Pop culture and all that.






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The Excitement Machine
The Onion
Gray Scale
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In Passing...
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The Freep
The New York Times
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    Friday, November 22, 2002

    The Gift Guide is now open for business to those shopping for music obsessives this holiday season. Yesterday, I put up a new section- The 21 Best CDs of 2001. Today I'll be working on a DVD section and coming up next week will be a Books section and a Lost Classics section. Stay tuned. Shop early and shop often!

    • Minnelli Hires Lawyers for VH1 Case
      Liza Minnelli and David Gest's never-aired variety show is now seemingly headed towards court,as the duo has hired a lawyer "to seek appropriate remedies and take appropriate action." Actually, I take that back-- it is probably headed for a settlement, I doubt any case ever gets before a judge and/or jury. Check out this transcript of Minelli and Gest on Larry King to get the behind the scenes info about the making of the show and why it didn't work. The series I want to see is the making-of that show, not the show itself. Sounds much more interesting. Showtune fans may want to cop Liza's Back if they haven't already-- others will probably want to just quietly move on to the next item.

    • Lawsuit Aims at Otis Redding Bio
      Zelma Redding (widow of soul legend Otis Redding) and Phill Walden (Redding's business manager) are suing Scott Freeman, author of Otis! The Otis Redding Story, alleging that he used unreliable sources to imply Walden was a member of the mob who plotted to kill Redding for insurance money. The suit also disputes Freeman's claim that Redding was having extramarital affairs and planned to divorce his wife. Interestingly enough, the duo don't hide the facts that A) they refused to be interviewed for the book and B) they're trying to make a movie of redding's life and the book may interfere with that. If you need an Otis Redding late pass (knowing how to do the whistle solo on "Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay" doesn't count!), check out Dreams To Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology

    • Former Presley Project Getting Redone
      The housing project that Elvis Presley's family lived in from 1949-53 after moving to Memphis from Tupelo, Miss. is undergoing a major renovation. A plaque noting that Presley's family lived at Lauderdale Courts went on display Wednesday. My question: Will rappers get the same respect? Will Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, et. al. get plaques noting where they lived when times were tough? I wouldn't hold your breath. If you haven't yet read the excellent two part biographies Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley and Careless Love :The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (both by Peter Gurainick), you really owe it to yourself to do so.

    • Ice Cube Classics To Be Reissued In February
      Ice Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted, Death Certificate, Lethal Injection, and The Predator will all be reissued on February 25 with extra tracks, along with a new DVD of all the rapper's videos entitled "Ice Cube: The Video Collection." Most notable of the additional tracks-- songs from the Kill At Will EP will now appear on Amerikkka's Most Wanted and the "The Message" re-mix of "Check Yo Self" (with Das EFX) will finally appear on The Predator. (Please note that the above links take you to the albums in un-reissued form-- I'll hit y'all up with a reminder once it get pre-orderin' time.)

    • 2Pac's Voice Analyzed
      MTV’s “Big Urban Myth” has finally dispelled the rumor that 2pac says "Suge shot me" at the beginning of his Makaveli 7 Day Theory album. The same audio forensic specialist who defended Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne against claims of subliminal messages in the ‘80s tested the vocals and concluded that Tupac said something to the effect of “Nothing gonna’ stop me,” or “From the top.” 2Pac's next album, Better Dayz, hits stores on Nov. 26. Pre-order it from Amazon by clicking here

    • Beastie Boys Begin Work On New LP ... Finally
      Glory, glory haullelujah! It's been four freaking years since Hello Nasty !! Get to work, kids! I'm very curious to see how the marketplace would recieve a new Beasties album. It seems to me that hip-hop has progressed so far past them, but then again they've never released a wack album. We'll just have to wait and see.

    • Napster's Stuff For Auction
      IT Equipment, Computers and Memorabilia. 12/11/02 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I'd love it if smart collectors like The Experience Music Project, The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame or The Hard Rock Cafe got their hands on some of the equipment (maybe Fanning's original computer) so that future generations who get their music exculsively through the net know where it all came from.

    • Rapper Delights in Coaching
      Snoop Dogg seriosuly is becoming an adult. First he gives up the wacky weed that he rapped so passionately about. Now he's the new offensive coach for his son's school football team and he's never missed a practice. He's also purchased a custom-made 50-seat bus for the team. Does he advise the team in Snoop slanguage? "Hand off the fizzle to the half-bizzle and he'll divizzle through the defizzle linizzle and make a tizzle-dizzle, fo shizlle!" Snoop Dogg's Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss will hit stores on November 26, 2002. Pre-order it from Amazon by clicking here

    posted by Randy on 2:09 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Thursday, November 21, 2002

    The Gift Guide is now open for business to those shopping for music obsessives this holiday season. Added today: The 21 Best CDs of 2001

    • Kool Keith & Crew Allegedly Rob SF Nightclub
      So, Kool Keith didn't show up for his show at Slim's and his crew ran off with the door money. Read the story. Very strange.

    • FCC's Copps Seeks Indecency Definition Overhaul
      Michael Copps, one of five commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (and the lone Democrat), today urged the agency to revise the definition of indecency and also look into whether it should be expanded to include obscene, violent and profane programming. Why? 300 people e-mailed him to complain about the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS last night. Here's the catch, though-- it was beat out in the ratings by both "The West Wing" and "The Bachelor." The marketplace wins again. Anyway, Copps said he wants to expand the definition to include more violent acts and also has concerns that the media has gotten more quote-unquote obscene as a result of consolidation. Let 'em know what you think. Democracy only works if you use your freedom of speech.

    • MTV Plans Snoop Dogg Variety Show
      The pilot for the rapper's half-hour program, "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle," is scheduled to air at 10:30 p.m. EST Monday (Nov. 25). It mix sketch comedy with music and man-on-the-street bits. Fo' sheazy.

    • Vivendi Stock Rises Amid Bid Report
      Billionaire oilman Marvin Davis has approached Vivendi Universal about buying all or part of its U.S. entertainment assets. Meanwhile, Vivendi has apparently found buyers for half its 40.4 percent stake in Vivendi Environnement. If both deals go through (the first one is highly unlikely) and the selling-off/consolidation of their Internet properties continue, what will be left of VU? Their telecom investments, it seems.

    • Ja Rule And Ashanti To Star In Remakes Of 'Sparkle' And 'Grease'
      Technically, the "Grease" remake is just an idea for the video for Ja Rule's "Mesmerize." But the "Sparkle" remake is almost ago-- with Irv Gotti slated to direct. Whoooo boy-- does that sound terrible. "Sparkle" is a pretty cheesy movie in the first place, but the Aretha Franklin soundtrack is classic. Her'e to praying that this re-make never comes to fruition.

    • 3-D To Appear On Next UNKLE Album
      Dude! A new UNKLE album! Coming in 2003! Featuring 3-D of Massive Attack, Ian Brown and Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age! Dude! Pick up the trip-hop masterpiece Psyence Fiction if you need a late pass.

    • Mp3s of Recent Rap Disses
      All those disses that you can only hear on mix tapes or on radio shows-- they're collected here. Freestyles, unreleased singles and more.

    • De La Soul's Apple "Switch" Commercial

    posted by Randy on 2:58 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Wednesday, November 20, 2002

    The Gift Guide is now open for business. It is in its first stage, but it still offers some great ideas for the music obsessive on your holiday gift list.

    • BMG to Roll Out Royalty Plan
      Here what the article says: "In the years ahead, BMG plans to introduce a new contract model under which the company would control an act's recording career for fewer years but share in a series of new revenue streams, including concert proceeds and sponsorship and film deals. BMG already is designing a new agreement that is expected to reduce the number of pages in a standard contract from 100 to 12." Here what this means: In exhange for getting a higher royalty rate on albums that are not selling, BMG will now get a piece of the action where artists make most of their money-- touring, endorsments, film deals and so on. How they can say this is a more fair deal with a straight face is beyond me. I will, however, give BMG props for getting rid of the various obsolete deductions (packaging, breakage and new technology) that further seperate artists from their money. Still, this is just a shell game. And thus far, none of the other majors are running to follow BMG's lead. Check out the discussion about this at The Velvet Rope, lotsa interesting points being made.

    • BMG Group to Merge RCA, J Records
      BMG is on a roll today. They're buying Clive Davis's 50 percent stake in J Records, a label established by the record executive with BMG's backing just two years ago, and putting him in charge of a combined RCA-J Records label group. This is after they forced him out of being the head of Arista. Very strange.

    • Clash Members Share Stage For First Time In Nearly 20 Years
      Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash performed together during the encore of Strummer's appearance with his band the Mescaleros, at a benefit for striking firefighters on Friday. Jones joined Strummer as he performed the Clash's "Bankrobber," "White Riot" and "London's Burning." There's no official word yet, but me thinks it is a safe bet to look for them to join up again when The Clash are inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Famenext year.

    • The Reel Truth Part. 1
      The above link will take you to a QuickTime movie that is a hilarious look at the making of an ad-- though you'll be able to identify with it if you've ever had to do something creative with a group. Very funny stuff.

    • Radio Deregulation: Has It Served Citizens and Musicians?
      No, no it hasn't. And the above linked study says so, too. Interestingly, most of the people surveyed said they liked the radio until they started being asked about things they want from a radio station that they aren't currently being supplied with. Read it and weep. Literally.

    • Allstar Closes Its Doors After Six Years Of News, Views, & Gossip
      Allstar was always sort of hit or miss when it came to getting important news, but I still find it sad to see another competitor in the music news scene bite the dust. As CD Now is restructuring, they're cutting out Allstar. I hope for the sake of rock history, they hold on to the archives and keep them accessible (or at least someday downthe road make 'em accessible).

    • UMG's Musical Superhighway: 43,000 Tracks
      Universal Music Group announced that it will offer more than 43,000 songs through a host of online retailers and music Web sites (Like and MusicNet). The move by the world's largest music group comes less than a week after EMI Recorded Music significantly expanded the digital download rights it is giving consumers, including copying songs onto portable devices. These announcements are like three years too late, but it still is nice to see.

    • Vivendi Universal Says SEC Now In Formal Investigation of Company
      I certainly hope that the good folks at the Recording Artists Coalition will try to jump on this and get them to investigate the accounting practices of Universal Music. If they're looking for shady dealings, why not go to the division where it is an open secret?

    • Copyright Law Gets a Second Look
      On Tuesday, the U.S. Copyright Office began accepting comments from the public on the tDigital Millennium Copyright Act's "anticircumvention" section, which limits people's ability to bypass copy-protection mechanisms. Comments are due by Dec. 18. Right now, there are two exemptions that are due to expire in October 2003: filtering researchers can study blacklisting techniques, and obsolete copy-protection schemes can be legally bypassed. Click here to let The U.S. Copyright Office know what you think.

    posted by Randy on 10:35 AM | permanent link to this entry

    Tuesday, November 19, 2002

    The Gift Guide is now open for business. It is in its first stage, but it still offers some great ideas for the music obsessive on your holiday gift list.

    • EMI Group Reports Profits
      EMI earned $218.7 million in the six months ending Sept. 30, compared to a loss of $86 million during the same period a year ago, the company said Tuesday. Just remember that when the music industry tries to tell you that file trading is eating away at their sales. EMI also said it is selling its stake in retailer HMV to raise money to buy the remaining shares in Jobete, the Motown song catalogue of Barry Gordy Jr.

    • Eminem's Childhood Home For Auction On eBay
      Yup. Currently at $667,100.00. Auction ends on Dec. 14, so you've got some time to raise the cash.

    • TV Promos Rock with Elton
      Have you noticed an uptick in the number of Elton John songsbeing used on television? According to the above linked story, it is no accident. Universal Music Enterprises has offered producers a break on the cost of using his songs in order to promote Greatest Hits 1970-2002, John's new greatest hits collection.

    • Cash Money Assembles 'Platinum Hits'
      Such a great idea-- especially since most Cash Moneysongs sound alike anyway. All the Juvenile, B.G., Cash Money Millionaires, Hot Boyz and Lil' Wayne hits on one disc. All of their discs are mostly filler anyway, this is a perfect way to get those radio/club songs you've been downloading instead of buying. Click here to buy it from Amazon, but click here to pick up the all-instrumental version.

    • Massive Attack Opens '100th Window'
      Mark your calendars, trip-hop kids! Massive Attack will drop 100th Window on it Feb. 10 in the U.K. via Virgin with a North American release date currently not nailed down but also set for sometime in Feb. The title is taken from an Internet privacy metaphor (and book by Charles Jennings and Lori Fena) describing how it only takes on hole (or "open window") to make your network open to attacks and privacy open to invasion.

    • Malkmus Rears 'Pig Lib' In March
      Mark you calendars, indie rock kids! Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus will release his second solo album, Pig Lib, in March via Matador.

    posted by Randy on 1:14 PM | permanent link to this entry

    Monday, November 18, 2002

    Sorry About The Lack Of Updates: Whoops. I went to Los Angeles on Wednesday and forgot to tell y'all. Sorry about that. Lotsa catching up to do.

    • LL's Inspirational Grandmom Dies
      LL Cool J's grandma lost her battle with cancer. When she told LL to "knock out" Kool Moe Dee in their infamous battle, she inspired the classic song (and album) "Mama Said Knock You Out." On his latest album, 10, she is the subject of the song “Big Mama (Unconditional Love)."

    • JMJ Murder Stems From Drug Deal Gone Bad
      If this is true, this just adds more tragedy to an already unplesant story. The New York Post reports that law enforcement sources contend that Jam Master Jay's death was the result of a drug deal gone bad. The report stated that Curtis Scoonand JMJ went into a deal to purchase drugs but were ripped off, causing a rift between the pair. The police theory is that that Scoon and Jay each paid $15,000 to buy 2 kilos of cocaine from drug dealers in California. After the $30,000 was raised for the drugs, the dealers fleeced them and never produced the cocaine Scoon came to believe Jay was in on it and thenkilled him. Sad if true.

    • Label Puts Rap Music Suit On Hold To Focus On Appeals
      In May 2001, Bridgeport Music sued 800 record labels, music publishing companies and film companies, alleging that they sampled songs that are owned by Bridgeport or its affiliates (most specifically, the catalog of funk legend George Clinton/Funkadelic/Parliment), and did not pay the appropriate royalties. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Higgins broke up the suit and is taking 10 at a time. The delayed case represents what remained of the first 10 of nearly 500 cases filed by Bridgeport. On Friday, Bridgeport appealed Higgins' earlier ruling that a film company didn't infringe on Bridgeport's copyright ownership of Clinton's song "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" At issue was rap group N.W.A''s early 1990s song "100 Miles And Runnin'" and its use in the mid-1990s movie "I Got The Hook Up." Higgins ruled that no jury would recognize the similarities of a small portion of the song's composition to Clinton's song unless the distinction was pointed out. His decision sets the tone for future rulings unless an appeals court rules otherwise. In order to focus on appealing that ruling, Bridgeport has temporarilly dropped the other 490 suits.

    • Music Label Widens Door To Net
      EMI has arranged with Alliance Entertainment, Ecast, FullAudio, Liquid Audio,, MusicNet, Pressplay, Roxio and Streamwave to offer subscribers the ability to burn songs to a CD three times, and transfer songs an unlimited number of times to two separate portable devices, as well as download songs to a hard drive. Though EMI is the smallest of the major labels, you should still look for the other labels to follow suit. In fact, check out Deals Set Stage for Online Music Firms for details about what subscription service is offering what these days.

    • Congress Approves Web Radio Royalty Deal
      Finally. The U.S. Congress approved a deal early Friday morning that would allow small Internet-based radio stations to pay lower royalty rates to the musicians and record labels whose songs they use. In a late-night session, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill that would suspend payments for small Webcasters until Dec. 15, giving them a chance to finalize a discount rate they had previously hammered out with musicians and record labels. Everyone seems to be happy with this development. Is feels good to report a positive development in this story.

    • CD Burning Firm Buys Napster
      Roxio, the company best known for making CD burning software, wants to shell out $5.3 million to buy Napster's intellectual property and technology patent portfolio. The deal has to be approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court. Napser may live again-- it will most likely suck, but it may live again.

    • Marley Marl, Pete Rock And Premier Join XM
      Hip-hop legends Marley Marl, Pete Rock and DJ Premier will appear on XM Satelite Radio's 66 Raw station on Friday and Sunday nights. Their "Future Flavas" show was first broadcast back in the mid ‘90’s on New York radio, WQHT Hot 97, and has been innovative and groundbreaking in showcasing the newest and hottest in underground hip hop.

    • Rick James Denies Sexual Assault
      "[James] did say the wrong people enter his space sometimes and 'they're money-hungry and they're greedy.'"

    • Korn's Head, Weezer's Rivers Record For New Limp Bizkit Album
      Possibly appearing on the next Limp Bizkit album (Less Is More, due April 1) Korn's Brian "Head" Welch, ex-Helmet frontman Page Hamilton (which makes sense musically-- nu metal owes a lot to Helmet) and Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo (?!?!?!) Rivers apparently has laid down a vocal track, but it is uncertain right now if it will appear on the album.

    posted by Randy on 12:47 PM | permanent link to this entry

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