Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Best Effin' Email Ever

I eagerly bought Andy Shernoff's new EP, "Don't Fade Away" last night and found this wonderful email in my inbox this morning:


Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

USPS

(1) Andy Shernoff: Don't Fade Away

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, September 26, 2012.

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh...

We miss you already. We'll be right here at http://cdbaby.com/, patiently awaiting your return.
--
CD Baby

The little store with the best new independent music.
http://cdbaby.com cdbaby@cdbaby.com (503)595-3000

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Pertinent Link:

Andy Shernoff Official

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mr.Clean Reviews Dagger's Self Titled Album

I grew up in the mid 1990s listening to 80’s metal when it was considered un-cool. I have no regrets fighting for Judas Priest and Iron Maiden when everyone thought Third Eye Blind, 311, and Chumbawamba(I’m dating myself, I know) were far superior to my metal bands. Dagger from Tempe, Arizona released a self-titled release that combines elements of straight up 80’s and early 90’s metal, but with also a hint of glam. Usually you hear bands that pick the heavy over the glam side in metal, but Dagger is one of those hybrid bands. I get to be a tough critic on Dagger’s self-titled album because I’m a seasoned metalhead and study all styles and subcategories of metal.

Dagger Stagger Records 2009

The opening track “Why Not” is my least favorite track on the album. This is a good album to listen to, don’t get me wrong, but I cannot stand “cadenzas” in the beginning or ending of albums. A “cadenza” is an explosion of notes that are improvised for intros or outros of songs. They are overused in southern rock and are a lame excuse for music passages; they just kill time.

This album does build though. I really like Howie Macreno’s mid-range Geoff Tate-influenced vocal style. In fact, his vocals help narrow down the style for Dagger. For this caliber of music, guitar solos are expected and do exist. You don’t hear a total “wank-fest” on guitar, which a lot of listeners don’t want on their albums. These solos are unique and tasteful. I wish the drumming was more dynamic because a lot metalheads want tasteful grooves. Instead, they are simple and on time—which gets the job done.

As the album progresses on, you can hear influences by Skid Row, Jackyl, Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, some Anthrax, and maybe Savatage—minus the keyboard work. The vocals scream Queensr├┐che, but once you listen to the songs over and over it feels like there is some 80’s thrash influence in the vocals as well. I’m happy that there are background vocals in the choruses that remind you of Accept and Queensr├┐che big choruses. The albums cohesiveness on songs is a bit questionable, but mainly because of going from straight up metal to glam style guitar riffing.


Drummer John Harper pummels the skins at this year's Rocklahoma
(Photo by Bigfoot Diaries)
A metalhead like me would recommend Dagger’s “Dagger” album to metal fans who are open minded and can appreciate all styles of metal. It would be a hard sale to metal fans who are stuck on one type of metal or just don’t care for the hair metal/glam metal to begin with. Dagger is a band that I could see doing extremely well in the Midwest for representing metal that isn’t heard on today’s commercial radio. I really do enjoy this album, even with my higher standards, and do hope for follow up album that blows the first one out of the water. I recommend this album to metal fans who remember bands like Banshee and Artch for their heavy metal/glam crossover music.

-Written by Mr. Clean

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Pertinent Links:

Dagger Official

Dagger Facebook


 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Bigfoot Diaries Round Table Question # 1

In a brand-new segment we will gather the staff here at the Bigfoot headquarters once a month or so, and ask them to answer one particular question concerning what we deem (un)popular culture. The idea of this segment is to allow the reader to get a better view of who we are - the writers, the artists, and the technicians who make this site possible. Also, it's just kind of fun to get everybody in the same proverbial room if you will. Thanks to Grant's Tomb for producing this great idea!

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Our first topic of discussion concerns television shows such as American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent, etc.The question: Are these shows good or bad for the music industry?


Turtle Boy: No. Well I don't know cuz I don't watch 'em. American Idol has a pretty catchy theme song. And the dude from The Voice is always wearing Misfits/Danzig shirts so that's cool. That's my 2 cents.


Mr. Clean: I feel shows like The Voice and American Idol are searching for the latest pop star cash cow, and not unique vocalists. In the years of these shows being on the air, never have I once heard a powerful male/female vocalist blow me away with their vocal talent. Most honorable singers from the 1920's through late 1990's got their success by their hard work, hard practice, and decent connections--not by American Idol contests. If I turned on any local pop music radio station in Des Moines, I'm bound to hear mediocre but highly produced songs that status quo finds catchy. This isn't real music, it's a waste of three and a half minutes until the next waste of time. I miss vocalists and pop stars like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna being on the radio or on television for their latest albums. There is so much crap on the radio that hogs up time for a better artist's song. What's really bad is even in rock music, there hasn't been up and coming artists with albums worth buying. This is why I'm glad internet radio is taking over. As for The Voice and American Idol... they should have stopped at American Bandstand and Star Search.
 

Samantha L. Thomas: I think these people are hungry for 5 seconds of fame and they will do anything to get it. American idol, the voice blah blah talent show garbage is polluting the music scene and killing peoples ear drums for good music. I haven't seen either of these shows in years and doubt I'll be trying to look them up any time soon. I think if people want to get into the business they need to work their way up, create their own sound and fuck the standard quo of what is "good" at the moment.

Cveckian: On the whole, such shows do not provide sustainable careers past the season a particular act is a part of, nor is it really their responsibility to do so. The ones who do well are often called back in future seasons, for a gig here and there, and that is about the extent of it. Most of the people I have talked to about reality talent shows (and I will admit that number is quite small) have confessed to watching it for the inevitable train wrecks that occur when someone completely lacking any talent whatever gets annihilated by the judges. We as a society love to tear down people more than we do enlightening them and the media feeds that self-righteous hunger of ours on a regular basis. I personally think this is acceptable punishment for attempting to getting that golden ticket early in life and sometimes does lead to some impressive talent being discovered from time to time. I cannot blame the contestants for trying either. In most cases, not only are they subjected to the ire of their peers, but they have to put it all out there for the masses. Not just a bar full of people mind you, but literally millions of people worldwide. Most people crumble under that kind of pressure, so when a Carrie Underwood gets up on a stage of that magnitude and sings her pretty little heart out, I have nothing but respect for her... Despite my disdain for most things Country. Sustainability is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff and that is more on the artist than anyone else... As it should be.
 
 
Bob Patton: Shows such as America's Got Talent, The Voice, and American Idol --- especially in the early part of each season --- are good for discovering vocal talents that otherwise may never be revealed.  Granted, 98 percent of the time, those vocal talents are best suited for sterilizing farm animals, but still...

Shep: Well, where these things seem to have the most impact is in the television industry. In the sense that lots of people watch this stuff and in generates big money in advertising. A lot of the girls at work are always talking about these shows so whatever, it seems to be working; which I don't understand because it's a lot more fun watching The Munsters or The Flintstones. In regards to whether it's good for the "music industry", yeah probably. They have gotten a small hand full of bankable stars like Carrie Underwood, and to maybe lesser degrees Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. These shows also help propagate what seems to be the corporate mission of the music biz, to reduce everything to the equivalent of vanilla ice cream. Boring, bland, and unexciting music, but put it on t.v. and have celebrities tell people it's great and the masses will lap it up like pigs at the trough.
 
T. Church: It's funny. I never really gave this question much thought. But then again, why would I? I have never timed my evening so that I was sure not to miss one of these shows, and when I did see them, usually as the result at being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I was utterly bored. That being said, I suppose it is good for the music industry from a corporate standpoint because obviously these shows are popular and draw in truckloads of advertising dollars. But it's not good for the music industry in terms of it force feeding more "mainstream" down our throats. The last thing I want to see is some pretty boy butchering "Beast of Burden." At some point, it becomes more about the money than it does the music, and that's when it gets ugly. More so, it seems to me that these shows are about the judges more than they are the contestants, so there's your X-factor... It's a parade of clashing egos that frankly, make the shows redundant, boring and over-hyped. And in that aspect, it's not good for the music industry either. That being the case, I offer a compromise: Give me a talent show where you have Andy Shernoff sitting at the judges table next to Dee Snider and Wayne Kramer... I'd set the Tivo to that.
 
Grant's Tomb: It may be somewhat of a loaded question, especially given my penchant for bashing all things corporate music related, but (and I emphasize the but), there is something to be said for artists-I use the term loosely-like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtery, and Taylor Swift who have been able to use the success gained from said "talent shows" and move on to greater success. We all know the Grammys are a joke, but consider the amount of records the individuals above have sold. Does quantity equal quality? Obviously not, but on the same token you simply cannot discount their fans. Sure most are mindless/brainless zombies clutching to any trend mass media and pop culture is (and always will be) willing to crank out. Do these shows lead to sustainable careers? Yes, for as long as producers and record companies are willing to shell out the cash to promote them (and as long as these "artists" are turning a profit). With all of that said, these shows promote soul-less, flavor of the week style pop garbage that can be taken out with the trash on a weekly basis. Remember Clay Aiken? I didn't think so.
 
Would love to know, what do you think?

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bob Patton: Reality... No Television Required


Drawn exclusively for The Bigfoot Diaries
(Click to enlarge)

 

The South African Punk Movement

The following is the first article submitted by Samantha L. Thomas. Her passion for world travel is perhaps only matched by her love of punk rock. In this initial post, she covers the underground punk rock scene in South Africa, and in particular, the band Hog Hoggidy Hog. -Ed.


Discovering South African Punk Rock from the Heart of the Czech Republic

Two years ago South African Punk rock was uncharted territory for me. To be blunt I never even knew the movement existed until Keith Jones Punk in Africa happened. It was summer 2010, I was 24 and I had just returned to Prague for a four week internship.  Little did I know where this would take me, now here I am writing about a genre of music that has attached itself tightly to my blood cells. In the weeks to come I hope to expose all of you to the sounds, faces and ideas that revolve around a musical subculture that remains unknown to the majority of the western world.

So what does South African punk rock sound like? Who creates it? Why should people in the Western world embrace it?  With the help of artists, documentary makers and South African punk rock bands themselves, these questions will not only be answered, they shall be explored.

Hog Hoggidy Hog is a South African punk band that has heavy elements of early SKA and heavy guitar riffs with lyrics that undeniably South African; singing about issues such as Apartheid, human rights, social injustices and life in South Africa amidst the political shifts of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  South African punk rock is fast, heavy, loud. Passionate-musical movements like these are dying quickly around the world, nevertheless Hog Hoggidy Hog keeps them flowing and doesn’t miss a beat. From heavy brass and high tempo drum beats H.H.H has it all. Keeping true to the concept of “punk” the music is intense and rebellious, with each song carrying similar rhythms and tempos while lyrics being diverse and profound. Hog Hoggidy Hog’s lyrics are poetry placed on high doses of speed.

In their most recent works the listener can hear hints of reggae tone and heavy metal; the combination of these very different sounds has set HHH apart from the rest. While South African punk cannot be compared to British or early American punk rock, the sounds resonate emotion, defiance, rebellion and everything that GREAT punk rock is. To rebel, to resist and to Fuck The Man.  With storytelling lyrics and heavy horn HHH has a sound and authenticity that cannot be purchased-the stories in which HHH tells are first accounts of life in South Africa during some extremely challenging times.  HHH’s earlier music delivers freedom to a young subculture that wanted to defy and lacked opportunity to do so. Among the many South African Punk bands, HHH has guided and paved the way for many musicians to follow their artistic dreams and defy the common nomenclature of what “good music” is.




-Written by Samantha L. Thomas

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Pertinent Links:

Hog Hoggidy Hog Official

Hog Hoggity Hog Facebook

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Newest Staff Member: Samantha L. Thomas

The newest addition to the staff is Samantha L. Thomas.



Samantha L. Thomas is a restless native of Des, Moines Iowa; she currently teaches art in South Korea and holds a BA from Drake University.  Prior to moving to South Korea, Thomas studied in Czech Republic and England.  Her newest project is Nepal Arts Therapy and she has a Boston terrier named Bulgogi.  Thomas is addicted to punk rock, Carlo Rossi, acrylic paint and photography.

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Bigfoot Diaries To Go Viral (We Wish!)

We get by with a little help from out friends. Or so it's been said.

On Friday Shep and I will be guests on the Fallon Forum, a grass roots webcast that covers all things not fair and balanced in the political world. Somehow, despite everything that is currently happening in the political spectre, Mr. Fallon has found time to talk to us.

We will discuss music of course, from a national and local level. We will offer unpopular opinions and make general asses out of ourselves. We will tell you why corporate radio sucks. We will take your calls and give away a t-shirt or two. We will tell you why you should immediately seek out albums by The Dictators and Howling Wolf.

So, join us in conversation live, Friday, online from 12:40-1:00 pm on the Fallon Forum website. Call in at 515-244-0077 (local) or toll free (855) 244-0077 if you are standing at a payphone in California. Video and audio podcasts will be available, too.

Ed's show runs Monday through Friday from noon til 1:00.

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Pertinent Links:

Fallon Forum Website

Fallon Forum on Twitter

Fallon Forum on Facebook