Monday, August 9, 2010

Unglued: Bands You Can't Google

Rumor has it that early-’00s rap-rock ensemble Linkin Park chose to spell its name all funny-like for a simple reason: Someone had already grabbed, so the band went with pre-K phonetics and created the world’s first known fusion of search engine optimization and gloppy nu-metal. Regrettably, thousands more were to come.

If you’re going to get noticed online, you need to snag the teeny attention spans of potential new fans while staying accessible to old ones. Many bands address this problem with unconventional, eccentric or exceedingly dopey names like Them Crooked Vultures, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Taylor Swift. Yet plenty more clearly did not get the memo, because no one gets memos anymore, because they’re all online stealing music. For instance, I recently received a PR pitch from a band called One. A Google search for this band turns up, in order: 1) a group fighting AIDS and poverty, 2) the integer before two and 3) coconut water, which was delicious, but my point remains.

Here are a few other bands bafflingly difficult to Google:

Picture from The Wonder

Television (CD - LP)Tom Verlaine’s proto-punk band formed in New York City in 1973 where holy crap are you kidding me $850 for a 40” Samsung? NICE!

Picture from Zoilus

Final Fantasy (CD - LP) : Canadian violinist Owen Pallett initially named his solo project after a convoluted role-playing game with 4,500 editions, which was a good move since gamers never have their own Web sites. But in December, Pallett announced he was “voluntarily” retiring the name to pursue his longtime dream of getting his own web traffic.

Picture from The Great 80s

Cinderella (CD - LP) : One wrong click and suddenly you’re on a page full of ornate period costumes, soaring magical anthems and fabulous hairstyles. There are also some sites about the Disney movie.

Picture from Dorkshelf

Health (CD - LP) : A name that needs care, and also reform.

Picture from The Sermon's Domain

The Game (CD - LP): Are you a rapper who wants people to follow your weird abusive-father relationship with Dr. Dre? Make it so all they have to do is go to Google News, type “Game” and then click through 25,000 pages and you’re all set.

Picture from Britannica

Love (CD - LP) : Despite what those ads tell you, it’s terribly hard to find this online.

  Picture From Melophobe

The xx (CD - LP) : You’re just one keystroke away from never being able to return to the public library.

Picture from Discogs

Girls (CD - LP): The only scenario in which searching for girls online is actually difficult. (See also: Barenaked Ladies.)

Picture from Discogs

!!! (CD - LP) : Turns out, Google only searches for keywords, not key punctuation marks. That’s probably why no one uses the crappy site anyway.

Picture From The Album Project

fun. (CD - LP) : Not.

Picture from Indie Rock Memories

The Band (CD - LP) : Really? The Band? Could you have come up with something less electrifying, like Some Guys In A House? Good luck trying to get famous or record an album with a folk-rock icon or have your farewell concert shot by an iconic American filmmaker with that name, jerks.

10 Worst Rock Operas by James Sullivan

For every rock opera as artistically and commercially successful as Pink Floyd' s 'The Wall' or Green Day's 'American Idiot,' there are several more that barely earn their classification as a "musical." Here are 10 concept albums that were notably unclear on the concept.

From Spinner

'Psychoderelict,' Pete Townshend10. 'Psychoderelict,' Pete Townshend
If the Who get two entries on any Top Ten list of best rock operas, resident storyteller Townshend can surely take a mulligan for this wild, loopy swing from 1993. Voice-over dialogue advances a garbled tale of an aging rocker, while the actual aging rocker putters around with half-done riffs and salvaged synth parts from some of the Who's most recognizable hits. Shanked it!

'Greendale,' Neil Young 9. 'Greendale,' Neil Young (Buy CD)
Well known for his brilliant flights of fancy and his periodic lapses in judgment, the great Neil Young took a stand against the Bush administration with his 2003 environmental opus, telling the story of the Green family. They're Green -- get it? Young normally shoots sparks when he's jacking up the electric bill with his sometime compadres in Crazy Horse. Here, they sound almost literally like they're phoning it in.

'The Pick of Destiny,' Tenacious D 8. 'The Pick of Destiny,' Tenacious D
Yes, we're aware this 2006 Tenacious D concept album is a parody. The guest appearance of Meat Loaf, not to mention Dave Grohl as the Devil, makes that apparent. But if a little Jack Black goes a long way, this much goes so far we may never find our way back.

'Goes to Hell,' Alice Cooper7. 'Goes to Hell,' Alice Cooper (Buy CD - LP)
In this one from 1976, the ghoulish rocker serves up a goulash of styles: twangy ballads ('I Never Cry'), beatnik jive ('I'm the Coolest'), Neil Sedaka-ish piano-pounding ('Give the Kid a Break'), even disco rock ('You Gotta Dance'). For these transgressions and more, the onetime hellion deserved to be banished forevermore to the golf courses of Arizona.

'The Beat Goes On,' Vanilla Fudge6. 'The Beat Goes On,' Vanilla Fudge (Buy LP)
A true epic of overindulgence, in 1968 the Fudge followed up their breakthrough single, a heavy cover of the Supremes' 'You Keep Me Hangin' On,' with an absurdly high-concept symphonic suite based on a recurring motif of Sonny and Cher's 'The Beat Goes On.' There are variations on Beethoven, spoken-word interludes, sitars, even -- we kid you not -- a Hitler sample. Dig it!

'... The Life of Chris Gaines,' Garth Brooks5. '... The Life of Chris Gaines,' Garth Brooks
The country superstar's weird, grunge-y alter-ego seemed like a momentary excuse to play dress-up in overlong bangs and a soul patch. In 1999, apparently tired of catering to the riding-mower set, Brooks imagined himself an alt-rock heartthrob with a big-scale biopic on the way. No one bought it.

Blows Against the Empire 4. 'Blows Against the Empire,' Jefferson Starship
The first album released under the new Starship name, in 1970, this was really a Paul Kantner solo project, with help from some members of the Airplane themselves, the Grateful Dead and many others. Predictably, it's a fuzzy-headed affair, from a folkish ditty that envisions a 'Baby Tree' to a ponderous orchestration about "civilized man."

'Kilroy Was Here,' Styx 3. 'Kilroy Was Here,' Styx (Buy CD)
Set aside for a moment the fact that Dennis DeYoung's chintzy 1983 concept album about humankind's mechanized future gave us the timelessly laughable couplet "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto." The rest of the album is pretty much unbearable. Although the show-stopper 'Don't Let It End' promises to keep rock 'n' roll alive, 'Kilroy' represented the lethal blow for Styx's once-actually-rocking image.

'Bat Out of Hell,' Meat Loaf 2. 'Bat Out of Hell,' Meat Loaf (Buy LP - CD)
Mr. Loaf, the 'Rocky Horror' alum, made his unlikely commercial breakthrough with this 1977 song cycle about teenage lust that was destined to become the fifth-best-selling album of all time, spawning two sequels. His shmaltzy power ballads set the table for a style that has yet to go away, while the oafish baseball metaphor of 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' wins a Lifetime Achievement trophy from the Campy Awards.

'Music From the Elder,' Kiss1. 'Music From the Elder,' Kiss (Buy LP)
When four grown men in high-heeled boots and comic-book catsuits get all pretentious on our asses, there's something seriously wrong in the world. It must be, as Kiss suggested, 'A World Without Heroes.' We're thinking the legendary misstep of this leaden zeppelin from 1981 is the main reason this band may never get near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, no matter how many times they holler, "Hello, Cleveland!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hiroshima - 06 08 1945

Excluding the obvious choices of OMDs "Enola Gay" , Crass's "Nagasaki Nightmare" & the quite cheesy options of Sandra's "Hiroshima" & Kelly Family's "Hiroshima, I'm Sorry" (that should be actually "World, We're Sorry"), i picked up 5 tunes that are relevant to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of August 1945.

This Mortal Coil - I Come & Stand At Every Door

Actually a Nazim Hikmet poem that previously have been recorded by the likes of Pete Seeger & the Band , here in a haunting version.

Pink Floyd - Two Suns In The Sunset (Buy LP)

Written rather in general for a nuclear holocaust than the certain Hiroshima bombing and released in the cold war era this is a fine sample of why Pink Floyd is a band that do not have fillers even in their weakest albums.

10.000 Maniacs - Grey Victory (Buy CD - LP)

Don't get fooled by the americana driven power-pop.Lyrics are quite "graphical" but not naive!

John Coltrane - Peace On Earth

A different approach proving that sometimes words are not necessary.Special significance added from the fact that this is actually recorded live in Japan.

Gary Moore - Hiroshima (Buy CD - LP)

Heavy rock always went well along with war themes.Here's a different approach with the good old heavy metal straightforward way.

More related songs here : Antiwar Songs

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jean-Jacques Burnell Top 5

The Stranglers' bassist picks up 5 (interesting) favorites .
Discovered in the April 2004 issue of (Greek music magazine) "Pop & Rock".

Comments in Italic are mine.
Photo By Malcolm Niekirk.

1. The Stranglers - Norfolk Coast - 2004 (Buy CD)

An obvious choice if you consider that this was just released on the time of the interview.A decent rock album with killer bass & keyboards which surely stands out in their later discography.

2.Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing - 1974 (Buy LP)

Well,that's a pretty tough one as far as i am not an expert either in Tomita or classical music (Tomita's debut includes several interpretations based on Debussy compositions).Like a soundtrack without a movie has a relaxed "bubbly" atmosphere and in my  opinion the words "quality easy listening music" would define this album.Also sound like someone turned the BBC Radiophonic Workshop sound effects into music!

3. The Doors - L.A. Woman - 1971 (Buy CD)

One of the first two records i ever bought so i will not be any objective on this.Most probably their best album and the last with Jim Morrison on the line-up,unfolds all their love and talent regarding their blues roots.Masterpiece.

4.The Damned - Phantasmagoria - 1985 (Buy CD - LP)

A gothic rock boulder from a band that defined the punk rock genre.An uneven album maybe ,the gems included recompense for the couple of "fillers" though. 

5. Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine - 1978 (Buy CD )
A genre-definer album if you consider that half of the new wave & synth pop scene that was about to emerge by the late 70s owe it's sound to this record.Not to mention all the 90s & current electronica minimalists that drink water in their name.If you want to know where all the weird electronic sound of prog-rock & early ambient took a pop turn , look no further!