Ever since my (10-year-old) brother Brendan played the first song his band ever recorded on The Sound of Young America, people have been asking me about his band, Total Annihilation. Brendan (aka Eddy Demon) sings lead vocals and plays guitar. An awesome guy called Pete (Pietro D'Amato), who recently turned 13, plays drums, and our family friend Damon (D. Harmoniak), who's a grown-up, plays bass. They play punk rock music, with lyrics influenced by General Awesomeness and Metal.
Total Annihilation is on MySpace, and their first CD is available in stores... or more accurately, a store. If you visit Aquarius Records in San Francisco, you can buy their debut EP, which features original songs like "Rock & Roll on a Friday," which features the awesome lyric printed above. You can hear it on the MySpace. If you don't live in San Francisco, call Aquarius at 415.647.2272 and order it over the phone... they totally do mail order. Each CD comes in an amazing hand-colored package with a special art card for each song. My dad think it costs $10, but he can't remember.
They're also looking for gigs in the Bay Area, in venues that allow kids to perform. Warning: they play very, very, very loud.
If you live in LA, prepare for a confluence of comedy forces of such awesome power that even having heard many of them on our show before will not protect you.
Tickets are only $5, so make your reservations now, or cry yourself to sleep Tuesday night, and dream of what you missed.
For those who don't live in LA, Live the Magic through these amazing links to past Sound of Young America programs:
The highlights were "Morris Brown" (paying tribute to the college who's marching band is featured on the song), containing an inescapable "My heart is like a marching band..." hook by Purple Ribbon R&B wunderkind Scar, and a woozy, "Whole World"-style banger mixing live drums and loops with juke-joint instrumentation. Both were being considered as lead-off singles to the soundtrack...but then Andre decided he wanted to rap again, and it's back to the lab. ANDRE 3000 IS RAPPING AGAIN. STAY TUNED.
On the right, you can see a list of podcasts that I listen to. I also listen to a lot of KQED-FM and KPOO-FM here in San Francisco. KQED is the local giant NPR affiliate, KPOO is a community station that plays music... mostly "urban" music. I got my first MP3 player a couple months ago, a Rio Carbon, and I really enjoy it. I've been downloading MP3s since the pre-Napster days.
What podcasts do you listen to? Why do you like them? How did you find them?
My e-friend Steve Eley hosts a podcast called "Escape Pod," which features readings of science fiction stories. Steve's a real leader in the podcasting community, and he does a great job with the show, which is, last I checked, significantly more popular than The Sound.
I offered to read a story for him, and he provided me with a real doozy. "Craphound" is a story by Boing-Boing blogger (and renowned SF writer) Cory Doctorow about an alien with a flea market fetish, and his fraught relationship with a junk dealer. It touches on themes of authenticity, nostalgia, and cross-cultural communication. It's also very funny. I had a great time reading it.
Yesterday, we reported that Tim of Tim & Eric had been stabbed... today, he posted the full story on his blog.
...but when I call his name, he responds with a very violent, guttural growl; RHAAAAHGH!!!!!!! which immediately tells my brain to tell my body to run back down the stairs, quickly. I look behind me at the bottom of the stairs to see him coming fast behind me holding an 8-inch butcher's knife...
The moral of this story is: DO NOT USE PCP.
because I think he's a brilliant, brilliant comedian.
But in the meantime watch the greatest sketch in SNL history.
There's a great piece in Salon about Wonder Showzen, the brilliant and bizarre puppets-and-children show on MTV2. Season two will apparently feature the "Beat Kids" child reporters encouraging people at ground zero to share their 9/11 memories... while wearing Groucho masks.
More on Wonder Showzen: When Good Shows Happen to Bad People
XXL magazine, the occaisionally good hip-hop rag, has been blogging of late, and they let go a doozy today, an exclusive interview with Rakim. It's pretty interesting, with more on the way. Rakim is one of the only 80s rappers whose style still sounds fresh, though it no longer sounds revolutionary, perhaps because almost every rapper since the early 90s has copped it. This week's show featured two of his classic tracks, "I Ain't No Joke" (an early classic) and "Casualties of War," a classic from the early 90s.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paris was best known as "The Black Panther of Hip-Hop," a college-educated West Coast version of Public Enemy's Chuck D. He kickstarted some serious controversy when he tried to release an album called "Bush Killa," with a picture of him hiding in the bushes (get it?) of the White House lawn with a big f'ing gun.
In the mid-90s, he retired from the rap game and became (what else?) a capitalist. He made some bank as a stockbroker and real estate investor, then returned to hip-hop with "Sonic Jihad" a couple years ago. That album was really spectacular, with Paris' G-Funk meets Bomb Squad production, heavy on hooks, melody, and big big bass, and his booming voice doing the Chuck D thing with some thought-provoking revolutionary lyrics.
Now personally, I don't think that the President should be killed, or that he planned 9/11 (both of which are among the more... uh... exciting ideas he presents on that album), but I do think that a lot of what Paris was bringing to light in that record was vitally important. And while the inflammatory cover (which featured a jet headed for the White House) may have obscured the music, the music was exceptionally good.
Paris has been working with Public Enemy, Kam, and dead prez on a new record for the label he runs, Guerrilla Funk, called Hard Truth Soldiers. An interesting review below.
Here's a question: to what extent do you feel The Sound of Young America should host artists with strong political messages? I'm not really interested in banning politically-active artists from the show or anything, I'm just worried particularly when they're talking about explicitly political projects. I've generally avoided this in the past, partly because I worry about the inherent bias of my cultural situation and personal political views. I'd love to hear thoughts.