What no Indie? Itunes new Ping not Indie friendly.

Much ado has been said about ITunes 10, as it launches itself from music software to social media hub. I for one was quite excited about the prospect of a social media realm dedicated entirely to music, but unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived. On the list of media genres with which one can associate oneself, Indie is curiously absent. This is particularly odd, considering that ITunes seems to be a crusader for the Indie genre. Case 1: Ipod commercials have often featured Indie songs and bands, virtually inviting users to explore new, undiscovered Indie talent. Case 2: The free single of the week often features Indie-type music. Case 3: I’ve downloaded lots of Indie from ITunes, and don’t they care about what I like? (Ok, so number 3 probably isn’t valid).

Either way, it’s like I’m in 1995 again. Instead of listing oneself as an Indie fan, users have to select from categorizations like: Alternative, Singer/Songwriter, and Rock. No Indie. No Indie-pop. Not even Indie-Alternative. I mean, how would “one” associate oneself with music similar to Rodrigo Y Gabriela? It’s certainly not “World” music. What about Mates of State? They’re anything but “Alternative”. And I don’t even have a clue where to put They Might Be Giants…

Honestly Mr. Jobs, aren’t we farther than this in the sphere of online music?

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Take up the Indie cause – It’s for the children!

We the Indie Music fans of the world have a duty.  The world we’re leaving for our children is in terrible peril! While the media has pumped us full of Save he Whales, Save the O-Zone, and Save the world from the likes of John and Kate, there is a much more threatening evil on our doorstep.

Yes Indie Citizens…I’m talking about carbon copy, teeny-bop, pop.

I’m talking about the Jonas Brothers. I’m talking about Hannah Montana…or Miley Cyrus…or Hannah Montana…oh whatever. I’m talking about The Cheetah Girls! Yes. It’s horrible. And it’s threatening to lead our children down the path of musical starvation, turning them into Star whatever point whatever and KIIS FM  zombies who won’t know the difference between a good song and a radio jingle!

In the same way that my father saved me from Debbie Gibson, Maddonna, Tiffany, Milli Vanilli, and Vanilla Ice with the Beatles…I believe we should all fight the mainstream music maleficence take and introduce our kids to good music. Music that doesn’t feature just 3 power chords. Music that doesn’t feature “jaded” in the lyrics . Yes, music that doesn’t suck.

Let me help get you started. Here are some songs that have gone over like the Berlin Wall on my kids:

  • Mates of State – My Only Offer. My kids love this song. EVERY one of them, ranging from 8 years old to 4, even the 6 month old likes it.
  • Architecture in Helsinki: That Beep: This song has been so requested at our house that I’ve almost had to hide the CD.
  • Of Montreal: Brush, Brush, Brush. Ok, I don’t care that this song is off the soundtrack for the weirdest kids show on TV. Yo Gabba Gabba has the Teletubbies and Poobah beat for psychotic mental trip, and truth be told, I really can’t stomache the show, but this song is cool. And Of Montreal is one of the indie-est Indie bands on the planet.
  • They Might Be Giants. (see video below). You can pick just about anything from John and John. Their music is fun and wacky, and they even do kid music. I’ve actually been listening to their kid stuff for years with my kids, and let me tell you: they sure beat Raffi! In fact, you don’t even have to buy a CD to get your kids started. Go right over to Itunes and subscribe to the Friday Night Family Podcast (or click here to watch it in “syndicate”). Other great TMBG hits your kids will love: “Experimental Film,” “The Mesopotamians,” “Man It’s So Loud in Here,” and even the classic “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. Below is a ditty from their new Kiddie Album.
  • Dan Zane and Friends – Hello. Ok, this guy really IS a kiddie musician, but this song was featured in a recent Coke Ad, and it’s very cool. (sorry, no download link).
  • Dogs Die in Hot Cars – Godhopping. Just a cool song all around. Fast paced, and it talks about children in poor countries…so bonus points for teaching kids social responsibility.
  • 8 1/2 Souvenirs – Happy Feet. This is a great swing outfit. Their stuff is…well…happy.
  • Forro in the Dark – Asa Branca (Featuring David Byrne). Brillian brazilian beats. Used to be a legit free download on music.download.com, I’m sure it still is somewhere.
  • Guster – Amsterdam. Pretty much anything of this album (Let’s Keep it Together), is great. In fact, I think this album is one of the best (if not THE best) indie albums of all time. Yes. I just said that.
  • Oingo Boingo – We Close Our Eyes. Come on, it’s Halloween. I had to include something from Boingo.

Sign the Petition: Don’t Let Kevin Hearn Sing

By signing this petition (leaving a comment on this post), you affirm that:

popup_02_32While Kevin Hearn is an unparalleled musical talent, providing the Barenaked Ladies with fantastic songs, amazing piano arrangements, and all out rockin’ albums, he should not replace recently departed Steve Page as 2nd lead singer, because he sings like Kermit the Frog. If anything, Jim Creegan is more suited to sing with Ed.

Let your voice be heard and make a difference in the future of the greatest Canadian import since dry soda! Sign the petition today!

Message to BNL: Never is Enough

2591_140659470726_12589090726_6292787_3387540_nNow, I understand it’s tough to re-build on the fly. Steve Page leaving the Barenaked Ladies is nothing short of catastrophic. In times of crisis, the decisions you make are critical…and I’m concerned about one that BNL may have already made.

Their latest email featured a link to download their recent concert in Orlando–which I must say is a nice touch. (I think every group or company going through a crisis should give stuff away–especially the banking industry.) It didn’t take long to realize who was replacing Steve as 2nd lead vocal: Kevin Hearn.

 Now. I love Kevin. I think he’s a virtuouso at the piano, and an amazing guitarist…but, he’s no singer.

Apparently BNL is set to hit the studio in a month. If anyone at that studio is reading this, I have one humble request:

Please don’t let Kevin Hearn sing.

I’ve blogged on this before. Kevin’s voice is ok, but it’s boring and bland. It even borders on being flat. Don’t believe me? Listen to the Orlando concert.

If Kevin replaces Steve as the 2nd lead vocal, it’s the end of BNL  as we know it.  If anything, let Ed sing everything and redefine who you are–that is, ditch the belting-out vocal songs and go total Indie, but don’t let the guy who’s voice is dry and often off-key sing.  Heck, even let Jim Creegan sing–at least he can stay on key.

If Kevin is really going to replace Steve,  I have one thing to say: To quote one of their hits from not too long ago–“Never is Enough”.

Say it ain’t So Steve

This morning I found an email in my inbox from the Barenaked Ladies.  Apparently, they wanted to reach out to me personally to let me know about their latest 4-man show.  I’ve met them once at a concert, and I often use their Bathroom Sessions as classroom fodder for my PR courses…but I guess they thought it was important to reach out to me..Wait…you got the email too? Ok, nevermind.

At any rate, their announcement shocked me…their first show as a 4 man outfit? So I hit google to find what had happened and to my surprise, Steve Page quit the band….now he’s dressing up as a 1980’s prom king outcast and playing to Fortune cookies to get Decemberist front man, Collin Meloy’s, attention:

Seriously though, this could be catastrophic. The Lennon-McCartney duo of Steve and Ed was what made Barenaked Ladies great.  Apparently Steve didn’t feel that his voice was being used the right way…and though I may side with him, his pipes were downright amazing, I don’t think it’ll fair well for Mr. Page. The last time someone left the band, he did it to his own demise (sorry Mr. Creegan).

At least the guys decided to make lemonade out of the whole thing: they’ve offered a free download of their gig without Steve.

I’ll close on a message for Steve: I’ll miss your stage kicks and cartwheels. Good luck, man.

In the ‘Twilight’ of a Comic Convention…

So, early reports are that the cast set to immortalize Stephenie Meyer’s characters in the upcoming Twilight movie made a special appearance at San Diego’s “Comic Convention”…the report details that hundreds of teenage girls in the audience shrieked and squeeled to get their first peek at the movie and its stars.

Forget about how Twilight fits in with the likes of Trekkies and Star Wars nuts…WHAT were teen girls doing at a comic convention?