Great Mac McCaughan Moments – The Future of Radio

Mac testified before Congress. That in itself sounds super cool and important. Seriously, though, Mac testified on the future of radio, putting forth the importance of non-commercial, independent radio. Here is an excerpt:

I also want to urge this committee to take the necessary steps to ensure that our media landscape does not become even more consolidated. The deregulation that followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act allowed for unprecedented consolidation in commercial radio, which has resulted in a homogeneity that is often out-of-step with artists, entrepreneurs, media professionals and educators — not to mention listeners.

Full transcript can be found here and the audio version is found here.

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Superchunk Fan Fiction

This came out of recently listening to a great episode of Comedy Death-Ray Radio starring Ted Leo, Aimee Mann, Paul F. Tompkins and Jon Wurster.

A funny, off-hand comment mentioned the idea of Superchunk Fan Fiction.  I’m not a big fan of fan fiction, but this could be fun.

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Ted Leo and the Phunnyists

I wasn’t going to post about this, but I have to.  Too many funny things going on with the new video from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

If you read the not-so-brief history of a punk guy post from Ted Leo on Friday in which he prepares the world for his majorly massive career shift you can now enjoy the payoff.  Perhaps Ted should fully shift into alternative comedy along with his video mates Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman, Julie Klausner and Tom Scharpling (director).  Is the new video for Bottled In Cork a glimpse into the future, a biting expose of the music industry or just a fun romp?  We may never know the truth, but what I do know is these guys are sad:

Actually, I still don’t know what to make of Friday’s post.  An almost stream-of-consciousness emotional download about the ups and downs of a punk life, leading to the need change direction.  Perhaps not as severe of a sea change as it suggested, but still a lot of truth to the tale, I’m sure.  It is actually a great read, so read it.

And if this guy calls you, just hang up.

One day I will explain Twtter to my kids and they will stare a me blankly

I will explain it to them in more detail and they will ask Why?

I will try to explain why and they will start to lose interest and wander away and I will snap at them and demand their attention.

Then I will tell them about this day (well, yesterday, actually).  The day I made Twitter history (nobody noticed or cared).  In my own mind.  They day I replied to a tweet by one of my musical idols, @tedleo, with a joke, only to have it snowball into a massive (6 post) trending topic culminating in a tweet by my other musical hero Superchunk (or whatever band member is behind the @superchunkband tweets).

And my children will look at me, shake their heads and walk away.  And I will continue to wonder if I will every turn into the adult that my body seems determined to mimic.

Podcasting History / Best Of

As I kid I remember being flabbergasted at the fact that my father would almost exclusively listen to talk shows when in the car, as opposed to music.  I just couldn’t see the appeal of listening to a bunch of boring people talk about boring things.  I still don’t see the appeal (who would) and I haven’t found anything on the radio that doesn’t adhere to this description..  My car radio has not been on anything except my FM transmitter station since I bought it.  The second car I owned didn’t have a working radio in it for over 3 years.  So lets just say I’m picky about what I listen to.

Now it turns out that there are a lot of entertaining “talkies” out there but as with the music I like it is not to be found within the constraints of mainstream media / radio.  Oh podcasting, what would I do without you?  Here is my Brief History of Podcasting and Nothing Else:

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Best Music of 2010: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

Amid the retirement controversy (c’mon “journalists”, settle down with the rag-mag headlines) I guess it is time for a look at The Brutalist Bricks by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. (hey, is that enough links in one sentence to the same web site?  obviously I know I’m the only person on the Internet who knows how to find information!)

I like punk, but mostly the off-punk kind of punk.  What kind of punk is Ted Leo?

This may be TL/RX’s strongest album since Shake the Sheets.  The punk is strong with this one.  Right from the opening line of The Mighty Sparrow “When the cafe doors exploded I reacted to, I reacted to you” this album hits hard and fast through the intensity of the music and the intensity of the lyrics.

The punkiest of the punk can be found in songs The Stick (“Election time again, I wish that I was dead”), Mourning in America (“You summon ghosts we tried to bury in their white shrouds, With burning cross and bloody crescent in the White House”), Where Was My Brain (“Modern agriculture gave me a thrill, Until I saw the things it brutally killed”) and Everything Gets Interrupted which closes the album with a little wink.

As you can see, the political messages still reign strong in the TL/Rx lyrics.

TL/Rx are at their best, though, when they dial back a little on the punk and let some of their more modern rock influences shine through.  Highlights of The Brutalist Bricks include the aforementioned The Mighty SparrowBottle in Cork with its shifts in tempo (“Tell the bartender I think I’m falling in love”) and Even Heros Have to Die.

For me, the place where TL/Rx tends to fall down is with their punk rock epics.  Living with the Living suffered greatly from this with 4 songs clocking in at 6 minutes or more.  Nothing kills and interesting song or a great hook like dragging it out too long.  The world does not need a Punk Jam Band.  Thankfully this album does not suffer from jamitis, which makes it feel all the more solid and cohesive.

In the words of Tom Scharpling, I don’t like…..I love it!!!