MTV’s Digital Show To Be Named The OMAs

Get Ready For The OMAs

Get Ready For The OMAs

MTV has just announced the name for his upcoming digital music awards show.

The show will be called The O___Music Awards (OMAs), and it will begin airing on April 28.

As you already know, this show is focusing on digital music and social media. The exact categories and nominees are yet to be announced by MTV. Continue reading

Vote For Your Favorite American Idol Using Facebook

From Next Thursday On, You Will Be Able To Vote For Your Favorite American Idol Using Facebook

You Will Now Be Able To Vote For Your Favorite American Idol Using Facebook

American Idol is about to unveil a dedicated Facebook page letting fans vote for their favorite contestants.

The idea is that they will be allowed to cast their ballots up to 50 times during the designated voting period for each broadcast.

This comes across as a really appealing alternative to the clogged lines and busy signals that most of us have experienced when trying to vote for “our” idol. Not to say that anything which keeps these relentless SMS marketers at bay is nothing short of heaven-sent.

If all goes well, online voting will be implemented for the very next installment of American Idol (March 1).

Eminem Becomes The Latest Artist With A Billion Video Views On YouTube

Eminem (The Most Popular Living Person On Facebook, With Over 29 Million Page Likes) Has Finally Reached 1 Billion Views On YouTube

Eminem (The Most Popular Living Person On Facebook, With Over 29 Million Page Likes) Has Finally Amassed 1 Billion Views On YouTube

Some thought that Michael Jackson was going to become the next artist with one billion video views on YouTube, and join Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in that most exclusive of clubs.

Well, things have turned out quite differently. Somebody got there first.

This week, Eminem crossed that threshold.

And that is surprising only if you haven’t really been paying attention.

Eminem: 1) Has 29 million fans on Facebook, 2) Has 3 million followers on Twitter, and 3) Topped the Billboard’s Social 50 chart along with Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Besides, Eminem was the prevalent face in the recent Super Bowl commercials. Continue reading

Badly Drawn Boy’s “Promises” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind” (Videos)

Badly Drawn Boy

Badly Drawn Boy

Poor Badly Drawn Boy. I gave him some stick when reviewing Erika Chuwoki’s debut EP, “La Corporación”. Rather, the latest album that he had released (“Born In The UK”) got the stick. I really adore the guy.

And I just feel I have to say that “Born In The UK” has some really good songs. “Promises” is one. “The Times Of Times” is another. And so is “Degrees Of Separation”.

Plus, there are a couple of songs like “Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind” whose videos turn them into something largely more appealing.

See it for yourself. I have embedded both the videos for “Promises” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind” below. I’m sure you’ll more than enjoy them.

Weren’t it for dreck like “Welcome To The Overground” and the title track, “Born In The UK” would have been a more than decent album. Sigh.

La Corporación (Erika Chuwoki) – Uruguayan Independent Artist

OK, I know I’m giving myself away big time here and tarnishing what little reputability I had to begin with, but… can you guess which album I have heavily rotated every day at my office for the past two months or so? Badly Drawn Boy’s turgid “Born In The UK”.

Don’t get me wrong – I admire the guy so much that if there were a Badly Drawn Boy plush toy it would be right there in my pillow every night. And if it came with interchangeable wool hats, then I would be the happier for it (jeez… talk about tarnishing one’s reputation! How far will this go?). But that particular CD is one of the biggest misconceptions ever since someone gave Scarlett Johansson the go-ahead for “covering” Tom Waits.

And now that I have brought the wool-hatted composer from the British Isles to mind, what I want you to imagine is what would happen if he went clubbing one night, met Syd Barrett at some mad one, and tripping out of his arse he crashed the night at Lou Reed’s. And recorded an EP before passing out. If you could indeed imagine the whole scenario, then: A) You need immediate assistance, and B) You will know what to expect from the debut EP that has been issued by this new Uruguayan artist going by the ceremonious name of Erika Chuwoki.

Erika Chuwoki

Erika Chuwoki

“La Corporación” [The Corporation] is a five-song EP. Moving within the stylistic parameters insinuated above (which the band aptly terms “pop psicobélico”), the album finely interweaves personal and collective appreciations on life, love and every single thing that goes “bump!” in the night. Yes, my little grasshoppers, that includes sex – the crash of romantic crushes is studied enthusiastically on “Amar El Mal” [To Love Evil], one of the noisiest, more memorable cuts of the whole disc.

Plus, the EP has a song named “Aguante La Puta Que Nos Parió” (an obscenity I can’t translate because merely looking for an English equivalent makes me blush and cry in my tea) – the kind of title that only Harlan Ellison’s psychopath music twin could dare use on an album cover. The phrase, incidentally, is not mentioned on the song once. As if the band were inviting a snicker in the finest rock & roll tradition, and then defying the snickerers by saying, “You morons, you judged something by the cover and not by its actual content”. Placenta, pleasure, placebo indeed… Continue reading

Pablo Faragó (Interview)

(Hagan click aquí para leer esta nota en español)

Pablo Faragó

Pablo Faragó

Born in Argentina, Pablo Faragó was to move to Uruguay in his late teens and form Níquel along with Jorge Nasser. The band made history in the country with its ability to mix styles and always retain a true River Plate sensibility, setting the scene for a younger generation of performers that sounded intrinsically autochthonous.

Níquel split as the 90s came to an end, but Pablo Faragó has continued making music to this day. I had the chance to talk with him about Mantras, his ongoing musical project – a project that is becoming 10 years old in 2011. What better time to ask him about his musical past, present and future?

We all remember you as one of the founding members of Níquel, a legendary band within Uruguayan music because it blazed a trail for a whole generation of younger performers to follow. Although you don’t make rock music any longer, you are still actively involved in the creation of music with your current project, Mantras. What can you tell us about it?

Mantras is a musical adventure that consists of electric guitar improvisations, using loop samplers that make for creating sonorous and rhythmical textures of different form and shape. The repertoire is always generated live, the music is created as I am playing. My music is nurtured by different trends and schools like minimalism, Afro-American rhythms and modern arts.

Which musicians are part of this project?

Mantras is basically a one-man show, but as the years went by I had the pleasure to be joined onstage by percussionist Fernando “Cacho” Rodríguez (who has played with Congo Bongo, Abuela Coca, Jorge Drexler and NTVG) and bassist José Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

What is the equipment that you use to create your Mantras?

Essentially, an electric guitar (which has changed over time – I currently use an Epiphone 335 Dot) and a lap steel. Their sound is processed using a pedal, and I have two machines for generating loops: a Boss RC-20 Loopstation, and a Line 6 DL6. A small console is used for mixing everything and sending the sound (in mono) to my amp, which is either a Valvular Peavey Deuce or a Crate 80 Solid. Continue reading

Pablo Faragó (Entrevista)

(Click here to read this post in English)

Pablo Faragó (el recordadísimo guitarrista de Níquel) ha continuado su aventura musical desde que la mítica banda se disolviera. Su proyecto actual (Mantras) pronto cumplirá 10 años de existencia.  ¿Qué mejor momento para conversar con Pablo sobre su música presente, pasada y futura?

Pablo Faragö

Pablo Faragö

Todos te recordamos siempre como uno de los miembros fundadores de Níquel, banda legendaria dentro del rock uruguayo pues abrió una senda que le permitiría llegar lejos a generaciones de músicos más jóvenes. Si bien ya no te dedicas a hacer rock, sigues estando muy involucrado en la creación de música con tu proyecto Mantras. ¿Podrías contarle a la gente en que consiste?

Mantras es una aventura musical cuya característica fundamental es la improvisación con guitarra eléctrica a través de generadores de ciclos de sonido (loop samplers), con los cuales se crean texturas sonoras y rítmicas de variadas formas e intensidades, el repertorio es siempre generado en el momento, la música se va creando a la vez que voy tocando. Mi música se nutre de diversas corrientes musicales y estéticas como el minimalismo, los ritmos afro-americanos y el arte moderno.

¿Qué músicos te acompañan en esta propuesta?

Mantras es básicamente una performance unipersonal pero con el correr de los años he tenido el gusto de ser acompañado por el percusionista Fernando “Cacho” Rodriguez (Congo Bongo, Abuela Coca, Jorge Drexler, NTVG) y el bajista José Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Pablo Faragó, Cacho Rodríguez & Jose Ignacio Landoni.

Exactamente, ¿qué equipo empleas para crear tus mantras?

Básicamente guitarra eléctrica, que ha variado con los años, actualmente tengo una Epiphone 335 Dot y una lapsteel. Ambas van a una pedalera para procesar el sonido y dos máquinas para generar los “loops” una Boss RC-20 LoopStation y una DL6 de Line6. Todo termina en una pequeña consola donde mezclo y envío un sonido mono a mis amplificadores, que pueden ser un Peavey Deuce (valvular) o un Crate 80 (sólido). Continue reading

Solving The Problems Faced By The Music Industry In The Digital Age

future of musicWhenever I interview anybody, I always ask in which ways the music industry has been benefited and derailed by its encounters with the Internet. A recurrent answer is that the industry has always been inept to react to changes as they came along.

Not many would disagree with that, really. If the industry had moved faster (and more intelligently) when services like Napster began disrupting the way things worked, the damage could have been seriously minimized. It was to take bands like Radiohead to show record companies that music could be distributed online as profitably as by traditional means – “In Rainbows” was instrumental in redefining how a new release could be handled online. And that was well before the social web came along.

All these events and developments were taken into account by Mark Mulligan (a music analyst at Forrester Research) when speaking at the MIDEM music industry conference. He devised a set of guidelines for any company that is releasing a music product in the future. He has named these SPARC – “Social”, “Participative”, “Accessible”, “Relevant” and “Connected”.

Let’s go through them one by one.

SOCIAL: To all intents and purposes, this refers to putting the crowd in the cloud. Services like Spotify lead the way in that respect – by letting users post songs to their Facebook profiles, Spotify makes for creating online buzz like little else.

PARTICIPATIVE: A distinction must be made between younger and older audiences.

Gaming platforms like Nightclub City have let companies engage younger audiences in the context where they spend their livelong days (IE, online). They are allowed to make in-game music purchases, and buy new tracks to enliven the time they spend in their virtual worlds.

And when it comes to older audiences (IE, the kind who still buy CDs) these are not as unapproachable as it might seem… or are they? The answer would have obviously lied in console games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Yet, these have begun being discontinued… Mmmh… a missed chance?    Continue reading

Fans Forever And Ever – Build A Creepy Fanpage For The Band You Love

Name: Fans Forever And Ever

Fans Forever And Ever is a new service that was created on the recent Music Hack Day in New York. What it does is to let you generate a fanpage for any band you could think of. “Big deal”, I hear you say. “I can get myself a blog and do that any old day”.

Well, the thing with Fans Forever And Ever is that it can come up with fanpages resembling those that Geocities let people create back in the day. These look completely out of place today (Yahoo pulled the plug on Geocities last year), and such pages have a truly obsessive feel to them.

They feature archaic designs, and they are generated just by supplying the name of the band in question, and they include lyrics, pictures, poems and the kind of content only those that go through their idols’ garbage would include on a fanpage.

Don’t believe it? Well, just to settle the discussion of how creepy a page created through this service can be, I’ll tell you what happened when I tried it.

I used this service to create three independent Who fanpages.

And in all three cases, the lyric that was automatically highlighted was no other than “Uncle Ernie”.

Believe me, folks… a Who fanpage can’t get any gloomier.

the who fanpage uncle ernie

A Contest Will Let One Unknown Band Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine

A Battle Of The Bands Will Let One Lucky Winner Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine.

A Battle Of The Bands Will Let One Lucky Winner Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine.

My, how things change… in the mid-70s, Dr. Hook had to use every trick on the book to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Today, the magazine itself is launching a contest that will let one lucky band be featured on the cover of its August issue.

This contest is named after one of The Byrds’ most recognizable tunes (“Do You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star”; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers do it on the live Pack Up The Plantation disc), and it will let one of twelve unknown bands be featured on the cover of the magazine when the time comes. What’s every bit as important, the band that gets this accolade will also get a contract from Atlantic Records. Continue reading