Friday, January 21, 2005
via Boingboing... PC Magazine's John Dvorak follows up on a column he wrote two years ago about the inexplicable popularity of x-rated search terms in relation to non-porn content.
"My editor, Lance Ulanoff, was shaking his head the other day over the column I had written called "Free Porn." The column, written nearly two years ago, was an exercise in propaganda, done to prove that the use of the word "porn" in a headline would jack up the readership of any column. This was an assertion promoted by my previous online editor, Don Willmott, who revealed the trick to me after looking at years of online stats. He'd used it himself when he needed to pump up his own numbers.
Ulanoff told me that I had to do a follow-up to the "Free Porn" column since it has consistently been in the top readership list since it was published. "It's unbelievable," he said. "Every month it shows up in the list of top page views. It's never at the top, but it keeps showing up." Perhaps it's never at the top because it has nothing to do with porn. Just the use of the word is enough to pump up the numbers. Are online readers so drawn to porn that they aggressively seek it out? No wonder the amount of pornographic e-mail come-ons has been slipping. Why bother with spam? Just set up a porn site and the readers will seek you out." Link.
Wonder what this will do for my site stats? Tee hee.
And hoorah - Radar is back! Unfortunately the Herald haven't got his column online (yet?), which is a shame - he writes at length on his pastiness, and the problems his pale skin presents during the summer months,... "I suspect that not even Queen Victoria's pallid buttocks were as fair as I am, with my skin haviing that shade of pale luminescence that verges on blue." Nice work, there, fella!
So, there we have it - porn and buttocks. What more do you want? Free music? Drugs? Alcohol? Well, go jump the fence at the Big Day Out. Later.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
check the Bubblegum Machine audioblog... "If it's ever been on K-Tel or Ronco, it's in. If it features hand claps, cow bells, syrupy orchestration, walls of sound, wrecking crews, sha-la-las, lyrics about hugging, squeezing and rocking all night long, toothy teen idols or candy-based metaphors for carnal acts, it's in." Someone suggested this is the kind of site John Waters would love. Get the picture?
Also on the musical tip, Locust St features scratchy old jazz tunes -discovered via this story. For more audio blogs, check Tofuhut's list of links, organised by genre, etc. Niceness.
David Thorpe from Something Awful went to his local bookstore and picked up ten music mags for a critique.
"This week, a near-fatal whim struck me. I decided to go to a local bookstore and buy every single music magazine I could get my immaculately manicured hands on.
All in all, I picked up ten magazines representing a wide base of styles and genres. Well, by “wide base of styles and genres” I mean “eight boring white-people rock and roll magazines, one hip hop magazine, and one that seems to be some sort of a death metal magazine. Here’s the full list: Rolling Stone, Spin, NME, Magnet, Pit, The Source, Q, Uncut, Alternative Press, and Filter.
If you’re an astute follower of music journalism, you probably recognize and hold a deep contempt for at least five of those..."
Yes, it's a fun game that you can play too - try this (free) variation. Go to your local magazine shop, count how many music magazines you see, then count how many you would buy.
One for any UK readers, catch "The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith" on BBC4 on Friday at 9pm. There's a great interview with Mark E Smith at the Guardian's site...
"My grandfather used to stand outside the local prison and hire lads who were coming out to work in his mill,' he replies. 'That's kind of how I recruit musicians. It's like, "You're on bass, so get cracking." Seems to work, mind,' he muses, lighting another fag and taking a long swig of cider. The combination of the fag and the cackle produces a rattling cough, which he deals with by hawking up and gobbing in the ashtray. 'The thing about most musicians,' he continues, oblivious to the aghast looks of our fellow drinkers, 'is that they are not very interesting company. Don't tend to read much. I like to make sure they know from the start that the Fall is a job of work like any other. It's the same deal whether you're playing to 20 or 20,000. Discipline, that's what counts.'" The Fall - 28 years and still going...
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
PURPLE HAZE GALANG GALANG - so, who is M.I.A?
"In a compact flat amid the bedsit land of Shepherd's Bush, west London, Maya Arul and two cohorts spraypaint stencil designs on to a pile of white-label 12" singles. The logo spells out "MIA", which happen to be her initials, as well as standing for the dreaded war jargon "missing in action", though Arul says it stands for "missing in Acton" (a nearby neighbourhood)..." From the Independent.
They describe her sound as "a mix of Jamaican dancehall and hip hop, though Arul sings in her own distinctive style that takes in Missy Elliott, Jamaican toasters and UK vocalists such as Estelle and Shystie. "People say I'm a musical blotting paper and I like that. I'm a living, breathing mixtape. I like dancehall beats, but because I'm Sri Lankan I have to ride the beats in a more melodic fashion. In Asia, melody is everything."
The lowdown on M.I.A. - real name: Maya Arulpragasam (via Brooklyn Vegan) - she's from London via Sri Lanka, and her song Galang is one of the best things I heard recently. Great interview with her in the New Yorker over here. The Galang video is available online here. Or if you're in LA or NY in early February, catch her live with Diplo on the decks, which should be madness. Her site says she's touring as support for Roots Manuva round the UK late Feb/early March too. (Image from Catchdubs)
ADDED: just got sent this link (cheers to the folk at Flavour) - the brand new video from Diplo, for the Diplo Rhythm, shot in Sth America. Kraftwerk gone Brazilian?
Also via BV... Download more Prince than you know what to do with.
Been listening to the M.I.A./Diplo mixtape all afternoon, brilliant stuff. It's called Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol 1, more here and a review here. It's long since sold out, but may be getting a re-release as a fundraiser for the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.
Monday, January 17, 2005
"I don't know if I'd bother going to that Big Day Out."
The weekend papers were full of Big Day Out coverage, my fave slice being Herald writer (and former esteemed editor of Real Groove) John Russell's interview with Judah Bauer from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Bauer clearly didn't want to do the interview; "my enthusaiasm level for interviews is not high", he said, but he went the distance, noting that interviews are "a necessary evil in the world of art and commerce." Poor guy.
At the end of the interview Bauer fires back a question of his own, asking who else is playing; "no one's told me anything about it". Russell replies, "Well for starters, you've got Beastie Boys, Slipknot, Le Tigre, Hives, Polyphonic Spree, The Streets, System of a Down, The Donnas..." Bauer interrupts. "I don't know if I'd bother going to that Big Day Out".
I saw the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on their first visit here back in 99, and it was easily one of the best gigs I've ever seen. You know how overseas bands come down here, stroll out onstage and ease into their set cos they're tired and they've come a long way (boo hoo), and hit their stride after 3 or 4 songs? Well, the Blues Explosion walked onstage, Jon Spencer hit his guitar strings to check it was working, then BOOM! They were already blasting along at 100% within two seconds of the first song. Absolutely incredible energy. Definitely worth bothering to go out of your way to see em. Even if Mister Bauer don't really wanna be there.
Simon has added some BDO recollections over here. Free record company alcohol is a slippery slope at the best of times, you might say.
ADDED: Give it up for Rich Harrison.
via Jay Smooth... this tune is seriously funky, not so sure on the vocals, but if I can hook up an instrumental of this, hot damn!
"We shall henceforth refer to it as Rich Harrison "One Thing" (ft. Amerie), because the one thing that matters here is that Meters-on-steroids beat. I kinda wish he'd given this to Yonce or even Mary, cuz Amerie's voice isn't strong enough to carry it.
On last week's show DJ 3D was raving about "Get Right," the new single by Pro Tools Autotune (featuring J Lo). "It sounds like real instruments instead of sound modules, and has an actual snare drum on it!" Turns out this one's a Rich Harrison production too, and luckily there's a bootleg version of with Usher on vocals instead, as noted at Different Kitchen.
So Rich is damn sure the man right now. So far he's leaning towards the post-hip-hop school of R&B songwriting, i.e. "make a beat and then throw some vocals riffs on top of it" instead of "compose a melody/chord structure/lyrics and build around that." But he's got the chops to make it work." Also cop it here.