Monday, July 28, 2008

The Pretenders Free Each Week

The new Pretenders album will be given away track by track each week. It kicks off this week with releasing Boots of Chinese Plastic. Each week the band's website will list the next web space to find a new track. Break Up The Concrete has Chrissie working with guitarist James Walbourne, pedal steel from Eric Heywood, and the rhythm section of bassist Nick Wilkinson and drummer Jim Keltner.

Wrigley's Gum - The Hitmaker

It's nothing new for an advertisement to contain a pop song. It is usual when an artist, in this case Chris Brown, records a new song, Forever, which incorporates the tag line to the ad campaign: Double your pleasure, double your fun. It's the right one, Doublemint gum and the song charts in the Billboard Top 100, even before it's released in an ad. Wrigley's did not disclose how much they paid Mr Brown for his service, but they additionally picked up all the recording costs. His record label Jive, was at first reluctant to release the single. Why would they hesitate? Another company is paying recording costs? Seems like a no-brainier. Was the label afraid of selling out? There are different versions of the song for radio ads, etc, but they are pretty close to the original. Translation Advertising created the campaign. Also recording songs which will remain as spots are Julianne Hough and Ne-Yo. I would love to know how much influence this song will have on the consumer and will it sell more gum? I can't imagine this is a low budget campaign. How much gum will they have to sell to break even? Here's the link to the WSJ article.

For years I've been surprised that advertisers don't sponsor a whole album, much the same way BMW was the sole sponsor on the premier episode of Mad Men last night. Recording costs can be relatively inexpensive and they can throw in producing a video. Maybe the video features the sponsor's item. The sponsor can promote the album through their regular advertising channels. They have all the music they need to promote their product, the artists gets the recognition they need and everyone is happy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The New Wave of Music Reminds Me of the Old

I'm not sure if listening to music for so many years has given me a very broad music reference library in my head. Why do 4 out of 5 songs I hear on Record of the Day sound exactly like something that could have been recorded more than 20 years ago? Is it a younger group of musicians discovering music I grew up with and having it seep into their subconscious psyche?
Here are a few examples. These references came to mind within a few seconds of hearing the song:

Maybe I'm Crazy is a demo by two musicians called Mike. This could be a Nick Gilder song. He recorded Hot Child In The City. Surprised no one had a hit with that again. There was something pleasantly pop and sleazy going on in that song.

Avenue is a pop band out of the UK. They are being touted as the next boy band. Their song Last Goodbye is Rick Springfield without the 80's production and keyboards. It's actually a good song if you don't watch the video, which drags the track down. Rick Springfield had tons of energy in his live show. From the video I've seen, they do not share that same energy. The track is full of it, but the lads aren't translating that. They do pogo though.

VV Brown another Brit, wants to be the modern Ruth Brown. You can hear the influence in Crying Blood. The R&B/pop revival coming from the UK, initiated by Amy Winehouse is in full swing. This is one from left field, but even with the remixes, this song reminds me of Freddy Cannon: He of Palisades Park and Action fame. View his performance of Action on YouTube. Avenue must have been studying his moves. Action was the theme song to Where the Action Is, penned by Boyce and Hart. The show's hosts were Paul Revere and the Raiders and it took musicians to a different location each week. It's not that Crying Blood specifically sounds like one of Freddy's songs, it reminds me of all of his songs.

Both Avenue and VV are on Island Records.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is there anything worse than a Blown Save?

Is there any worse than a Blown Save, when it's your team that is blowing the save? Mark called at 2pm to say he had 4 tickets for me for the game: Phillies and Santana! I'm there. At 9:30 the game at Shea was moving along nicely with the Mets ahead 5-2. The Shea air was stagnant, with the threat of a storm but it held off. Never feeling like I can breath a sigh of relief no matter how many runs are on the board, I was ready for the top of the 9th. The guy seated behind me had yelled a few innings earlier that he knew the game would be tied. He underestimated things. The Mets needed 3 outs to be in sole possession of first place - something that has eluded the team this year. The Philles pounded on Sanchez. Joe Smith got the ground ball, but Reyes had a problem figuring out what to do with it. The rest is depressing. Maybe the bigger question here is WHY AREN'T STARTING PITCHERS ALLOWED TO PITCH THE 9TH INNING ANYMORE?????

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Concert Going Can Be Fatal To Your Eyesight

Dozens Blinded By Lasers At Russian Festival

MOSCOW (AP) - A laser show at an outdoor music festival near Moscow burned the retinas of more than 30 people and some may lose their sight, Russian news reports said Monday.

Some concertgoers lost up to 80 percent of their vision after attending the Aquamarine Music Festival on July 5, the newspaper Kommersant reported. According to the reports, concertgoers said the festival's dance floor was covered by a canopy because it was raining. The lasers were pointed horizontally under the tent instead of into the sky, which led to the injuries, the reports said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Statues, All Stars and Omnipresent Jerseys

Between yesterday and today, I photographed all the major league team-represented Statues of Liberty. If you remember the cows that were painted and placed all over the city years ago, or the angels in LA, this is that sort of thing. One difference is all of these were done by the same company with one exception. There are 42 statues. I captured the 30 teams and Shea Stadium, which was my favorite. It would have made for a more interesting trek if each was unique and I would have spent more than about 30 second at each statue. Even with a 30 second stop time, I think I spent about 7-8 hours in total getting from place to place. An unlimited Metrocard made it easier.

The Astros statue seemed to be deep in thought or maybe just pondering Madonna's next visit to the Reebok gym which it is poised in front of.
This was the closest I could get to Ms Cubs. The area is near the Stock Exchange which is closely guarded.

Whenever there is an event in New York, the city is nicer, happier and more polite. People wanted to know how many photos you got so far, do you want me to take your photo with the statue, etc. The ironic thing is everyone I encountered was a Mets or Yankee fan. I'm sure there are plenty out-of-towners here for the game (I've witnessed many a Boston Jersey), but I didn't see them taking photos or chatting. Maybe New Yorkers are just as crazy as the town we live in and what makes us tick are enjoying the unique things our home has to offer.

Parade of All Stars

The parade of All Stars is going on now on 6th Ave. This is what it looked like at 9:30am.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Playing the Building

"Buildings make noises: radiators, pipes, creaks and rattles. I sensed that this could be a little more organized and maybe even musical." -David Byrne as quoted in the Wall St Journal.

In a collaboration with Creative Time, David has devised a musical installation in the Battery Maritime Building, which is next to the Staten Island Ferry. For anyone who lives in NYC, the above quote describes everyday life. This past weekend I stopped by the exhibit to experience the music a building can create. The small organ that sits to the front of the room is connected with wires to different parts of the building: pipes, radiators, columns. Hitting an organ key can initiate a response from a hammer-like object that thumps on the radiator- a sound I am all too familiar with. I enjoyed watching people create the sounds, which resonate differently depending on where you are in the room. This is a 9000 sq ft empty space, so the sky is almost the limit on where it can go. Taking in each section of the room, I felt a sort of calm and meditative state take over, not was I was expecting from the daily noises that bug me.

David has created a little oasis in NY, using the music that surrounds our everyday life.

10 South Street, New York, NY
31 May – 24 August 2008
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Noon – 6PM (Free)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Vinyl Will Not Be Saving the Music Industry Anytime Soon

There has been so much written and much buzzed about vinyl albums making a huge comeback. According to this posting on :

Nielsen Soundscan last week said that CD sales are down 16% in the past 12 months, while downloads have gone up 34% in the same time frame. What was really interesting is that vinyl sales have almost doubled this year so far, from 454,000 in 2007 to 803,000 so far in 2008.

Not even a million new vinyl records sold in the past 12 months. Even though it's double what it was the prior 12 months, that number is not enough for all albums sold to qualify as a platinum record. It's an interesting point, but until that number is in multiple millions, it doesn't mean much as a statistic.

Ozzy and Family: The Variety Show

TV Week announced that the Osbournes will be back with a variety show on Fox produced by FremantleMedia North America, the people that bring you American Idol.

The article states: Mr. Osbourne, wife Sharon and offspring Jack and Kelly all will participate in the show, which will resemble modern-day European variety shows that mix elements of competition, stunts and performances. One person familiar with the pitch compared it to a combination of the popular Spanish-language series "Sabado Gigante," "Saturday Night Takeaway" and the German game-show format "Wetten, dass?" (Wanna Bet?).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The New Wham!

This song lead me to believe this is the new Wham!: "Learnalilgivinanlovin" by Gotye. Some of the other stuff does toe the Wham! line.