Monday, February 26, 2007

Countdown to "The Year Zero" Continues!

Another new Nine Inch Nails website has been revealed:

Also, a fourth track has been "leaked," and it's called "In This Twilight" (you can download all four at

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you might want to read my earlier post regarding the upcoming Nine Inch Nails album!

There is also an article about all of the websites on

And, what I believe is probably the website for the album itself (, and some random graphic at, complete with a short video clip.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The RIAA Goes After Another Batch of Students

The RIAA has reportedly sent out infringement notices to around 15,000 college students recently. This marks an increase in these notices from last year. The 25 schools involved include Ohio, Purdue, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Tennessee, University of South Carolina, Michigan State, and University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

I am conflicted on this issue. As a songwriter, I don't like the idea of people stealing artist's intellectual property. However, I think the record industry has brought this on themselves with their evil, greed-based practices. I think I would feel better about these lawsuits if I thought the artists and songwriters would actually see a dime from them, but we know they won't.

On the other hand, I often hear file-sharers justify what they are doing using a similar argument: "the artists don't get any of that money anyway!" If this is truly why you are stealing music, then for every track you have stolen, you should send some money directly to the artists and the songwriters!

Links for further info:
Yahoo - AP: Recording Industry Targets Colleges
Digital Music News - RIAA Steps Up University Anti-Piracy Campaign
Hypebot - The RIAA Smack Down Of 15,000 College Students
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Album Recorded on an iPod

Yes, you heard me correctly! Folk artist Jimmy Camp recorded a 10-song CD using only an iPod, with no overdubs. It's sort of a one-man band type of recording, with acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals, and a few percussion instruments. He recorded it using a live mixer, a couple of SM58's, and one of those $70 Belkin adapters on his iPod.

Here's someone using modern technology (albeit very lo-fi) to record an album like they used to do in the early analog days. You can listen to the tracks and even see a brief documentary on the process at his website:
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Stan Lee Strikes Again!

Did anyone else notice the cameo appearance by (Marvel Comics legend) Stan Lee in tonight's episode of "Heroes?"
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Worldwide Listening Party

An online, worldwide listening party will be held Feb. 15 for the new album by the band Air, entitled "Pocket Symphony." All you have to do is sign up for their mailing list. Go to
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Attention Fellow Nine Inch Nails Fans

Regarding the upcoming Nine Inch Nails concept album, the following websites have been discovered by fans, following a clue found on the back of a tour t-shirt:

Finally, here's a link to a discussion thread that ties some of it together:

Update: Three "linked tracks" can be found here:
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More Bad News for Analog Fans

Quantegy recently officially announced that it is discontinuing what looks like almost it's entire line of magnetic tape products. This includes analog reel-to-reel tape, as well as digital audio tapes and video tapes. They will be taking orders through the end of February, so you might want to stock up if you use these products!

This has been a long time coming. In spring of 2005, the company almost had to shut down, but was bought out at the last minute. However, it was obviously only a brief reprieve. Quantegy has been the only company still manufacturing reel-to-reel analog tape for at least a few years. However, ATR Magnetics has promised to pick up the ball, although they have not officially released any tape products as yet.

Still, you might want to stock up on Quantegy tapes, just to be safe!
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Monday, February 12, 2007

A More Important Awards Show

While those of us not living in New York City had to settle for watching the Grammys on TV, a far more important show was happening in New York City. It was not televised, so you wouldn't be able to see it unless you lived there. I'm talking about the Plug Independent Music Awards.

Plug is entirely devoted to independent music, and one could safely call it the polar opposite of the Grammys! I especially like this quote from the website:"PLUG is about the artists who inspire and the music that disrupts the artistic and corporate mediocrity that dominates our culture."

If you're interested, you can see this year's winners listed on the website, and support them by buying their music. You can also vote for your favorite artists next November, and have a say in who wins next year!
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Sunday, February 11, 2007


OK, so we all know it's lame...It's an inbred popularity contest, and many of the nominations inspire a "Wha...?" from musically educated people. However, just like an roadside accident you can't look away from, I always have to watch the Grammys. Every year, without fail, there are great moments, and there are cringe-inducing moments.

Here are some of my favorite great moments:
  • The Police!! (Need I say more?)
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend, and John Mayer performing together!
  • Classy survivor Mary J. Blige getting some recognition!
  • Jazz legend Ornette Coleman honored with a lifetime achievement award, and actually allowed to appear on the program. I was laughing at how many idiots in the audience had no clue who he was!
  • Lifetime achievement awards for the Doors, the Grateful Dead, and Booker T and The MG's. Shouldn't they have been honored many years ago?
  • Realizing that Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks is married to Adrian Pasdar, who plays Nathan Petrelli in my favorite TV show "Heroes."
  • I especially loved the Grammy in the Schools segment, having been involved in that program in the past. It's too bad that the message often falls on deaf ears! The arts will never be a priority in our schools!
  • On a personal note: seeing my old friend and one-time "Fish This Big" bandmate Brendan Buckley (very vaguely on the edge of the screen) playing drums for Shakira.

Now for just a few of the "Cringe-Inducers":
  • James Blunt...I'm glad he didn't win anything
  • Rascall Flats butchering the Eagles! The guitar player messed up twice during the "Hotel California" solo. You can't play such a recognized solo and make a mistake!
  • The ridiculous attempt to seem relevant by staging an "American Idol" type of contest, where the winner gets to perform onstage with Justin Timberlake. Who cares?
  • Justin Timberlake

Of course, there are always a few tearjerkers, especially when they remind you of who we lost in the last year. Is it me, or did we lose quite a few important ones this year? I still can't believe JB is gone, as well as Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee!

It always seems like only about 50% of the music nominated is actually cutting-edge or even remotely relevant, and I'm probably being generous with that number. Next year is the 50th Grammy Award Ceremony. Perhaps to mark the occasion they will actually try to get somewhere near 70%!
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Are Your Non-Musical Influences?

I just finished watching a documentary on the SciFi channel called "The Sci Fi Boys." It brought back quite a few memories. I had forgotten how, as a boy who was an avid scifi and horror fan, some of these people seemed like rock stars to me. Names like Forrest J. Ackerman, Ray Harryhausen, George Pal, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein seemed like household names to me, while most of my classmates did not know who these people were at all. I, however, was an avid reader of "Forry" Ackerman's magazine "Famous Monsters of Filmland." "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Time Machine" were probably my two favorite movies as a kid. By the time I was in high school, I had read most of Ray Bradbury's books, and I did indeed read every book ever written by Robert Heinlein!

The documentary was, of course, about how the early directors, writers, animators, makeup/effects artists, and one magazine publisher influenced the next generation of scifi/horror filmmakers. Interestingly, though, these people were also an influence on me, and I did not go into the film business. Of course, if I think about it, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, John Romita, Frank Miller, and many other Marvel Comics writers and artists from the 1960's-1980's held rock-star-like status for me, but I never went into the comic business. I chose to go into music. And yet, comics, scifi and horror were a big part of my life, so they must have had an influence on my later work, even though I went into a different creative field.

When you read an interview of a band, artist, or songwriter, they are usually asked about their musical influences. Just last night in my singer/songwriter class, I asked several songwriters who they listened to. However, you rarely hear musicians asked about what they read, what kind of movies they watch, or who their favorite (visual) artists are. So, I would like to ask any of my blog readers who are musicians right now: What are your non-musical influences? I want to hear from you!
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's All About The Hype

This has annoyed me for many years, but I seem to get more and more annoyed by it as I grow older. You know the type of person I am talking about - the person who exaggerates or just plain lies about their accomplishments just to make themselves look better. We get more than our fair share of these in the music biz, but you can find them almost everywhere, even in academia. For now, we will call these people "Hypesters" (I would have used "hyper," but it's already taken.)

Conventional wisdom tells those of us who do not possess this skill that the Hypesters will eventually "get theirs." However, there are usually enough gullible people who believe the hype, and the Hypesters can often con them into almost anything. Interestingly enough, some Hypesters are very shrewd, choosing lies that will be difficult to verify, while some are not very intelligent about their subterfuge at all. Shrewd or not, many of them get away with it for years, if not their entire lives.

Often, Hypesters have a knack for finding people with alot more talent and alot less self-confidence than themselves. We will call them "Einsteins." Hypesters are usually able to somehow manipulate Einsteins into being their unwitting slaves. As a result, the Hypester will often rise to even greater heights of glory, while the Einstein must hide in the shadows.

Let's face it, we are surrounded by many Hypesters who are wildly successful. It seems like far fewer Einsteins are able to achieve that kind of success. In fact, we are usually very gratified to see a true Einstein achieve success, because we know it was well-earned!

So, would you rather be a Hypester or an Einstein?
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