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We Mix You A Merry Christmash – Fun Alternatives To Your Usual Christmas Music Playlist Ideas

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on December 15, 2010 by admin in Holidays

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

After weeks of Christmas songs insinuating themselves into your life, a holiday playlist is probably the LAST thing you want to think about. So we’ve done some thinking for you.

This is not a gratuitous image exploiting
women. We included a clip of Charo singing
Feliz Blah Blah Blah on Pee Wee’s
Playhouse below. Made ya look though.

It all begins around the first of November, when you’re at the market staring at piles of deeply discounted mini chocolate bars left over from Halloween, and suddenly, like some sonic message from the dark side, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” pokes through the ambient shopping noise. By mid-December, you’ve probably subliminally absorbed so many Christmas songs that you find yourself spontaneously whistling “Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland” while making love. So it’s natural that so many people groan at the idea of listening to Christmas music on purpose. Which is a shame, because thanks to the thousands of crassly opportunistic attempts to cash in on the Christmas spirit, there are literally thousands of tunes to choose from, in every genre, from several decades. We’ve previously tried to cover all the bases; over the past couple of years we Jewished you a merry Christmas with Oye To The World, suggested some Santastic mashups with Generation Xmas, and with Generation Triple X-Mas we got on Santa’s naughty list. So this year, we thought we’d try to get back on the “nice” list with some actually sane Christmas music ideas, and a few oddities thrown in for fun. If you’ve ever gone searching on the web for some new holiday music ideas, you may have had that Wikiphilia-like experience of suddenly realizing you just wasted three hours of your life mindlessly YouTubing weird Christmas tunes like we did. So we have to give considerable thanks to MistleTunes, Falalalala.com, and Check The Cool Wax for their passion and devotion to compiling and organizing thousands of offbeat and obscure holiday songs. They bring a lot of the spirit back to what should be one of the best parts of the holidays. The music! Hope you enjoy, and feel free to share your own playlist ideas. Read the rest of this entry »

More Mashups: Girls Aloud Allowed, But EMI Goes GooGoo Over Gaga

[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 28, 2010 by admin in Music

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Will major labels ever figure out the equation of rights management versus free exposure?

We’ve touched on mashups before, but hadn’t realized how deeply they’d been cross-infected with mainstream pop culture, and hadn’t considered the daunting task they bring to record labels operating with a Jurassic attitude toward media distribution and rights management. First of all, let’s look at an example of how not to do a mashup, and then take a look at an example of why issuing takedowns to mashup artists is probably not all that productive. So how not to do a mashup? Fox TV’s Glee “got hip” and jumped on the mashup train by taking the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and Gary Puckett’s “Young Girl”, and having one of the stars of the show sing them as a mashup. The result was predictably horrifying. The problem? The music was obviously licensed, played by studio session players, and badly dubbed over by the actor. The net result is comparable to watching your friend who majored in drama but ended up being an MBA singing “Halo” at karaoke night. If anyone should get sued in the world of mashups, it’s the producers of Glee. On the other end of the spectrum, we have situations where a label like EMI issues a takedown when the repurposing of their property would probably do them more benefit than harm. The piece just linked to explains why EMI issued a takedown for NirGaga, the Lady Gaga Vs. Nirvana mashup. What’s wrong with that scenario? For me, the mashup made me remember Nirvana, who I hadn’t thought of in ages, and exposed me to Lady Gaga, who I would otherwise not go out of my way to listen to. In either case, it’s doubtful that the free distribution of the mashup would dent EMI’s profits, and in spite of EMI’s takedown, the video and song remain “in the wild”, and fairly easy to find, as evident with the YouTube link above. Another example of reaching a new and unlikely end-user (i.e.: me) is a series of mashups of Girls Aloud, the British reality TV superstar girl band that’s made millions and that I’d bet a million that – like me – you’ve never heard of before. Below are examples of Girls Aloud and a few other mashups (Devo vs Souljaboy, Lady Gaga vs Eurythmics) that – at least to my ears – make the unlistenable fairly listenable. I doubt major media companies will ever get this property management vs exposure equation, and will continue throwing the baby out with the bath water until they’re bankrupt. If you want a quick roundup of some of last year’s best mashups, check out CultureBully’s list, or Best of Bootie 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Oye To The World

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on December 8, 2009 by admin in Music

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

You may have heard dj BC’s Christmas mashups, but this year hebrews up a new mix that will help you feel like less of a menorah-ty. And to all you Christmas revelers who feel threatened: Chill. Your songs were all written by Jews anyway.

We’ve all gotten so used to the fact that the first songs you hear on the radio three minutes after midnight on Halloween are either “White Christmas” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that we probably don’t even think about what it’s like to be Jewish around Christmas time. Sure, there’s Hanukkah, but it’s kind of a minor holiday, and historically didn’t have too many catchy pop tunes associated with it. Which frankly is a little odd, because a surprising number of songs that are considered Christmas classics were written by Jewish songwriters. Including the two just mentioned. Expanding on the list just linked to (and offering some free downloads), you might also check out Jewish You A Merry Christmas. But we’ve come a long way since the days when the only hip Jewish holiday songs out there were Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song and Sarah Silverman’s Give The Jew Girl Toys. We’ve mentioned dj BC’s Santastic Christmas mashups before, but this year hebrews up a new mix with Menorah Mashup, so if you are Jewish, maybe you won’t feel like such a menorah-ty this holiday season. And it has the added Jewish appeal that not only do you not pay retail, you pay nothing at all! It’s a free download. If this were a commercial release though, the obvious single would be “Challahback Girl”, a mashup of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and Frank Yankovick doing “Hava Nagila”. So dj BC has graciously provided an additional remix collection that includes  both “Orthodox” and “Reform” mixes. That Menorah Mashup link above has the free download links, but if you want to preview the tunes, Exstatica.net has kindly provided the tunes as streams. Chappy Chanukah!

It’s Not Easy Being A Mashup Addict

[ Comments Off ]Posted on October 28, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It Can Leave You All At Once Sweatin’ Like a Farm Animal, and Cool as a Daisy

Radiohead Meets Dave Brubeck

The other day a friend turned me onto this Pulp Fiction Audio Mix mashup, which reminded me that it’s not easy being a mashup addict. For a long time I complained about how musicians were getting lazy and building whole songs around a single sample (like Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz Deja Vu ), and now I’m whining because I can’t find sample-based material fast enough! I’m not even always sure what I’m looking for; the word “mashup” wasn’t in the OED last time I checked. My favorites are probably the purely musical ones like the the rather brilliant Dave Brubeck/Radiohead clip featured at left, or this Beatles/Kinks/LCD Soundsystem clip, but this medium is pretty broad. Consider the early 90′s EBN mashups like Rock This Base or the more recent Golden Age of Video by Ricardo Autobahn. Both mix the audio and video of multiple sources to pretty good effect. I’m still probably most impressed with artists like YouTube remixing genius Kutiman for his sheer devotion to musicality, but face it. Even William Shatner explaining why Kirk climbs a mountain has some merit, as does a meme-remashing like Christian Bale takes David to the Dentist or the utterly insane Sweatin’ Like a Farm Animal, Cool as a Daisy. If mashups are a totally new concept for you, check out our previous pieces on the topic. Read the rest of this entry »

YouTube As A Musical Instrument

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on September 30, 2009 by admin in Music

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

My wikiphiliac ways lead to the strange discovery that not only is YouTube a musical instrument, but Ohio is a piano.

Although clearly not as epic a project as the incredible Kutiman – who remixed hundreds of YouTube music clips to create mindblowing mashups – Audiogravity is still pretty cool. It’s just a bunch of YouTube clips embedded in a single page, but you can start and stop any of them at the same time for some simple atmospheric “jazz”. Created by Darren Solomon of New York musical collaborative Science for Girls, Audiogravity is an extension of his Bb project, which (in a fashion similar to Jazzy Japanese Pop Band Sour’s fan-driven video) relies on user-submitted clips for the finished product. Solomon’s “band” Science for Girls is, in his words, “melodic electronica with roots in jazz and Brazillian music”, and their debut album features an eclectic group of guest vocalists from NYC’s indie music scene. Solomon’s blog is also pretty interesting; where else would I have learned about the Turkish instrument called a Cumbus? Which of course Solomon had to turn into a Cumbusfest. Which in turn led me in that Google-distracted, wikiphiliac fashion to discover today’s favorite waste of time: AudioPornCentral.com, where I learned that not only is YouTube a musical instrument as we’ve seen here, but Ohio is a piano. Read the rest of this entry »

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