jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Wow.

Sounds like Peter Buck decided to plug his guitar back in after a decade or so... O_O...

Seriously...I'm liking this new album QUITE a bit.

As in, "first REM album I've truly liked this much since Green, to tell the truth."

And that's saying a LOT, actually...
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Random weekend update:

[Writing] Still complaining that it's taking too long for me to finish off a chapter for the LLB rewrite. Don't mind me...just nod, say I'm doing a good job, and ignore the rest of my whining... :p

[Music] I got nothin'. Oh wait--yes I do. Currently moving a boatload of mp3s from one external to another because somehow the J Drive got all used up. Guess I didn't divvy it up as evenly as I thought... So this means that the links on my MusicMatch are going to be all wonky when I start it up again. Will neead to fix those once I get it up and running again.

[Roadtrip] Emm and I drove to Tracy, CA today to do a bit of shopping. Yeah, it's a good fifty some-odd miles away, but you know what? There's a Sonic up there and the food was GOOD. :)

That's all for now...

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Citgo Sign)
Okay, so last night I'd decided to add a tertiary (as in "there to fill some of the space") to a scene in Chapter 2 of LLB, and decided to name him Brian Getchell, after the Boston artist with the same last name (Scott Getchell--great artist for the Phoenix, but sadly his personal website is down).

Which made me think of when I used to live there during my college days and after--basically the whole of the 90s. Specifically of the comic strip newspaper that was out at the time that sold for fifty cents and was on sale pretty much everywhere. Thing is, I can't for the life of me remember what it was called (Boston Weekly Comics or something like that, but I could be mistaken). Does anyone remember what it was called, and if so, does one know if there is any mention online of said weekly?

And while we're at it, if anyone can come up with music, local or not, that they remember most fondly from that timeframe would be cool. It's partly research for the on-and-off-again Radio Radio project. Song titles, remembrances, whatnot, the floor's open. :)

If not, no big...just reliving old memories here. :p
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
The RIAA revives the single format. Sort of.

I can't decide whether or not this is a good idea. In short, two of the major distributors (Sony BMG, and Universal Music Group--sheesh, I remember when those two were four separate majors) are contemplating releasing maxi-cd singles with three or four tracks and an additional mini-track "ringtone" uploadable to phones. This is all well and good, and it would be nice to see singles again, but at the same time I can see a few problems that would arise from the idea--most of all being that in my opinion, the people who use ringtones usually get them online, not from hard-copy cds. Then again, not every phone service has ringtones one is looking for (it took Virgin Mobile six months to create the ringtone of the "na-nah"s of Beck's "E-Pro"), so it could possibly work.

My suggestion: Main single with boring remixes = bad. Single with album tracks = okay. Single with non-album tracks or rarities = WIN! We really need to remind the majors that the cherished b-side track was NEVER a bad thing. ;)

More on this later...
jon_chaisson: (Default)
As part of Emm's funpacked birthday weekend, we had tickets to see Mamma Mia!, which has just opened here in SF again.

The Good: EXCELLENT show. A lot sillier than I expected it to be. Also, quite impressed with how they seamlessly weaved all those ABBA songs into a goofy and fun plot. Added to the fact that the comedic timing of the actors and actresses was dead-on perfect. And anyone who thought this might have something to do with the movie Muriel's Wedding would be sorely mistaken. ;) Highly reccommended to all, I'd say!

The Bad: I now have all those songs stuck in my head, dammit. *headdesk* :p


Next Up: A Naruto movie on Cartoon Network tonight, a Giants/Reds baseball game on the 22nd down the road at AT&T Park, Hawaii next month, and the opera The Magic Flute on October 28th! Yup, we iz kultchurd! ;)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Well, I think this weekend worked out just fine. While spending yesterday writing and doing errands (including doing a few loads of laundry that got clean and dry without a hitch this time), we also found the time to go to our favorite haunt, Tiernan's, which we haven't gone to in quite some time. The day came to a close with the usual Saturday anime shows. We also made plans for next weekend to drive up to Sacramento for the California State Fair, which Emm is all asquee about.

Today we took a trip up to Amoeba up in the Haight, which we haven't done in awhile. I had some more stuff to sell off and got a decent amount of store credit ($164!) and somehow ended up not spending it all. Emm found some nifty stuff in the dvd section, where she usually goes while I make my way through the cds. Our purchase today:

CDs:
--Blaqk Audio, CexCells
--Happy Mondays, Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches.
--HelloGoodbye, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
--Paul McCartney, All the Best!--the UK version, which has different and hard-to-find non-US tracks
--Rooney, Calling the World
--Social Distortion, Greatest Hits
--Paprika (the soundtrack)

DVDs:
--Ergo Proxy, Vol. 1
--Hamlet (the Kenneth Branagh version, which Emm has been waiting for ages to be released!)
--Starship Operators Vol. 1 and Vol. 3 with the box

(Sidenote: [livejournal.com profile] head58, you'd really like the Blaqk Audio cd--it's very Depeche Mode/Information Society/Camouflage/Alphaville/Red Flag/pre-industrial Ministry/Cabaret Voltaire with a bit of really good Eurotechno thrown in. I am SO diggin' this album right now.)

Added to the fact that a hairdresser-in-training had accosted Emm while we were in the CD section, asking if she would be interested in taking part in a haircutting project...

But wait! There's more! We stopped at a really good cafe on Cole Street (all the other places on Haight we wanted to go to, including Magnolia, were PACKED, and this place was nearly empty) and had very tasty sammiches washed down with good iced coffee and a big chocolate chip cookie. And from there we took the N-Muni back to the center of town, only to get off at the Civic Center stop. Why? Because the Main branch of the SF library was there! Geeks that we are, we stopped in and hung out there for a good hour or so to pick up stuff. No, I don't take out cds from the library for the sole purpose of ripping them to my hard drive, why do you ask? We made it home with our loot and we're all happy now.

And it occured to the both of us that I am an incredibly cheap date today--the most we spent was about $8 each on the sandwiches and drinks and an additional $2 on the cookie. Everything else we got today we didn't pay a dime for.


So yeah, all in all, a good weekend. Now to kick back and relax!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
I don't know what's happening, but for some odd reason I'm finding myself liking a lot of the poppier Top 40 stuff that VH1 is playing. [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon and I have been watching their morning video shows and the Top 20 Video Countdown almost every Saturday for the past few months, and quite enjoying it. And I haven't enjoyed pop music this much since the mid 80s, and it's kind of freaking me out. It's not as if I don't have access to alternative music anymore (I thank Live 105, KFOG and Alice 97.3 for that), but damn it, I'm a nonconformist! I'm not supposed to like pop music! It goes against my nature! [/snark]

Cases in point:



Justin Timberlake, "Lovestoned/I Think She Knows"--damn it, this is funky, and it's full of 80s-style human-beatbox goodness. Probably the same reason I actually had NSYNC's "Pop" on single for awhile.




Nelly Furtado, "Do It"--tell me this isn't a long-lost Paula Abdul demo or something that a Prince protege recorded and never released. Very 80s but in a good way!




Kanye West, "Stronger"--Daft Punk samples, shiny visuals, an Isotoner reference, and creative use of blocking swears. Kanye wins AGAIN. 'nuff said.




Rooney--"When Did Your Heart Go Missing?"--HOLY 80S, BATMAN. A Ferris Bueller band name, a video shot on an L.A. beach, and a song that sounds straight from a John Hughes movie. All that's missing is Molly Ringwald.


And this is the freaky bit--



Nickelback, "Rockstar"--Emm and I both agree that everytime we get to the point we can't stand this band, they turn around and come out with something really fun like this.


I think it's the fact that I find pop music is best when it's kept simple and not following a trend (like, say, the rap metal of the late 90s or the recent r&b/rap stuff that refuses to have a normal beat). Okay, so maybe a lot of it is emulating the 70s sound, or at least inspired by it, and maybe that's part of the appeal for us.

*sigh* I think I may have lost my indie cred. :p
jon_chaisson: (Default)
AP had an interesting story on Yahoo! News about the good and the bad about Greatest Hits compilations the other day...it's a fun read, and brings up a lot of good points.

Bypassing the obvious point that online music sites have pretty much made compilations a moot point, the article does bring up a lot of interesting points about the why and the when of Greatest Hits compilations. One of the biggest points is whether or not a band should release one. Sure, it made sense way back in the day when some bands were primarily singles-based acts rather than album-oriented, but nowadays there are some bands who come out with compilations either a little too early in their career, or a little too often.


Best of ! Most of !
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves !
Buy both, and feel deceived


Sometimes I wonder why some bands and performers come out with compilations so quickly. Some are obviously 'contractual obligation albums' (thanks to Monty Python for that phrase) made to have something out on the charts when the original slew of singles from the album has been bled dry. And it's frustrating when some bands come out with compilations that obviously have everything you already have. Understandable that these are mostly aimed at getting newer fans hooked on albums. But then there are bands and performers who come out with rendundant compilations, such as Britney Spears (how many albums did she come out with before then? Two? Three?), Aerosmith (O Yeah! in 2002 and Devil's Got a New Disguise in 2006--with only one new album in between, and that was of old blues covers), and the relentless repackaging with Sony's Essential series (great compilations themselves, but nothing we haven't seen before). Most of these types of compilations are put together by the labels rather than the bands themselves (they only give it the go-ahead), with maybe a rarity or a new song thrown in for good measure.


Re-issue ! Re-package ! Re-package !
Re-evaluate the songs
Double-pack with a photograph
Extra Track (and a tacky badge)


The Beatles themselves were never fond of greatest hits compilations, releasing only the A Collection of Beatles Oldies only in the UK and featuring nearly all singles and UK rarities while they were together. It wasn't until they broke up that Capitol and Parlophone decided to fill the post-Beatle years with no less than eight different compilations between 1973 and 1982. Not to mention that when their contract with Apple ran out in 1975, John, George and Ringo all came out with compilations. Out of all of those post-band compilations, only Rarities and Live at the Hollywood Bowl had anything of note that fans didn't already have. And even with two more compilations in the 90s (Yellow Submarine Songtrack and 1) that did moderately well, it wasn't until 1995-96's Anthology series and last year's Love that we got something even remotely new. But...the Beatles being so famous and loved, we'll pick them up anyway. Or at least I do. ;)

And then there's The Cure...god love 'em, they're a great band, but during the 90s and early this decade they hardly put out anything new after 1989's Disintegration. Only three albums of new stuff--the great Wish in 1992, the underwhelming Wild Mood Swings in 1996, and the strained Bloodflowers in 2000--were surrounded with compilations and live albums: Mixed Up(1990), Show,Paris and the Sideshow EP in 1993/4, Galore in 1997 (a sort-of continuation of 1986's Standing on a Beach, but really showing how far downhill the band had gone in the 90s), Greatest Hits in 2001, and the Join the Dots box set of b-sides and rarities in 2004. The self-titled album of new stuff in 2004 was actually a great return (and finally a great new direction for them), but at this point the wait is just a bit too long.

A-list, playlist
"Please them , please them !"
"Please them !"
(sadly, THIS was your life)


Like I said, I understand the basic idea behind the greatest hits compilation--it's mostly to bring in new fans, especially the ones who don't want to go out of their way and pick up all the other albums by the band. I admit I've bought greatest hits for that very reason...Hatful of Hollow was my introduction to the Smiths, Standing on a Beach to the Cure, and Gold Mine Trash the obscure band Felt. And I've also picked up compilations that were just flat-out great, even though I have all their stuff already (Wire's The A-List, Depeche Mode's Singles 86>98, The Clash's The Story Of... and so on). And for bands that were not especially mainstream at the time, this made sense.

But when now-huge bands like Aerosmith, REM, U2 and The Cure and even Depeche Mode (last year's Best of) come out with such redundant compilations, it makes me wonder why they're doing such things. It also adds to my frustration of bands waiting at least two or three years between albums only to come out with filler like this. Sure, they're busy on tour and don't have time to come out with anything new, but then again, the Beatles put out two albums a year from 1963 to 1965 while they were touring. I'd rather see new albums than more of the same. Especially if they're going to tack on only one or two new songs.

I'd rather download the new song rather than buy the same songs for a third time, thank you very much. For the most part, I leave the compilations to the new fans...which sometimes does include myself. ;)

------------

(italicized lyrics from "Paint a Vulgar Picture" by The Smiths)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Man Punched for Singing Coldplay Song

From Yahoo Music News...

A Coldplay fan has been beaten up following their rendition of "Yellow" in a karaoke bar.

The incident took place in Seattle on Thursday (August 9) at Changes.

As the unnamed man took the stage to sing the song, a woman reportedly declared: "Oh no, not that song. I can't stand that song!"

She then leaped at the would-be singer, shouted expletives at him and told him his singing "sucked," while expressing the same opinion of the song, according to a Seattle police report.

She pushed the man and punched him, all in an effort to stop his singing.

Other patrons went to the singer's aid and hauled the 21-year-old woman outside.

Robert Willmette, one the barmen at Changes, said: "It took three or four of us to hold her down."

According to the barman, the woman "went crazy" when she got outside, punching him twice in the face.

The police were called and blocked the whole street off.

The officers took the woman, whom Willmette described as "a little hippie girl," to the ground.

She assaulted the police officer and was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault, reports the Seattle P.I. paper.




I mean, it's not their best song by far, but DAMN...
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Yesterday while Emm and I were on our way to St. Helena and stuck in heavy traffic, most of it going to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom up in Vallejo, we found ourselves listening to a good number of radio stations. We usually listen to Live 105, which is our alternative rock station (for those of you in the Boston area, think WFNX), which is currently having a retro 90s show going this weekend, fittingly titled "Smells Like the 90s". ;) However, they have a penchant for playing the same Smashing Pumpkins and Rage Against the Machine songs--"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and "Renegades of Funk", respectively--and with disturbing frequency. So off to the different stations we went!

We're finding our other favorite station is Alice 97.3. It's an Adult Alternative station, but they play some pretty damn cool music when need be...and their Sunday morning ambient techno show is quite teh awesome. :)

And when those stations failed, I remembered--finally--that our local NPR station KQED has the two shows I used to love listening to on Saturday mornings back east--Car Talk and Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. So finally yesterday we listened to the last half of Wait Wait while literally waiting in traffic. It was fun (Emm was answering most of the questions as they were being asked!) and I really think we should listen to those shows more often!

-----------

For quite awhile on Saturdays I would jump in the car and drive either up to Keene or up to Winchester NH and then down to Shop 'n Save for stuff, all while listening to these two shows. And then in the evenings, if I was heading back from a B&N trip to Leominster, I'd be listening to Prairie Home Companion. I miss listening to weekend radio, but we hardly have time to enjoy it, since we're either going on road trips, going shopping, or watching stuff on TV. If I can squeeze it back into my schedule again, though, I should. I've already checked to see when those three shows are on KQED, I just have to find the time to listen!

-----------

Another thing I miss is listening to college radio on weekends. When I was a senior in high school, it was part of my weekend routine--listening to WAMH while doing homework or waiting for the school week to start. Once I moved to Boston and went to college, ironically enough the college station I listened to wasn't Emerson's, but Boston College's, WZBC. And after moving back home, it was back to WAMH again. It wasn't the same as the old days (college stations nowadays seem to go for as many different genre shows as possible, which is a bit irritating, but what can you do?), but I made do. Either way, however, one of the weird side effects of listening to college radio on the weekends was that I found an unexpected appreciation for college sports, specifically basketball and especially football. I keep telling myself I should go to some college football games (UC Berkley and Stanford are both within driving distance, I see no reason why I shouldn't go), and eventually I'll make good on that plan. But until then, I should find when the games are on the station and give them a listen!

Now that we're in SF, I haven't gotten around to finding a good college station here, although I hear that UC Berkeley's station KALX and University of San Francisco's KUSF are quite the subversive station catering to my tastes. Perhaps this coming season/semester I'll do some research to see which stations are where, what they're playing, and go from there. I think Emm and I have both been watching TV too much (and I've been goofing on the internet too much), and both of us feel we should be listening to more radio. Especially when we're whining that nothing's on! :p

More on this later...
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Cheap Trick Puppet Show and Friends cover Sgt Pepper and other Beatle hits at the Hollywood Bowl

Now, most of this sounds like a lot of fun, Cheap Trick doing random Beatle covers with Joan Osbourne, Aimee Mann, the lead singer of Gomez, and a few others...but seeing "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" performed by Cheap Trick, Al Jourgensen and an orchestra...yes, Al being the lead singer/guitarist of industrial band Ministry...this is one cover song I'd LOVE to hear. I always figured that's one Beatle song that could use an industrial metal touch. ;)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Another video from the 90s...



I only put this here because their parody of Matt Pinfield is dead on. ;)

That's enough video for the day...sorry if I broke anyone's f-list in the process! :p
jon_chaisson: (The People's Poet)
[NOTE: I find that Sundays are perfect for me to do some introspective writing on various things, as a)neither Emm nor I have anywhere pressing to go right away, and b)I really need to more writing of some kind. I want to see if I can make it a habit of writing an RTS Presents article more often, perhaps once a week or every other week. We'll see...]


Okay, so dealing with the "Ubseshun" I'd posted about a few days ago, about the Yahoo Music News article questioning whether getting rid of singles back in the day was a good idea or not.

The article itself is an interesting diatribe about how the advent of downloading songs has pretty much replaced going out and buying the single in the music biz. First of all, I have to say that in all honesty, the change was so slow and deliberate that it wouldn't surprise me if not a lot of people would have immediately made that connection. Sure, some may have thought that with the ever-increasing presence of downloading sites and programs like iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, MusicMatch and so on, they could just snag the one song rather than going to the local record store and buying the whole album.

My take on singles and music underneath the cut )
jon_chaisson: (Default)
So today, the last day of my vacation, I'm spending it doing laundry and listening to old 80s compilations via recreating them as a playlist on my MusicMatch. I'm also letting random writing ideas float around my head for two future projects: the as-yet-untitled war novel, and the Whiny Gen-X Novel with the current title of The Decline and Fall of Western Massachusetts.

And it suddenly dawns on me, while I'm listening to older music and thinking about rehashing these two ideas I'd had way back in the day, that I'm really having a problem trying to get into the recent spate of indie rock over the last few years. Not only that, but I'm finding myself listening more and more to the older stuff I still go on about...and realizing that I'm doing what back in the day I promised to myself I'd never do: become a mellowed-out nostalgic goofball whining about how crappy today's music is.

Okay, I give up. I admit it. I'm old. I'm 36 and I'm too poor/busy/distracted to follow the indie scene as closely as I used to. Time to put me out to pasture and write my memoirs. :p
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Here it is, December 31, and is it any surprise that I'm listening to a countdown right now? ;) Live 105 is doing theirs (it started at 10am and I'm just listening now--they're at 53, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie--so I'm sure some of you are surprised that I didn't start listening from the beginning like I've always done over the years). Offhand I'd say 2006's songs were better than last year's. And of course, any year where a Beatles album comes out is a good year. ;)

[Side note: my Best of 2006 list should be done sometime later on tonight, so you might not see it until tomorrow, but at least it will be done. Just so you know!]

I managed to get a lot done that I set out to do (which is kind of a surprise for me, given my slacker attitude sometimes), and given that I spent most of this year discovering things in and around our new hometown, I'm kind of happy that my "ooh shiny" ADD didn't kick in more often. I even managed to pretty much finish off the vampire novel (almost done, kids--coming very close! Just a few more hours' work here...). This year ended up pretty good.

Haven't really made any official "resolutions" (see previous post), other than both Emm and I decided we should discover more things in the city instead of going to all the same regular haunts all the time. And getting in shape! :p

Of course, 2007 is also The Year Jonc Goes Freelance. I'm going to make a commitment to leave the world of 9-to-5 once and for all and ply my mad writing skillz where they're appreciated and duly paid for. That's going to be one hell of a change for me, but I'm up for it. I will, of course, stay with the current job until I'm set to make the plunge (having money in the bank = good idea).

On that note, have a Happy New Year, people! Let's hope 2007 kicks ass! :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
I'm sure most of you know this already, but this is my absolute number one favorite song of all time. I'm still not exactly sure why, except that I just absolutely adore it. :)

[Error: unknown template video]

Oh--that, and further proof that 1988 is by far the best year for alternative music EVAR. ;)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
I think you need to get this album. It's a bit mellow, but I think it's right up your alley. :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
It's that time of the year again, so that means that:

A)I'll have to make my "Best of" compilations.
B)I'll have to make my "Best of" lists.

And since we don't have anything big on our schedule today, that means I can do that and get some stuff done. And in the interim I'm thinking I might do some writing too, just to start the year off correctly. :)

Of course, this means that I may have to download a few songs that I might have missed, but this being the year that it was, I didn't miss too much. At most I think I have about a dozen songs to download, so that won't put a big damper on my budget.

Stay tuned for Jonc's New and Improved Best of 2005 List, coming some time this afternoon (we hope)! :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:InsideAmoeba.JPG

This is Amoeba Music, one of the largest independent record stores in the world. It's in San Francisco, in the Haight-Ashbury district.

And a VERY dangerous place to let me go to alone.

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