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This Video > You

June 16, 2010

This video is full of win.

LimeWire loses lawsuit

June 16, 2010
“Causing a shift in the downloading habits of millions.”

The Recording Industry Association of America won a huge lawsuit against LimeWire this week.  LimeWire, a file sharing service accounted for 58% of people who said they illegally download music last year.  Something that I think is personally outstanding  is that this software has been downloaded 340,000 times.  And they could get some big money.  In an article on cnet news, LimeWire could face a $150,000 suit for each infringed piece of work.  Read what people are saying about this lawsuit here.

I also found it interesting that this news station didn’t say illegal music downloading is hurting the music industry, but said to basically ‘be more smart about it.’  Despite that fact, this video shows how easy it is for LimeWire users to access each other’s files.

Watch this!

March 30, 2010

Best music video I’ve seen in 2010.

Oh, what a decade…

March 1, 2010

The music industry is constantly changing and keeping up with the demand of artists, listeners, record labels, etc. This decade faced a lot of changes with the decline in CD sales and increase in digital downloads and music piracy.

The RIAA released it’s facts and findings for the decade.  And while some of these made me laugh, they also made me smile (mostly because I remember a time in my life when I thought most of this music was good.)

The highest certified album of the decade was a tye between NSYNC’s “No String Attached” and OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” for the group category; Usher’s “Confessions” and Shania Twain’s “Up” for the artist category.

The male artist with highest certified album sales, digital downloads, ringtones and music video certifications was Michael Jackson with 49.  Female winner was Beyonce with 64.

Just album certifications alone was George Strait with 29 and Britney Spears with 23.  Group that won this was Nickelback with 25.

Other highlights of the year –

January 3, 2000 LeAnn Rimes’ self-titled 1999 Curb album becomes the decade’s first Platinum album.

May 10, 2001 *NSYNC’s 2000 Jive album No Strings Attached is certified the first decade’s Diamond album of the decade.

July 29, 2003 The decade’s top certified artist – Beyonce – receives her very first Gold album award for Dangerously in Love (Columbia, 2003).  The album is currently 4x multi-Platinum.

September 23, 2004 The decade’s highest certified album by a female solo artist – Shania Twain’s Up! –  reaches 11x multi-Platinum.

October 22, 2004 Digital Single award introduced.  45 titles were included in the initial group of certifications, encompassing tracks from each major recording company and representing nearly every genre in music.

October 7, 2005 Interscope artist Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” becomes first digital single to sell one million units.

January 7, 2005 Warner band Linkin Park earns a Diamond award for Hybrid Theory (2000).

February 15, 2005 Norah Jones’ debut Blue Note album Come Away with Me turns Diamond three years after its release.

April 15, 2005 The Beatles earn their 5th Diamond award for 1 (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol, 2000).

November 1, 2006 Capitol Nashville country artist Garth Brooks takes Double Live (2008) 21x multi-Platinum.  Garth Brooks is currently the best-selling solo artist in history having certified more than 128 million units to date.

June 2006 Master Ringtone award introduced.  The Black Eyed Peas, Chamillionaire, D4L, T-Pain earn the RIAA’s first multi-Platinum ringtone certifications.

January 10, 2007 Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” goes double-Platinum to become the RIAA’s first multi-Platinum digital download.

July 27, 2007 The best selling ringtone by a female solo artist, Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” certifies 3x multi-Platinum.
2008 RIAA celebrates 50th Anniversary of Gold Record.

November 7, 2008 The decade’s highest certified album by a male solo artist – Usher’s Confessions – reaches 10x multi-Platinum.

May 8, 2009 Flo Rida’s “Low” goes 5x multi-Platinum; is the highest certified digital download in history.

August 21, 2009 Michael Jackson’s legendary album Thriller climbs to 29x multi-Platinum to tie the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) as the highest certified album in RIAA Gold & Platinum history.

October 12, 2009 The decade’s top recipient of digital download certifications – Taylor Swift – takes her best selling song “Love Story” 4x multi-Platinum.

December 15, 2009 Lil Wayne’s ringtone “Lollipop” becomes the highest certified ringtone ever at 5x multi-Platinum.

Jack’s Mannequin shines in Kansas City

February 22, 2010

Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Jack's Mannequin, played for a packed crowd on Feb. 19 at the Beaumont Club. Photo by Sara Humm.

Sometimes battles bring us strength, make us smile, and restore hope in what we love.

At the same time, those same battles also bring weaknesses.  Weaknesses we can’t sometimes help, or even describe.

As for Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Jack’s Mannequin, his battle was rough—it was leukemia.

But it’s a battle he won.  He’s still here, still making music, still pounding those piano keys with his true passion.  It’s been almost five years.

And I was nervous for him as I was waiting with a packed crowd in line at the Beaumont Club on Friday.

It had been raining all day, and I felt like it really was the perfect weather for this show.  I had the opportunity to catch Jack’s Mannequin’s set at Warped Tour 2008, and in the middle of the song “Dark Blue,” it started raining.

“And today was a day just like any other,” Andrew sung as got comfortable on his piano.   He then looked up and smiled.

I couldn’t help but smile back, because it’s fitting that almost two years later, it really was just like that day in July 2008.  It’s a balance, almost.  It helped settle my nerves.

As the set continued, he too, continued his story. I could feel it and I couldn’t help but be taken aback by it.  His voice, his charm.  (And I can’t forget that piano; it just makes my heart flutter.)

At the same time, I can’t really explain why I felt so nervous.  Maybe because these songs are about his struggles, some of which are hard for me to listen to.

“Holiday From Real,” was my favorite of the night, which I’ve been waiting to hear live since their first CD was released in 2005.  I was not disappointed.

The crowd also made this show enjoyable— I could tell these people felt the same way I did as they were singing back lyrics and jumping all over each other.

Listening to these songs live also made me realize that this is Andrew’s story, almost a vocal documentation of what he’s been though.

As I was thinking this, he said he was ‘glad that this tour was almost over and he could start making ‘real music.’  He also then explained that it’s not like he’s not making real music now, but that he’ll have ‘something else to write about.

For this hour-long set, I was bonded (literally) to these other fans.  I can’t say I know what will come next for Jack’s Mannequin, and for now, I can’t guess.

Friday night, though, I was glad I was a part of his story.  And it’s obvious I’ll be singing along with the next chapter, too.

Finding the ‘bigger picture’

February 9, 2010

Lyrics you can relate to, songs you feel that were written for you.  It’s something about music that makes people believe in something more.  In something bigger.

Non-for-profit organizations in the music industry are becoming even more common.  And with things like music tours, it’s the perfect way to promote what ‘to stand for.’  It’s also one of the reasons I love going to Warped Tour.  When the lineup sucks, there are always the familiar tents and easygoing people that will share their stories with you.

And it’s not necessarily just music organizations that want to get their words across, but companies that are associated with the way music and ‘the need to help’ go together.  It’s the way music can make you feel when times are rough, and the way you can relate to messages.

My favorite organization is To Write Love On Her Arms.  And it’s definitely a small organization that has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years.  I think this is great, because the organization helps those struggling with suicide, depression, self-injury, etc.  This organization uses music and music artists to promote what their ‘message’ is (rescue is possible.)  Through concert tours and artists like Hayley Williams of Paramore and Jon Foreman of Switchfoot backing the company, the message is definitely being spoken clearly.

The purpose of this video/the story for Rolling Stone is that ‘everyone has a story and every story matters.’  Here, you see this photo shoot for Rolling Stone not only become something great, but you also see it as an outlet for those who know someone who has struggled or have struggled themselves.  All of these people, gathering for a cause to show they’re aware.  I think it’s truly an amazing thing. (Fast forward to about 1:30 if you’re looking for actual words/story of the video.)

Other important sites: (music related/go on music tours to promote their causes)
Music Saves Lives

Music For Relief

Invisible Children

Keep A Breast

VH1’s Save The Music

Organizations involved with Warped Tour.

(Of course there are many more, and many others that aren’t music related.)

I just think it’s important to realize that not only can music be something to dance, sing, relate to or play–but that it can also be used as a support system.  It can be something bigger than just ‘lyrics and noise.’

Coco still has my heart

January 25, 2010

The battle between Conan and Jay has been brewing for some time.

I grew up watching Conan and Jay.

Besides Friends and Seinfeld, late night on NBC was really the only time I watched ‘grown ups’ on TV when I was younger.

And while I can quote almost every episode of Friends, I also find myself remembering skits Conan did on his show.   At times, I also find myself pulling on those invisible strings on my legs pretending to be a puppet like he so often did.

It’s not that I didn’t like Jay Leno, it’s that I didn’t remember much about him.  You see, I always remember things about people, or at least I like to, and all I can remember when I was younger is that he was ‘the guy before Conan.’

I’ve been told this is a ‘generation’ thing.  That people my mom’s age prefer Jay, while people my age prefer Conan.  I don’t necessarily think that’s right, but I often thought (and still do think) that sometimes Jay’s comedic style is dated.

When Coco took over at the host of The Tonight Show, I was relieved.  At the same time, I also thought that Jay didn’t need to be on my TV from 9-10pm.  I believe there’s a time when a person needs to let go of what they’re good at and move on.

I believe Jay has reached his time, however, NBC has not.  And because of that, many people have to say goodbye to Conan way before his ‘time.’  But that’s not to say he won’t be back—and with a vengeance.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have exactly one hour to steal every single item in this studio,” Conan said right after the cheers wouldn’t stop during his last show.

Besides Conan being on my TV from 10:35-11:35pm, there’s also nothing better than humor in awkward situations.  For a week, all I heard on MSNBC and CNN was the battle between these two late night bros.  But there’s also nothing better than being mature in awkward situations, too. (No matter how much you may want to laugh and point.)

Once you put all the ‘he said, he said’ drama behind, Conan put on a great last show.  So great, that hardly any clips can be put online (NBC is taking them down.)   I assume this is because they end up looking like the bad guy (which they should.)

And what a cast on the last show; Will Ferrell, Neil Young and Tom Hanks just to name a few.  And while the guests were good, it wasn’t going to dismiss the fact that Conan will no longer be taking up an hour of my life at least a couple times a week.

I hope Coco takes that $45 million and helps Jay buy fans when his ratings end up not being as good.  If I was into wasting electricity, I’d turn all the TV’s on in my dorm to David Letterman (on mute, of course.)

I felt tears surfacing at the closing of the show when Will, ZZ Top, Beck, Ben Harper and Conan closed the show with the song ‘Free Bird.’  At the same time, I also smiled, because I remember all the funny things from when I was a kid.

“Can we watch the red haired guy?  Why is his hair always the same?  Why does he dance like that?”

And now, I have the answer.  Because he’s Conan O’Brien, duh.

Watch this!

January 12, 2010

Best thing I’ve seen in a while.

Motion City Soundtrack and Ultimate Fakebook in Chicago

January 4, 2010

A little over 3 weeks ago, I experienced one of the greatest shows ever (well, three for that matter.)  So great that its left me speechless..well, until now.  How does one sum up three days of awesome?  And how does one sum up three days of awesome 3 weeks later? (The pressure is ON.)

But let me give  a little background first.  In mid October, Motion City Soundtrack posted on their web site that they would be doing three nights of shows at Lincoln Hall in Chicago in December.  Each night, they would perform one of their CD’s from start to finish–in order of release.  75 three day passes and 175 individual passes for each night were sold.  After a little convincing from my roommate (it’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s that I didn’t know the plans..) we decided to just buy the tickets and figure it out later.

And two months after that..we began the journey..

‘I Am The Movie’

Motion City Soundtrack gave fans the opportunity to hear their three CD releases in entirety in Chicago, IL this Dec. Justin Pierre, lead singer, shows just how far the band has come. Photo by Sara Humm.

Night 1 – December 18th, 2009
It started with a 10 hour drive to the windy city.  Fast forward a couple of hours of hotel check-ins and rude Chicago drivers and Motion City Soundtrack rocked off the faces of  said 250 kids at Lincoln Hall (performing their first release ‘I Am The Movie’ in it’s entirety.)  As soon as I heard the sirens for the first track ‘Cambridge,’ I knew this was going to be quite the night.  And so did everyone else as the pushing began and mouths opened to yell back the lyrics to lead singer Justin Pierre.

Let’s rewind.  Why would I drive 10 hours to see this band?  Because in high school, this is who I was.  Listening to these songs in my car, driving to school each morning–it was pure extacy for me.  And while I’ve grown up and become a different person, I can still listen to these songs and be taken back to a place and time when they meant something to me (and they still do.)

Back to night one.  I thought about this while singing these lyrics with other dedicated fans (from far away, too.)  These CD’s and MCS mean something to them too, or else they wouldn’t be doing exactly what I was doing.  As soon as I thought this, I was snapped back into reality as a guy in full on winter gear and a hat with a Christmas tree on it about pushed me over. (Thanks for that, by the way..)  After the tracks ‘Shiver’, ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’ and ‘Indoor Living’ I was about ready to pass out from all the jumping, sweating and pushing that I knew to expect from hardcore MCS fans.  But of course I wasn’t down for the count and was ready for the next track (My Favorite Accident) which especially hits a cord with me (and is awesome to hear live.)  Besides this song, ‘Red Dress’ was definitely a highlight of the night.  “You say you’ll burn this city down, with stars and stripes (stars and stripes)” is proudly shouted (or really badly sung) back at Pierre as he smiles and continues on to finish reminding us of the red dress.

3 more tracks and the CD was finished about 45 minutes after it started.  But oh, don’t forget that epic encore.  Showing fans what they’d see the next night (or what they might be missing out on, for that matter) Motion City Soundtrack took fans on a fast paced track of their discography.  PLUS two new songs from their new CD ‘My Dinosaur Life’ (to be released Jan. 19).

‘Commit This To Memory’

Jesse Johnson rocks out on the moog during night 2 in Chicago at Lincoln Hall. A moog is a synthesizer used to experiment with different sounds. Photo by Sara Humm.

Night 2-December 19th, 2009
I was particularly excited for this night.  And with a stomach full of Chicago pizza and Jamba Juice–I was more than ready for night numero dos.  It’s important for me to mention that ‘Commit This To Memory’ was the specific disc that played a distinct role in my high school career.  It also got me through a particularly rough break-up and several road trips.  And it was something about hearing this disc in it’s entirety that took me back to those times.

The song ‘Attractive Today,’  a personal MCS favorite, is definitely an epic way to start a show.  However, being pushed up against the stage and having my hand and left leg fall asleep during this night was not a good thing. (Yes, yes..that is what I get for standing directly in front of the stage.)  With my hand bracing myself from basically falling on the stage, I was once again reminded of hat boy as he came up behind me and was being his obnoxious self.  (Oh hat boy, was your head cold or do you just have a lot of holiday spirit?)

There’s only one word to describe this night: EPIC.  The fans, the fact I couldn’t feel my left leg, and the 3 guitar pics + setlist I scored made me ‘commit this to memory.’  (Yes….I really did just do/say that.)  Personal favorites of the night were ‘Feel Like Rain,’ ‘Let’s Get Fucked Up And Die,’ and the last track ‘Hold Me Down.’  And of course, this one had an even more epic encore.

This night, the band looked a lot more relaxed and the fans were just as rowdy.  There is so much more I wish I could say about this night but I just don’t have the words.  Definitely my favorite of the three.

‘Even If It Kills Me’

Justin Pierre sings 'The Conversation' live for the first time Dec. 20 at Lincoln Hall. Photo by Sara Humm.

Night 3-December 20th, 2009
I was most nervous for this night.  And I wasn’t nervous for me or for the crowd; I was nervous for the band.  ‘Even If It Kills Me’ hits a little more ‘personally’ with me.  While some of these songs do distinctly remind me of other people, a couple of them always leave me a little sad after listening to them.  One of them being the slow ballad ‘The Conversation.’

With most of the tracks on this disc being about break-ups and broken hearts, I felt like it was was truly ‘an experience’ to hear them live.  You know those song are about people, about places, and about times in life when things weren’t that great.  Some of these songs have never been performed live before (along with some of the tracks the previous nights) so I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for Justin to sing them.

But he did them justice.  Standing there, awkward stance, I listened to the song ‘The Conversation.’  It was quiet in the venue–everyone was doing the same thing.  As Justin stood there, eyes closed, fidgeting with his hands–you could tell this was hard for him.  While I was nervous for this night, I shouldn’t have been.  As a band progresses, they change.  And knowing that a band can perform their entire disography live after what Motion City Soundtrack have been through is truly astonishing.  Hearing and reading specifically about what Pierre has gone though is enough alone to know that while these hard times did exist–that the band is still together and wants to show their fans just how far they’ve come.

More about…

Ultimate Fakebook from Manhattan Kan. have close ties to Motion City Soundtrack. Bill McShane rocks out on top of the rock box with fog and lights during night 1 in Chicago. Photo by Sara Humm.

Ultimate Fakebook
Opening for Motion City Soundtrack, this group is from The Little Apple (Manhattan.)  With ties to home, I was very proud when they said ‘we’re from Kansas’ and I cheered along.

Something that ties MCS and Ultimate Fakebook together is Ed Rose, producer.  On night one, when Justin proudly introduced this band–he said it was UFB who encouraged recording their first record with Rose if they wanted to do a ‘real record.’  ‘I Am The Movie’ was born and the basement shows started.  Ultimate Fakebook also took Motion City Soundtrack out on their first tour when the band was just beginning.

Together(ish) since 1996, Ultimate Fakebook have been rocking off the faces of kids-for many years-opening for The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, Hot Rod Circuit (etc.).  While each of them have moved on to different projects over time (like this and this) they’ve come back together to open for Motion City Soundtrack and confirmed they they are getting back together. (At least for those three nights.  Are they getting back together for real..?  I feel like this is a trick.)

All three nights were awesome as the band was full of energy and smoke..for that matter.  A fog machine and ‘rock box’ are definitely two things I’ve never seen at a show. (The rock box is an awesome box of lights.  Once a person stands on top of this box, two things happen.  1) People cheer. 2) That person is officially awesome.)

Another thing you can’t forget about Ultimate Fakebook is drummer Eric Melin.  That man definitely knows how to rock.  The second night, I heard someone compare him to ‘Animal’ from Sesame Street.  And while it was the funniest thing I heard all night, it’s kind of true (in a good way..I mean..that animal can drum.)  After they finished their set the second night, we found Bill McShane (lead singer) to tell him we were from Kansas.  He seemed shocked as he said ‘you drove THAT long just to come to this show?’  Yes..yes, we did.  After having a conversation with him about how you never forget songs once you learn them and telling them they’re awesome I decided it was a good idea for some fresh air.

Night three, the rock box was out again and people were singing along to a couple of the songs.  But something my roommate nor I expected was to get the last song dedicated to us.  With one song left (Little Apple Girl) Bill said “this is for the girls I met from Kansas last night.”  After cheering and being completely surprised, he then said “why don’t you two get up on the rock box?”  (My first thought was..’are you crazy?’) After the crowd cheering ‘do it, do it, do it’ for several seconds, I got up on stage with my roommate.  He then extended the invite to ‘anyone who wanted to rock out on this box, this is your last chance’ and we were soon joined by 3 other girls.  And while I felt completely stupid while I was up there, it was something I’ll never have the chance to do again.  I’ll probably never get on stage again during a concert, and it’s for damn sure I’ll never rock on on a rock box (fog included).  These guys are some of the nicest guys I’ve met and I wish I could thank them for the great time on stage.  (I know I couldn’t do what they’re doing every night..but I guess that’s why they’re in a band and I’m not. (Talk about stagefright!))
I know my words didn’t do these guys enough take a listen.

When this entire ‘experience’ was over, I had all sorts of bruises and felt like I lost 5 pounds from all the jumping/sweating.  At the same time–as I’m writing this and watching the videos–I’d go back to it in a second.  It was one of the highlights of my year.  And my perfect last show(s) of 2009.

A Christmas Mix

December 8, 2009

Here are some song suggestions for this time of season.  Links are included to my top 5.

1.) The Lights and Buzz – Jack’s Mannequin
2.) Christmas Tree – Lady GaGa
3.) I Won’t Be Home For Christmas – Blink-182
4.) Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) – Death Cab For Cutie
5.) Merry Christmas – Brighten
5.) All I Want For Christmas Is You – Dave Melillo
6.) Happy X-Mas (War Is Over) – The Fray
7.) A Great Big Sled – The Killers
8.) Christmas Celebration – Weezer
9.) Forget December – Something Corporate
10.) A Long December – Bayside
11.) Winter Wonderland – Phantom Planet
12.) Miniature Christmas Tree – Daphne Loves Derby
13.) Winter Parade (I Miss You This Christmas) – Liam and Me
14.) Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World
15.) Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound) and Thomas Dutton (Forgive Durden)
16.) Do You Hear What I Hear – Copeland
17.)  Come Winter – Daphne Loves Derby
18.) Ex-Miss – New Found Glory
19.) Holly Jolly Christmas – The Format
20.) Together We’ll Ring In The New Year – Motion City Soundtrack

Enjoy your holidays! :]