project as well.

Being a fairly massive Isaac Brock (and Modest Mouse in general) fan, I'm quite intrigued as to what will come out of this. I've been nothing more than a casual fan of the other singers and bands contributing, but Brock's involvement is the deal-breaker for me. That and Mercer and Brock historically work well together; Mercer sang backup on four of the songs from Modest Mouse's 2007 record We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which happens to be one of my favorite albums. A sample:

Unless my geography skills fail me, the closest the film is currently coming to Ohio is Minneapolis, though there are apparently hopes to expand the showing list soon.

Rolling Stone's new website

The music magazine giant revamped their website this week. As with most website makeovers, it'll take a while to get used to, but I think it's definitely a step in the right direction.

The scrolling news-fader at the top of the front page is a nice touch. I also believe it to be a lot easier to find the main news stories than it was in previous, more primitive times.

That being said, I still think the site could use a lot more video content, especially on the front page. This is 2010; video needs to be a huge part of news websites, no matter their specialization. Yeah, there are a few videos on the front page, but they're hard to find and not even that advertised. Rolling Stone seems to be a bit behind in this regard.

Ah, well. I still am digging the site. I think more changes should and will be made in the coming weeks, but it's good to see that Rolling Stone is actually doing something to change.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jay-Z sues David Ortiz over club name

Notable rapper Jay-Z made headlines recently after announcing that he would sue Boston Red Sox designated hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz over--wait for it--the name of Ortiz's new nightclub in the Dominican Republic. Its name? Forty-Forty.

First of all, let's go over why Jay-Z finds this worthy of a suit. The rapper and minor league pitcher Juan Perez are co-owners of their own establishments, known as 40/40. Billed as sports bar/lounges, these clubs exist in six different cities across the globe, including New York City. Basically, Jay-Z seems to think that Ortiz lifted the name of his club off of the rapper's.

What's the problem with that? Well, though Ortiz's club's name is the same/similar, it's true, I don't even think this should be an issue. For those of you non-baseball fans out there, 40/40 refers to a player who hits forty home runs and steals forty bases in a single season. So it's a baseball term for both. If anything, Ortiz didn't actually name his club Forty-Forty because Jay-Z's clubs are named as such. He did it because it's a baseball term.

In the long run, Ortiz probably will have to change it if an agreement can't be reached, because no matter his intentions, a similarity is a similarity.

Still. A lawsuit? Really, Jay-Z?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Foxy Shazam: a band from Ohio to actually give a damn about

Is it just me, or do most bands from Ohio nowadays that get national attention, to put it blatantly, suck?

I mean, granted, perhaps it's just my musical tastes coming into play here, but what do we have to show for these past few years? Hawthorne Heights? The Devil Wears Prada? Hit the Lights? Come on, now. Why can't we have a My Morning Jacket? A Modest Mouse? A Kings of Leon? What gives? Sure, we've got the Black Keys and plenty of other indie bands but where's the star power?

Fear not though, my fellow Ohioans. Our saviors have arrived.

Foxy Shazam, a six-piece out of Cincinnati, released their new self-titled disc today. And the ensuing praise is nothing to shrug off as unimportant. These guys have the ability, no doubt, to take the music world by storm.

What's so great about Foxy Shazam? Well, let me give you a sample:

More can be found on Lala's site or through the earlier-provided link.

I'll let you judge for yourselves, but I'm liking what I'm hearing. This band is truly a breath of fresh air, and I believe that the music industry needed this.

P.S.: As an added bonus, check out this video. Also be looking for it on MTVU, where it's been getting a couple spins a day!

Yeah, these guys are nuts, it's official.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weezy's new job

Despite being in prison, it appears as if Lil Wayne has found a new job.

Rolling Stone reports that Weezy is on, in effect, suicide watch. He's keeping watch over suicidal inmates, making sure they don't... well, you know.

The rapper has been in prison now since March, having been convicted and sent to prison in the first place for a 2007 gun charge. All has been relatively quiet since he left, which is totally understandable considering what he left us with before leaving. (Rebirth, anyone? Oh, ACRN plug!)

I must say, though: my favorite line of the Rolling Stone article? "He likes the job even though they don’t pay him much," Toya says of the Young Money multimillionaire.

“He likes the job even though they don’t pay him much,” Toya says of the Young Money multimillionaire.

Ah, Weezy. How does it feel to be making the same amount of money as the rest of us?

...except journalists. You're probably still beating us.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ah, 90s nostalgia. Why?

Here's the deal: I love music festival season. It's one of my favorite times of the year. Why? Because there's so much going on. You've got everything from humongous acts on top of the world to tiny buzz bands that only the hipster-ist of hipsters have heard of. You've got the weird dance acts that seemingly make no sense at ANY festival (hello, Coachella!). You've even got the random band-that-broke-up-like-ten-years-ago-but-decided-they-were-broke-and-decided-to-reunite acts. Seriously, it never fails.

Possibly the only thing that I enjoy more than the festival season itself is the ongoing revelations of each festival's lineups. I say this somewhat because I'm fully aware that the chances of me actually going to any of the festivals are almost always zero, so the only excitement I can really get is from watching all of the lineups unfold and seeing who's going where. And then I pretty much complain for lord only knows how long thereafter because I can't go. Once again, it never fails.

So the other day, I'm checking out the lineup of the Reading and Leeds Festivals (I have an unhealthy obsession with England, OKAY?) and one band in particular catches my eye for the absolute wrong reason. It's Limp Bizkit.

Limp Bizkit.


Sure enough, I check Pukkelpop's (I love fitting names) lineup and guess who appears there too? You guessed it! LIMP BIZKIT.

I haven't been this annoyed since Creed reformed. Why is Limp Bizkit back? Were they ever even gone? Who's going to go see them? Who'd want to see them?

Maybe I'm being too harsh.

...on second thought, no. I'm not.

I'm a firm believer that this band is one of the worst bands to ever rear its ugly head. I just never got them. I think I was into them when I was like 10 years old and thought singing "Nookie" at the top of my lungs on the playground would get me friends. (Spoiler alert: that's actually a really, really bad idea.) They redeemed themselves in my eyes once when they did the "Behind Blue Eyes" cover... but only because it didn't sound that much like Limp Bizkit! They instead sounded like your normal, horrible mainstream rock band. And it was a step UP!

The worst part is that apparently they've BEEN back. For like two years. How I missed this is beyond me, because usually I'm really creepy with knowing what bands are up to.

And I guess what it all comes down to is I can't see why someone at either of these festivals would want to see them. They're playing Rock on the Range also, which I can see them getting fans at because... well, it's Rock on the Range, let's think about who plays there. But my god... Limp Bizkit is NOT a festival band.


P.S.: they're coming out with a new album too. One of the working song titles? "Douchebag." Music gods, help us.