Category Archives: Tampa Bay

Exposing songs from Music Tampa Bay’s Top 100 list of 2016

Indie music is…well, independent to the point it adds additional responsibilities to the artist to expose their tunes to the masses. Sometimes that comes with ease. Sometimes that’s an afterthought.

Music Tampa Bay, who I cited the other day when talking about Gypsy Star, keeps a competitive Top-40 list (which listeners and web visitors vote on). At the end of the year, the songs that rank highest in votes on the Top 40 are piled into a Top 100 song list. The site has a page devoted to the listings from several years – though the lists are graphics and somewhat illegible. It doesn’t really get the songs out there or make it easy for you to actually find them online.

This post is an attempt at changing that. I’ve taken the 2016 Top 100 listing from Music Tampa Bay and converted the image to an actual list. To build on that, to actually expose the artists who ranked so well to make this list, I’ve hyperlinked to as many of the songs as I could find.

While these are supposed to be Tampa Bay based artists, some have national attention (Four Star Riot among others). Also, while this list was for 2016 – some of the songs were published before then and I don’t mean just a year earlier.

The ranking of the songs itself is based off of votes cast in the Top 40 listing. I can’t say this was pure song rankings, or as if there was no “fix” regarding the top 10; don’t take the order as an opinionated or fine performance ranking. It’s just voting.

As of this writing, 80 out of the 100 songs are linked to so you can take them in yourself. I’ve linked to YouTube most of the time, but other places such as Reverb Nation and Soundcloud also get linking. Spotify contains many of the songs, including non-linked songs (I decided against using Spotify due to the forced registration to use the service). Some of those unlinked songs also are readily available on commercial sites such as Amazon or iTunes – this isn’t a sales-pitch though, so I didn’t link to any of that either.

Some of these songs, despite being listed as Top 100 and having age and radio play on Music Tampa Bay (at least) had never been viewed on YouTube by the time I crossed them while compiling this piece. Some came off as deeply hidden.  It sort of furthers the point of limited exposure.

This article remains an ongoing project as I’d like to get music genre listed next to each song… I mean, c’mon! You’ve likely never heard of most (if not all) of these artists and you’re not exactly encouraged to blindly click to a song. At least knowing it’s supposed to be pop, rock, country, folk, etc. will encourage where you go.

Also, as this remains an ongoing project, if you can provide a link for a non-linked song that would be great. Just use comments below or contact me via email with a link. Continue reading

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Indulged by the glimmer from Gypsy Star

I was on the Music Tampa Bay website yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an indie rock/music station in the Tampa Bay metro area (96.7 FM). I’ve interacted with the site before as I helped get the Pretty Voices on air on the station.

One key element on the Music Tampa Bay website is a Top-10 list of songs from local artists. It’s also directly tied to voting on the Top-40 of the station. I was looking at the list specifically to see if the Pretty Voices had any tracks listed at the time (nope). None of the listed artists or bands were familiar to me and that’s regularly the case with me and indie music.

What’s also regularly the case with me is checking out an indie artist because… why the hell not?

So, listed at #1 at the time on the Top-40 list was Gypsy Star, “I Feel Love”.  I jumped to Google and typed that in and instead of pointing to a version of “I Feel Love” on YouTube, it pointed to the song Paramour:

All too often what I hear and what I see is bland rock. It’s not the lyrcs that make it bland, it’s just the non-riff of guitar and everything layered on top of each other to make the tunes forgettable. This was not that. I was taken aback by a violinist and accordion being part of the arrangement. Gypsy Star describes themselves as being “dynamic folk / rock” and this sure as shit felt like it. It transfixed me through Monday night.

Yet, listening to the opening of the song again, familiarity crept in. I’ve heard another variation of this before, haven’t I? Listen to the song alone for a minute, without the show distraction.  Think about it for a minute.

It reminded me squarely of a song that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never” leave:

Don’t take that as a criticism, folks. I highly recommend checking out more of their tunes; they just released the album Under the Moonlit Night  in January. Listening to “Paramour” and checking out some of their other songs (like the previously mentioned “I Feel Love”, you can find “I Feel Love” here, it is on YouTube… Not in concert version) I’ve been left curious and surprised. Gypsy Star is only a Tampa Bay local group? They sure as hell look an sound like a group that should be seeing a broader playing area in Florida, in the US and perhaps around the globe.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Isolation and the Tampa Bay Rays quest for a new stadium

Insecure, narcissist and self indulgent. These words are commonly thrown toward current United States President Donald J. Trump (as they should be). Yet what’s inspiring these words at the moment is reflecting on a city; one town in a grander regional area that wants to be on top. It’s a town that wants prominence in the region through a national spotlight, even if that spotlight is dimmed by way of the city itself.

St. Petersburg, Florida’s population is almost 250,000, 16,000 more than Reno, Nevada (“America’s Biggest Little City”). It’s part of the grander Tampa Bay metroplex. Its quest to one-up Tampa (the larger city in the Bay area) was part of why the town constructed the venue known now as Tropicana Field. Never mind the fact there was no slated pro sports team to play within the building when construction was approved in the mid-1980s; St. Petersburg had to force the location if and when (if ever) Major League Baseball expanded or relocated to Tampa Bay.

Being a Tampa Bay resident for so long, having seen and experienced life with the Dome and St. Pete in general, I cringe and shake my head now. Topping another city to lock in control of a potential jewel only shows a lack of self awareness. St. Pete has one, basic fault that keeps it understated in a the wider region; a very simple fault that’s on display at Tampa Bay Rays games and which is why a new stadium is a hot point with the club and why relocation outside of the region is a possibility….

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Filed under baseball, Tampa Bay

On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage

A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.

The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.

It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.

Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.

To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…

In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.

See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.

That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Continue reading

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by | March 22, 2017 · 8:17 AM

Relevant Reddit for Tampa Bay and mixed relevance in subscriber counts

Perhaps this reflects the small population of the town/city, but Oldsmar is represented on Reddit with its own subreddit…

…with only 4 subscribers and 2 posts all-time.

It’s a messed-up aspect of geographical life on Reddit. Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater all have their own sub-groups on the site, as does the more general, region-representing Tampa Bay…which has a fraction of the subscribers compared to the above listed burgs. Palm Harbor is represented on there and hasn’t had a new post in 4 months. It does have 5 times the subscribers as Oldsmar though, so that’s saying something….

 

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Filed under interweb, Tampa Bay

A playoff-berth bar to be met or raised in Tampa Bay sports

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Filed under football, hockey, Sports, Tampa Bay

Jeff Vinik’s Channel District plans aren’t with the Tampa Bay Rays in mind

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Filed under baseball, Raw Charge, Tampa Bay, The Life

Brother, can you spare a Loafie?

Dear Creative Loafing,

Look, I’m not the most interesting guy out there. Just go through the archives here on The Stonegauge (which stretch back to 2002) and you can find plenty of boring, personal, and petty drivel. I’m not flashy, but I have been involved with the sites and people that your independent newspaper has honored again and again — such as helping Tommy Duncan run Sticks of Fire from 2005-2007, or aiding CL columnist Catherine Durkin Robinson with her blog as well as editing one of her books. I’m online buddies with one of Tampa Bay’s most popular Twitter personalities in Clark Brooks (oh, yeah, he also writes for me on Raw Charge).

I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade, I am one of the longest tenured hockey bloggers in the sport (having started on Boltsmag.com in 2004). And I’m the only local net personality who has not only been threatened with litigation from the most popular pop group of the 20th century, but I’ve been in USA Today and quoted between the likes of Tony LaRussa and “Crash” Davis.

My point is, how about throwing a little recognition my way in your upcoming 2011 Best Of The Bay awards? I’m not as trendy and attractive as former Interbay Superstar Rachel Moran, nor am I as social as other personalities who’ve won accolades through their net presence…

But I have been around a while, and I’ve been the guy keeping things running for some of your favorites in the past. A hat tip to the mysterious online producer isn’t much to ask, is it?

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Filed under Boltsmag, Raw Charge, Tampa Bay, The Life, The Stonegauge, Web Sites of Mine

Coming not quite soon (final)

About 14 months ago, Albertson’s at Boot Ranch Plaza closed shop.  Just before it happened, I lamented in nostalgia about that happening.  Having had worked there in the past and what not.

But one thing that was not said was the fact  I was excited about the upcoming change of the store from one brand to another.  I was thrilled that the retail location at 400 East Lake road was going to get the traffic that the site had long deserved.

That’s part of the reason I began chronicling the renovation at the location.  Because what was a caterpillar would be a butterfly soon enough.   So twice I’ve posted about the cocoon that was the dormant retail space in Boot Ranch.  What I failed to do was actually announce when work crews started to show up at the address in May.  What I failed to address 0 with pictures and what not – was when the fences were put up, when the stucco facade was stripped and repainted over the summer.

Publix should be rising from the ashes of Albertsons the second week of December.  A year after I observed the in-waiting voidness of the location.  Painted, with untold renovations having happened inside and trees actually planted in the parking lot (which has long, long needed some shade trees), the building’s transformation is all but complete.   It looks splendid and I’m eager to check things out.

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Filed under Tampa Bay, The Life

The Unpublished Works

Everyone likes seeing their name in print.

Well, unless of course it’s trash tabloid-ism or an arrest warrant… But I’m not talking just-printed-on-paper but I mean a by-line of one sort or another. I can say that from experience as I’ve gotten that kick — seeing “John Fontana” linked to letters-to-the-editor, or being sourced/interviewed by USA Today, being quoted in The Hockey News, The New York Times Slap Shot blog and la-de-da.

But I can also say that wasn’t where I intended to go with writing when I started out as a kid.  My intention wasn’t to be a face-in-the-crowd (though no matter what you write or publish, you are another face in the crowd of literature) in the newspaper.  Not another source for magazines and what not.  Not a weblogger.  I planned on doing things creatively and having my own book.  Or books — plural.  Take your pick.

But that never happened.  See, when i was a teen I got away from story writing so much and was writing poetry most of the time…  a habit that’s followed me into adulthood.  Lyrical verse more-so than deep observations and perspectives…  Well, yeah they are perspectives but they are my perspectives.   Sometimes just pop, sometimes inspired by events or people or feelings  in my life.

Over the years, I’ve had some of them available to the masses through the web…  Certainly you can find a couple of them on this site and probably elsewhere on the web…  But they’ve never really been published in the sense of print.  Never published in the sense of being out there for any traditional form of mass consumption.  I haven’t bothered to take the time with sending out poems to magazines who have niches all of their own (and aren’t available unless you pay for a subscription or pay for a copy — while you’re not getting paid for your contribution).

I ought to put together a manuscript and do something with it.  But I’m hesistant.

Catherine Durkin Robinson, local blogger and Creative Loafing contributor, has written two book manuscripts.  Her first one is being published, chapter-by-chapter, on a blogspot site.  The other, a more recent work based on her life as a teacher in Hillsborough County, is being sent around to literary agents in hopes someone will pick up the work and mass-market it.  Sadly, that has not been the case and the rejections have been comical at best.

Their loss.  I’ve read the book and it’s not only a good read, it’s provocative and controversial enough to be read widely by those fearing school-district scandals.

I also have another friend, in the Pacific Northwest this time, who went out and self-published her first novel.  The book, Steel Goddesses, is currently available on Amazon.com for purchase.  It takes a lot of courage to go out on a limb like that and self-publish any work…  But it sort of cuts out the middle-man of having to appease literary agents who tell you what a proper market for your writing is-or-isn’t and tells you to change your work to fit that niche.  At least that’s what I’ve seen with rejections served up to Catherine.

So the idea I am kicking around is actually putting together a manuscript of poetry I’ve written over the past decade and self-publishing it.   I realize that poetry is not exactly a hot seller and not going to lead me to riches…  It’d cost me more to publish than the commissions I’d get in the long run from doing it…  But it does what I have long sought to do — take the writings jammed in Mead notebooks that I’ve carried around since High School and take some of those verses and show them to the masses.  Will people connect?  I have doubts.  Will strangers read what I’ve  written?  Even more doubts…  But it’s mine, and it’d be out there.  My claim.  My piece of literature.

My book.

It’s a thought, at least.

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Filed under Books, interweb, Poetry, Raw Charge, Tampa Bay, The Life, The Stonegauge, Writing