Pop culture and all that.






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In Passing...
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The New York Times
The L.A. Times


    Friday, November 01, 2002

    First thigs first! If you're in the Bay Area, come check out this El Rey/DJ MC Hehser show next week!

    • Judge Dismisses Anti-Rap Lawsuit.
      U.S. District Judge Robert Takasugi threw out a $70 million lawsuit filed by activist/rabble-rouser C. DeLores Tucker against Interscope and Death Row Records, claiming the two companies tried to ruin her financially and emotionally after she tried to get them (via public pressure and lawsuits) to clean up their gangsta-rap acts. This is yet another set back for Tucker-- he suits against a litany of media outlets claiming they libeled her when reporting on her original suit was finally shut down when the Supreme Court refused to hear it last year.

    • Pete Yorn Records Elvis's 'Suspicious' With Original Backup Singers
      I'm hardly the world's biggest Pete Yorn fan, but I definetly think it is cool that he's getting original back-up singers The Sweet Inspirations to do their thing one more time. To me, their work is what makes the original "Suspicious Minds" so great in the first place.

    • Angie Martinez Quits 'American Idol' After Two Episodes
      "After judging the first few auditions, I've decided to leave the show because it became too uncomfortable for me to tell someone else to give up on their dream, especially when I realized that many of them have supported my career." Cowboy up, Angie! Tough Love Works! Methinks she just sees too much of her own crappy recording output in the contestants.

    • Goodie Mob Call It Quits
      Damn. They were like practically the only dirty South rappers who had songs of substance. If you don't have 'em all ready, pick up Soul Food and Still Standing. If you want to hear the beginning of the end, cop World Party, their attempt to sell out. Didn't work, though. Cee-Lo's Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imprefections is an excellent solo album.

    • Boston Come Back
      I still listen to "More Than A Feeling" like once or twice a month, so I figure there's gotta be another person or two out there who would be interestged in this news. Corporate America hists stores on Nov. 5, and you can pre-order it from Amazon by clicking here. The album features the return of original lead vocalist Brad Delp and the addition of guitarist Anthony Cosmo and bassist Kimberley Dahme.

    posted by Randy on 11:23 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, October 31, 2002 Mourns The Loss of Jam Master Jay.

    posted by Randy on 10:32 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, October 30, 2002

    • N*E*R*D Wins Shortlist Prize
      Yes, In Search Of is a great album (though I personally like the Europe-only electo version better), but mega-successful prohip-hop production team The Neptunes need the recognition and cash this prize awards like a hole in the head. I would much rather have seen nominees like Cee-Lo's Cee-Lo Green and his Perfect Imprefections, The Avalanches's Since I Left You or DJ Shadow's The Private Press get the prize.

    • Cable channels top wish list of Viacom's Redstone
      Viacom, one of the few major media companies that wasn't really affected by this year's drop in ad sales, has it's eyes on adding some cable stations to its empire. The Viacom portfolio empire currently includes MTV, VH-1, Nickelodeon, BET, Showtime, CBS, UPN, Paramount Pictures, and Simon & Schuster as well as 50% stakes in Comedy Central and Court TV. Viacom Chief Executive Sumner Redstone says in the above linked article that he has his eyes on Cablevision's stations: Bravo, American Movie Classics, WE Women's Entertainment and the Independent Film Channel as well as the Discovery Channel (which isn't for sale, unlike the others) as well as increasing Viacom's stakes in Comedy Central and CourtTV. I said it before, but I'll say it here again. If Viacom buys Bravo, you can probably expect it to become a place to catch CBS re-runs. Oh joy.

      Unless NBC gets there first.In which case it will be a dumping ground for NBC re-runs. Oh joy. pt. II. Wasn't having cable supposed to give us more choice? Harumph.

    • Poor Reception to New Plan
      See, this is where those first two stories get a little tricky. Cablevision is selling off it's cable channel assests in order to finance the launch of a satellite tv service. Helping them in this effort is EchoStar Communications, who wants to merge with DirecTV. The FCC has already put the kibosh on this merger once, so EchoStar is trying to prop up Cablevision as a competitor.

    • Clear Channel Posts Profit as Ad Sales Rebound
      Clear Channel is the other media giant who was basically unscathed by the stock market crash and ad slump (So far this year Clear Channel's shares have fallen 26%., but they are still "best in show" among their competitors). They are also the evil corporation behind the consolidation of the radio and concer industries. Profits in their radio division were up becuase they raised their ad prices. Profits in their concert division were down and the company still has long-term debt of $9 billion.

    • Artists' Bill Proposed in New York
      The Artistic Freedom Act was introduced Monday by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silve. The bill would limit recording contracts to seven years. If you live in New York, contact your representatives and tell 'em to support the bill.

    • Sane Clown Posse
      Puffball piece in the Detroit Free Press about the Insane Clown Posse and the release of The Wraith: Shangri-La. The most important part of this piece (to non-Juggalos) is the fact that they (at least claim to) sell $15,000 worth of merchandise daily, mostly via their web site. Aise from a quick brush with being on the big labels, the ICP are proof that indie artists can make it on their own if they're really dedicated to doing it and end up a lot better off than if they sign to a major label.

    • VH1 unplugs 'Liza & David'
      The train wreck that everyone wanted to see will not be pulling into the station, after all. VH-1 will not be broadcasting
      "Liza & David ," the "reality show" featuring the freak-show couple of Liza Minelli and her everyone-knows-he's-gay-but-Liza husband David Gest. Read the above article for full details on the troubles VH-1 had trying to get the series together. My faveorite tid-bit: Producers didn't get inside to start setting up until three days before an Oct. 21 party Gest threw, and never saw the guest list - Dominick Dunne, Isaac Mizrahi, Lynn Wyatt, Sandra Bernhard, Liz Smith and Cynthia McFadden - in advance. Ray Charles and Luther Vandross both performed, but Gest refused to give the microphone to chart-topping teen Michelle Branch or Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child. I just have to laugh at the thought of Dunne, Mizrahi, Wyatt, Bernhard, Smith and McFadden being of interest as guests to anyone outside of the circle of folks who cling to the comings and goings of aging celebs and their gossip columnist friends.

    • Unspooled: In the Digital Age, The Quaint Cassette Is Sent Reeling Into History's Dustbin
      Nice piece in The Washington Post about the rise and fall of the cassette. More sentimental than a news piece, but still worth reading. And speaking of cassettes, this could easily have been a mix tape of mine back in the day.

    • Ozzy Planning To Bite Into Biopic
      Two bits of news here. Sharon Osbourne is nearing a deal to make an Ozzy bio-pic. Which would be cool. In other news, "The Osbournes" returns to MTV on Nov. 26. Which is cool. Let the backlash to the backlash begin here. I can't wait.

    • Presidents Back In Office; First Executive Order Is Reissue Of Debut
      The Presidents of the United States of America have reunited and are looking to reissue their self-titled debut. The details of doing that and what extras will be included have yet to be worked out. Welcome back PUSA!

    posted by Randy on 12:58 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, October 29, 2002

    • 98 Degrees Singer Nick Lachey Weds Jessica Simpson
      This headline should read "Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey Get Laid," since the two of them have been super public (almost to the point of nausea) about waiting until marriage to make the sign of the beast with two backs. Since all their interviews up to this point have hammered this point home, I think we are entitled to details of the act (as they say on Law & Order: "Your honor, they opened the door!"). Location, positions, who had an orgasam how many times, oral sex, protection, music playing in the background, was it worth the wait, does sex still seem as big a deal as it did before-- I demand to knopw it all. After all these years of dishing out the ying of True Love Waits hype, I demand the yang of a Penthouse Forum letter.

    • Tommy Lee Splits With Label
      Who ever signed him to MCA has my nomination as The World's Biggest Optimist. Methods of Mayhem and Never A Dull Moment got a lot of hype, but not a lot of sales. Weird how that works.

    • End of the Line for a 'Free Bird'
      The above link takes you to a Wired News obituary for Tom Dowd that better explains his acomplishments than the link I posted yesterday.

    • Erasure Do Elvis, Buggles
      Don't call it a comeback! 80's synth pop masters Erasure will release Other People's Songs, a twelve-track covers set of tunes popularized by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Buggles and more, on January 28th. They haven't released an album since 1997's Cowboy. It'll be interesting to see how this album does. Is there enough 80s nostalgia for this album to be successful? We shall see.

      Warner Bros. Calls China Film Studio Report False
      That item I ran the other day about AOLTW building a film studio in China? Never mind. Not true.

      Letterman Invites N.Y. Town to Show
      Residents of Schoharie, N.Y., will make up the entire audience of the Nov. 18 edition of The Late Show With David Letterman. Why? Why not? Dave rules!

    • Donnas Rebel Against Pop On Tour
      So, crit-faves (and excellent The Ramones-Meet-Motley-Crue rockers) The Donnas are on tour and are tired of being compared with girl-rock-come-latelys like Pink and Avril Lavigne. Blah blah blah. the most interesting part of this story to me is that The Donnas Turn 21, their last album, has only sold 39,000 copies. How can all that fawning press only translate into 39,000 copies sold? Of course, they were on indie Lookout! Records at the time-- maybe their move to Atlantic Records for Spend The Night will help things along.

    posted by Randy on 11:51 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, October 28, 2002

    • What's The Deal With The Cover Of Charmbraclet, Mariah Carey's New Album?
      Yeah, I know-- two days in a row with Mariah Carey as my lead story. So be it. Anyways, check it out:

      Just some quick thoughts (many of which are echoed in this Velvet Rope discussion)
      -This is perhaps the most obviously air-brushed/Photo Shopped album cover in history.
      -At first glance, Mariah looks like she's smiling-- but look at the picture a bit longer and it looks like she's terrified. Notice the sadness in her eyes, particularly in her right eye (obsucred by the hair falling down her face, natch).
      -That hand in the upper left hand corner-- is it hers? The skin color of the hand doesn't match her face.
      All added up, it just seems kinda creepy to me. Pre-order Charmbraclet (creepy cover and all) from by clicking here.

    • Producer Who Had Role on 'Layla,' 'Respect' Dead
      Tom Dowd,. a staff engineer at Atlantic Records for over 25 years, died Sunday morning at the age of 77. He produced and/or engineered some of the greatest songs in the rock era, including Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Derek and the Dominos' "Layla" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird," among countless other. Check out Music Man: Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records, and the Triumph of Rock'N'Roll for more info about how important his work was to rock n' roll history.

    • Tom Petty Is Pissed
      Tom Petty gives Rolling Stone 10 reasons why the record industry sucks. Some of it is "Tom-Petty-is-a-crabby-old-man" ("6. Filthy lyrics make me sick"), but most of it is on point. Tom Petty dropping science on yo' azz on the real! His whole new album, The Last DJ, is a concept piece about how the record industry sucks. Pick up from Amazon by clicking here.

    posted by Randy on 2:05 PM | permanent link to this entry

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