Quick and Dirty: Pre-VMA 2012 #andanotherthing

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This year has been quite a year… Diesel like 90s WWF Denim – needless to say the VMA have been millions of miles away from my spectral proximity: that said, it’s in my blood… no matter how few nominees I know, no matter how irrelevant the proceedings, no matter how cruxed upon pop cultural cannibalism – a festival of juggernauted feasting upon the legends and legacy of old – I will always have an opinion, and the VMA will always have a story and a place in contemporary culture. Though I know a record low number of nominees this year – and hold an even more subterranean affinity, or regard at all, for the nominees of which I do have some cognizance – this year is epic and masterful for so many subtle reasons: the first and last, the alpha and omega of which revolve around this year’s pulse player – The Bajan Queen of Body Parts: Rihanna.

VMA are obviously critical this year though… I’d wager to guess the biggest point is the revisitation of 2007. #neverforget

Unofficial Best of London’s LoveBox 2012 Festival – Sunday Set

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Historically, music festivals like Woodstock and Glastonbury were created to celebrate idealism (one ‘ism that we agree is worth buying into). Lovebox is no different. Add to this idealism the inclusiveness that you find on the best dancefloors and the diversity you find on our capital’s streets and you have the beginnings of a manifesto for a world-class festival in a world-class city.

Ten years old Lovebox has grown up quickly to become the biggest party on East London’s summer calendar and with every year it takes another step forward.

Sunday is a freewheeling, groundbreaking, no-holds-barred party, pulling together elements of the fiercest all-night parties, ballrooms, gay discos, supper clubs, cabarets and bingo-halls and mixing it with recycled couture, the hottest emergent artists and, of course, outrageous acts to create a totally unique hedonistic all-dayer which is most definitely Out & Out Fierce…

Out and Out … and out, and out, and out #ofcontrol

TrapperKeeper: MDNA, Boyfriends, Girlfriends, Best Friends, and Revelations

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Wonderful Monday on our hands. Sun is shining and a brand-spanking-new addition to the Pop family has graced us with its bouncing beautiful baby presence.

As I’m still coming to terms with my equally brand new bouncing baby quarterlife crisis (Aside: leave it to Madonna to wait four years to release an album, that upon completing the first full listen, one realizes IT’S BEEN FOUR YEARS. Leaving subsequent questions such as: “What have I done the past four years?” “What has Timbaland done in the past four years?” “We have Healthcare reform, we’re out of Iraq, bin Laden and Gaddafi are no more, and people are looking to Gingrich?!” “What is a Lady GaGa?” “Did I leave the front door open?” All coalescing to the inevitable answer: “I’m old.”) I’ve decided to put together a quick trip down Memory Lane this Monday (no, the other one, after the left at Drury Road – sorted) compliments of MDNA #biologicalpopbuildingblocks

TrapperKeeper: We the Fortunate Sons…

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Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”
Ooh, they point the cannon at you
Lord, it ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son
Son, it ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Meet the Gerber Generation: because we’ve given up on this situation

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Say hello to the Gerber Generation…

They have some big news to share: the nutrition children get in their first five years can affect their health – forever; think about that. Together, we can help create a healthier generation, and it all starts – with you: welcome to the Gerber Generation.

read: meet the Gerber Generation – because we’ve already given up on Gen Y #jurystilloutonjenwoww

The nutrition a child gets in the first five years can affect their health – forever; think about that

Together we can help create a healthier generation, and it all starts – with you

Watch this space: babyface #elfuturoestaaqui

Normal in New York: Duane Reade, now Kitchenware-Classy

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You know what’s normal in New York: keeping it real in the middle of a recession. Duane Reade isn’t Bergdorf-Goodman, it isn’t Walgreen’s; it is aware that you already know the state of the economy if you’re at Duane-Reade shopping for utensils, cups, and general kitchenware – so might as well have fun with it #miserylovescompany #mockerylovescommerce

Flexible Straws: Suck it up New York

read: “Flexible Straws: more flexible than the adjustable mortgage rate that brought you here” – because you just had to have that new set of cabinets in 2007 #suckitup

Dough Boi Fresh: Ben Carson – “Melodic Monster”

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This installment of Dime Dailies finds itself resting in the progressively nostalgic nook of Nouveau Music, as we listen to the monstrous melodies of Ben Carson:

Ben Carson is a musician, writer, rock n rolla, day dreamer and sweet talker rolled into one human being. Ever since discovering the guitar, his eyes were opened to the alternative world that would rule the rest of his life. Drawn into the world of teen angst and crunching guitar riffs, there has been nothing more interesting than the world of rock.

Carson’s debut EP rolls through this crisp Fall Manhattan Sunday afternoon like a much-welcomed, warm, and hazy Georgia breeze. The six-track sampler tastes a bit like beer-battered Ben and Jerry’s – hops and heartbreak – one part lover and one part lush: all parts rock, and rhythmic southern soul.

Ad Attack: Diplo x Blackberry – Torches of Freedom

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Riding tandem with the unveiling of their Playbook tablet, RIM launched their newest Blackberry Torch ad campaign featuring one half of Major Lazer, and M.I.A.’s former better half, Mr. Diplo – all to the feisty sounds of his furious fingers; Feist – I Feel It All (Diplo Remix) because Diplo remixes how you all feel it.

The Torch: past and present

We Are… 90210 #happyholidays

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Why look anywhere else than Vanity Fair for the encapsulation of all things braggadocio-on-bazaar (yes, including you Harper’s) on the most spectacular of all days? Happy 90210: it’s a celebration. Today the world is a crystal ball of fame: past, present, and post-apocalyptic – nothing screams Hollywood Kid like Lindsay “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Lohan

VFH LL

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in a state full of stars, a wish only is a shot away from reality

And when she first moved to L.A., Lohan says, “it was very go-go-go and I had a lot of responsibility; and I think just the second I didn’t have [structure] anymore—I was 18, 19—with a ton of money and no one really here to tell me that I couldn’t do certain things … And I see where that’s gotten me now, and I don’t like it.” She says tabloids were her main source of news, and calls that “really scary and sad… I would look up to those girls… the Britneys and whatever. And I would be like, I want to be like that.”

but be careful what you wish for…

… because you just might get it #getit?

40 Reasons, #36: Major Lazer x La Roux – Lazerproof Mixtape

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In case you missed the entire day in music… here it is – more than enough reason to get excited about music

Major Lazer and La Roux is a match made in dubstep heaven… let the angels rejoice and the devils stomp to dub beats. The mixtape features samples that trot the globe: hopping from Houstatlantavegas, touching down in Toronto, finagling in Finland, trapping in Atlanta, and finding diamonds in the roughest places everywhere in between. The result is a perfect collective summer anthem fit for any system. Remember where you first heard the intoxicatingly visceral vibes, as they will no doubt be heard on dashboards and dancefloors all over until the world goes tone deaf.

DOWNLOAD

Dime Dailies: Diplo x Santogold – “Top Ranking Mixtape”

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In anticipation of tomorrow’s Major Lazer x La Roux’s Lazerproof Mixtape today is a throwback to the Diplo x Santogold “Top Ranking” Mixtape: self-explanatory #ace – enjoi. No hype, no gloss, no pretense, just Diplogold: mixed.

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Dime Dailies: New Music Monday Melange – May 24, 2010

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Ello, ello! (Baby you called I can’t hear a thing…) It’s been awhile (read: far too long) since I’ve posted a sampler smattering of what I’m listening to, but today I felt particularly inspired. So, here goes: a… sampler smattering of what I’m listening to today.

“Toxic” (Britney Spears Cover) (16 Bit Dubstep Remix) – Yael Naim

This remix is by no means new, but it is the definition of fresh. We all know and love the original. Hopefully a lot of you have been enjoying Yael Naim’s sugary cover for years now. But now, 16 Bit have brought it home. Their dubstep remix adds layers of sound that accent Naim’s already fragile-sounding voice, making the cover sound like a music box that could break at any moment. We pray it won’t, and the suspense is half the fun.

Courtesy of Pretty Much Amazing

“Unforgettable” ft. Young Jeezy – Wheelchair Jimmy

Ad-a-Day: Audi A1’s “The Next Big Thing”

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Throwback to Ad-a-Day. Audi is pushing A1 promotion like their filet mignons depend on it. They released the 6-part online short film series “The Next Big Thing” featuring Justin Timberlake and Dania Ramirez. The product resembles what a sextuplet sequel offspring of “The Italian Job,” “Alpha Dog,” “The Phone,” and “Bye, Bye, Bye” would look like…

though if this is “The Next Big Thing,” I have to admit I preferred the last big thing… back when the main character was “The Star” and the M5 was the car…

Watch this space: short action-packed car chase flicks always drive em wild – outside of the acting: approve

HIP HOP REMIX Countdown: #7 – The Neptunes

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The Imperial Skateboard P and Chad Hugo – better known as The Neptunes – are undoubtedly two of hip-hop’s paramount producers. If Kelis’ milkshake brought the boys to the yard, The Neptunes’ ice creams brought the billionaire boys club to the block with their signature intergalactic sound.

Pharrell paved the way for the futuristic funk stranglehold on the past decade’s mainstream sound. Tag-teaming with Hugo, Williams blended satellite synth and subwoofer shaking bass in a way that created songs that were not mere remixes, but fused genres to remake the entire Top 40. They took pop from bland bubblegum to bombastic boom, and took rap/hip-hop from the cold hard underground and into the blinding light.

Hugo and Williams’ discography jumps off the New Jack Swing kick of the early 90s where they worked with heavyhitters like Mike E, Teddy Riley, Blackstreet, Wreckx N’ Effect, and SWV. Their sound transitioned into the bass-driven vibe of mid-to-late 90s where they set the tone for the urban contemporary landscape, collaborating with rap royalty past and present: Noreaga, Total, Ma$e, The LOX, Puffy, and protege duo Clipse. One of the finest gutterfunk mixes of the era was ODB’s “Got Your Money” featuring The Neptunes first lady, Kelis.

HIP HOP REMIX Countdown: #9 – Mary J Blige

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Mary J. Blige is the undeniable Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Her voice is the ingrained remix to a male dominated genre: she is the soul to hip-hop. Before Badu, Jill Scott, Floetry, and the crop of neo-soul crooners came along to balance out the scales, MJB was all we needed. In a career spanning two decades, when Blige blesses a track it remixes the whole genre. As with any true artist, to follow MJB’s discography and collaborations is to see a portfolio of snapshots capturing the urban identity exactly as it was within any brownstone and on any block.

Mary J. Blige is an artist whose artistry supersedes the remix. Yes, the remix of “You Remind Me” featuring Nice and Smooth is solid, but when she blesses a hip hop recording with her voice, the track approaches the stratosphere. In fact, the synergy of many of Mary’s collaborations with hip hop’s finest have, and continue to be a standard for what remixers attempt but in many cases fall short of creating, and in one special case, is the sound none will ever encapsulate.

Dime Dailies: Lena Horne Remembered

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Last night we didn’t lose a great one, we lifted a legend to her rightful place among the stars – the celestial lights, not the limelights: Rest in Peace Lena Horne. A glance back at Lena’s life on screen and record…

Lena makes literacy fun… and funky fresh

Even at 80, Lena was flier than The Rosie Show’s Koosh shooters

40 Reasons, #37 “The Grey SNL:” When All Black Hov met Betty White

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In the face of a diversity dispute, NBC “We have Kenan and a dress, isn’t that enough for the quota?” Universal brings excitement via ethnic personification quality over quantity in this week’s SNL episode: Hova and Betty “It Ain’t Ova” White. While NBC may have a million – Jay Leno included, but far from the isolated – problems… “You know, Jay-Z has 99 problems – but this bitch ain’t one of ’em:” for the record – Jay and Betty are Good… like God with an extra “O.”

In honor of the more-than-momentous meeting of the modern moguls, a brief melange of all things “All Black” and White – from the forever young and old, from the grey to gold – a primer for the post-primetime powerhouse pairing

“To all my friends who think I’m over the hill…”

“If your local news is any good they won’t be showing anything else…”

Music Monday: 40 Reasons, #38: Rebirth of the Roc Playlist

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Beware of the Boys (well, the boy…) Dame Dash is coming back to balance the boat after the Roc of Gibraltar got off the SS Dynasty to walk on water, and let the vessel fumble and falter (read: Former Hov Partner-in-Crime Damon Dash, is back this year to resurrect the Roc-a-Fella Record Label after Jay-Z left to pursue bigger and better things… namely: the world). Now, after a sabbatical from life, Dash is back to bring “positivity” to the Dynasty sign…

When Damon Dash pulled a Roc-A-Fella chain out of his vault several months ago and presented it to Curren$y, it was just a celebration of their friendship. Now, the chain means much more. Dash is resurrecting Roc-A-Fella Records and plans to make Curren$y’s Pilot Talk the label’s first new release on June 15.

“I think we just having fun, really,” said Dash, sitting in his office at DD172 next to Curren$y. “[Curren$y] inspired me to dust off the chains. We brought ’em out for kicks, just ’cause we could. Then we was like, ‘F— it, let’s put it out through Roc-A-Fella.’ It was really more something he wanted to do. Basically, ’cause we havin’ such a good time, and the opportunity’s there, we was like, ‘Why not?’ “

(Read: “It’s like when you’re younger and you and your best friend had a lemonade stand; and then your best friend ended up running Orange Julius, and you went back to your parents basement, and still had some packets of Country Time left, and you’re like ‘Man, I’m having so much fun in my parents basement doing nothing all day except buying drinks from Orange Julius, I’m having such a good time being broke that I figure why not just try to make some money again? That, and my parent’s are really hounding me about rent… but it’s all for fun so, why not?”)

Unforgettable, Vol. 13: M.I.A. – “Arular”

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m_i_a__wallpaper_kala_style_by_amphyy

Where we left off with the sonic schizophrenia of Kenna’s face, we now delve into M.I.A.’s socially schizophonic scape. Maya Arulpragasam came onto the scene in 2005 with her debut, Arular. M.I.A. mirrors the past – leading by sample – and marks the future. From sound to sentiment to style, she lays the groundwork for the new underground of which she spoke in NME

In people’s hard drives and their brains, it just hasn’t been outputted yet. We need a digital moshpit like we’ve never seen, harder than how people were doing it in the punk era. We need that energy, but digitally. It’s coming.

On the brink of her third album, and apparent rebirth, it’s important to see that we still have the same M.I.A. – with the same perspective – in a different package.

Arular came out when I was a freshman in college, and – in conjunction with the urban landscape of Manhattan as my backdrop – was instrumental in my musical maturation. Just as New York is a microcosm of the world, so Arular was a concentrated synthesis of sounds and global societies. Just as I was cementing my identity as a world citizen, so Arulpragasm was constructing our cultural identity.

M.I.A.’s eponymous track – “Untitled” – marks her signature as much as ours: a general in the midst – and at the helm – of a lost generation. More so than most, Maya embodies this era: missing in action – we may not know where we are or what we’re doing, but we’re doing it big. Arular is that electronic indigenous sound of an era on the cusp of tradition and innovation. As M.I.A lays down her blueprint electronic to lead a tribe in the midst of unparalleled transition, so Arular reflects that ambiguity in being born free.

Crate Dig: Brownstone’s “Grapevyne”

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Welcome to the newest regular feature here at True Genius Requires Insanity, the “Crate Dig.” As you may already be aware, we strongly feel as though it’s time to advocate a “back to basics” movement in music. We feel that instead of everyone being an innovator, that some of us need to be preserving the importance of original source material. To that end, the “Crate Dig” will feature members of the TGRIOnline.com staff, the “Hustlers of Culture,” digging through their mental crates to remember the songs that made them appreciate music. There will be some amazing, and yes, embarrassing choices here, but always the key impact is to remember when music was not something to be over studied, remixed, downloaded, forgotten and torn asunder. We’re remembering when music was simply a song you liked, and really couldn’t tell you more than a sentence or two why. Sit back, reminisce, and enjoy the building blocks of music appreciation.

Song: “Grapevyne” by Brownstone
Year Release: 1995 // Year “Discovered” By Me: 1995
Reason Discovered: My dad

Crate digs are trouble for someone like myself – but trouble is my business: let’s do work.

The premise of my first crate dig is “what was the first song you remember hearing and how does that affect who you are today?” Yes, that sounds overarching for the column at hand; no, you don’t know me if you think it is too overarching for any column. That said, the second Marcus mentioned “Crate Dig” I immediately thought to the song “Grapevyne” by Brownstone.

Why I’m a Fan?
I had to be. My dad played this song everyday on the way to and from school when I was 8. Logistics aside, this song set the pace for my future relationship with all recorded sound. “Grapevyne” was the first date that set the tone for my subsequent marriage to music – I liked it so I put a ring on it – my dad’s obsession with said song walked me down the proverbial aisle. If my dad liked a song, he lived in that song… forever. Thus, all credit (or blame) for my musical mind goes to said indoctrination.

Growing up in Baltimore was my tale of two cities. One one hand there was the “Charmed City on The Wire:” a perpetual fixer-upper metropolis in urban decay, laden with a cacophony of crime, crabs (residing in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as most rowhouse beds) and drugs, with a murder rate well exceeding the literacy rate (“The City That Reads” – obituaries); on the other hand there was my Baltimore bubble: a predominantly white Catholic school with suburban Sallies and soccer moms, conservative values, mini-mallrats in kilts, and little lacrosse bros in suede Bass loafers. In the midst of those clashing cultures was my own home, and in the midst of the external noise was the soundtrack my parents played in the house.

40 Reasons, #39: GLEE

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So don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually watch GLEE (because I’m a hypeconnected, hypermediated millenial whose attention span only suffices for commercials, ringtones, tweets, status updates, and headlines – not whole shows, movies, songs, albums, or articles). That said, I’ve been noticing a lot of GLEE on the commercials, ringtones, tweets, status updates, and headlines that I do peruse. Here’s what excites me about GLEE – and what it means for music:

1.) It brings people together: tweens, moms, tweeps, middle-schoolers, theater kids, blacks, whites, old people, young people, Republicans (maybe, I think, I don’t know), Democrats, further assumed opposite demographics… all talk about GLEE, even – and especially, like me – if they don’t watch it.

2.) It makes the culture go Pop – and tricks them into appreciating it. Madonna is relevant – and #1 – again: approve.

GLEE episodes are like melodic-Pop-textbooks-meets-Degrassi: edutainment ftw!

3.) They trick viewers into learning about the socio-political landscape – through satire, sarcasm, and snark: win… and then some

Follow Friday: DC Twitterati

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This edition of Follow Friday is an homage to those District Attorneys who made the enigma that was @swiper_bootz a reality. It was these TwietCong that welcomed me into their sandbox and showed me how to run the playground that is Twitter. So here they are: DC’s Finest:

Winston “Stone” Ford aka The Couch Sessions

The Couch Sessions is the premier online destination for alternative urban music and culture. The online magazine, created in 2005, covers emerging artists in hip-hop, R&B, electronica, house, rock, and all things in between, and has attracted tech savvy and progressive music lovers from around the world who are seeking new, underground and underheard talent. In addition to it’s flagship website, The Couch Sessions is leveraging its brand through Facebook, and Twitter attracting visitors from over 20 countries. With a readership that spans America’s largest urban markets, The Couch Sessions has consistently been ahead of the mainstream, solidifying itself as a destination for a new generation of iPod armed consumers who are on the cutting edge of technology and music.

Why Follow: Winston is the sonic connoisseur. In the midst of two line “hot or not” blog posts that satiate only 12 year old’s case of ADD, Ford – and Dowling – take time to delve and appreciate music; translation: they cultivate culture.

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DJ Lil’ Elle

DJ Lil’ Elle is more than a DJ, she is DC’s club pulse. She can be found anywhere from DC, to Miami, to Cali – at any given venue, club, or music conference – bringing her signature sound to the masses. Lil’ Elle mixes and mashes hip-hop, rap, electronic, dubstep, anything that sounds good she will make sound better – period.

Why Follow: The same reason you would follow her in real life – to get on the guest list of wherever you want/need to be, and to get the first listen on whatever people will be listening to next week, month, year, ever.

Dime Dailies: Google Chrome Gets Creative

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I’ve used Google Chrome since October 2009, because – beyond the glitches – I loved its potential (one part what your teachers tell you when you aren’t realizing said potential because if you were it wouldn’t be potential it would be practice, and one part fashion vs. function). I loved Google’s aim in ease-of-usability – an internet browser that wanted to have such innate user interaction that the web became about content, interaction with what you were using as opposed to how you were using it. That said, I always had a Mozilla window up as well, because Firefox had the practicality of compatibility with websites, apps, etc. (namely: RSS Feeds). I always had faith, though, that Google would work out the kinks, and that when said day came Chrome would shine with brilliance. That day might not have come yet, but their latest ad campaign is just the reassurance I need to take solace in the fact that the day is not too far away.

I LOVE this video. I love Fats Waller. I love the sample: (Do You Intend to Put and End to) A Sweet Beginning? – because it lets me know that 1) Google has exquisite taste in music 2) they know Chrome’s concept was a delicious foray into the possibilities in not just internet browsing but online interaction – one in which they have no intention on ending and 3) they are word smiths with a knack for branding. What I love, more than anything, is the creativity and conveyed identity. Technology doesn’t have to be complex – in fact that is the problem with moving forward with innovation, it is too complex for user enjoyment: a dissertation on web function should not be a pre-requisite for delving into the digital space. So, Google lays out the basics of Chrome, the tools and features that set it apart from the Mozillas, Operas, and Internet Explorers (for those twelve people that still use IE) in a way that is artistic, intriguing, aesthetically-pleasing, and so simple. The campaign says very simply: we’re forward-thinking without leaving you behind, we’re going back to basics to set a blueprint for web 3.0 if you will – all aboard, jump on.

Watch this space: It may not be perfect, but it’s progressive: kudos.

Dime Digest: Lollapalooza 2010 Primer Playlist

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So… while you were sleeping, this happened

And because “knowing of” a band doesn’t make you an expert, here’s a lil’ latest/greatest/something/anything primer to expand your points of reference (read: ego).

Headliners

Soundgarden

Apparently all you need to know about Soundgarden to get by, is this track

Well, that and don’t mention Audioslave

A good band deserves good measure though so…

Dime Digest: New Music Tuesday – April 6, 2010

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We’ve got a trifecta triple-deke this week: The New Loud, Florrie, and Natalia Kills – let’s get it in

The New Loud

“You don’t dance me, but I dance you.” Touche. This indie electro-altern-rock band hails from the land of a thousand lakes (Minneapolis, MN for those who forgot 3rd grade geography). Their music hails the gods of a thousand layers: solo vocals over chants that ride the border of hymnal and hypnotic, guitar riffs intertwined with space-age synth, electronic bass pulsating as the vocals build to a deafening roar, all backed by the most epic live drums this side of The Mars Volta – win.

Download their full 6-track EP: Can’t Stop Knowing here

***

Florrie

Oh man, this one – the Brits… at it again like Timbaland and Magoo someone call 911, she’s on the run

Dime Dailies Playlist: Fever (105)

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Scorcher today… only one thing to do: dance in the streets, then cruise into the sunset. Here’s a playlist that does just that; vice: it’s the spice of life – enjoi.

Dime Dailies: Health Care Reform Playlist

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President Obama is on the road promoting the historic health care legislation he signed into effect earlier this week. So I’ve decided to compile a quick primer playlist to accompany his journey and ours to and through this momentous bill, to cut through the jargon, and to break down the “can dos if you choose” of health care reform.

Bad Romance: because now you can get your lover’s ugly and disease without worrying about high premiums

Just a Girl: because it is no longer a pre-existing condition

Dime Dailies: Three Things to Do in Atlanta This Weekend 3/26-3/28

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A quick-and-dirty hat trick of things to do in the Dirty this weekend…

“The Allure of the Automobile”

WHAT: Walk it out like Andre 3000 to The High Museum for an evolution of roadsters “considered classics before the drastic change in production when cars were metal instead of plastic.” The exhibit runs through June 20 and features rare “rolling sculptures” from rocket-esque roadsters like the 1937 Dubonnet “Xenia,” to low-country-luxe 1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo.

WHY: In Atlanta, top-dollar rides are a dime-a-dozen; it’s worth the visit to see truly one-of-a-kind rides that show the art behind the artifice.

Re-Branding America: Texas Board of Education Rewrites U.S. History

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History is said to be written by the victors (read: 1. America always wins – even when we lose – because we said so, and 2. we don’t have time to read up on “world history” because we are the world, and we don’t care about his story because our story is the only one that matters). That said, Texas has decided to chop-and-screw said history because, well, they felt like it. The Texas State Board of Education (other than the state sanctioned “disciplinary tool” – a  large piece of plywood with an “edjewkashun” inscription) voted 10-5 to

“inject conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade,” requiring teachers “to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a ‘constitutional republic,’ rather than ‘democratic.'”

So here’s ten things I didn’t know about US History until Texas told me so (read: 10 things that will replace Pluto’s existence in your kids’ curriculum/ 10 more things other than Twitter, Justin Bieber, and Texts from Last Night that you won’t be able to talk about with your kids at the dinner table).

Music Monday: Sounds from the Summit

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In light of the MTV premiere of Summit on the Summit

Grammy-nominated musician, philanthropist, and “actionist” Kenna has organized an expedition to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the billion people worldwide who lack access to clean drinking water. The climb will not only raise awareness of the global clean water crisis, but also raise funds for various charities and organizations

this Music Monday playlist features three of the freshest, PURist, cleanest, coolest artists to rock the mic – or trek the globe in pursuit of water as fresh and clean as they are. So below, are the Dime’s Ten Picks for “Sounds from the Summit” featuring Kenna, Santogold, and Lupe Fiasco – enjoi

Solo Mode: MTV Unplugged – Classic Past, but Starburst Brings the Futile Future

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Unplugged: the ways in which I loved thee are innumerable. When you left, you took a piece of me with you – not as much as when you cameoed on SNL, pulling the plug on A. Simps-now-but-not-then-Wentz, and took a piece (read: bulk) of her career – but still, there is a void.

You’ve returned! Oh, ah, wait – at least, I think that’s you…

I… can’t seem to make out the stage with all the neon logos, blonde hair, and white veneers in the way; and for the love of all that is acoustic please turn off your Starburst – please.

So… Unplugged returned – kind of

Re-Branding America: Jersey Shore no more, LDN gets it in-nit

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Bringing Ad a Day back like a phoenix from the ashes… much like the fleur-de-lis did this year; naturally, in an effort to polish the once lost treasure, New Orleans made it clear – with advertisements like the one below – they have a keen focus on waste management… read: after Mark “Brownie Hell-on-Earth of a Job” Brown got done with us we know what trash looks like – so take that rif-raff back to Jersey where you found it

Re-Branding America: The Red-Blooded Male Returns

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So, in January 2009 America witnessed a rebirth of cool and got kind of blue: Barack Obama became the leader of the free world. The iconography of a new America – you know, the intellectual, worldly, progressive, free, melting pot, pulled up by the bootstraps kind – and the collective good ole boy male population had one thing to say: “I don’t know what ‘audacity’ means, but I hope this is it because that would be two things I don’t get… Jim Bob go find that book of words and things from Mary and Webster.” Fast forward to January 2010: Super (read: brand) Bowl Sunday – the TEA Party  in all of their inglourious teabagger basterdry must’ve stepped up their media buying cookies – the night when the red state of mind ranted commercially until they were blue in the face… thus is the product of said oxygen deficiency to the brain – assuming that’s what inhabits the space in between their ears

Union Jacked: BRITs 2010 de-brief and recap

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Oh the brilliant BRIT Awards (says the Yankee). If the Brits taught us one thing: it’s to guard your crown jewels; meanwhile, Stateside the Grammys traded them off for glitter, while the AMAs cut off their nose to save face. Thank the Queen, Britain – in all its splendid isolation – provided a safe haven for our native island of creative misfits. With the veneer of the VMAs, the critical cred of the Grammys, and the je ne sais quais (read: accent) of Russell Brand – the BRITs are it… innit?

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Artist Flashlight: Wes Gordon

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This edition of Artist Flashlight finds itself basking in proud nostalgia. Wes Gordon is a 23-year-old Atlanta-native who exudes pure cosmopolitan. Gordon was raised in the heart of Buckhead’s WASP nest, but never settled for his surroundings. He went on to pursue fashion at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. A natural born hustler within the Haute Couture world, Gordon interned with Tom Ford and was a summer assistant to Oscar de la Renta – nbd. Now in New York, Wes completed his latest women’s collection just in time for the Fashion Week fiends to get their fix of the future of fabulous.

What I love about Wes is that he designs wearable art in the literal sense. There is wearable art that is a masterpiece in and of itself, and that when you wear it – it wears you. Then there is Wes’ kind of wearable art: the kind that becomes art when one puts it on, the kind that makes a masterpiece out of the person, and breathes life into a woman where there was once a mannequin.

Sidenote: I’m a massive fan of kind-of-like-big-deals… and I am biased towards those within my circle of friends (read: debate mates from throwback sandbox days) – Mr. Gordon fits the bill as well as his impeccably tailored works of wearable sophistication

Lucky A la Mode

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

It’s Valentine’s Day, New York Fashion Week, snowing, another beautiful day in the neighborhood, and regardless of any of the aforementioned I’m a hypermediated millennial (read: willing and able to get excited about anything (read: nothing)) so here’s where Cupid’s squeeze led my brief but bombastic attention span this week:

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The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again

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DimePieces: In Case You Missed It, 2000: “Try Again”

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It being the last month of the decade everyone’s dropping their recaps of the 2000s thus far – Y2K bug, artists of the decade, monumental moments, etc. – but when I think of the decade in Pop I think back to the subtle moments – easily missed – that set the tone for everything that followed.

In case you missed it: Aaliyah’s “Try Again” was the decade’s first Female Video of the Year – a most apropos harbinger to the next 10 years of female pop and, oddly enough, politics as well.

“If at first you don’t succeed…”

“If you’re lookin’ for trouble, you came to the right place,” trouble: check; YouTube resolution as blurry as Brit’s that night: check.

F.I.L.A. Pic of the Patch: October 28, 2009

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I like my BlackBerry, I love my BlackBerry, I loathe my BlackBerry… if only my Curve’s curves could talk — but that’s what its lens is for: a thousand words a snap. The frequency with which I use said camera means my Curve talks 24/7, and I’ve got enough BlackBerry shots to fill a whole pasture. For now though here’s today’s pic of the BlackBerry photo patch:

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I love this picture because I love the sheer connectedness of it: social media meets storytelling meets Border’s (signpost sanctuary of silent friends aka books), it all but screams engage. Border’s figures kids don’t read what traditional authors write, so maybe they’ll read each others thoughts — I like it.

Now for a little fodder to spark storytelling — backstory pondering rather …

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How did the Chicken Biscuit get there? Is it even a Chicken Biscuit? Is this the cows’ attempt at getting everyone — regardless of financial means — to “Eat Mor Chikin?” In retrospect should I have nabbed it after all… no, no to the last one. Today’s Pic of the Patch, definitely worth a noggin scratch.

Watch this space: Especially you Atlanta; it’s free food, in this economy, from Chic-Fil-A — might be the only Chic-Fil-A available on Sunday if everyone’s fingers stay sticky-free. Yet another reason why F.I.L.A. [Chic(ken) F(orever) I L(ove) A(tlanta)?] … free Southern (fried) Hospitality

The Re-Branding of America: F.I.L.A. Waffle House

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It’s that time of year again, where the temperature drops and the Fall is distinctively in the air. I miss DC now more than ever, but as I bid it adieu I must admit, I’m finding more and more reasons why Forever I Love Atlanta.

Any city worth anything is a canvas of culture: streets, citizens, local staples, illustrating stories and letting the ordinary extraordinarily unfold at every moment. It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see. Atlanta bursts at the seams with effortlessly juxtaposing overtones and undertones endlessly ebbing and flowing about the red clay.

Went to Waffle House today with my little brother while our car was getting serviced over at Dekalb Tire (on Roswell. nice people, comfy chairs, free coffee and Splenda. thumbs up). If you don’t know about Waffle House, Google it. If you haven’t been inside a Waffle House , you’re probably a northern aggressor or haven’t ventured east of an In n Out Burger since your first bite. If you haven’t eaten at  a Waffle House, you’re either one of the aforementioned and/or you have ventured into a Waffle House and took its charm for borderline health violations.

Either way, WaHo is an experience. If nothing else, it’s Americana at its best

As above, so below…

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After a bit of confusion as to what to blog about, I’m going to veer off into the sociologist place for a bit, but still with the public communication slant. Every advertisement is a story, every label/bumper sticker/etc. is an advertisement, so we’ve got stories all around. Truth is stranger than fiction so why not shift focus to the people and products advertising reality…

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Yeah, life is seeming very Trap-ish. Either way, Atlanta is a fascinating city that loves labels (from denim to demographics, and good gravy how many bumper stickers can one car have? Atlanta’s answer: not enough) so I’m going to take a second look at what Atlantans say about themselves without opening their mouths.

Look Ma, no wires! Powermat cuts the cord

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This commercial changed my *bleep*in life — so simple, so basic, so necessary, so overdue it’s vulgar: Powermat must be a sin

If humans can recharge by simply laying down on a surface — comfort optional — why can’t our new best friends? Powermat takes wireless to the next level with their line of cordless charging stations for Blackberries, iPhones, and Nintendo DSes.

I know what I’m getting my Curve for Christmas: matching linen (BFF roomies? Totes McGoats!)

Watch this space: You thought you were wireless before… tisk tisk. Cut the cords, they’re so two thousand and late — unless you’re this guy, in which case, you’re always in vogue

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Industry Tip of the Week: Write for the Reader and Revenue Will Follow — Not Vice Versa

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A place for everything and everything in its place; there is a place for online media and print media — but figuring out how to capitalize off of ad revenue for both is going to be a bit of a quandary. Sadly, content is taking a backseat to commerce, and people don’t realize the vast opportunities available in the fourth estate. That said, Bloggers need to understand the essence and concept of the “now” news, of the moment and trendsetting; print media needs to understand the importance and significance of the steady news, the tried and true. People use different media for different reasons, writers need to tap into their base and see what they want — after you remember how to write for the reader and not the revenue, the ad space sells itself.

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Music Monday: Lily Allen’s Anti-Piracy Crusade

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So, Lily Allen –– yes, that Lily Allen –– is back on the soapbox again. Ever the donna of the digital domain, Ms. Allen hit up MySpace, Twitter, and even created a blog to bring attention to a cause that is of paramount importance to her, her country, and the world –– music piracy.

Now more than ever, in the midst of Kanye-Swiftgate, we’ve got to look at the big picture. The pop spectacle is all fun and games, until you realize that people aren’t joking. The devil is in the details –– literally. Where Kanye’s blip-on-the-radar-screen “outburst” (still baffled by the media’s word choice on that one)  shifted focus from national priorities like, oh, I don’t know, healthcare reform, to a week of punchlines –– no, wait, imma let you finish –– Lily’s most recent tirade is overshadowing other worthwhile crusades. Lily of all people should know this, but I digress. The devil is in the fact that people’s attention is diverted by the details, the effects –– the award show antics, the anti-filesharing rants, Joe Wilson’s debatably racist remark –– and not on the big picture, or the causes –– media hyping pop culture to the point of perception as reality, the future of business and namely the music industry in the face of technological innovation, racism in American politics and society (furthermore, the focus on isolated racist comments, versus the institutionalized racism/prejudice of over 35 million people without healthcare).

That said, I’m not going to focus on the issue of music piracy in and of itself –– whether it’s right, wrong, inevitable, etc. –– but rather, the issue of music piracy’s priority within the bigger scheme of social progress, government involvement, and the always important “so what” factor. So, beyond the legal implications (intellectual property/copyright law, Napster and Betamax cases, Creative Commons, debate between prioritizing creative/commercial artistic value, etc.) I’ll keep my two cents short:

Ad a Day: Sunday Omission

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Seeing as I’m Catholic and the Lord said the seventh day is for rest I’ll omit the usual “Ad a Day” situation; however, I won’t leave you without a nice plug for the Church

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See? Church can be funny, haha, right guys? But wait there’s more! We promise — but you gotta come to get the bonuses. Please come to church … please?

Watch this space: hint: the bonus rhymes with tree swine — it’s free and is like swine without the “s” …

Ad a Day: ampm

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It’s Saturday … let’s go short, sweet, Southern, and simple

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So, that’s about as self-explanatory as it gets: 47 cents, 32 ounces, another Atlanta merchant not participating in the recession. Cheers! This one’s on Vick — a farewell round …

Watch this space: walk in to your local ampm with 2 quarters and a penny, walk out with 32 ounces of ice cold thirst-quenching (insert fountain beverage of your choice here) — bargain innit?

Ad a Day: Avril’s Car Wash

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The South may be considered slow — backwards even — but with ads like this …

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call it backwards, call it slow; but in Atlanta, simple seems to be the way to go. As Lil’ Wayne so eloquently said “This is Southern face it; If we too simple then y’all don’t get the basics.” What recession? Don’t be a victim, stand up and say “no, we won’t.” Problem solved, just that easy.

The so-called “economic recession” is a classic example of that infamous inside-the-beltway northern aggression mentality. “We will not participate in the recession;” is one step closer to the second secession.

Watch this space: Recessions are so Summer 2008 — just ask Jeezy, Mayor of the Trap

Music Monday: June 29, 2009

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Last night was the 2009 BET Awards, and while the formal ceremony fell short of a proper Michael tribute, the subtext paid brilliant homage to the King of Pop and his legacy. If nothing else, the world has been reintroduced to true pop music and culture in the aftermath of Michael’s death. Music television and radio stations have played the best rotations in years by playing only Michael nonstop. The result: full social immersion into true music and artistry in the midst of a tween/teen/young adult generation who has fallen far beyond short — a la ringtone rap and thrice-warmed-over beats and lyrics.  The point: last night’s awards marked what could be the renaissance of pop, hip-hop, music, modern art, and culture

From the finest display of live auto-tuning and actual instrumentation I’ve witnessed in a minute (and points for the Dirty Diana nod)

a near perfect last stand — save for a fat lady singing — before the anti auto-tune assault

Au revoir auto-tune, bonjour artistry — and authenticity. In the midst of chaos, the best solution is simplicity; from the music industry, back to Michael the key is to cut through the hype and get to the core — the only one to do that better than Jay Hov last night was Janet

no words.

The BET Awards marked the apex and assassination of auto-tune — and everything it embodies; kill the counterfeit, “this is Sinatra at the opera,” not Soulja Boy on a Sidekick.

Watch this space: What better catalyst for the next cultural shift than the death of the mechanichal man in light of the man in the mirror — from auto-tune to authentic artistry. Now, from the King’s ashes will hopefully arise a phoenix-like pop renaissance; if not, blame it on the alcohol — literally.

The Michael Post

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Michael Jackson was an icon and today is a deity. Everyone has their two cents on this, so below are just a few of mine …

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Pop: Michael Jackson embodied pop from head to toe, Michael was and is pop — period. VH1 opened their tribute with statements like “on the brink of his biggest comeback to date, Michael died,” and “the King has died.” When one man can singlehandedly make all music video television stations play music videos again, when the 4 hours of radio broadcast directly following his death are more diverse — and universally better — than the 4 years leading to his death, when every media outlet — from ABC to TMZ and everywhere in between — becomes an amplified epitaph, when the internet gets shut down, when one man can singlehandedly take the world from ripping him one day to R.I.P.-ing him the next, when that man’s death sparks an unspoken public guilt for allowing pop to descend to its present state … this is not “the brink of his biggest comeback to date,” it is his biggest comeback, this is not the “death of a King,” it is the ascent of a deity. Michael Jackson as pop, in and of itself, resurrected more than a concept — he resurrected a culture.

I would go on about all of the celebrity vs. artistry themes and nuances interwoven through the icon’s tale, but that’s for a coffee discussion or roundtable forum (open invitation)

Personal: Keith Olbermann said it best when he said this is bigger than the fame and controversy, that this transcends the trials — at its core this is the tragic death of a human gone too soon. The footage of Michael’s body being transported to the coroner brought his death to the human level. Regardless of everything else surrounding the event, Michael Jackson is a human being — a friend, a brother, a father, and another son to be buried by his parents.

Political-esque: BBC World asked what the death of Michael Jackson means for the African-American community; someone replied “What did Elvis’ death mean to the white community?” Michael’s death is bigger than that because Michael’s death, life, and impact transcend race: he was the first black artist on MTV, but he is also the greatest pop artist of all-time — race with and notwithstanding Michael’s death means everything to everyone within pop culture.

Everyone has their favorite Michael songs, videos, etc. Many are classics like Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, Black or White, etc. but below are my understated favorites.

First, the first Michael Jackson song I remember buying …

the man made a song about a rat … a ballad that remains heads and shoulders above the bulk of modern pop love songs today

Next, the first Michael song that made me buy a pack of Orbit to clean myself up

so raw … so gritty … so epic

Finally, what remains my first favorite Michael video

words … can’t … just … yeah.