A Perpetual dive with Richard Hell!!!

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The nihilist’s nihilist wrote this many, many years ago… by the way I ran into him all the time and he was a perpetual dick…I saw what I had soI got I got mad soI guess I went bad soNow I search for new endeavorspush my buttons wear my leversWho says it’s good good good to be alive?Same ones who keep it a perpetual jive.Who says it’s good good good to be alive?It ain’t no good it’s a perpetual dive.There’s nothing to win bythis sort of an out cryOh yeah we all know whyCuz the world a person lives inis …

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The Mix List Sundy August 8th , 2009: Long, long, long

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Long, long, long – Yim Yames – Yim Yames wasn’t Yim Yames yet, he was barely Jim James when he recorded this warm and loving cover of Harrison’s “The White Album” also ran. It is a testament to Lennon’s overwhelming presence on the white album that “Long3” didn’t stand out. Yames plays it on a strummed and picked acoustic guitar and with his vocal double tracked and slooooow in a meditative bliss. The testament to Harrison’s love of God in both versions has the space and length of eternity in its breath. That’s the point of course. I Feel Like …

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Bass Player To The Stars Harvey Brooks Speaks About Miles Davis

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Bass player to the star Harvey Brooks played on Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” the Doors “The Soft Parade” and Simon and Garfunkels’ “The Sound Of Silence,” among many, many others. Including Miles Davis’ “Bitchest Brew”. Interviewed in the New York edition of The Jerusalem Post today (He just emigrated to Israel) this is what Harvey Brooks had to say about playing with Miles Davis: “It was really the pinnacle for me -it totally expanded my whole way of thinking about music. I had never been in that kind of musical scenario before. Miles would explain the tone and the sound …

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Willy DeVille Strolls On

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Denizen of new wave Willy Deville died yesterday. He was the man in front of Mink DeVille and had two big hits in the UK with “Spanish Stroll” and “Cadillac Walk” -a mix of Latin and rock. I saw him opening for Elvis Costello on the “This Year’s Tour” -first up and next was Rockpile and so with the heavy weights of New Wave after him Willy’s band were excellent and held there own. If the brass ring was out of reach for Willy he had more than enough skills to deserve to have grasped it. Good musician, good career.

Boys Noize, Drop The Lime, Canyon at Central Park Summerstage August 8th, 2009: DO YOU WANT THE BASS?

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The best looking audience at a Summerstage are smoking cigs, smoking pot, doing spastic dances and transforming Summerstage into the earliest rave known to man. They are mostly mid-teens to early twenties, the girls look good but disjointed and the boys seem to have not received the dirty jeans and white tee’s memo and instead are a mix of down town flamboyance and upbeat party. One guy is wearing tee announcing “Drugs are wicky wacky” though they are also invisible except concert stand by weed. It’s all very Euro Trash meets Bridge and Tunnel and they have come here for …

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SOON

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PEARL JAMREGINA SPEKTOR WOODSTOCKLIVE ALBUM REVIEWS

Caroline Oh: A Playlist

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Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond Caroline No – The Beach Boys Caroline Says 1 – Lou Reed Caroline – Rhett Miller Lack Of Height – Caroline Smith and the Good Sleeps

Los Campesinos A Different Take…

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This was left as a comment by my old pal anonymous… The person is commenting on a negative comment about my post on Los Campesinos at Webster Hall August 4th, 2009. One word of defense: I may be a lousy reviewer but how does that make me pretentious? Well said last anonymous. Smith Westerns were embarassing to say the least, their guitarist was moving bizzarely on stage as if he had to piss, even going so far as to do one of those ‘orgasm’ solos where he closes his eyes and a light comes on him. i felt bad for …

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The Carpenters: Smooth Like A Rhapsody

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Siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter perfected easy listening, I was mentioning ambient when writing about Bowie’s album “Low” and often Richard producer seemed to be perfecting the old background/foreground question. Listening to their Burt Bacharah/Hal David medley off their eponymous 1971 album is completely at ease with Bacharah’s intricate song construction -a pop Sondheim,and also very capable of making it simple for the listener, even on the two part harmonies it is all of a piece. “Always Something There To Remind” is a gorgeous heart breaker but by speeding up the song and giving the faint hint of jazz to …

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New Yorker Fire Fact Checkers

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John Seabrook says in the New Yorker this week that “…according to some surveys 95% of all downloads are illegal”. Let’s do the math. Itunes reached the billion sales last year and let’s say they represent all 5% of legal downloads (which they don’t of course). That would mean there has been 19 billion illegal downloads. Which surveyer surveyed that? Seabrook’s story is fine if a bit self-evident (anybody with any interest in the subject found nothing new) but his surveys are simply wrong and shouldn’t be quoted. The problem with the record companies is they can’t force Itunes to …

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Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps: Wide Awake It’s Morning

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Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps from Minneapolis, Minnesota sound like Regina Spektor with a banjo instead of a piano. Caroline has one of those voice that seems to be always waivering upwards and in interviews namechecks Billie Holiday. Their first album is “Backyard Tent Set” and it is real good with folkie oddness like “5 Months Too Long”. Buy the album or go on to daytrotter.com and download their session though it doesn’t include “5 Months” it does have the perfect Smith creation “Lack Of Height”. Altogether: “I’m falling asleep, I’m falling out of view…”

The Iterattion Of Bright Eyes

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I asked Marie Lynn, as big a Conor Oberst fanatic as I am, what her favorite Bright Eyes songs were. She went with “Easy, Lucky, Free”, “Something Vague” and “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves (To Live And Be Loved)”. I’ll give her the latter, a three part master class on subjective songwriting about how love might not save us in the end. We haven’t heard from Bright Eyes since 2007 so why right more about the guiding light Conor Oberst -who we have heard from and whom I write about at every opportunity? I’ll explain by giving an example. Tom Stoppard …

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Obsessed With You: One thousand Down

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I got past the 1000 visitors mark last night. Not much, true but 47% are repeat visitors and for a blog my minutes per visitor is pretty high. I initially called this blog “Singles Going Steady” (from the old Buzzcocks compiliation and the name of a column I wrote in the early 80s) and nearly went with “Innocent X” the ghost of which you can find in the painting above. Writing about anything, like any form of observation, changes what is being observed and while what I dislike about writing music criticism is it forces me to judge stuff I …

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X-Ray Specs at CBGBs March 1978: We Watched the World Turn Dayglo

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In the world of greatest rock bands of all times may I add X-Ray Specs? Poly Styrene’s punk band initially thought of as a novelty because “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” was believed to be a request not a complaint and eventually discovered to be a UK art punk political band who added at least two phrases to the lexicon “germ free adolescents” (a term I still coin younger friends) and “…in a consumer society”, I term I use for the way we consume we eat up culture. In March 1978 I visited NYC to see X-Ray Specs play four nights …

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ON THE TOP OF THE WORLD LOOKING DOWN ON CREATION the carpenters uneasy listening coming soon

Director John Hughs Dead At 59

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Whether it was Ferris Bueller on a float in Chicago singing along to the Beatles version of “Twist And Shout” thereby begining Part II of the neverending Beatle revival or saving the Psycehdelic Furs from the slag hear of indiedom with “Pretty In Pink” or single handedly making Simple Minds Stateside career in “The Breakfast Club” Director John Hughs didn’t simply film 80s teen life he provided it with a soundtrack.John Hughs died today at the age of fifty-nine. He’ll be missed…

Elvis Presley Double Feature: G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii

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It seems to be my day for doubles and so today I am going to write about Elvis Presley’s two best musical – 1960’s “G.I. Blues” and 1961’s “Blue Hawaii”. You can blame Colonel Tom Parker for Elvis Presley’s evolution from King Of Rock to B-Movie Matinee idol but I would say it takes two to sell yourself this short and I would also say that in the late 50s the trajectory of popular vocalists from pop stars to movie stars is well document and you could go back at least to Bing Crosby and maybe further, Al Jolson maybe, …

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Another list of songs…

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Here’s Z105.9 at 9 a.m. yesterday morning under PD/midday host Carl T.:Lil Fallay, “My Love Under Arrest”Midnight Star, “Feels So Good”R. Kelly, “Love Signals”Tyrese, “She Lets Me Be A Man”Whitney Houston, “Love That Man”Charlie Wilson, “My Guarantee”Smokey Robinson, “Lady I Love You”Chris Ardoin, “Magic”Breakwater, “Say You Love Me Girl”Maze & Frankie Beverly, “The Look In Your Eyes” From Lafayette, LA and begging the question, why can no programmer in New York radio do this?

Jerks Anonyous!!!

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People keep on telling me I have to hear New Boyz “You’re A Jerk” while warning that it is terrible. Yes it is. And it is also an addictive and mindless fun time. Remember, as the Undertones once put it, you’re never too old to enjoy dumb entertainment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv9VKKXwVxU

Two From Bowie: Aladdin Sane and Low Reviewed

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These aren’t even my two favorite David Bowie albums. I love em both, mind, but I love other’s more, they are still two enormously good and different albums. “Aladdin Sane” is the cracked actor at his most affected, a fueled by cocaine break down of mammoth proportions. “Low” is the the thin white duke as manic depressive, a downer tinged nightmare in dark shades of blue and a sound so unique it remains a signpost for a musical journey nobody (not even David Bowie) actually took. So let’s start by saying what we love most and not let’s bother with …

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In Praise Of Webster Hall, NYC

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Webster Hall is the best managed room in NYC if only foe the client respecting decision to post what time the acts will be performing. This alone creates so much good will. But it is an attractive, old time room will a nice looking bar downstairs, great sight lines, a disco ball that decends from the ceiling.A guy walks around with canned beer for $5 a pop and when you sit on the ledge in front of the speakers nobody hastles.Actually, nobody hastles you period. The guy in front of the room didn’t card me (I’m 52… I don’t care …

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Los Campesinos, Girls, Smith Westerns at Webster Hall August 4th, 2009: Rusty

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The best moment during a concert this year was Los Campesinos last song “You’ll Need Those Fingers For Crossing”. It had been a great night any way and on the cramped stage the band had been falling all over themselves while killing (and I mean killing) on one song after another but the last song was a crowning achievement. “Fingers” is not a fave Los Camp song but lead singer Gareth had the audience in the palm of his hand anyway and they followed him here and the song itself, the last song of the last night of the tour, …

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WANNA GO ON A DATE?

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Los Campesinos at Webster Hall tonight… if you do just one thing in your entire life please, please, please see this rock group!!!!

Plastic People Of The Universe at Joe’s Pub August 15th, 2009

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Formed just after the Czech Spring, avant garde, rebellious, the embodiment of the spirit of rock music, the Plastic People Of The Universe were imprisoned for their beliefs. Today Czechoslovakia doesn’t exists and Plastic People are still weird punky Zappa jazzy art rockers and any chance to see them is an honor so don’t miss this one. At $15 it is the deal of the year.

New Music Week Of August 4th, 2009: A quiet week

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Taylor Swift – Tyler Dean Thug Story – Taylor Swift and T. Pain Hard on the heels of my posting that taking MP3s without paying for them is theft Alix gave me a CD she got from her friend Alli in Boston of Swift’s best song since “Love Story” (and better than anything else on “Fearless” except MAYBE “Hey Stephen”), “Thug Story”. Swift is so charming on this song you just wanna hug her and T. Pain is amused and bemused and his autotuning “I had a dream last night…” makes me laugh. It’s not my fault they haven’t extended …

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The Difference Between Nashville And New York

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New York frame of minder, Nashville resident Robert Nevin had a brush with greatness: “Nancy, Tom, Jessica and I were in an antique store in Franklin, TN (next town over from Spring Hill) and we were discussing how the nice cane Nan and I had gotten for my mother, was apparently stolen as she attended a friend’s wake. Naomi Judd walked over and opined that anyone who would steal an old lady’s cane should be given lethal injection, and that she’d happily press the button”. And here is the difference between New York and Tennessse: Lil Kim would NEVER give …

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Is Downloading MP3s Simply Theft?

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I have this image in my head and it won’t let me be. The year is 1984 and it is meeting room in the Woolworth Building -something like the Woolworth Building, like an old time New York building and the heads of the five major labels are behind closed doors like the heads of the Families in “The Godfather” and they are deciding the price structure of music CDs. They’re going back and forth and back and forth in tux’s and smoking cigars with A&R guys emptying ashtrays and getting expresso’s and the curtains are open so there is no …

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“I Was Not Myself Last Night…” Phantom Of The Paradise…

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If anybody asks you how to write a rock opera point them to the Brian DePalma written and directed, Paul Williams scored, gorgeous girl next door featuring Jessica Harper “Phantom Of The Paradise”. The problem with so many rock operas is they take themselves too damn seriously. But the successful one’s have tended to be satires: “The Rocky Horror Show” for one and “Phantom Of The Paradise” for another. If director diPalma’s career was never on the trajectory he seemed born for (around the time of “Dressed To Kill” and “Body Double” he seemed set on a Hitchcockian ride) 1974’s …

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Skool’s Out: The Todd Leibowitz Mix List

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Todd Leibowitz was just a kid when I first met him -a baby faced assistant with a ready smile, that must be ten years ago and now Todd has a wife and son but still with that perpetually baby faced smile and still with that ready smile. And still with a perpetually youthful taste in music. At the heart of his list is a litany of teen boy’s favorite hard rock bands: GnR, Metallica, AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Extreme, Ozzy. Except for Extreme a pretty good buncha bands though a little stuck in time. Over and above is a …

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Mary J. Blige Is The One In New Commercial

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“The One” is a great song and heading North on the hot one hundred and it is also the theme of Mary J. Blige’s new A.T. & T cell phone commercial “Shredding Styles”. 30 seconds have never been better spent.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuPUl3HcoFM

Leonard Cohen’s Moral Imperative

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According to the Jerusalem Post when Leonard Cohen plays the Ramat Gan Stadium on September 24th, 2009 all proceeds will go to the Fund for reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace. Cohen said “I’d like to play, but I just can’t take any money out. I want it to stay there.”

SOON

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if you can’t touch it how can you steal it? the music industry makes thieves of all of us… soon

The Mix List August 2nd, 2009: Got A Sussussus

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Suspect Device – Stiff Little Fingers – The Dublin punk rockers biggest hit is an incendiary warning about a possible incineration in the middle of the late 70s back when Ireland was at war. The song has one of the great hooks i”Got a sus-sus-sus-sus-sus-sus-got a suspect device”. Upholstery – The Beach BumsYou’ll Need thiose Fingers For Crossing – Los CampesinosLet’s Ride – The Game (with Travis Barker)Tomorrow Is A Long Time – Rod StewartLove T.K.O – Teddy Pendergrast – Left over from my soul crooner listening a coupla days ago, the former Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes was always …

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If tomorow wasn’t such a long time: Rod Stewart As Rock Artist

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It’s a little hard to remember now, feels like so long ago what with the model girlfriends and the houses in LA, cocaine and dayglo before punk washed him away for awhile, up till today where he records huge chunks of the American song book and turns art into money playing the same, admittedly excellent, set decade after decade. Or the beginning when working class soccer hooligan joined the blues rockers the Jeff Beck Band and then left to transform the remnants of the (Small) Faces into a good time pub rock group. All achievements but none the consecutive albums …

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All Pointless West

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Lessee here we’re all excited because although the Beastie Boys had to pull from being the maining attraction they got Jay-Z Big news? If you’re in Monterey maybe, if you’re in NYC and wanted to see Jay-Z it woulda been tough to miss him. With Lil Wayne at Izod, Mary J. at MSG to mention two sightings in the past year alone. Coldplay or Yeah yeah Yeahs? MGMT when they’re not opening for Beck. Vampire Weekend? Echo at Radio City, Lykke Li at Highline… on and on and on. Who wants to take a ferry to NJ to sit fifty …

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A REASONABLE PROPOSAL: EARLIER CONCERTS

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In the 40s Frank Sinatra would play five sets a day at sold out houses beginning at 11am. Today most concerts, not even nightclubs, but concert halls, have the main act begin anywhere from nine to 1030pm. It is pathetic. Customers are paying $250 a tix and can’t stay till the end. Forget kids at all (remember kids Mr. Promoter? You used to beat them up when you were young). Why would Highline not do 2pm shows on the weekend – a coupla acts doing half an hour, forty-five minutes, all ages. They could make money. If “Monsters Of Folk” …

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Vivian Girls and These Are Powers at the Whitney July 31st, 2009: Hail the drummer

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We come to praise Ali Koehle. Last night, the final of four Friday evening concerts this July presented as part of pop conceptual artist Dan Graham’s retrospective “Beyond” at the Whitney Museum Of American Art, Ms. Koehler was not the anchor of, ahem, alternative all girl rock band Vivian Girls, she was the sail and man did she whale on her drums. Everything bled into her rhythm, the trancy guitar, the three part harmonies, it was like she was a black hole of sound. The Vivian Girls themselves are talented musicians with a unique sound: imagine the Roches meets the …

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PANIC IN DETRIOT

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Where is David Bowie? He had a heart attack in 2004 and with the exception of playing a song last year with Arcade Fire has released no music nor played a gig in FIVE YEARS. FIVE YEARS MY HEAD HURTS A LOT. Cmon Mr. Jones we want you back!

MANIC IN NEW YORK

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Then (top) and now (bottom) Manic Street Preachers are one of the great English rock bands and they haven’t played the area in a decade. I saw em blow Oasis away at Jones Beach around fifteen years ago and have been a believer ever since. They will be at Webster Hall October 7th and you have to go or else live in shame forever.

Madonna On the Record: Nobody’s Perfect

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Madonna has remained a constant presense at the highest echelon’s of the pop firmament for decades: a wild ride from catholic School Princess gone bad to riding crop Mistress of the dancefloor. I have always simultaneously admiredher and been a little turned off by her. She is like a Swiss Watchmaker: obsessed with the intricacies of time but uninvolved with the nature of time: by the time Madonna was settled in to her career proper, say around 92, she was distant to the point of distillation. At the center of Madonna there has always been a metronome where a heart should …

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FABOLOUS “LOSO’S WAY” HIP HOP AT ITS BEST

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I loved the “Everything, Everyday, Everywhere” single off Fabolous’ new album “Loso’s Way” but thought it might have had a lot to do with Keri Hilson but the word is getting out and it is deafening. “Loso’s Way” is the album we never though Fabolous had in him. I just got a text from my nephew and hip hop fanatic Jeff McColl telling me I had to buy it. Appraently, so do you.

Itunes Too Rich And Lazy To Accurately Label Songs

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A coupla months ago Marie Lynn was fuming at itunes inability to accurately categorize the songs she downloaded. I thought nothing of it at the time but as time has gone by I’ve found myself agreeing with her more and more. Here is a list of pop-rock musical genre’s from the indie review web site delinyc.com – :ElectronicHip HopIndie PopBrit PopLo-FiOrchestral PopLounge PopMellow PopAvant IndiePost RockIndie RockPost PunkNoise PunkMetalPsych RockShoe GazeAlt RockPower PopEmoGaragePunkGlamAlt RockAlt SoulRootsy Pop Now here are the genres Itunes include:ElectronicHip HopHeavy MetalPunkEverything else is considered Alternative or Indie. Itunes are the single biggest distributor of mp3s -they have …

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New Music Week Of July 27th, 2009 Part II: From Fabulous To Fabolous

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Relator – Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn – I think this is the first Pete Yorn song I have consciously heard and I wish it was the first Scarlett Johansson because after the travesty that was her Tom Wait’s covers album “Anywhere I Lay My Head” it was my most sincere wish to never hear her sing again unless it was with me in the shower. HOWEVER “Relator” is real good indie rock and after the enervated growl she affected last year she has an off beat India Arieish voice that, if not pleasant, will probably finds its own market. …

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