People are always asking my advice about audio equipment. A great way to get started is to pump up your headphone system. iPods and laptops have crappy little op-amps in them that can’t drive good phones accurately or to truly satisfying levels. I recommend the Grado SR-60s for rock in the under-$100 range, or if you have broader taste in music, the Sennheiser HD-600s (which list for $499 but can be found online for as little as $179) which are much comfier to boot. Both these phones are large and open; closed and noise-cancelling headphones are good for planes but little else, and personally, I can’t stand putting things inside my ears.
Then there’s the whole amp game. Without getting into huge amounts of detail, you need a LOT more power to drive Sennheisers than Grados, and a lot more power again to drive electrostatic headphones such as the AKG K-1000s or the legendary Japanese Stax line. However, even a little solid-state amp like Grado’s RA-1 ($349) will improve your Grado headphones to an extraordinary degreee. And it’s made of a solid block of wood – who can argue with that?
Myself, I prefer tubes, and have recently invested in the handbuilt custom amps from Singlepower, based in Colorado… incredibly nice guy, but beware of the prices. I got a fully tricked out Singlepower MPX3 Slam and it is blowing my mind. (And probably eardrums, but that’s another story.)
Well, we’re actually kidding about the invasion part, and maybe “genteel” doesn’t really describe what’s going on there these days (what with all that wacky “modern art”), but formal attire is not required for the upcoming awesome event at the Film Society of Lincoln Center:
If you haven’t had a chance to see Mission of Burma on their current, amp-smokin’-hot tour across the East Coast/Midwest, and you live in New York City, check this out:
Series: Play It Loud: RockDocs [Aug 2 – 10 2006]
Director: David Kleiler, Jr. & Jeff Iwanicki, Country: USA, Release: 2006, Runtime: 73
In 1979 a group of young, smart artist/musicians formed a post-punk band The New Yorker would later dub “the most criminally undersung band of the 80s.” Mission of Burma — Roger Miller, Clint Conley, and Peter Prescott mainly — could have been considered ahead of their time, and this film proves that, although they were only together until 1983, their reach was wide: inspiring REM, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, as well as Moby, Nirvana, Blur, Yo La Tengo and Spoon, among others. Influential but not famous, a critical but not a commercial success, this sometimes-quartet (including the mysterious Martin Swope and later Bob Weston as “tape manipulator”) gets its kudos 20 years later when they reunite and play venues they would have never seen decades earlier. Why wouldn’t they reunite, cites one observer, “they all still have good hair.” Filmmakers Kleiler and Iwanicki give us the lowdown and treat us to an unforgettable onstage jam at Irving Plaza, featuring a who’s who line up of Miller, Conley, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, Moby, Richard Baluyut of Versus, Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, and Hugo Burnham of Gang of Four drumming alongside Prescott — a testimony indeed to the “best band you’ve never heard of.”
Not a Photograph is playing as part of the Film Society’s “Play It Loud: RockDocs06″ fest, which has many other films that are worth checking out, as well (I for one will be getting teary watching Roky Erickson tear it up). Screening dates and times for Not a Photograph are:
Saturday, August 5 at 6 PM
Thursday, Aug 10 at 9 PM
You can buy tickets by following that link up top. You might also notice that same picture of Burma on the front page of the Film Society’s site, as well. Not bad for “the best band you’ve never heard of” – though I think such a description might better describe the Endtables or somebody else a little more obscure.
When 250 News Corp. executives gather this weekend for a management retreat at a posh California seaside resort, they’ll skip the typical team-building exercises that such confabs are known for. Why role-play when you can pick the brains of actual world leaders and rock stars?
Speakers at the Pebble Beach event will include such political powers as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former President Clinton and Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton will opine on remaking complex organizations, former Vice President Al Gore will riff on climate change, and U2’s Bono will deliver a keynote address titled “The Power of One.”
The singer is likely to focus on his poverty- and AIDS-related crusade, called One. But Bono could just as easily be referring to his host, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp.
A five-page agenda obtained by The Times reveals what management experts and company insiders say is a testament to Murdoch’s unusual global vision and a product of his ownership of newspapers in Australia, New York and Britain, broadcast properties and cable channels such as Fox News and satellite TV services that reach every corner of the world.
“Murdoch has created a global media market by successfully operating in very different regulatory and political environments,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The retreat’s lineup of speakers, she said, “may tell you how he has learned about the broad base of business environments he operates in.”
News Corp. declined to discuss details of the program. According to the agenda, Murdoch will make some opening remarks Sunday evening before turning over the podium to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in turn will introduce Blair.
Rob Moore, president of worldwide marketing, distribution and home entertainment for Paramount, said he would have hired the firm regardless of who had directed the movie, because of its strong elements of Christian faith and its depiction of men sacrificing themselves for one another: “the definition of patriotism,” he said.
That’s not actually a definition of patriotism, but perhaps Moore meant to say “unselfishness”. In any event, Thursday’s Los Angeles Times outlined Paramount’s plans to promote the group to a slightly different demographic.
“Every generation has a defining moment,” says the voice-over of a 30-second TV spot aimed at the under-25 crowd that began airing this week. The melodic “Fix You” by rock group Coldplay plays as the screen goes black and three words appear in stark white letters: “This Was Ours.”
Though that must be one heck of a commercial, it sounds suspiciously like an idea I proposed to Paramount’s marketing department several years ago when we were making plans for the “Brain Candy” soundtrack. Of course, Coldplay didn’t exist at that point, but that’s part of what made the concept so daring for that day and age.
The 18-year-old French woman was hospitalized with scaly skin on her legs and hands, appearing unsteady and mentally sluggish, doctors said.
They found the condition puzzling, especially since the woman’s twin sister displayed similar, but less severe, symptoms and there was no family history of the problem, the doctors reported in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Several days later, doctors discovered the cause: a bag of mothballs stashed in her hospital room.
The teenagers had been using the mothballs to get high, inhaling air from the bag for about 10 minutes a day because classmates had recommended it. The sicker of the young women also had been chewing half a mothball a day for two months.
The doctors described the high as “dangerous” and most likely under-reported in medical literature.
The teenager told the doctors that she continued to use the mothballs during her hospitalization “because she thought her symptoms were not related to her habit,” said Lionel Feuillet at the Hospital of Timone in Marseille, France.
Mothballs, used to prevent moth larva from getting into clothing, contain paradichlorobenzene, a substance also found in air fresheners and insect repellents that can cause liver and kidney failure, and severe anemia.
I’m afraid that it looks very much as though after Zaragosa there will be no free webcasting of any more Who shows, or even segments of the shows, Live or streamed on demand. I may be able to post some segments of the shows in Rachel’s In The Attic series, but only if we can work out some way to pay Roger for exhibiting (or should I say exploiting) his magnificent image and vocals.
Seriously, he seems to be unconvinced that the web has any real contribution to make to our career, and I am not going to spend any more time or money mortgaging my half of the stage – though I may webcast some Who shows and not show Roger at all. Only kidding. For now we have a famous Who stalemate.
If you believe Roger is wrong – and if 2.5 million minutes of Who clips viewed by fans on the web won’t convince him, we’ll need a lot of emails – please write and tell him at email@example.com
The new issue of Arthur is pluggity plug plugged once already in the latest edition of the Matador news update. And at the risk of being an outta control shill for these people (a condition I’ll no doubt snap out of if they ever do another Polyphonic Spree cover – wtf!), for the second time in 24 hours, I encourage you to grab their latest edition. If the exhaustive cover story on Brightblack Morning Light wasn’t enticement, enough, Jay Babcock’s interview with Godsmack vocalist/head doofus Sully Erna is an all-time classic.
I’ll not give much more away (especially since it’s been online for two months, sheesh) but suffice to say Babcock finds something or other questionable about Godsmack allowing their ferociously awful music to be used in military recruitment campaigns. Though there’s nothing surprising about these lunkheads taking money to lead their hapless fans off to slaughter (or conversely, getting paid while their fans are doing the killing), Babcock tries to give Erna the opportunity to explain himself. I just wish they had the whole thing on video.
File This One Under No Fuckin’ Way. The hard to swallow (sorry) part isn’t that Lance Bass says he’s gay. Rather, it’s that anyone would be allowed to make their way through polite society with a RADIO SHACK LOGO on their collar.
AC: All the usual – String Cheese Incident, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, New Potato Caboose. I can’t really tell you all the groups I like because have an iPod so have a lot of songs my friends send me and I never really know who I’m listening to. But I try to keep up with what the young people are listening to these days (I love saying that). There’s Jet, Cake, Outkast, 50 Cent, Black-Eyed Peas, Lord Alge, Beck, Kanye West (I like his Jesus song), Missy Elliot, and Eagles of Death Metal. I’m five years behind, aren’t I? I’m very busy!
“We’ve all got to be surprised at how possible it is to play loud, challenging music later in life, to still have this urge to explore, disrupt and upend things,” Conley enthuses. “I just saw some old YouTube video of the Stones on Ed Sullivan where Mick Jagger is just looking into the television camera — it’s so menacing, so sexy and powerful. And you look at him now— it’s just this cock-of-the-walk grotesque caricature of a rock star. When you see people lose their bearings, it’s a terrible tragedy. – Mission Of Burma’s Clint Conley, as quoted in Eye Weekly, in advance of tonight’s Burma gig at the Horseshoe Tavern.
According to New York Magazine (our personal style bible), this blog thing is really taking off. As you know, the management of Matador Records cannot resist any scheme that might either a) make us money or b) result in our selling half of the company again, so voila, it’s THE MATABLOG.