Month: March 2008

My very own Muxtape

My very own Muxtape

Music
For once I am actually aware of a hot new internet trend/fad before it's totally played out. Last week saw the launch of Muxtape, a site designed for one thing and one thing only: to allow users to share music. You register an account (an email is asked for but not verified) and receive a unique URL (which you give to others so they can hear your mix). Then you get down to uploading songs. That's it essentially. Each mix allows for up to 12 tracks, which stream but can't be downloaded. Well, not easily anyway. As for the legality of the whole thing...well let's just say I wouldn't bank on the site being around for too long. They throw up some boilerplate legal mumbo jumbo meant to cover their asses but I don't see it holding up if the labels come knocking on their door. So enj...
This Week in History! (March 24-30)

This Week in History! (March 24-30)

History
March 24, 1989: The Exxon tanker Valdez accidentally hits the state of Alaska, spilling about 11 million gallons of oil. Capt. Joseph Hazlewood was later convicted of negligent discharge of oil and failing to leave a note at the scene of an accident. What's scary is that it's not even one of the 50 worst oil spills of all-time. March 27, 1884: The first long-distance telephone call takes place, between New York and Boston. Contrary to urban legend, the content of the call was not "Red Sox suck!" March 27, 1998: The Food and Drug Administration approves the use of Viagra; sales of used Corvettes and Mustangs drop 78%. March 28, 1930: Constantinople changes its name to Istanbul; provides fodder for quirky rock bands of the future. March 28, 1979: An accident at the Three Mile ...
Album review: The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

Album review: The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

Music
I'm not sure if it can accurately be said that the Raconteurs' new album, Consolers of the Lonely, represents an unexpected left turn. After all, who's to say that their 2006 debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, isn't the aberration instead? Either way, fans looking for a repeat of the brilliant, trippy power pop of BBS would do best to just stick with that album. Consolers - steeped as it is in the blues, hard rock, and even vintage country - is an altogether different experience, so I expect the critics and fans to start taking sides now. The good news is that despite representing a radical departure in style, Consolers has groove and guts to spare, and it feels like a much more cohesive musical statement than BBS. Throughout, the Raconteurs play with supreme confidence and sounds like a...
YYFoo

YYFoo

Music
So this is pretty cool - a recent Foo Fighters show in Toronto was elevated to legendary status thanks to a guest appearance from two-thirds of Rush.  Witness "YYZ" with Taylor Hawkins, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson...
Retrotisement – TV Stratolounger

Retrotisement – TV Stratolounger

Retrotisements
Sure, the writer's strike is history and new shows are airing as we speak - but what of comfort? What of style? In my opinion, most modern furniture is simply not up to the task of providing optimum TV viewing enjoyment and relaxation. Enter...the TV Stratolounger with Relax-A-Vision©, circa 1960.   Honestly, does life get any better than this? Wait, don't answer that, Maverick is about to start. That James Garner is one mean sumbitch!
An A+ for the Bad Plus

An A+ for the Bad Plus

Music
It was quite a big weekend for the Bad Plus - in addition to a two-night stand at Chris' Jazz Café in Philadelphia, the Midwest-based jazz trio made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Friday. I caught them for the early set on Saturday (the 2nd night), and if there was any post-Conan letdown it was not apparent. The band played a tight set that showcased their strengths - chops, melody, and humor. (more…)
Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 2

Get to Know… Genesis – Pt. 2

Music
(Part 1 of my look at Genesis is here.) And so begins the second part of our exploration of the music of Genesis, now sans the costumes and theatrics of Peter Gabriel. After auditioning some well-known and unknown singers, the group finally decided to let drummer Phil Collins assume the mantle of frontman. It was a risky move, but one that reaped immediate dividends... A Trick of the Tail, 1976 (buy) Any doubts over Genesis' ability to function as a viable artistic unit post-Peter Gabriel were quelled with the release of A Trick of the Tail. While nothing on this album is quite as adventurous or weird as their previous work, it is no less satisfying. "Dance on a Volcano" gets things started with a bang, and sounds like it could have been recorded during the Lamb sessions. The ...
With this ring…

With this ring…

Advertising
The January/February 2008 issue of The History Channel Magazine (yes I subscribe) features some excellent content to commemorate Black History Month - a profile of prominent lawyer and rights activist William Henry Lewis and an expose of so-called sundown towns among them. So imagine my dismay when I saw a full-page ad in the same issue for this: Yeah I know that the reasons for the secession of the Southern states and the Civil War are numerous and complicated, but come on. This really is too much. Without even commenting on the utter tackiness of the ring itself - which I would expect to be worn by someone appearing on an episode of Cops - am I the only one who finds it a tad inappropriate that this thing is being advertised in the same issue of a magazine that shows pictures...