Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Update

Before I get started writing about the new Wonder Years album, I just wanted to give an update about Genre Buzzword. I am planning on overhauling the website at some point in the near future so it looks a little more professional, and I hope to update more regularly. As some of you may know, I do reviews for a site called The New Scheme now, and I plan on using Genre Buzzword to be a blog where I write about music in a little bit of a different way and try some new things. That's about it, and hopefully I can get Genre Buzzword looking better soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Looking Forward

I am finally done with college after taking my last final Thursday afternoon! I can't believe how fast my years in college have gone by, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was packing up to move on campus. I am pretty excited to be finished and start my new job as a reporter.

I have been kicking an idea around about what I wanted to do with Genre Buzzword now that I no longer need it for a class requirement, and I came up with a few ideas. I don't want to spill the beans just yet, but I have some pretty big goals of what I want to do with the blog. I am pretty excited to get started and hopefully everything works out. I will keep this entry short and sweet, but since today is rainy and crummy, I wanted to post the perfect rainy day song (in my opinion anyway). Enjoy!

Gregor Samsa "Jeroen van Aken" from r. alverson on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This is it!

Finally! The last week of classes is about to start and I am only a few classes and some finals away from finally finishing up my undergrad degree. I am feeling a mixture of excitement and uneasiness as I prepare to leave SUNY Oswego, a school that felt like a perfect fit the first time I stepped on campus as a transfer student almost 3 years ago. This summer I will be getting married to my fiancee who I met on campus, getting my journalism degree, and working full-time. After always saying "I can't wait to be in college/out of college" through my teenage years, that day is finally here. It is both extremely exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

I enjoyed writing music posts to share with everyone in CRW 408, but this marks the final blog entry for that class. I am glad we had to keep these blogs because it helped keep me writing at a time where it would have been easy to simply stop. I plan on using this experience as a stepping stone to continue this blog and also continue writing album reviews like I used to do in the past.

Since it has been a habit of mine to post music videos/songs with my entry, I felt it would only be fitting to post this to sort of tie in to finally graduating from college :

Around graduations it's tradition for people to feel nostalgic about high school, college, friends and everything that comes with leaving simpler times behind for a world full of new responsibilities. That being said, here is a playlist that represents my time in college and high school and all the memories that go with those times.

Unfortunately there wasn't an official video for this song.

I wish everyone luck on their finals and congratulations to my fellow seniors!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Songs To Get Through The Last Few Weeks

The last few weeks of the semester is the most dreaded time amongst college students. It is when many major projects and assignments are close to being due and still many more assignments are given out. Whether it is writing lengthy research papers, preparing for final tests and exams or simply fighting off fatigue, the end of a semester is when most college students hit maximum stress levels and simply put their heads down and plow through the last few weeks as best they can.

Music is many college students' best friend during these stressful times. When you are spending hours in front of your computer screen working on assignments, nothing makes time go by faster than opening up iTunes and listening to music. It helps make the homework process a lot more bearable and takes your mind off of how much work is still left to be finished. When choosing music to listen to while doing work, it is best to choose something unobtrusive in order to maintain your focus on the task at hand. Below is a list of songs and/or artists I listen to in order to get through large amounts of homework.

American Analog Set - American Analog Set was an Austin, Texas based indie band that created lush, acoustic driven soundscapes that seemed to wrap the listener in its organic sound. This is the perfect study music in my opinion and I have written numerous papers with their albums on repeat. You cannot really go wrong with any of their albums or songs, but here is one of my favorites:

Ryan Adams - Although I said to pick music that does not make you lose your focus (anything really energetic, loud, etc), it is important to have some music that is relatively upbeat to help bring you out of the doldrums of the end of the semester. My go-to Ryan Adams album for studying would have to be Gold. The perfect blend of quiet songs and upbeat rockers that make you sing along, Gold will help wake you up if you are fighting off late-night fatigue. Here is my all-time favorite song off this album

Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith's early material had all the feeling of home-recorded songs that seemed to be little more than a man and his guitar. His soft vocal delivery and hushed music is excellent for studying. A lot of his songs are depressing to a degree, but that will at least relate to the stress of knowing you are so close to the end of the school year, yet have so much work to do.

What are your favorite artists to listen to while studying? I know that when the semester is over, I will celebrate by listening to this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting The Band Back Together

It seems that in the past few years, many older bands have decided to dust off the cobwebs and reunite. Whether it be for new shows, new recordings or both, there is nothing more exciting then bands you love getting back together. This especially applies to people who became a fan of a band long after the band has broken up and finally gets to see that band perform or older fans who always longed for new recordings of their favorite band. This week I want to look at some bands that I grew up listening to (and in some cases still do) that have reunited.

Braid - Easily the greatest news so far of 2011 is the fact that Braid is reuniting to record new songs for an EP, their first release since 1998's Frame & Canvas. Although there is much debate on what genre they fit into, for better or worse they are seen as one of the greatest emo bands to come out of the '90s. They are back in the studio with producer J Robbins and to say I am excited to hear the new songs would be an understatement. This is one reunion I hopes lasts for awhile and brings about another full-length records.

Further Seems Forever - While many people reading this blog may not recognize this band, they will recognize the name of the original lead singer - Chris Carrabba, who most people know through his project, Dashboard Confessional. The band originally formed with Carrabba as the vocalist in 1998 and released their debut The Moon Is Down to positive reviews. Carrabba eventually left the band in 2000 in order to focus on Dashboard Confessional, but still recorded The Moon Is Down, which was released in 2001. Over the course of the band's next two albums, each album featured a different vocalist. Finally, Carrabba rejoined the band in 2010 and has been performing shows with them and writing new material.

I am super excited about this reunion as The Moon Is Down is one of my favorite albums and I always liked their material with Carrabba the best. I cannot wait to hear how the new songs turn out. For any who absolutely hate Dashboard Confessional, I would still give this album a chance, the music is vastly different.

Taking Back Sunday (Tell All Your Friends line-up) - When I heard that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper would be rejoining Taking Back Sunday after leaving the band in 2003, my younger teenage self went absolutely crazy. I listened to Tell All Your Friends from start to finish thousands of times since it came out and it served as my soundtrack for much of high school. I knew every word of every song by heart. I am still unsure of how excited I should be though. Although I still love Tell All Your Friends, I am worried that I may have "grown out of" the sort of music that Taking Back Sunday plays. I am also worried that the new songs won't be as good as Tell All Your Friends was. Not that I am expecting them to recreate that album, but I am hoping they can at least recapture some of the energy that really made that album special. After hearing the studio version of "El Paso", I am a little worried because it just didn't do anything for me, but the live versions of other new songs sound great. I guess I will find out on June 28th when they release the new, self-titled album

Are there any bands you wish would get back together and perform again? Share them in the replies!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black Flag, Henry Rollins, and Storytelling

After debating whether or not I would ever get a tattoo since I turned 18, I finally took the leap this weekend. After much thought I decided to go with a design that actually fits within the scope of this blog: The iconic bar logo of 80's hardcore band Black Flag. The reason I decided to get the tattoo ties both into how much I enjoy the music and what it means to me and how much I respected the members for their contributions to music. I could spend days writing about the history of Black Flag and everything they endured over their career, but I will stick to the basics. They basically blazed a trail for underground bands and played all over the country, even in states where they may not have drawn a large crowd. Their sound influenced a slew of hardcore bands and grunge bands and their legacy is still felt even today. They ran their own label and endured touring conditions that would send most bands packing. They had things thrown at them constantly, people would hit them during sets, and yet they never relented and gave everything they had each show.

I finally had the opportunity to get the bars tattoo and I jumped at the chance and never looked back. Although I know many people reading this blog may not enjoy the music, I hope that there is at least an appreciation for the legacy the band has left behind. They are basically responsible for creating a DIY touring network that many underground bands still utilize.

Vocalist Henry Rollins went on to write numerous books, release spoken word albums, record music under the Rollins Band moniker, and appear in movies. You might have even seen him in "The Chase" with Charlie Sheen, the "Jackass" series, Bad Boys 2, etc. I love Henry Rollins' spoken word performance, he is an excellent storyteller and has some incredible stories. Below is one of my favorite stories, where Henry details his audition for "Death To Smoochy" and reading for the part in front of director Danny DeVito. You may be surprised at the outcome, I know I was. Even if you just scan this entry, if nothing else please, please, PLEASE watch this clip. It's hilarious and if nothing else you will gain insight into what it is like auditioning for movie roles.

 Do any of you have any tattoos that mean something special?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Spotlight: Daytrotter

Today I chose to write a blog entry that spotlights one of my favorite music websites, Daytrotter. There are tons of music blogs out there all trying to gain your attention and pitch the next big band, but Daytrotter stays away from all of that. The idea behind Daytrotter is band's who are on tour will often stop by the Daytrotter studios and record four songs that are then posted on the website free of charge, along with superbly written articles by Sean Moeller and illustrations of the musician by Johnnie Cluney. All songs of the songs are recorded live, without overdubs, at The Horseshack studio in Rock Island, Illinois to analog tape which is later transferred to an MP3 file. The result of these sessions is often a raw, unfiltered glimpse of the band at that particular moment. Rather than talk your ear off about the history of the site, here is a trailer of a documentary about the website and studio:

While many of the artists on the site a smaller, indie bands that you may be unfamiliar with, Daytrotter has also done Daytrotter Sessions for Death Cab For Cutie, The Avett Brothers, Ok Go, Old 97's, Pete Yorn and Rooney. Here are my three favorite Daytrotter Sessions:

The Avett Brothers - This is one of my all-time favorite Daytrotter Sessions. The band's take on bluegrass and emotional lyrics are best suited in a live setting in my opinion, and this session captures everything that is great about this band. Listen to the live version of "Laundry Room".

Bon Iver - This one made the list for the same reason as The Avett Brothers session. For those who do not know the back story of how Justin Vernon recorded his debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon moved into his father's cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. During the winter at the cabin, where he was by himself, he recorded the album. His songs are introspective, largely acoustic affairs and I like to think these Daytrotter Sessions sound like what the songs must have sounded like in that cabin as he wrote them. "Re Stacks" is a must listen.

The Hold Steady - The Hold Steady are easily one of my favorite rock bands and I would love to see them in a small venue someday. However, until that happens, this session is the closest I will get. The live recordings fits their style of bar-room worthy rock and roll well and these songs are in constant rotation on my MP3 player.

I hope everyone enjoys these sets or finds some that they like on the site! They post new sessions almost daily, so check back frequently!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Art Of The Mixtape (well, CD/playlist)

One of my favorite things to do is make a mix. I have made countless mix CD's and playlists over the years, whether it be for someone else or myself (my last one was a mix of all my favorite 90's songs to listen on the commute to school). Mixes are a highly personal thing and can be used to share new artists with your friends or used to express feelings with someone close to you. As a total music nerd, I love making mixes and I will agonize over the most trivial little details and spend hours searching for a song that's lyrics and feel fit what I am trying to express. I also adhere to the unwritten rules of making mixtapes, though I will not even pretend that I know all of them or where they even originated from.

Some of the more popular rules are:
1. NEVER use an artist more than once
2. Try to take the songs you like and match them with the other persons interests. For example, if the person you are making the mix for likes poppier songs, it probably isn't best to throw on that obscure noise-rock song you love on there.
3. Try and create a balance to the mix. You don't want to many "upbeat" songs back to back, nor do you want to many slower songs back to back (unless that is the theme of your mix). Try and alternate as best you can, this keeps the listener guessing and also makes it feel balanced.

That is just a few of the rules that exist out there and I am sure some people would not agree with my choices, but I know a few people have similar criteria. Today I am sharing a mix CD I made for my fiancee for one of our anniversary's because it is something of a tradition we started with each other. Below is the tracklist, some descriptions and video of key tracks.

1. Damien Jurado "Apart" - A very slow and beautiful acoustic track by Damien Jurado. The lyrics repeat (and there are not many of them), but coupled with the music this is a track that pretty much sums up my feelings for my fiancee.

2. House and Parish "What Have I Been Waiting For?" - This one I snuck on mostly for my own enjoyment. An upbeat, breezy pop song, this is one of the best songs the band has written.Ex -The Promise Ring, Texas Is The Reason and The Gloria Record.

3. Landon Pigg "Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop" - One of our favorite songs to sing together, possibly because it was branded into our subconscious thanks to all the commercials that used this song. Good song though.

4. Tal Bachmann "Shes So High" - One of our all-time favorite 90's songs (It came out in '99, but who cares. It still counts). Probably the song my fiancee likes to play the most after "Get What You Give".

5. Dashboard Confessional "I Do"

6. Old 97's "Question" - About a couple's relationship and tells the story of our engagement. I made this mix shortly after we became engaged, and it has become the sort of unofficial song for our relationship. One of my favorites.

7. Spoon "The Way We Get By" - Another song I snuck on here that I had a feeling my fiancee would like (thank goodness she did). Pretty much just an upbeat song that I think sort of reflects our time going to parties when she was still in school.

8. Ben Folds "The Luckiest" - One of the saddest but most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Talks about finally finding that special person after going through a lot of bad relationships and mistakes to get there. Ben Folds can do no wrong in my eyes. YouTube won't let me embed the video, but check it out here.
9. New Radicals "Get What You Give" - One of my fiancee's all time favorite songs. Enough said.
10. The Postal Service "We Are Silhouettes"
11. The Starting Line "Island"
12. Rocky Votolato "The City Is Calling"
13.Kings Of Leon "Sex Is On Fire" - Our favorite Kings of Leon song. The only reason this made it on the playlist was for that reason and the fact I thought the mix was too short.

Do you have any mixtape rules? What is the best mix you have been given? As always, let me know in the replies!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning To Love Country

Most of my friends and people who have followed my writing at know that I love just about any form of independent music and many have read countless reviews of post-hardcore, emo and indie-rock bands that I have written over the years. But, today I have a confession to make. While I still love all those bands and still listen to them regularly, lately another genre has been gradually taking over a good share of plays on my radio and my iPod. That genre would Wow, it was odd for me to even type that. Despite having relatives from the south, I generally stayed away from country and I hated it growing up. I don't remember why I felt that way initially, but I would avoid it at all costs.

However, the past few years I have slowly been warming up to the genre. While I still dislike a majority of the songs that dominate country radio stations, I do enjoy some of the songs. I think the reason I started being drawn to the genre was just from exposure. My fiancee absolutely LOVES country music and when she is driving, which is almost all of the time, that is what we listen to. So after awhile, I really grew to like some of the songs. I also think that as I get older, some of the lyrical themes really start to relate more to my day to day life than songs that are more abstract and sound like the soundtrack to breaking shit. I am going to be getting married soon, living on my own and working and something about the lyrical themes in the lyrics of the country artists I listen to just fit into what I am experiencing.

However, one thing that hasn't changed about my listening habits is listening to bands that have a DIY spirit that initially drew me into the world of indie-rock and many other forms of alternative music. Below are some of the artists that I am listening to now and even if you aren't a fan of country music, check them out with an open mind and you might find something you enjoy.

The Only Sons - The Only Sons hail from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and I have been following for them for a few years now after stumbling across their album "Steel Hearts" which is available as a free download here. Here is what I said about them when I wrote about them for a feature on "Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s The Only Sons’ latest album, Steel Hearts, is a must-have album for any fan of alt-country music. The thing that makes Steel Hearts such a special album is its relative simplicity. In an age where autotune is used left and right, The Only Sons brand of no-frills alt-country is a breath of fresh air. The album is filled with raspy vocals, excellent musicianship, simple yet emotionally engaging lyrics, and almost never loses the momentum built by the opening tracks 'Lay Back Down' and 'Wise Up'. " I still stand by that assessment, but the band has since improved drastically with the release of their new album "American Stranger" which you can stream on their bandcamp page. Easily one of the best albums of 2011 so far and "Gone Down Swinging" is a hell of a song with incredible solos at the end. This band is going to be huge.

Here is frontman Kent Goolsby performing "Just My Luck"

The Only Sons - Just My Luck (Acoustic Promo) from theonlysons on Vimeo.

Glossary - Another band from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I found out about this band in pretty much the same way, by downloading their album The Better Angels of Our Nature for free on their website. They have been around for awhile, having recently released their 6th full-length. They are more of a rock band, but they still have qualities of country music in their songs. Singer Joey Kneiser also produced The Only Sons American Stranger.

Glossary - Save Your Money for the Weekend from Stewart Copeland on Vimeo.

Are there any genres of music that you initially didn't like but learned to enjoy over time?

120 Minutes Returns

After being out of town due to a family emergency, I returned home and learned that MTV is bringing back the highly influential 120 Minutes and Matt Pinfield will be hosting once again (Pinfield originally hosted the show from 1995-1999). 120 Minutes was a weekly show on MTV that aired popular alternative artist's music videos and videos by artists who were frequently getting airplay on college radio. The show first premiered in 1986, but the shows heyday was during the boom of alternative music in the 90's and Pinfield became one of the most popular hosts. The biggest moment of the shows history was when it aired the world premeire of Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit" music video.

I love the fact that 120 Minutes is returning to MTV, especially since Pinfield will be hosting it. Pinfield knows more about music than I could ever hope to and his interviews were always very informative. Even though I was super young during his original tenure with the show, I can always remember watching 120 Minutes and I have always associated him with the show, so I am glad they didn't try and restart the show with a new host.

I also give credit to MTV for reviving a great show that is solely about music. Growing up, music was a huge part of the channel and they generally played great music. But ever since 2000, MTV seemingly got rid off a vast majority of their music shows and focused solely on reality shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills, which was a shame.

In honor of the show's return, here is one of my favorite 120 Minutes performances and some of my favorite videos that appeared on the show

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rescued From The "Bargain Bin"

Ah, the Bargain Bin. Although almost any album you could ever want is now available on the Internet whether it be through Amazon, iTunes or any of the other digital music providers, nothing beats the feeling of digging through the bargain bin (or used bin if you prefer) at a brick and morter record store and finding a great album. I remember when I was younger I used to go with my dad to a store called Disc-Go-Round, at least I am pretty sure that was what it was called, and spend hours upon hours digging through the racks of CDs that lined the walls. Although the store was mostly used CDs, there was a few new releases toward the front of the store and some of the used CD's were pretty cheap, but still relatively expensive. However, if you got lucky, you would stumble across a great album that was literally only a few dollars. I miss the feeling of making these great discoveries and of going to a place that was all about music and talking to the people who worked there about what they thought of a record and asking them for recommendations.

In honor of record stores and the thrill of finding an album you love for dirt cheap, I present a list of my favorite "Bargain Bin" finds.

1. Harvey Danger "Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?" - Ah, good ol' Harvey Danger. I am sure most of you are vaguely familiar of the band and their one hit "Flagpole Sitta" which was in heavy rotation towards the tail end of the '90s. Unfortunately, most people bought the album for that song alone and copies began flooding into used record stores everywhere. I grabbed my copy for about $3 and it was one of the best purchases I have made. Sure, I still absolutely love blasting "Flagpole Sitta" from time to time, but the album as a whole is full of great, fuzzed out indie-rock from start to finish.

2. New Radicals "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" - Another album that seemed to flood used bins across the country. The band had a few hits, but they are probably best known for their song "You Only Get What You Give" where singer Gregg Alexander name dropped a few celebrities at the time and calling them fakes, which did not sit well with those mentioned (though Alexander later said he only did it to see if that is the only part of the song the media would focus on and, surprise!, it was). You can sometimes find this album for like $2, which is a steal because this is one of the best pop-rock albums I have heard in a long time.

3. The Verve "Urban Hymns" - Another great purchase I have made after spending an eternity rifling through the used bin. Although "Urban Hymns" is an excellent album in it's own right, this album is worth whatever you pay for it based on the strength of "Bittersweet Symphony" alone. Although the song gained noterity due to the band being sued  over the use of a sample of an orchestra version of The Rolling Stones "The Last Time", the fact remains that is still one of the greatest songs I have ever heard and still sounds timeless 14 years after it first hit the airwaves.

What are some of your best "bargain bin" purchases? Do you miss going to record stores or do you prefer the convenience of shopping online?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Iconic Music Videos

For this post on Genre Buzzword, I want to take a look at music videos. I realize the title of my last post was a little misleading, as it was not about music videos, so I wanted to fix that by talking a little bit about music videos and ones that I think are pretty iconic.

I just want to start out by saying that I know music videos are still around. There have been some pretty impressive ones as of late (both the short and film versions of Kanye West's "Runaway" come to mind), but it seems like music videos have sort of lost the power they once held as a medium. For example, I personally don't think we will ever see a music video that had the sort of significance and impact that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" had. There was also a period of time from the 90's into the new millennium where some famous directors such as Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Hype Williams churned out some of the most memorable music videos. I remember when these directors but out a new music video, it was like an event. There would be big premieres for it on MTV and then you would see it all the time. Now that cable music channels have started cutting back on airing music videos except earlier in the morning, that sort of event phenomena seems to have gone away, or at least shifted over to the Internet.

I always loved music videos and when I used to catch them on MTV, VH1 or The Box, I would sometimes end up liking a song because it had a creative music video that caught my attention. I think that a good music video is one that enhances the song and makes it even more memorable for listeners, and occasionally the music video becomes even more popular than the song itself (The main reason I like the song "Sabotage" is the music video).

Here are some of my favorite music videos. Feel free to list your favorites in the replies!

Sabotage was directed by Spike Jonze and the video is the opening credits for a fictional 70's police drama show. This is probably my all time favorite music video due to the creative idea behind the video and the humor behind it. It's got everything car chases, foot chases and a few fights sprinkled in.

One of my favorite songs and I love this video by Michel Gondry. Great cinematography as most of the music video takes place in dream sequences and an interesting plot that has some Inception qualities to it.

Another Spike Jonze music video. The main reason why I love this video, and why I think many people love this video, is that it takes place entirely in the "Happy Days" universe. Awesome video that fits the feel of the song perfectly.

I was never a huge Michael Jackson fan, but I have to admit this is the best and most popular music video. It had a huge impact on music.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nostalgia, Music Videos and the 90's

Ah, the 90's. Everyone has their favorite decade for music and for me, there is no greater decade than the 90's. I realize there are amazing musicians that came in previous decades, and I even enjoy them, but there is just something about 90's music that seems to hold my interest the most. I am sure the main reason that is the case is the nostalgia factor that comes out of growing up with this music and constantly hearing it on the radio. Earlier in the decade, when I was still very young, I remember watching videos on MTV with my dad (back before every show on there was some reality show nonsense and they still played music videos) and waiting to hear my favorite songs come on the radio.

 I still listen to many of these songs and I seem to be perpetually stuck in that time. I still listen to new artists and find new favorites, but it seems like the bulk of the music I listen to comes from the 90's. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade and wish I was a teenager back then. Oh well. Below are some of my favorite songs from the 90's that define the decade for me. One Hit Wonders, A Few Hit Wonders and everything in between.

What decade of music is your favorite? What are some songs from when you were younger that you still listen to or get excited when it comes on the radio? Feel free to list them in the replies!

Better Than Ezra "Good" - I just love this song. I used to listen to it on the radio every single time it came on. Still sounds great.

Spin Doctors "Two Princes" - Another song I used to listen to constantly. I always made my mom leave it on when it came on the radio. I recently found the CD at a yard sale and still listened to it. No I am not ashamed to say I still think this song is incredible.

Sister Hazel "All For You"

Spacehog "In The Meantime"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Radiohead Have Done It Again

Radiohead has done it again. According to Pitchfork, Radiohead will be releasing their new album "The King of Limbs" on February 19th. That is this weekend! After revolutionizing the way music is consumed with In Rainbows, many were wondering how the band would be able to top that and if they would try to follow a similar distribution model. This time around, however, the band has scrapped the pay-what-you-want model, but they have kept up the deluxe packaging. Oddly enough, as a fan of Radiohead, I was not even really interested in what the package would be like or how many songs would make up "The King of Limbs". I was just totally floored that the album was coming out so soon.
This is the second album in a row that Radiohead have announced just before the date it was to be released. In an age where music is leaked months in advance and people can report news and rumors in a split second, it is amazing how Radiohead was able to keep this album under wraps. This is a band that has dedicated fans and yet for the second time they were able to completely blindside fans with news of a new album. At this point you may be asking yourself, “Why is this such a big deal?” Well, as I mentioned earlier, music is available almost instanteously and we have lost the feeling of waiting months and even years for a new album. Radiohead has somehow managed to do the impossible, or at least what is impossible for major labels, and that is stopping leaks and building buzz for their album outside of traditional channels.
Another reason something like this is so huge is that Radiohead isn’t just another small band looking for a way to grab people’s attention. They are a highly respected group that has also sold a significant amount of records, and they are only building their legacy by utilizing creative marketing techniques to further help their career. You would think with the success the band has had lately with their new approach to music distribution would rub off on record companies who are losing money at a rapid pace, but sadly that is not happening.
I will say that as a music journalist, it is a little disheartening to have an album come out of the blue like this. One of the many perks of writing about music is getting to listen to albums way in advance. However, the thrill of getting albums months before they are released wears off after awhile and it is refreshing to be totally surprised by an album. So for those who don’t listen to Radiohead, would you rather your favorite band talk their new album to death before it even comes out and sit around waiting for it to come out or have them release an album totally out of the blue? For those who do listen to Radiohead, what are your thoughts on their distribution system?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some Concerts That Defined My Life

After a pretty extended absence, I have decided to revive Genre Buzzword. What better way to kick off the restarting of this blog then to look back at two of my favorite concerts, starting with the first concert I ever got to visit and ending with the concert where I decided to marry my soon to be wife.

The first show that I ever got to see was Rage Against The Machine, which was around 1999 when I was in the 5th grade. My dad got me what is to this day the greatest birthday gift I have ever gotten: two tickets to see Rage Against The Machine in Philadelphia. My dad waited outside in line to get these tickets even though it was super cold outside for what would end up being the last Rage Against The Machine show in Philadelphia. I was so excited to see the show that it seemed it took forever for the weeks to pass until the actual show. I remember when the night of the show finally arrived and my dad and I were finally sitting in our seats and I was so excited that my stomach had butterflies in them.

Finally, when Rage Against The Machine took the stage, they unleashed one of the most powerful performances I have seen to this day. They poured every ounce of energy into that performance and Zach De La Rocha went absolutely insane on stage. The stadium went absolutely crazy and you had people leaping ten to fifteen feet from the stands over the barricades to make it into the mosh pit and before long complete pandemonium broke loose and there were chairs flying everywhere. Most kids my age would have been terrified but I remember thinking that this was the coolest thing I have ever seen and from that day forward I was completely immersed in music. I remember after that concert I used to wear my Rage Against The Machine t-shirt constantly in elementary school and the beginning of middle school which made people think I was crazy, but I didn't care.

However the concert that sticks out the most in my mind was a performance that I didn't really care about. It was when I went to a concert out in the woods with my then girlfriend and her brother to see a band called XYZ at a campground. Apparently, the band had a few hits in the '80s, but I mostly went to hang out with friends and generally have a good time. The campground was an absolute mess. It had rained the night before, so the ground was nothing but mud. Grabbing drinks and trying to find a bathroom was a grueling experience as every step you took, your shoes would get sucked down into the muck and your shoes were constantly getting ripped off your feet with every step.

It was one of the most magical nights of my life. Despite all the mud, bands I didn't really care for and hot temperatures, the three of us were having a blast. Finally night fell and as XYZ were playing one of their many hits, my then girlfriend and I decided that we wanted to get married. Shouting over the roaring crowd and loud music, we talked about how much we cared for each other and decided right then and there that we wanted to get married. Even though I didn't like the music, that moment made this concert hands down the best one ever.

I am sure many people are at least aware of Rage Against The Machine, so I will post the band that was playing when I decided to get married because it's pretty hilarious.