Thursday, November 18, 2004

Superhero

It looks like the whole point of being a superhero is to have special powers and be a dick to everybody else.

"Superhero", Stephen Lynch [ buy Superhero ]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Fresh KRUD

Found this today, and so I thought I'd point you to some Fresh KRUD I found by way of The Big Ticket - "KA-BLAMO!" by Incredibad. I agree, these guys could be the next Beastie Boys, and their music video is pretty chucklearious to boot. I was already thinking of things during class today that were "KA-BLAMO!" or "NOT KA-BLAMO!", so be careful after watching it or you may be on the peak of a pop-culture wave that's sure to rival "WHAZZUUPPP?!?!?" in popularity! Who cares, though, it's all in good fun! :D

Also: I got my hands on a copy of Oliver's mix cd of "Deep Covers", and I say it's a big hit over here in KRUDland - it was really enjoyable to hear these old-timey funked-up filled-with-soul versions of various songs. Take a look at that link to see exactly what's on the mix, or cover it up with your hand as you scroll down to the ordering info if you want to be surprised.

Monday, November 15, 2004

ODB

Well, ODB has passed on. In the words of our very own Rival Dave, "I'll miss that ol' dirty bastard...".

What strikes me the most is how apropos this track is, from "A Night At The Hip-Hopera" by the Kleptones - be sure to listen to the bit at the very end!

ROCKTOBER report: we passed 3k visitors for the month! Yay you! Thanks for visiting! Didn't get a single entry in for the air-guitar champion contest, though. It could have been something as simple as a picture of your bare forearm and a 3-sentence story about how you "just had to get a tattoo of an air-guitar because that's how hardcore you were". Or maybe an mp3 titled "Air Guitar solo" (in reality just a renamed copy of John Cage's "4'33""), with the description of how it was your "longest and best air-guitar solo, ever!" Oh well, guess I get to keep the loot all to myself, then. Nyah, nyah, that'll show you! ;)

I've been toying with this idea for the past month or so, and now is as good a time as any to do it... when I add songs from musicblogs to my iTunes library, I've got a dozen or so different playlists, each for a different musicblog. These are all combined into smart playists that contain all of the musicblog songs, and a few other smart playlists based on different criteria - one of these is a continuously updating list of songs I've added in the past week, so occasionally I'll spotlight other musicblogs and songs from this particular playlist with the goal of bringing to you "Fresh KRUD".

Today's "Fresh KRUD" is brought to us from "Broadcasts from Planet Blarg", written by a certain EK - I've been following her art / music-videoing / musicblogging for a few years now, and since her musicblogging has been what got me into this here business, I guess it's fitting for me to start off "Fresh KRUD" with a posting that she made recently: "Rasputin The Love Machine" - Boney M [ buy The Greatest Hits ] This particular song is very catchy... I think the first time I heard it I kept listening to it a few dozen times that day. My commute to school takes about 30 minutes, and over half that time was spent listening to this on repeat in the car. Besides that, it's educational too!

Speaking of addicting songs, this one was brought to me by our own Meaghan, who had posted the song months before we started Radio KRUD and we used to do a little bit of musicblogging on our own personal journals on the side, before we found out that what we were doing was called "musicblogging" and that we weren't the first sorts of people to do it. Anyway, this is a pretty catchy sort of hip-hop/R&B song that I can imagine the whole music video in my head. In slow motion, of course! All in all, this is a pretty funny song... "Walking To My Escalade" - T.I. Did you know that the Escalade EXT is the most stolen car? Doesn't make sense to me (but perhaps this is whay this Mr. T.I. can walk to his Escalade, because it either was a) not stolen, or b) stolen, and subsequently located with the on-board tracking system and happened to be within walking distance). Me? I'll stick with my Mini Cooper. :P

If you find any good songs or know of a musicblog that's not really getting the press you think it ought to have, why not shoot me an email with the details? The Rival Dave and I are busy working out reviews and whatnot of things we've been sent, so keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Mandalay



I ran across the trip-hop band Mandalay in a somewhat strange way. Two years ago some representatives from Best Buy came to UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) one day and set up some sort of fair in the Commons, which is basically our student union. They had a movie trivia game and a little game show where they showed music video clips and ask the contestants to identify the song and the artist. I competed in the game show and even though I didn't win they gave me a very nice album sampler called the Area One Sampler for competing. It had 17 songs on it, each from a different artist, most of who I had never heard of before. It was pretty impressive for a major retail chain.

The tenth track on the album sampler was especially impressive; it was "Deep Love" by Mandalay. I played that song over and over again when I got that sampler. Vocalist/lyricst Nicola Hitchcock's simple, yet very powerful lyrics combined with composer Saul Freeman's beautifully arranged instrumentation results in what is probably one of the most emotionally honest love songs ever recorded. What I mean by "most emotionally honest" is that the song speaks with both intense passion and doubt in the same breath. It covers the broad range of emotions felt when one is in love with another and the confusion that one experiences. Even when Nicola Hitchcock sings about the doubts ("How lost in this / Should I be?") she sings it with as much passion as she sings lines such as, "Share / And say you'll bring / To me deep love." So while the lead vocalist sings her doubts, you still believe that she is deeply in love with her partner but that she's just experiencing inner confusion. And Saul Freeman's excellent composing skills finish the puzzle. During the verses, the music is very soft and gentle, which expresses the warmer, more comforting side of love. And then the music explodes with a burst of emotion during the choruses. It's this flurry of emotions that are expressed both lyrically and compositionally in a tremendous musical effort that make "Deep Love" a complete experience.

I was going to talk about "Believe", another one of Mandalay's, but I really got into talking about "Deep Love". I don't want to make it sound like that "Deep Love" stands so high above Mandalay's other songs, it's just that I have a particular preference for it... and it was the one I heard first. As for "Believe", I'll just say that it's also an emotionall powerful song. Give it a listen and give into the awesomeness..

Oh, and if you're curious as to how well Best Buy's album sampler worked on me, one or two months after I got it, I bought Mandalay's album Solace... from Best Buy. But it was a good deal; it cost $11 and it came with a remix album at no extra charge. That, and it's one of my favorite albums.

Buy Mandalay's Solace

Sunday, November 07, 2004

One and a Half Love Songs

Well, I'm back after a whole week without Radio KRUD. A lot of it has been because of technical difficulties. But enough excuses, time to get to the music.

Lately I've been listening to a lot of love songs and music with that kind of slow, dreamy sound to it. So I thought that I would post one of my favorite love songs and another that's a bit of an enigma. I suppose I'll start with the full-fledged love song, "As I Lay Me Down" by Sophie B. Hawkins. I've this song liked since my middle school years, around the time it first came out. "As I Lay Me Down" is very warm and pleasant, a feeling which is comprised of Sophie B. Hawkins's lusciously sweet singing voice and the soothing yet catchy instrumentation that builds up smoothly as the song progesses. This subtle build-up that continues through the song's four minute length keeps the listener engaged the whole time. But if they aren't paying attention to the very subtle changes in the song's instrumentation then they won't be sure what it is about the song that's so interesting. As an example of this subtle build-up, sometimes there will be a very slight change in the percussion that will alter the overall sound of the song, but is very hard to notice as an individual element. This kind of clever composing makes me respect Sophie B. Hawkins as an artist and makes this song one of my personal favorites.

Buy Sophie B. Hawkins's Whaler


I'm not sure whether to categorize this next song, "Tuesday Morning" by the Pogues, as a love song. It sounds like one and the chorus would give that impression, but the rest of the lyrics can be kind of bleak. When I first heard this song in my early teens and I had trouble understanding the lead singer's strange voice, I filled in the blanks with what I thought sounded best, which meant that I made the song pleasant for myself. The exception was the first line of the third verse where it sounded like the lead singer was saying, "Turnip pastrami."

Anyway, it would seem that this song contains lyrics about an attempted suicide ("I fell through the window / And I found that I was still breathing") and the fear of the singer losing his lover ("Turn your face from me / I will cover myself with sorrow"). But everything seems to go back to an uncertain Tuesday morning and wishing it was Monday evening. Did the singer and the person he's singing to have a one-night stand and he's obsessing over her? Are they in a long-term relationship Monday evening a particularly good night for them and then things went wrong the next day? Without the help of the lyricist(s) there seems to be multiple ways to interpret this song. Either way, the song sounds very pleasant no matter what the lyrics mean to you, which is why it makes it into my playlist of love songs.

Buy the Pogues' Waiting for Herb