Category Archives: Entertainment Industry Thingies

The ode to The Great American Stupid

There are many indie bands out there that never went anywhere, such as Desk. You’ve never heard of Desk (unless you got to this blog post by directly searching for the band, in which case I say “Hi!” ☺) and shouldn’t have at this point – the group called it quits a few months after releasing the album All-American Awesome.

Yet there’s something relevant at the moment off of an album that was produced in 2016 and released in May of that year. Something that American society or specifically the politically inclined may or may take interest in. Oh, and rock music fans – I can’t forget rock fans.

I crossed track #6 from the group’s 7-track album while listening to indie radio station Lonely Oak Radio. The title alone seemed timely and came off as a word of protest: “The Great American Stupid”.

A song released before the 2016 Federal Elections that’s fitting in 2018? Indeed. The song is aimed at the Dotard in Covfefe, now-President Donald Trump. The lyrics (which are posted on the group’s Bandcamp listing of the song) are below.

There are likely more noteworthy protest songs out there by indie groups… How far the tunes go depends on how well the number is put together and how much effort is put into exposure. In Desk’s case, not much was done but it is out there.

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Filed under Dotard in Covfefe, Music / Lyrics

When something basic is lacking from a major news publication

This is 2018 and the Tampa Bay Times has had a web presence for something around 20 years. I’ve already posted about their archives and a lack of generic advertising to go along with the content that continues to draw in web traffic. There’s another issue that I’d like to point at the Tampa Bay Times content that is #FAIL on the most basic level for content presented online. This isn’t aimed at archived content but all Times articles online and an exclusion habit by the publication that works against itself: web links.

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Filed under interweb, Tampa Bay

SongBay.co comes off out-of-tune

As a long time blogger, I know about the strengths of networking and how it can lead to higher exposure as well as socializing and making connections in the field you write in. It’s part of why I’m considered a pioneer in hockey blogging – it’s not just that I started blogging and stuck around but also by way of connecting with fellow writers and working in coordination with them in one way or another, along with simply being in contact and socializing with them.

The idea of SongBay as a social platform and market site for music at the very base of operations – lyrics,  musical arrangements, demos – seems like a good place to actually try to take something you’ve done creatively and pass it into the industry in one form or another to performers or producers.

Yet here I sit, mere weeks after joining the site and what I’ve encountered amounts to crickets.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, testimonial

Note to the Tampa Bay Times: The online archives shouldn’t be ad-free

The Tampa Bay Times has tens of thousands of articles, some mundane news and some as feature reading, on its former site domain. SPTimes.com represented the newspaper under its old brand name, the St. Petersburg Times. The publication moved operations to the regional domain name TampaBay.com before adopting the more regional brand name of publication, the Tampa Bay Times.

And the Times is bleeding money by way of not synchronizing reading assets from the old site with the current one.

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Filed under interweb, Tampa Bay

Music’s success goes through the fans

I have this habit of promoting music that I’ve crossed from one indie station or another. “Promoting” means sharing songs on one form of social media or another. Sometimes I post the act here on my blog (Tomas Fornstedt is who I’ll cite) and there are also the write-ups I have done for local indie acts such as the Pretty Voices and Gypsy Star. Someone will see what I’ve posted – those reviews or individual song posts – and take it as simply blog content: I’m a blogger and I content is king. Writing about an act you may or may not have heard of. It’s nothing more than just content for a blog, right?

There’s actually a specific reason I do it, and it’s not just for content: If someone doesn’t do it, if someone doesn’t try sharing a tune they’ve crossed or talk about a band they have interest in, how does that song/act go any further?   Continue reading

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics

Something familiar and Fab lurks with Blac Rabbit

Two gentlemen singing in harmony to create a fantastic melody in a song titled “Eight Days a Week”. That was John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and it happened on many songs for a decade. Yet I’m not talking about John and Paul in this case. I’m talking about a duo who can be seen in the act at subway stations in the New York area.

It was by chance I crossed a friend who posted a video of Blac Rabbit performing on Facebook. It’s pretty common to cross gentlemen from all over doing covers of Beatles work and sounding pretty good. This was different. This was John and Paul…at least in this writer’s opinion as well as others who cross them in the New York subway stations.

The Blac Rabbit website doesn’t seem to feature an “About” page to give up facts about these guys. Their Facebook page isn’t much more informative on the “about” section there, either. It was through a news article by a New York TV station that I found out that they are twin brothers, Amiri and Rahiem Taylor.

They began busking to make some pocket money, and found a receptive audience on the subway with their Beatles covers. The brothers say they’re continuing to perform on the subway while performing original music at venues across the city.

I also found out that they do have an about page on their website (yeah, slight me for that because I couldn’t find the damn thing myself):

Born and raised in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, identical twin brothers Amiri and Rahiem Taylor do not make the type of music that their borough of origin is usually associated with.  Growing up surrounded by hip hop culture and all it’s glory, the Taylor brothers had more exposure in their house to pop, funk and soul music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  So naturally when they began writing songs in high school, they decided “why not learn from arguably the greatest song writing duo of all time?” and proceeded to teach themselves how to play guitar and write songs based off of the Beatles.  After high school they formed Blac Rabbit, bringing in former metal and church drummer Patrick Jones, followed by resident shredder Josh Lugo on bass (and sometimes guitar) to play their original psychedelic rock tunes.

They do their own music? Oh, yeah… Their own stuff can be found on SoundCloud while YouTube can show you more o their performances as well as their original stuff. Here’s one of their songs, just to whet your appetite:

With their harmony and abilities, it piques my curiosity where the group can go with their stuff. As someone who was drenched in the music of the same era as the Taylor duo, I know that can inspire rather grandly. It’s what their creativity brings that remains to be seen.

I also hope they go beyond New York. Let that be a memo to the Tampa Bay club scene in St. Pete, Ybor City and beyond in the Tampa Bay area: Lure these guys here.  Could you imagine what that’d lure to your establishments? Just where in the area they’d end up performing in a busker spot remains to be seen but it’s not like we’re totally lacking on such locations. Ybor City, Pier 60, the West Plaza before a Lightning game. That’s just a shred of potential spots.

There is a question that remains though: Hass Sir Paul McCartney had someone tell him about this pair yet? Cover acts are not uncommon, but this is different. The Taylor duo and Blac Rabbit seem to have something “Fab” going on.

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Filed under Music / Lyrics

Tomas Fornstedt — Outer Space

Back in January, I posted a song by Tomas Fornstedt here because I had been listening to it for a year after crossing it on Lonely Oak Radio…and discovered that was on YouTube but never had been accessed by a listener up until I found it.

In fact, Tomas’ YouTuve page shows (as of this writing) most of his songs from his last album have never been listened to through YouTube. Oh, sure, Tomas has a SoundCloud account and that is a better music-first community than the expected-video YouTube, but YouTue has general wider popularity and Google will show a pretty nice bias in search results and list YouTube songs in search results… if those songs (or videos) actually see the light-of-day publicly.

To cut to the chase, Fornstedt released a new single in January called “Outer Space”. Like “Be My Friend”, I discovered I was the first person to ever listen to the song via YouTube. When Tomas promoted the song on Twitter, he pointed to Spotify.

Yeah, well, I’ll embed it here — the accessible YouTube listing :

The one thing I will say about “Outer Space” and this presentation — I don’t know if it does this in other formats on other sites and the MP3 purchase, but I was taken aback about how abruptly it ends. It’s not a fade out, there’s no final instrumental strum, it just sounds as if a recording device was shut down abruptly. That sort of mars the overall flow of the music. That’s just one man’s opinion though. I’ll let you be the judge for yourself.

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by | March 1, 2018 · 1:52 PM

Random order and custom order of an iTunes music playlist

I listen to music almost nightly on my iPod Nano Touch. I’ve been doing that for a while now and one thing bugs me. Not from the songs, but from the sorting options and the shuffle on the iPod. The former has resulted too often in repeat order and the latter is never random enough. In fact, despite shaking options to randomize the shuffle, too often the same songs end up in the first-plays of a shuffle, just with a few different ones around them, and in a different order than the last play. Talk about annoying.

I wanted to jumble a playlist order by a static means – do it before I start using the iPod. Call it a static shuffle that randomly arranged things. The results I kept finding on Google search results were pointing to Apple forums with people asking the same question and the answer being a proverbial shrug with directions simply to employ shuffle to do the job. That’s frustrating.

Last night, though, I did something random on iTunes, just a shot in the dark attempt. Maybe I already have crossed this option in the past and done the deed and I had just forgotten. Maybe it’s already widely known as well as posted online on another instruction-attempt article/blog post (or several dozens of them), but there is indeed a means to randomize a playlist (with the program doing the first bit of work and you gaining the liberty to do the rest).

Note: This was done with iTunes version 12.7.14. If it works with later versions, grand. I’m certain it works with earlier versions of the software too.

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select a playlist that you want to jumble/randomly arrange.
  3. Look at the list sorting options at the top of the list (things like name, play count, last played – they are fields that you have had the ability to randomly set).
  4. On the far left side, there will be no option above the numeric ordering column. Click on that sort area.

What should happen is there will be a re-sort – call it a jumble – of the playlist order. The most important thing is here that you now have the ability to randomly sort the song list order; highlight a song on the list and drag it up or down to the position you want it in the order.

You won’t get a jumble-sort again by clicking the number-sort field over and over again. It’d be a plus if users did get that. There’s no guarantee a static, visible playlist order shuffle is going to be truly random (just as I complained the Nano shuffle was not random enough), but having the manual ordering ability is a plus that will likely be more beneficial to short playlists than the long ones. The latter would take a lot more time to get just right, with no guarantee you ever make it through the entire list.

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Filed under Electronics & Software, Music / Lyrics

Years of wonder and reaction to inaction

The Wonder Years  is on my mind.

If you grew up in the 1980s/1990s, you should know the show pretty well. The original broadcast/premiere of the period-piece show (with its heavy nostalgic opening credits complimented earnestly by Joe Cocker) was on January 31st, 1988…

…but the writers strike in Hollywood delayed the full-on series to fully gestate until 1989.

That’s not what’s putting the show on my mind though. Continue reading

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, Politics