Saturday, August 27, 2011

FACT mix 277, Blogger Errors, and more

I would like to direct you attention to a great track I found today (
It really is inexplicable, so you'll have to check it out for yourself. 
There is a wide variety of genres in this single mix, so it should be pretty enjoyable for anyone.
On another note, I tried commenting on some peoples blogs today and was greeted with a message claiming I did not have permission to do so.  After some quick research it appears it was a problem with cookies, but I don't really want to mess with that right now.
Also, tommorow I'll be moving into my dorm for my freshman year at DePaul University, which should be really really cool, I think.
I'd like to hear about Hurricane Irene from some first hand experiences, so if any of you are affected directly, or indirectly, feel free to blog about it/comment here.

That's all for now

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fall Creek Boy
So there's this collaboration piece that sounds absolutely beautiful, in my opinion.
Check out my friend, Sub-Radar's blog post (Link at the top)
That's where I first heard about this awesome song.
I just had to share it with you guys :)
I think this is the RIGHT way to autotune.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trends and the Future Face of Music and Everything (My Spin on Things) Part Three: A New Hope

Today, there are two major factions of music fans: Those Who Listen to Top 40, and Those Who Don't.  I, being of the latter group, can not understand why people listen to Nicki Minaj, or Britney Spears, or Beyonce, or Wiz Khalifa, or... It really seems to me that people don't want to think, or if they do want to think, they want to think about degrading things and material possessions and drugs and alcohol. 
"But Shrugo, don't you see that they like to dance and that's what they can dance to?"  but they could dance to trance, for instance.  They don't need words to dance.  You can also dance to rock music, or jazz.  It's not that dancing is only capable through top 40, I think it's that they aren't willing to reject top 40 and dance to something else. 

I don't want to turn this into a bashing party, so I'll move along.  It's likely that we will experience another decade of this kind of this drugged up Pop music, since people haven't begun rejecting it en masse yet.  It may be longer than a decade from now, but I predict a rejection of this music much similar to that of disco, if not less violent; before this rejection can occur, I think the music needs to seize an even larger monopoly on the audience. 

The other music genres, before that overthrow, will most undoubtedly go through several changes.  I predict that indie music will gain more fans (the line-up at Lollapalooza supports my claim, I think), and perhaps gain some recognition into Top 40.  I don't mean indie as a genre, just as a method.  I mean independent music with either a small label or no label at all.  Big labels generally smother the creative freedom of young acts, and I think that technology is getting powerful and cheap enough to soon allow musicians to produce studio-quality work without selling their freedom to big labels.  Already, fan-funding is a popular way for artists of any kind to make money.  Check out Kickstarter, for instance.

Dubstep will probably just get more popular in the future, and most likely it will become especially prominent in the Top 40.  Once out of the underground completely, dubstep will all sound the same (it's getting close to that already) and most likely go unaccredited.  By that I mean the pop singers will have the title and the dubstep producers will get a name in the album booklet.  They won't care because they'll be getting loads of cash (I wouldn't care anyway).  I've heard predictions of mainstream mash-ups, but I find this much more likely.

Rock will probably experience another split in the future.  I can't name the participants yet, but I expect that today's metal will be part of that.  I think it will be on the losing side since, like glam-metal, it has a HUGE focus on appearance and hardly any focus on originality. The other side could be anything, but it will most likely be of a grassroots origin.  It's influences would be indie, grunge, and punk most likely (not exclusively of course) and it most likely it will be from some obscure place (I hear Fort Collins is an up and coming artist factory and possibly the next Seattle).

It's important not to leave out the fact that almost anyone can make music with the resources easily available today.  I could be optimistic and suggest that in the future there might be a "station" that people tune in to to make music in real time with random people, but frankly that's unlikely to happen.  Or if it does, it would suck.

Remember: nearly all of this is conjecture and much of it might not happen at all.  That doesn't mean I didn't research at all, but it means that no body can predict the future.  Any weather man will tell you the same.

In unrelated news:  a giant snowstorm will occur tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trends and the Future Face of Music and Everything (My Spin on Things) Part Two: The Ascent to the Modern Era

This is where things start to get kind of tricky.  A lot of the following will be conjecture and inference since all of this is kind of recent-ish and stories still aren't quite straight.  
The tail-end of the Eighties showed this sort of transitional period in which the face of music changed drastically, more similar to what we have today.  Glam rock really began to decline and it seems that it pretty much died, giving the stage to the rest of arena rock.  Punk began to decline as well, but it was able to survive as it took on elements of hard rock and spawned thrash-metal and death-metal.  Punk also merged a bit with Alternative and this is basically the origin of the Seattle grunge scene.  Punk also showed inklings in emo, which would of course transform later into the new form of emo.  Glam rock's looks took some aspects of new-wave and formed the kind of pop-music we have today.  New Wave itself persisted throughout though, and never really gained more success or declined all that much.  Arena Rock got really big, and took on some more of the excessive traits of glam rock, without as much makeup. To gain popularity, Hip hop incorporated some elements of pop, and actually made some good music with the extra level of production that added.

In the early Nineties, Arena Rock received a nearly deadly blow from Grunge, which became super popular when the Sub-Pop label began to gain press coverage.  There was a HUGE explosion of popularity in the Seattle-Scene, which incorporated the anti-establishment attitude of Punk with the indie style of Alternative and actually some riffs from Arena Rock.  The big blow was dealt when Kurt Cobain publicly declined an offer to play with Guns N' Roses, whose front-man Axl Rose wore Nirvana shirts and was apparently a fan, and stated that he didn't like the excess that they endorsed, similar to the rejection of disco in the Seventies.  Grunge and Alternative took the throne by force it seems and Arena Rock took second-stage.  Pop Punk began to gain popularity as well, with bands like Green Day and Blink-182.  The Arena Rock fans began to shift to either Alternative or the mainstream or more underground metal acts.  Alternative started getting a bit heavier, but Grunge all but died with the death of Kurt Cobain and Alternative started going into a post-grunge phase, that was not as popular as Grunge was before, yet still a bit popular.  Bands like the Foo Fighters, Matchbox Twenty, and Nickelback gained popularity and carried the torch into the early 2000s, and some of the bands survive to this day.

Now we get to the 2000s, the era of Napster.  The Internet had, at this point, a very popular center for music downloads.  In 1999, Napster was launched as a place where people could search for an artist, or song, or album, and download it immediately.  The best part, it was 100% free.  Soon, millions of people had begun downloading music from artists they'd never even heard of, just because they could listen without having to worry about wasting money if they didn't like the music.  Even already popular bands used and supported Napster, often putting their own albums up for free.  The Offspring released Conspiracy of One this way, and tried putting it up on their own website, but their own record label threatened to sue.  Other artists, such as Metallica, Madonna, and Dr. Dre, opposed Napster and the company was sued in 2000.  It is important to note that it was the performers making the most money that whined the most about Napster.  In fact, largely unknown artists, as well as some just beginning to get attention, actually benefited from Napster.  Why?  Just because people download a song, doesn't mean they don't want to support an artist.  Napster actually improved the sales of many artists, purely out of support of fans.  One could easily make a compelling argument that the groups that opposed Napster didn't care about or trust their fans.  Record labels also despised Napster because it was making them obsolete, so they struck back with their already overloaded wallets.  This is true even today, free music only supports the artist further.  I was once told that "pirating" hurts working class laborers who make CDs in a factory, but those CDs are sold everywhere, not just record labels.  People buy blank CDs at stores like Wal-Mart, for instance.  And even if they didn't, the CD will likely go "extinct" the way other forms of music have, such as vinyl or cassette, and to prevent that change would be halting progress for no reason.  Anyway, Napster eventually fell, but people had tasted freedom and other forms popped up left and right in it's place, much like a hydra's head (these days, labels realize that their best bet is preying on actual users).  Now what does this have to do with music trends?  EVERYTHING.  Because anyone could hear anything, influences were spreading like wildfires, and genres were being born (or at least recognized) like rabbits.

That is the world in which we live today.  The Internet has spawned so many genres that when people ask what you listen to, the response is often a list of genres, rather than a list of artists.  And we keep getting more of them.  Genre-overload is kind of the state of things, but perhaps it is something we just have to get used to.  So without further ado, I present the 00s.

The Early 2000s: In the early 2000s, we have some garage rock showing up like The White Stripes and The Strokes, as well as a large influx of metal in a new form, nu-metal.  Nu-metal began later in the 90s, but reached its peak earlier in the next decade.  Nu-metal was really a child of the Internet, because it combined elements of so many genres, such as grunge, hip hop, industrial, and funk.  Some nu-metal artists of note were System of a Down, Slipknot, and Korn.  The brother genre of nu-metal was rap rock, which gained only slightly more publicity, due to the popularity of hip hop, and the focus on rapped lyrics.  Rap rock bands of the early 2000s were Staind, Papa Roach, and Linkin Park (a band which also incorporated elements of electronic music).

The Mid 2000s: The second wave of emo began in the 90s and broke from the underground in the early 2000s.  By the middle of the decade, emo had taken hold of the mainstream rock sound with bands like Fall Out Boy (whose label, Fueled By Ramen, had become the Sub-Pop of emo), 30 Seconds to Mars, and My Chemical Romance.  Though many artists claimed they weren't emo, their fan-base most definitely was.  Emo gained a very special form of popularity.  It's sub-culture fan-base incorporated elements of punk and gothic fashion, and the obsessive "non-conformism" of both.  Ironically, it was cool for emos to reject the emo label, and often reject any label whatsoever.  A common belief was that emos mostly practiced self-mutilation; though there's no real way to prove it, the imagery was most definitely present, and depression was least of all rejected.  A sub-genre of emo, dubbed screamo, never really gained much popularity but lent much influence to other acts.  Screamed vocals were gaining popularity in the mainstream, often at the peak of an "intense" moment.

The Late 2000s:  Emo fans split off two ways when emo began to lose popularity.  Many emo fans were drawn to screamo's, raw emotional sound, and began to listen to inspired bands like Alexisonfire, and The Used. Many of these fans moved on to Metalcore, which had been growing in popularity.  Metalcore mixed metal and punk in a fast and loud sound that attracted many youths.  Metalcore bands of notability were As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada, and Bullet For My Valentine.  While originally metalcore wasn't derived from screamo, it was later influenced when the fans of that genre began to merge.  This genre is seen as the origin of many genres today, which have affixed *-core to the end of a word, sometimes in a humorous fashion, designating a "hardcore sound".  This is probably the birthplace of the "scene" scene, which borrowed much from emo in terms of fashion, and was aggressively opposed by metal "purists" who often claimed scene was ruining the genre of metal.  The other fans of the "dead" emo scene began to sort of reject the dark imagery and keep the non-conformist/anti-establishment mentality as they moved on to listening to indie rock. These fans eventually grew into scenesters, now more commonly known as hipsters.  For the sake of consistency, I'll briefly explain hipsters.  Hipsters obsess over the obscure and unique, often searching the underground for music they think is either a) completely unheard of or b) too unique for the mainstream to appreciate.  If a "hipster" band goes mainstream, it is completely rejected by hipsters.  Anyway, this sort of leads us to the modern day...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trends and the Future Face of Music and Everything (My Spin on Things) Part One: A History

The other night, I did something that I do consistently every three months: I started searching around the web for rumors of what the next big music trend might be.  For those of you sane enough not to know exactly what I mean by that, allow me to lay out a sort of historical timeline.
The Great Fashions of The Decades
Music has nearly always been a culturally significant innovation, yet it wasn't until the 20th century that music gained a stronger connection to the masses through the inventions of radio and the phonograph.  These innovations brought music even closer to the listener than ever before (a trend staring with or near the transition from Baroque to Classical, or so a reliable source tells me).  It was in this burgeoning period of musical inventiveness that Pop music truly began to form.  Instead of music being created and performed for large cultures, in the 20th century, music began to instead target subcultures, especially within Black communities.  This is how we got Ragtime, Jazz and the Blues.  These began to change and split off into different forms, such as Swing and Bebop.  In 1931, George Beauchamp invented the first electrically amplified guitar.  I don't really know why, but this was, in my opinion, the turning point of music, changing into the Pop-Culture that it is today.  Below, I will list out the huge cultural forms of music, the trendy genres if you will.
1950s: Rock and Roll - Inspired by jazz, country music, and blues, Rock and Roll is best known as the genre of Elvis Presley.  This is where we start to see lots of blatant sex appeal and imagery jump into music.  (Though there has always been dancing, Elvis Presley's hip-gyrating television performances led to some of his appearances being filmed from the waist up).
1960s: British Invasion - The Success of rock and roll in America crossed O'er the Pond to Britain and groups that gained popularity there made a sort of pilgrimage back to America in the early 1960s.  This was hugely successful and became known as the British Invasion.  Some acts of this era were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds.  During this time, another rapid evolution changed popular music: Psychedelia - Music composition style was not the only carry-over from jazz and blues to rock and roll.  In the Sixties, drug use became very prominent among successful acts and the audience.  These artists began to experiment with many drugs, including relatively new scientifically created chemical compounds like LSD.  Under the influence of these mind-altering substances, artist began to change their sound drastically.  The Beatles began to implement Eastern sounds into their songs, Jimi Hendrix was famous for using his guitar in unorthodox ways, and nearly everyone began distorting their sound with fuzz boxes and wah wah.  The Hippie movement is arguably a creation of this music scene.
1970s: Progressive Rock - This is probably my favorite of the popular music trends.  Psychedelia began to get a bad rap in the late Sixties: Charles Manson was inspired by the Beatles and many of the stars began to die of overdoses, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin being two.  Obviously, the drug use never died, we still have that in music today.  The major influence from the Psychedelic period was the sound and complexity.  Musicians were influenced by classical music equally as much as blues and jazz, as well as world music.  Progressive Rock also often utilized synthesizers and sometimes string ensembles.  Prog Rock bands liked to change tempo, time, key, anything they could think of changing really, and the songs were long.  I mean REALLY long.  Echoes (Pink Floyd) clocked in at 23:31, 2112 (Rush) at 20:33, and Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull) was an entire album with one song, the title track, lasting 43:46.  Concept albums were incredibly popular, as well as fantastical imagery.  Some noticeable bands were King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, Rush, and The Electric Light Orchestra.  The 1970s also had disco, but after a short heyday, everyone realized that they hated disco since it sucked.  They literally got together and burned loads of disco albums at Comiskey Park, and a riot ensued when they realized how foolish they had been to let it come so far.  Today, we owe some of our worst acts to disco, and many expect a full retribution as before.
1980s: This era experienced a great schism in the world of music.  On one side, there was punk.  Punk began developing in the late Seventies with The Sex Pistols and The Ramones as a backlash to "rock extravagance and excess" and went for a stripped down sound, with very little complexity.  The genre started gaining mainstream popularity among youths in the Eighties with bands like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys, as well as hardcore punk bands like The Germs and Bad Religion.  The thing is, while punk was being rebellious and anti-establishment, glam and hair-metal was ruling the other side of pop-culture.  These guys basically took the look of some Progressive Rock bands and took that to an extreme with acts like Twisted Sister and Poison.  Pop-Metal had some more toned down acts too, like Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith, but these acts were still big on theatrics.  So punk and pop-metal were on two sides of a great divide.  During this time, many sub-genres and spawns began to form: New Wave was a strange breed that mixed elements of disco, punk, and experimental electronic, together in a strangely acceptable way.  We get Devo and The Talking Heads from New Wave.  Indie/Alternative Rock started to form here too.  Popular with the college kids, bands like U2 and R.E.M. started making some headway onto the popular music scene.  Hip-hop also became popular in the 1980s drawing on looping techniques developed in the Progressive Rock era and the 4/4 dance-ready beats of disco.  Hip-hop filled a huge vacuum of Black listeners, as it was generally a Black art form.  Chuck D and Cypress Hill gained some success here and the tail end of the Eighties began what is known as the Golden-Age of Hip hop.