Month In Review – July 2010

The coverage of the Uruguayan independent artist Soundays turned to be one of the best posts ever since the blog started. And I also finally wrote about RostbiF, one of the bands I actually collaborate with. Don’t forget to read the interview, too.

The one artist I added this month was Patti Smith, a key figure in the development of punk music. And like the genre or not, she has some albums that should never be overlooked. Read the general introduction and my review of her debut “Horses” and see if you agree or not with the points I make.

For its part, the startups that were reviewed during this month included SoundzAbound, Mixest and Lystener – the first is an innovative tool for educators, whereas the other two can be used to discover new indie bands and lyrics respectively.  And I also covered a startup named Venossi on the week of its launch – it takes the news feed we all are familiarized with thanks to Facebook, and applies it to the recommendation and discovery of new music. And Kilian Valkhof from Lystener and Barry Starlin from Soundzabound also sat for an interview.

Finally, I was as happy as punch the day I walked into the Uruguayan National Library to discover that some charitable soul had placed “Once” on prominent display. Like a proud father, I tool a zillion pictures. And like any proud father, I got unbearable and wrote a post with the best pictures for you to take a lot at them. I haven’t been flamed yet, so I guess I didn’t get that unbearable…

Horses (Patti Smith) – Album Review

A Classic Of Classics, The Photograph Gracing The Cover Of Horses Was Taken By Robert Mapplethorpe At Greenwich Village.

A Classic Of Classics, The Photograph Gracing The Cover Of "Horses" Was Taken By Robert Mapplethorpe At Greenwich Village.

Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.

What an unrepentant way to start an album and to announce a whole career. Patti Smith’s debut came in 1975, and it was the first piece of vinyl whose surges bristled with the unsurpassed fire that was growing within the walls of the mythic CBGB, and which would gloriously run rife before a year had elapsed.

Patti (who was slightly older than members of most other acts associated with the famed venue) was certainly one of its most articulate participants, in no small part owing to her early explorations of different branches of visual and performance arts. She brought some of the most literate considerations to a scene that was also nurtured by the contributions of artists like Tom Verlaine (with whom she was briefly involved, and who actually added a typical all-or-nothing solo to the song “Break It Up”) and the Talking Heads (a band that I have never been that keen on – and I couldn’t love XTC more. Go figure.) And her actual romantic interest at the time “Horses” was released was photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she had met at Pratt Institute (Brooklyn) and who would make a vital contribution to the album: its actual cover shot.

This androgynous photograph has deservedly gone down in the history of music as an absolute visual achievement. It captured the willingness of punks to transcend the blandness of conventional categorizations as much as the music included on the actual record, which Smith herself defined as “Three chord rock merged with the power of the word”.

You can’t call “Horses” a punk record, mind you. You can (and should) term it a record that set the scene for the arrival of a more vibrant and violent force of expression than what was available before.

In many places, “Horses” is an album that asserts the role of women in rock, what with male characters who are sodomized as in the first segment of “Land” and songs about female characters that defy conventionalisms such as “Kimberly” (a song which Patti wrote to deal with the lingering feelings of the baby she had to give for adoption when she was much younger).

You can’t call really call a record with songs like “Gloria” or “Birdland” a punk album.  “Gloria” references the Them song by the same name, and it was a clear nod to fellow CBGB pioneers Blondie. And “Birdland” is a piece of jazz that might even mar the flow of the disc, but which was actually an important piece for Patti if only because it acted as a symbolization of her mother. Continue reading

Venossi – Making The Discovery Of New Music Something Natural & Logical

VenossiName: Venossi

Venossi is a new site that has taken one of the best features offered by Facebook, and a feature that Facebook actually took from Twitter, so it is alright – a thief who robs a thief gets a hundred years of reprieve. I am speaking about the fabled news feed, something that has become an integral part of the way that we interact trough Facebook. Before the news feed was available, learning who had befriended who, or what your friends were talking about necessitated you checking their individual profiles. But now, we are all able to learn about that the moment we log in.

Well, take that concept and apply it to the music that others are listening. That is what Venossi is all about. It will enable you to see what songs your friends are playing, and also to read music-related conversations that they have been involved in as part of a feed that is constantly updated. Continue reading

Barry Starlin (Soundzabound) – Interview (Part 2)

Read on for the final part of the interview with Barry Starlin from SoundzAbout.
Here you will learn all there is to know about his background in music. Of course, you can learn more about the company itself in the first part of the interview.



When did you become interested in music? What was the first album or single you ever purchased?

I am the last of five music kids so I was born into it.  My earliest memories of being alive were of me and my family gathered around the piano playing and singing songs.  My older brother and three sisters were teenagers in the 70’s.  They were a part of the whole scene.  Even better is the fact that they exposed me to everything from country to rock to pop, and growing up in Georgia – home of James Brown, Otis Redding, Allman Brothers and so many legends was also an influence in such a multi-cultural environment.  But, it was when I was six years old and saw Johnny Cash on television that I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  When I was ten, my brother and my oldest sisters husband hooked me up with guitars and I was hooked.

Are you in a band yourself, or have you been in a band in the past? Is there a clip on YouTube or elsewhere we could watch?

Yes I am.  Currently I’m performing, writing and producing with a lot of different bands, artists and vocalists.  You can check out some of them at  I’m also currently recording a catalog of songs I have written.  Some will be published through ASCAP with the intention of major artists recording them and some will wind up on my upcoming solo release.  I’m all over YouTube, but one of my favorite things recently posted was a live show in Shanghai in 2006.  I’m the one playing the white Les Paul.  Viewers should watch the video till the end so they can see the size of crowds we played to in Asia!  (

Musical likes and dislikes? Favorite artists?

I like artists who are original, creative, and innovative and are an inspiration in some way to their audience.
Dislikes – Bands and artists who are unoriginal and whose music makes no difference.

Favorite Artists:  Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, The Who, Aretha Franklin, Sade, Prince, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, KISS, The Smithereens and believe it or not – Lady Gaga.  (Yes, eclectic I know) Continue reading

Barry Starlin (Soundzabound) – Interview (Part 1)

SoundzAbound is one of the most interesting startups that I have reviewed so far. And I have had the privilege of catching up with its president and co-founder, Barry Starlin. Now you can read the whole story.
This is Part 1; it deals with the genesis of the startup and its repercussion so far. Part 2 is about Barry and his musical past, present and future. Make sure to check it here.

Barry Starlin Britt from SoundzAbound

Barry Starlin Britt from SoundzAbound

Full Name: Barry Starlin Britt
Position:  President and Co-founder



Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?

Back in 1996 a district educator in the Atlanta area was working in the media department and getting many requests for royalty free music that could be used in PowerPoint and news shows primarily.  Most of the audio was too expensive and mostly “elevator music” in those days.  He contacted me about producing some demos.  Once the demos were done and I could see the results of use, I was on board.

The most distinctive features were the technological needs, the need for copyright compliance in the school systems and mostly, our intellectual property was unmatched having been a marriage between district educators and music industry professionals that soon join us.

What was the original launch date?

Our first Volume was released in August 1998 and Soundzabound was officially incorporated just shortly after that same month.  We did not decide to take the company full time until 2005.

What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?

The response has been amazing.  I never knew what a necessity our product would be.  In the early days I personally thought it would be nothing more than a novelty, but technology and compliance really drove the need.

Being a U.S. based company with strategic focus on the district, regional and state levels of K-12 education, the United States has been our most successful country, but the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, China and India are of course quickly emerging. Continue reading

Patti Smith – General Introduction

Patti Smith (AKA "The Godmother of Punk") Performing Live

Patti Smith (AKA "The Godmother of Punk") Performing Live

Patti Smith must be one of the clearest examples of evergreen artistry in the history of rock and roll, and I dare say in the whole of the 20th Century. After actively chasing what she termed herself a “career of evil” and releasing some albums that exemplified how music could be noise as organized or disorganized as one wanted and still be music, she settled down into a life of domesticity. And when she surfaced as a performer again, it was no longer as the rampant provocateur of yore. It was as a softer performer with excellent interpretative timing, able to take songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and sing them from a maturity that only emphasized how being tamed by others and resolving to tempter yourself down are entirely different things.

Patti Smith was born on December 30, 1946 in Chicago. She would find a creative outlet in music after having tried mostly everything else: poetry, playwriting, acting, painting…

Her first successes as a musician came well before “Horses” (her epochal debut, released in 1975). Before that, she worked as a lyricist for Blue Oyster Cult, and those collaborations were to result in the sole gold and platinum records of her career. More importantly, they gave her the resolution to carry her own tunes in public. The Patti Smith Group was then born, and this ensemble would become the first punk band associated with the mythical CBGB club to issue an album (well ahead of The Ramones). “Horses” came out in 1975 (preceded by the excellent non-album single “Hey Joe/Piss Factory”), and it fused the sensibilities of French poets like Baudelaire with some of the very first punk mannerisms ever put to tape. The merits of the album are appreciated even better when we realize that her writing style had already reached this maturity by 1972, the year in which she released “Seventh Heaven”, an accomplished collection of poems that blended symbolism and American beat aesthetics in a defiantly convincing way.

“Radio Ethiopia” was the PSG’s sophomore effort, and it was a mostly dissipated album that made the band reconsider what they were doing and come up with the triumphant “Easter” in 1978. Featuring the Bruce Springsteen-penned hit “Because The Night” and the ferocious “Rock & Roll Nigger”, it was to be their most ordered and cohesive collection of songs. Of course, an incident in which Smith fell offstage and fractured her neck vertebrae when touring the preceding album was also a life-changing experience. For a time, it wasn’t clear if she was ever going to even get up and walk again. Continue reading

YouTube Now Features A Recommendation Engine For Music Videos

As many of you probably noticed, YouTube’s music page has been overhauled, and a key feature has been added: a recommendation engine for music videos based both on your settings, preferences and these clips that your friends are sharing.

In practice, this turns YouTube into a tool for discovery that makes me think a lot of the days in which MTV actually played music.

Such a move was long due in the face of competing services such as The Hype Machine and Pandora, and it was somehow announced just a couple of weeks ago with the release of LeanBack (a service for discovering videos based on what your friends are watching). Continue reading

“Once” On Display At The Uruguayan National Library

Well, this is quite surprising and also immensely fulfilling. “Once” has been put on display at the Uruguayan National Library, and prominently put on display at that. I have no words to thank the person who put it there. I am deeply indebted.

These are some of the pictures that I took. I specially love the ones in which you can read the inventory code that has been added to the book now.

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (1)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (2)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (3)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (4)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (5)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (6)

Once Emilio Perez Miguel (7) Continue reading

SoundzAbound – A Royalty-free Library Of Music For Educational Purposes


Name: SoundzAbound

Education is the true cornerstone of any society, but that doesn’t mean that educators have all the advantages they should have for doing their jobs as thoroughly as they need to. There are many parts of the world in which the remuneration they receive is out of proportion with the task they have to undertake. They can’t really afford to create materials for their students that go beyond a certain point of refinement.

SoundzAbound is a resource that solves that problem to some extent. It’s a library of music, audio themes and sound samples that can be used at no cost – provided the uses these are put to are always educational ones.

In this way, educators can create powerpoint presentations, podcasts and audio guides in a more confident (and certainly richer) way. Continue reading

Justin Bieber’s “Baby” Becomes The Most Viewed Music Video On YouTube

"Baby", The First Single From Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" Has Become The Most Viewed Online Music Video Of All Time

"Baby", The First Single From Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" Has Become The Most Viewed Music Video Ever On The Internet

Just when you thought that nobody could displace Lady Gaga from her high throne and top the successes of the internet artist par excellence, along comes Justin Bieber and grabs the distinction of having the most watched online music video ever. I guess the app for keeping Bieber out of the Internet wasn’t that effective after all.

The song that has achieved that marvelous feat is no other than “Baby” (where Justin is accompanied by rapper Ludacris). Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” now lags slightly behind. I have embedded the video below. Proceed at your own discretion.