That's enough already, Dave Grohl

Categories: Commentary

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Press Photo
Dave Grohl is one of my favorite dudes in the world but he needs to hop off my radar for a minute. I'm a mega Nirvana fan and I've always admired Dave for his talent and humor, but lately I can't seem to get him out of my face. His mug is everywhere.


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Why we can learn from the felony lewd conduct charges facing New Found Glory's Steve Klein

Categories: Commentary

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Ian Witlen for Miami New Times. Full slideshow.
Steve Klein of New Found Glory was recently accused of lewd acts with a minor.
Former New Found Glory Guitarist Steve Klein is the latest in a string of recent arrests and accusations that highlight a rare but underrated hazard in underground music: exposure to dangerous people. That's not to say all artists are as dangerous or deviant as Klein is accused of being. Fans who are lucky enough to meet their favorite musicians usually have a positive experience, sometimes even unforgettably so. Still, the economic, social and statistical realities of the music industry can sometimes foster a bad egg or two.

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One label controls almost all of hip-hop, and that's a problem for music fans

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Image via YouTube
Jay-Z, trying to convince us his favorite thing about Magna Carta Holy Grail isn't the Samsung deal.
It's common knowledge that the popular music industry is dominated by a few huge companies, sometimes referred to as the Big Three: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. It used to be the Big Four, until EMI was subsumed into the other three. Before that, it was the Big Five, which followed the Big Six, etc. As time has gone on, the music market has becoming more and more restrictive in the choices you can actually make as a consumer. According to Nielson SoundScan, these three companies controlled roughly 90 percent of the music market in 2012, and this is a number trending upward. The problem for rap fans, though, is even more severe.

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Everything I need to know I learned from loving metal

Categories: Commentary

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Photo by Brandon Marshall. Slideshow.
Professor Phil Anselmo.
Most people regard metal music as an anti-intellectual, chest-beating, noisy fit for cavemen. Despite this being 100 percent true, there are a few positive things that result from having an intense dedication toward one of the most juvenile forms of music out there. While listening to metal may still sentence you to a life in your parents' basement, at least you'll have learned a few things on the way to sleeping on a pile of empty potato chip bags. Here are six things you learn from being addicted to metal.

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Five rules for making sure nobody reads your band's Twitter or Facebook

Categories: Commentary

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Brandon Marshall. Slideshow
Sure, I'm into it now, but Facebook invite me to one more show I have no interest in and I will unlike you so fast.
Rule No. 1: Invite me to everything.

I love your band -- I bought your cassette, even though I don't have a Walkman, and I bought your shirt, even though I'm getting to that age where band shirts fit me a bit like a corset, and I like your Facebook page.

What's missing? My iPhone isn't telling me that I have a Meeting With 70 Others At 7 PM Titled "HaRd RoCk RoDeO With KSLT FM 107.1 The SlutBuster @ The Drunkhaus" every night. Invite me to everything. Out-of-town shows, house shows, shows your friends are playing at, shows you know I am attending, shows that physicists posit must exist to account for the mass that appears to be missing from the universe.

Give them weird names, too. If I know who's playing and where without opening Facebook and scrolling down, you've already not-lost me.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers faking it at an event like the Super Bowl isn't that shocking, is it?

Categories: Commentary

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Debate over the Red Hot Chili Peppers "unplugged" controversy has been simmering for the past few days following the Super Bowl. It intensified when Flea confirmed that only the band's vocals were performed live, and the rest was pre-recorded. Folks were understandably upset, but when it comes to events like this, can you really expect anything authentic about the music?

See also: The five greatest Super Bowl halftime shows of all time

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Should rap lyrics be used in criminal trials?

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Legions of angry parents were already up in arms when gangster rap arrived on the scene. After the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings helped institute "Parental Advisory" stickers, albums by Ice-T and N.W.A. were among the first to be branded. Since then, rap as a musical form has continued to take its lumps for what concerned onlookers deemed questionable content. Many rappers, though frustrated with the America in which they had grown up, sought refuge in one of the most fundamentally American ideals: free speech -- an issue apparently unresolved, because 25 years later, rap lyrics are being used as evidence in criminal trials, and the New Jersey Supreme Court is about to weigh in on the issue.

See also: The fifty best rap lyrics of all time

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Why do jam bands have such a stigma?

Categories: Commentary

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Jam. Band. Apart, these two words are innocuous. Put them together, though, and for whatever reason, they become instantly polarizing. Whenever the subject of jam bands comes up, it seems to send some people into a frenzy of dogmatic snideness. In some cases, you get the sense that they'd almost rather you say their favorite band sucks than label it as a jam band. So why the stigma? Well, to answer that, we've probably got to go back to beginning.

See also: The ten biggest jam-band scene stereotypes

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The Grammy hip-hop nods are a joke

Categories: Commentary

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Eric Gruneisen

That time again. The Grammy Awards have revealed this year's nominees. The picks couldn't be any less interesting, particularly the hip-hop nods. It's as if the committee picked artists that, together, would satisfy the broadest audience -- take the commercial hit of the year, the critical hit of the year, the one from the decorated veteran, the one from the polarizing iconoclast, the one from the dogged newcomer. This year's ballot reads not like a committee's selections for best album of the year, but like a choir of castrati singing the whims of their corporate, testicle-weilding sponsors.

See also: The ten best family-friendly rap albums

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Nelson Mandela inspired a rich musical legacy

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wikimedia

Nelson Mandela was a pivotal agent for change who inspired a rich musical legacy of resistance. Biographer Richard Stengel describes Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95, as "the last pure hero." And while he was all that and more, the music the iconic historical figure inspired was pure protest music, particularly for those caught up in the struggle for South Africa's freedom but living here in America in the '80s. The music and the movement was pure in a way that just doesn't seem possible today.

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