So we were checking out Jonathan Coulton’s new album, Solid State, which might need a post of its own. Anyway, we listened to it on Spotify. A few months ago, Spotify rolled out a new feature called Album Radio. When the album’s done, it makes you a mix of other stuff you might enjoy. I wish there was a way to turn it on and off, because sometimes I just want to listen to an album as a complete unit and then stop and think about it.
But it’s not a totally bad feature, because it introduced me to Bo Burnham. Steve had heard his stuff, and I had heard his name when people called him “the new Tom Lehrer” but I’d never heard any of his music. That is going to change and fast, because I think he’s awesome.
Here’s a song that won’t stop playing in my head, and it sums up so much of what I’ve said about religion before. I almost think it should be the soundtrack to this old post.
If you’ve ever seen Glen Foster do stand-up (if you haven’t you should), the words rap master probably wouldn’t be the first that came to mind if you tried to describe him. But don’t tell him that, at least not in 1986.
I wanted to share a little “blast from the past” with you. Something I recently came upon while cleaning out my mother’s house.
In 1986, I recorded a rap parody called, “Does it end?”. It was inspired by the RUN DMC / Aerosmith “Walk This Way” collaboration, although it is more in the style of Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” Anyway, if you want to give a listen, I have put it up on Soundcloud Enjoy.
PS: This was actually pressed on vinyl as 45 RPM and I now have about 500 copies. Not sure what I am going to do with them. But stay tuned.
Going way out on a limb here I’m sure, but I bet he tries to sell them.
You know how sometimes you hear that a band you love has a new album coming out and you get all excited and then you hear a single and you’re like well, I guess it’s ok? This is not one of those times.
That’s “Due West”, a new song from “Two Devils Will Talk”, The new album by The Real McKenzies. I’ve listened to it a bunch of times thanks to Spotify’s New Release Radar, but I only needed to hear it once in order to come to the conclusion that it’s great and I can’t wait to hear more. But as happens with me, I got distracted and totally forgot to figure out when more would come out. Turns out the answer is a shade over two months ago. Oops. Oh well, at least I still got a post out of it and we all know what the next thing we’re Spotifying will be.
I just read a story about the rise and fall of commercial jingles and how changes in the advertising, television and music industries brought and continue to bring it about. You can read it here if that’s something you think you might be interested in doing.
But even if you’re not super interested in that, hopefully you’ll be interested in the part that caught my eye in the first place, the talk of what was probably the first ever sung radio commercial.
Nobody is 100 percent sure, but it’s believed that the honour goes to this sad sounding 1926 Wheaties ad.
Doesn’t exactly pump you up for a new day, does it? But hell if it didn’t work, perhaps because the concept was so new or maybe because the damn thing does have a strange way of crawling its way into your brain, probably making you want some breakfast if you sat and thought about it long enough.
Personally, I miss jingles. Part of this undoubtedly owes to my being a blind guy who longs for the days when I could watch a set of ads on TV without having to Google what the fuck 3 quarters of them were trying to sell me based on little more than a song I’d never heard and maybe a couple words of sensible dialogue if I’m lucky, but a lot of it is simply because they’re memorable and fun and above all, they work. When I hear Feist I don’t immediately think about iPods, but when I hear this, for instance, you bet I want to improve a home I don’t even own.
Though there is some debate, credit for the first commercial jingle usually goes to a Wheaties spot in 1926. The company that made Wheaties, the Minnesota-based Washburn Crosby (the predecessor of General Mills), tried to resurrect the flagging cereal on the radio with a song from a local barbershop quartet. It went like this:
Have you tried Wheaties?
They’re whole wheat with all of the bran.
Won’t you try Wheaties?
For wheat is the best food of man.
They’re crispy and crunchy
The whole year through,
The kiddies never tire of them
and neither will you.
So just try Wheaties,
The best breakfast food in the land.
It was straightforward, and sounded more like a dirge than the upbeat ditties that would come in the following decades. But the promo worked spectacularly, and the jingle made its way around the national market. It was a new way to advertise: The jingle was a natural fit for radio, and later television, both mediums well-suited to audio.
Over the years we’ve seen a lot of strange reasons for people to attack one another. Somehow, unless I’m forgetting something, musical instruments haven’t featured nearly as prominently on that list as you’d think. But feature they do today, and you know what? Unless this fellow is a master of his art, I totally understand.
Encarnacion, cops say, was in the kitchen with the male victim, who “was playing a xylophone” around 9:20 PM. Encarnacion–apparently not enjoying the Friday evening musical performance–“asked him to stop,” according to a court filing.
When the man refused, Encarnacion “dumped a pot of cold cooking grease on him.”
An officer who responded to a 911 call noted that the victim had wet spots on his shirt and shorts, and that “there was a puddle of liquid on the ground where the victim was sitting near the xylophone.”
On the bright side, at least the grease wasn’t boiling this time.
Police have charged April Encarnacion with misdemeanor battery, and at last word she was in jail in lieu of $3,000 bond. If that number seems a little high, the reason most likely lies in the fact that Encarnacion was already on probation for a 2015 incident that saw her plead no contest to battery on a police officer who was probably messing around with one of those god damn toy pianos.
The fact that the person playing that Beethoven piece above is 10 years old is pretty impressive. But what if I told you that he taught himself to play piano by using a toy one when he was 5? Or that not only does he play other people’s songs at a seriously advanced level for his age, but that he also writes his own?
His story is a familiar one. After an attack on Damascus in 2012, Marcus, his brother Eilia and parents Manar and Elham fled to Dubai. After relocating numerous times (including some time in the United States), the family has finally settled in Hamilton, Ontario, where it’s quickly become clear that Marcel possesses some serious talent. After teaching himself on a toy piano at age 5 and learning pieces by Mozart and Beethoven by ear, the young pianist is now a bonafide composer, racking up a collection of his own tunes. He’s also well on his way to being a certified musician; just last week he completed his level 4 Royal Conservatory of Music exam which, while not unheard of, is considerably ahead of the average 10-year-old who is likely to be tackling level 1.