music / Columns

Music’s 3Rs 01.28.13: Tempted By The Wrong Of Another

January 28, 2013 | Posted by Sean Comer


Vandelay Industries and present this week’s Music’s 3 Rs with limited suckitude, brought to you by the Southern & Longmore Starbucks in scenic Mesa, AZ, as well as the following…

The Notorious M.S.G., “Chinatown Hustler”

Garfunkel and Oates, “This Party Just Took A Turn For the Douche”

Tricky, “Excess”

Alabama Shakes, “Hold On”

Squeeze, “Tempted”

Before I launch into representing the Right, reaping the wRong, and regurgitating the Ridiculous, permit me a rant directed at Facebook-infesting hipsters. If you really must post naught but cherry-picked song lyrics and movie quotes, use quotation marks and citations. In the worst-case scenarios, when you vomit forth nothing but snippets from obscure materials, you come across as nothing more than attention whores who can’t start a conversation about your favorite outside-the-“mainstream” artists, movies, songs, etc. except by masquerading someone else’s thoughts as your own, then making the reveal when someone (by your design) misunderstands you.

What’s more, you come across as plagiarists.

In the best-case scenario, we’re simply left to conclude that you have nothing interesting worth reading, thus negating benefits of anything you have to say taking up space on others’ news feeds.

You’re not deep. You’re dull.

(P.S. – Yes, pedantic predators of the comments section, I’m perfectly aware that I weave lyrical references aplenty into this column weekly. I also avoid the “Ask me what it means!” baiting practice of placing references and quotations conspicuously without context.

Plus, this is a music column. I lend my audience’s lyric-recognition acumen a certain benefit of a doubt.

Still, to be fair and make my own acknowledgement…”Keep your stick on the ice” is a reference to the hilarious Canadian sketch-comedy series The Red Green Show. Also, “Never dull your colors for someone else’s canvas” is not a phrase of my own making, but words once offered to me by an irreplaceably dear friend when we met almost three years ago. Yes, she knows I use them weekly here. She’s quite flattered.)

Well, Babies, what a clusterf*** we’ll sort through this week. Remember, it was like this when I got here.

“Maybe you’re wrong, but maybe, just maybe I’m Right…”

Daft Punk announce new album
Oh, Daft Punk. You’re the electric cherries atop my Sunday.

EDM mainstays Daft Punk not only confirmed their new label home with Columbia Records, but confirmed that they’ll release their fourth studio album this coming spring, NME announced this week.

The Columbia jump ends the duo’s 16-year relationship with Virgin Records stretching back to the French EDM icons’ earliest days together. The upcoming album, reportedly produced alongside disco legends Nile Rogers and Giorgio Moroder as well as Oscar winner Paul Williams, will mark Daft Punk’s first full slate of new material since 2010’s Tron: Legacy score.

Daft Punk have been released full-fledged albums with patience-trying infrequency, but the layered, ear-friendly soundscapes they develop are often more worth digesting than new material by far more prolific artists. What’s more, there’s a throbbing current to their arrangements that’s as much a “signature” to their sound as melodic, sexy murkiness can be to the likes of Massive Attack.

I don’t pretend that I speak for everybody, but knowing how solidly my expectations for Daft Punk have been cemented, knowing that I’ll have new material to savor within probably the next four months is like going back to Kansas City knowing that I’ll at some point be devouring Gate’s BBQ pulled pork: sometimes, getting exactly what I expect is all I really need.
Meet FamilyJules7X
Let’s break a moment from “news” as we usually define it. Sometimes, I just like nudging people toward superb musicians.

To be clear, the DIY YouTube one-man band known as FamilyJules7X isn’t exactly an entirely “new” artist. To be factual, he actually just celebrated his second year on YouTube crafting multi-instrumental, rock-infused covers paying homage to the video game world’s most compelling soundtracks.

His arrangements and actual playing are nothing less than masterful, many of them employing superbly engineered overdubs of Jules manning acoustic six-strings, electric guitars and bass tailored to evoke sweeping, epic moods borne of each individual song’s game of origin. He can tender a sentimental, gentle atmosphere (such as the one heard below in his cover of the end theme from The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time) or create a thunderous bombast that either takes an already stirring arrangement (such as Mass Effect 2‘s “Suicide Mission”) to a greater apex or absolutely transforms an already memorable piece (such as his rendering of Kingdom Hearts‘ “Simple and Clean”).

It doesn’t hurt – depending on your appreciation of the band or your lack thereof – that his playing, as much as his name, drips with a clear appreciation for Avenged Sevenfold’s more unbridled moments.

Whether or not you’d know a Metroid from Master Chief, his playing is simply stirring and his production quality astounding. He demonstrates as much on his channel with a number of comprehensive tutorials, each made per particular fan demand. It’s just one demonstration of why he’s also one of the most fan-friendly personalities on YouTube. If you check out the channel, note that the right sidebar includes navigations and links to his Twitter (@FamilyJules7X), Facebook, Twitch.TV, PayPal-donation, and Bandcamp hubs.

And if you really, really dig what you hear, his “Year 1” and “Year 2” download links will provide you with every single cover in two massive packages.

Support superb musicianship, Babies. He’s well worth it.

Please, find enclosed below a few personal favorites of mine.

Adele to perform “Skyfall” at the Academy Awards
It’s the little pleasures, sometimes.

It was confirmed this week that the British chanteusse fresh off a deserved Golden Globe victory will perform her Best Original Song Oscar nominee at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Look, there are precious few reasons to ever really get excited about the Oscars. Last year’s awards were so fraught with presenters and Billy Crystal visibly trying embarrassingly hard to be entertaining, that the possibility that Angelina Jolie’s leg and the possibility of a hint of visible nipple dominated the ceremony telecast’s headlines.

At least this year, we can all revel in the woman that demonstrated more than any artist since arguably Garbage’s Shirley Manson how to put a fine point on 007’s enduring debonair cool in the style of legendary Bond-theme singer Shirley Bassey.

“I don’t wanna fight, Jack, but you ain’t ever right, you know you wRong…”

Despite new release, no 2013 Daft Punk tour planned
Sorry, Babies. Get your fill of Daft Punk this spring, because they’ll be occupying The Daft Cave all year long.

In the TEXT target=new>same breath in which they announced their new album, the pair made it clear that they in fact would not perform headlining gigs at this year’s Coachella festival as once rumored.

“There’s all kinds of crazy rumours flying about at the moment about Daft Punk at Coachella, and The Rolling Stones playing Glastonbury. We got told months ago that Daft Punk were definitely not touring next year, but it keeps the rumour mill going,” Bestival organizer and BBC Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank told eFestivals earlier this month.

In fact, Daft Punk have no plans at all indicating full-fledged touring over the next 12 months.

Luckily, when it comes to electronica, live appeal isn’t exactly a make-or-break factor. Still, Daft Punk do have their own unique combined presence that makes them a colorful pair to see ply their craft in person. Hopefully, they won’t remain entirely burrowed within their hidey hole until 2014 and may play some one-off gigs this side of the pond.
Illness kills three U.S. Morrissey tour dates
Well, that’s no good.

Sudden illness felled Morrissey this week in Michigan and canceled three upcoming tour dates. The former Smiths lead singer contracted a “suspected” bladder infection that laid him up in Royal Oaks, MI’s William Beaumont Hospital, Billboard reported.

Morrissey’s management announced a Jan. 24 Flint, MI date’s cancellation, as well as two other dates’ postponements. Some cancelled dates included make-up shows from when Morrissey stopped his 2012 tour in October so that he could spend time with his ailing mother.

Here’s wishing the longtime mopey icon a speedy recovery.
Bob Marley’s son: Dad would’ve dug Snoop Lion
Yeah, no.

Bob Marley’s son Rohan told TMZ
this week that his late, iconic father would’ve absolutely been on board with Snoop Dogg’s transformation into Snoop Lion.

“Our father’s name should not even be mentioned in this issue because like a true Rasta, he would have embraced Snoop’s reincarnation and welcomed the positivity. Why condemn a man for his love of Rastafari and Bob Marley? We have been cool with Snoop before his transformation and he will continue to have our blessings and support,” Rohan claimed.

Rohan made the remarks in response to criticism both from Rastafari Millennium Council members and his father’s former backing band The Wailers casting doubt upon the sincerity of Snoop’s commitment to Rastafarianism.

Let me interject a positive note: when I informed my good friend Tara that Bob Marley named his son after the Horse Lord kingdom of The Lord of the Rings, she immediately wondered, “Wouldn’t it have been great if he named him ‘Old Toby’ instead?” I checked the back room, Babies. There are no Internets left. She won them all. Every. Last. One.

If you can’t quite absorb the reference … well, you fail Nerd.

Back to the point, though: Rohan, you’re right. Bob himself would’ve embraced Snoop, but that’s because that’s the sort of open-minded, inclusive gentleman Marley was. That being acknowledged, you’d do well to also acknowledge that Snoop’s reggae stylings lack even a modicum of your father’s passion, purpose or desperation. I’d even go so far as to say that it does your father’s legacy a disservice to call Snoop Lion’s music “reggae,” so much as “reggae-infused hip-hop.” Without Bob’s imperative call to action, anything else is nothing more than an opportunistic style-biting audience grab.
Beyonce lip syncs; world cares a tad too much
Yep. That’s right. Mrs. Jay-Z had the utter audacity to lip-sync her National Anthem rendition at President Obama’s inauguration.

For as precious little a rip as I give about the gratingly overrated Grammy winner, why does this surprise anybody? You’re all well aware that Whitney Houston’s definitive 1991 “Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV was “sung” live with a dead microphone, right? It’s as much a technical matter as anything. When Houston performed it, there were concerns over the variables of the open-air environment and ambient noise.

This would hardly be an instance of there being reason to doubt whether an artist has the genuine-article chops to perform live. While I find her songwriting frankly grating, she has the pipes. Let there be no doubt. Ashlee Simpson, she ain’t. Shit happens live sometimes – if nothing else, the most recent Long Road To Ruin proved that to me conclusively – and nobody wanted Obama’s second inauguration remembered largely for a comparatively incidental element like the singing of the National Anthem’s flub.

“How could I possibly be inconspicuous, when my flow is f***in’ Ridiculous?”

Glee rips off Jonathan Coulton
So you want to cover “Baby Got Back,” cast of Glee? Fine.

That’s aiming pretty low, I award you zero “originality” points, and may God have mercy on your souls … but OK.

If you’re going to cover a style-bending cover and decline to even remotely acknowledge note-for-note aping Jonathan Coulton’s arrangement, then don’t you f***ing dare piss on my head and think I’ll believe it’s raining.

I don’t want to assume the worst of creator Ryan Murphy, who maintains a micro-managing creative control over his baby that’s as comprehensive as that wielded by any figure in television. The worst, in this case, would entail Murphy brashly presuming, “Jonathan Coulton isn’t ‘known’ enough for any segment of our audience about whom I’d give a fraction of a shit to notice.”

The likeness of the covers virtually entirely rules out coincidence. It’s a virtually note-for-note, beat-for-beat rip-off the cover Coulton has been performing for years.

Unlike many previous respectful tributes honoring artists from Aerosmith to Adele, the blatant aping of Coulton’s “Baby Got Back” lends him no such apropos credit for breathing fresh life into Sir Mix-A-Lot’s legacy hit. Since the show’s second season, it’s been a rapid descent into a constant GLAAD-handing, gay-baiting bludgeoning of primetime audiences with anti-bullying messages crafted with all of an After-School Special’s subtlety and nuance.

For all the preaching about consideration and respect, it’s apparent that FOX itself doesn’t give the aforementioned fraction of a squirting shit about the ramifications of ripping off an artist that’s perhaps lesser-known than the standard cover fodder.

The sun’s comin’ up…I’m ridin’ with Lady Luck
I must personally thank my Music Zone compatriot Robert Cooper for this one, Babies. As posted earlier today to my Facebook, I give you the peach in the cobbler … YOUR MOMENT OF GWAR!

Keep your powder dry and your stick on the ice. I’m Sean. You’re not. Never dull your colors for someone else’s canvas.

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Sean Comer
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