Archive for December, 2008

Remix Metermaids

metermaids

The Metermaids, made of up emcees Swell and Sentence, have embraced the small space that exists at the intersection of underground hip hop and indie rock. The irresistable energy of their live shows during the last two years of touring has generated quite a bit of buzz that continues to grow with the release of their album, “Nightlife”, on which many of the songs seem to have been mixed with a live performance vibe in mind.

Instead of just releasing an album, however, the Metermaids have taken it one step further. They created “Nightlife in Illinoise”, a mashup of “Nightlife” and Sufjan Stevens‘ critically acclaimed concept album “Illinoise”. You can download it for free here. Antimusic deems it “a lush album that highlights the strange folky eccentricities of Stevens and the earnest lyrics and creative production of the Metermaids” and Prefix Magazine says “the result is slightly disorienting, but a totally new way to listen to both albums”. I say remixing and mashup culture is blowing up and these guys are an inspiration to all the DIY musicians and genre-bending artists out there.

You can make your own remix of their title song, “Nightlife” on the Remix Wizard found on their MySpace page. Not only is this an awesome way to experience their music on a new level, but you can also win stuff. The winner gets a free copy of Reason 4 by Propellerhead Software, the track offered as a free download on iTunes, and a featured spot on the Metermaids’ MySpace. Pretty sweet.

Watch the video below to get to know Swell and Sentence a little better.

Now go get your remix on! And while you’re at it, check out the other artists using the Remix Wizard here.

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Christmas Music

I’m incredibly fed up. No, it’s not Bush’s pardons that are irking me… as long as he doesn’t hand one over to Scooter Libby I’m ok. I’m pretty sick of seeing red and green everywhere, but it’s Christmas time, so what can you expect, you just have to deal with it. No, what I’m sick of today is Christmas music. I’m not sure what it is (cough*money*) but every artist out there feels it’s not only their right but their absolute duty to remix the holiday classics in order to put out a Christmas album with a 93,000th rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

I’m not sure when we decided that the classic “Jingle Bells” wasn’t enough, nor for that matter when artists figured out the cash cow that is Christmas music. Every year, a different pop artist attempts to cash in on the act. Over the years, I’ve seen the travesty of Christmas albums put out by country artists and vocal crooners. I’m confused as to just how many versions of the same 11 songs these artists think is logically necessary.

Do I sound “bah humbug” here? Don’t get me wrong… I’m all for mixing and matching, and certainly in favor of a remix industry that allows artists of various genres to expand the musical universe, but there’s a difference between the creative re-working of music and the canned grab for money that the industry orchestrates in the Christmas music album rush every December.

The problem is that none of it is actually very good. I could go into a studio, put down a faux drum beat and carol for the microphone and it would probably come out in the general vicinity of skill displayed by other Christmas albums. Often the background music is just cheesy tones and chimes to provide the melody while an uninspired, already multi-millionaire artist sings the same lyrics sung by 100s of other artists because, hell, when you can clear a couple thousand dollars just by re-singing Christmas, you’d have to be stupid not to, right?

I think the worst would have to be Paul McCartney. As a former Beatle, the man has more money than several third world countries combined. There is absolutely no reason for him to be putting out a Christmas album, and yet he did. And since he did, I’ve contemplated suicide every Christmas morning when my Mom faithfully puts on his album with the song “Wonderful Christmas Time.” Now, McCartney’s transgression is worst than most… other artists settle for a CD of Christmas covers. You can’t really screw up a Christmas cover unless you try. But being the creative force that he believes himself to be, McCartney instead writes a new Christmas song that is so hideously bad that it sounds like a 4th grader in England could have written it. It not only tarnishes McCartney, but it tarnishes Christmas.

Steven Colbert jumped on the bandwagon this year, although, his foray into the Christmas album world is with a grain of salt as I believe he’s donating the proceeds, and the only real reason he did it was to create an album that could knock Kanye West’s 808 and Heartbreaks from the top spot on the charts. It worked. So on a humorous note, I don’t have a problem with this kind of album… it’s just the albums that are canned re-workings of holiday songs that I have a problem with.

But I wouldn’t rant like this if I wasn’t going to offer you a solution. The other night while watching Conan O’Brien, a longtime favorite group of mine was the musical act. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones came on at the end of the show to do a song off of their new album, a Christmas affair titled Jingle All the Way, and the track smoked. While other artists want to give you the same 4:30 version you’ve heard before, only with their voice and slightly different backings, the Flecktones bring their signature free-wheelin’ jazz style to create beautiful new takes on worn-out classics. As Gavroche stated last night after watching the segment, “It’s like acid jazz Christmas music.”

Fleck’s mastery of the banjo, Jeff Coffin’s breathless and frenetic horn playing, Vic Wooten’s blistering bass work and Futureman’s percussion work that always strays outside the boundaries make this Christmas album unlike any you’ve heard before. The instruments breathe the words into these instrumentals, and the songs never fear to bring out the creative musical flair that the group brings to all of its endeavors. Furthermore, the track selection and depth of musicianship here help eliminate any idea that the group did the album for the Christmas cash… artistically, they have always only done what they’ve wanted to do, so the organic composition of this album and its release speaks to their current desire to make Christmas music. And with all of the garbage Christmas covers floating around out there, who can blame them?

So if you’re tired of hearing the same songs every December, but the family insists on Christmas music, give Jingle All the Way a shot… it’s the musical brandy for your usually dull egg nog stereo.

A Holiday Present For You

Tired of the same old holiday music? Have a party to throw and don’t really want to have to put on that tired holiday compilation again? How bout you impress your family and friends this year with some holiday remixes! Below are some free downloads for you that will knock the stockings off your fireplace. Thanks to Solcofn for hooking everyone up with 4 albums of remixed holiday music. Enjoy and happy holidays from MixMatchMusic!

chicBuds Contest at Festival Crashers

Recently we wrote about the chicBuds holiday giveaway. Keep the comments coming – you’ve got till Christmas day to make us laugh! In the event that you like upping your chances of winning, you can also try your luck over at Festival Crashers. Their Catchiest Song of 2008 contest goes until New Years Eve. Check out their chicBuds video below, featuring 3 of the songs from list of finalists (“Nine in the Afternoon” by Panic at the Disco, “Id Engager” by Of Montreal, and “Everyone Nose” by N.E.R.D.)

chicBuds Holiday Giveaway

Hate pulling your earphones out of your purse or pocket and finding a tangled mess? Sick of long cords hanging all over you and bouncing around while you exercise? For women who value functionality and also want a little bling on their accessories, chicBuds has the answer. These retractable earphones come in several colors and are covered with Swarovski crystals. You can adjust the cord to five different lengths and there is a clip to secure them to the inside of your purse.

chicbuds

Evolving Music has partnered with chicBuds to host a holiday giveaway. These earphones are made by women and for women, but guys if you win the contest, there are surely some women in your life who would appreciate the gift!

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment with a link to the funniest music video you can find. Don’t forget to enter your email (in the email field or the body of the comment) so we can contact you. Make sure your entry is a video that contains music. For example, it could be an official music video for a real band, a parody of a real music video, a remix of several music videos, or a homemade music video. We will choose two winners based on who makes us laugh the most. Winners will receive six pairs of chicBuds to give to family and friends. For those who don’t win, you can also find the earphones at Dillard’s and Fred Meyer. The contest begins today, December 19th and will end next Wednesday, December 25th. To read the official contest rules, go to https://evolvingmusic.wordpress.com/about/chicbuds-contest-rules.

Odes to Rain

It’s been raining and freezing here in San Francisco, and that got me thinking about the emotional effects weather can have on people. Some feel refreshed and invigorated after running in the rain, some curl up by the fireplace and read a book, some whine about bad drivers and wet socks…

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Weather – and rain specifically – has surely inspired more than a few artists to write music. Let’s get nostalgic and take a look at some odes to rain from years gone by.

Gene Kelly – “Singin’ in the Rain”

Beatles – “Rain”

Dinah Washington – “September in the Rain”

CCR – “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

Led Zeppelin¬† – “The Rain Song”

Milli Vanilli – “Blame it on the Rain”

Madonna – “Rain”

Missy Elliot – “The Rain”

Blind Melon = “No Rain”

And of course, one of YouTube’s own celebrities…

Tay Zonday – “Chocolate Rain”

Got any others? Leave a comment.

Remix MC Lars

mc_lars

Andrew Robert Nielsen (aka MC Lars), is the self-proclaimed originator of “post-punk laptop rap”. Post-pu-what? Not something most people are familiar with… But that’s the way it goes when you’re a pioneer in your space. Wikipedia describes his unique style as follows: “With a punk rock band set to back him up, MC Lars plays a hip-hop set to a true punk rock background (a joining which he refers to as “post-punk laptop rap”). His bandmates play live over the samples and loops contained in his recorded music – all stored on his laptop computer.” Some would say his music also falls under the larger umbrella genre of “nerdcore“.

MC Lars epitomizes what we’re talking about when we shower praise on all the DIY musicians out there, determined to stay true to their art and not succumb to the temptations of going mainstream for the sake of appealing to the masses – and using the wonders of the internet to do so. MC Lars can be found on the web at:

Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Blog

He considers himself a part of the iGeneration, “a group born and raised in the time of the Ninja Turtles, cassette tapes and new wave music, who now live in the age of Gossip Girls, iPhones and screamo bands” (read more of his bio here).

Besides being a talented musician, MC Lars also does comics and podcasts. Oh, and he owns his own record label. Because, you know, he “sees little need for the traditional label trappings and would rather storm his own trail through the Internet”. Atta boy.

In storming that trail, he has boldly embraced the growing trend of engaging fans by letting them interact with his music and the culture created around it. Be part of that culture now, by remixing some of his stems. Download the stems and remix in your own software or use the online MixMaker to piece together your song, then upload back to the Wizard for others to listen to, vote on and share. (Check out more artists to remix here).


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