Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pandora,com: Review is a site where you give a song or artist name, and according to whatever you wrote, gives you a custom internet radio station with songs that resemble whatever you wrote. The idea is to find other music that you would probably like. The knowledge base is pretty impressive: pretty much any artist you type in, it can find. It's not as good with songs, obviously but it's till pretty impressive.

I started off with typing in "Danzig", even though I don't even like Danzig that much (even though Glen Danzig is a great singer). I just had the song "Mother" stuck in my head. Anyhow. It was pretty bad, I didn't like any of the songs.

Next I typed in "Ozomatli", one of my favorite bands, with good results. I found a band called "The Fallwater Project", which was good.

Then I wrote what is one of the best songs EVAR - "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead. The first recommendation: "Ace of Spades (Live)" by Motorhead. DUH! Followed by: "Bomber" by Motorhead. No shit? After they stopped playing Motorhead, a lot of bad songs.

Last I wrote in "C.R.E.A.M" by Wu-Tang. They really hit it with "Dead Presidents" by Jay-Z, which when you think about it is about as close you can get to CREAM thematically and sonically while not really sounding like it too much and still being good. Then a lot of shit that I just didnt like. Crown Royal-era Run-DMC, some Roc-a-fella tax write-off, some random C-N-N remix, shit like that.

Overall, it's worth going through a lot to find a cool band. It has a lot of criteria to match, and thus you are likely to find music similar to that hich you like. One complaint I do have, though, is that sometimes it seems to miss the larger point of the song: for example, I searched for songs like "Painkiller" by Judas Priest and got all sorts of epic power metal. And though of course, it's sort of close since it's fast, it's vocal centric, and it's techinically demanding: it misses what really MAKES the song good: the over-the-top vocals and lyrics by Rob Halford that , next to frentic drumming and riffing, give the song an extremely chaotic, uncontrollable feel. Dio is good for certain things, but he's not necessarily chaotic.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guitar Hero II - All "regular" songs revealed + analyzed

1. Opening Licks

* Mötley Crüe - "Shout at the Devil": Actually a pretty cool Crue song, for what it's worth. I played it, it's not too difficult, but it's way harder than "I Love Rock n Roll"
* Danzig - "Mother": Danzig's best song probably. It's kinda slow, but it's cool.
* Cheap Trick - "Surrender": Cheap Trick's best song probably. No that it says much.
* Wolfmother - "Woman": Don't know this song.
* Spinal Tap - "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight": YEAH! Putting Spinal Tap on this is a genius move.

2. Amp-Warmers

* KISS - "Strutter": A pretty cool song as far as KISS goes, plus it has some entertaining guitar noodling. I've played it, the chorus, filled with three button chords, took a little adjustment.
* Nirvana - "Heart-Shaped Box": Not that Nirvana leads are incredibly complicated, but it's good to have some variety.
* The Police - "Message in a Bottle": Good on them not to pick the really obvious Police songs.
* Van Halen - "You Really Got Me": Not the ovbious VH choice, but a fine one nonetheless. I've played it, so far it's been my favorite.
* Kansas - "Carry On Wayward Son": A little prog to spice things up. Pretty good song, I guess.

3. String-Snappers

* Foo Fighters - "Monkey Wrench": Don't know this one either.
* Alice in Chains - "Them Bones": Pretty sweet song.
* Iggy Pop and The Stooges - "Search and Destroy": One of the few punk songs on here, though I think that's a good thing. Let's face it, people don't idolize punk guitar playing.
* The Pretenders - "Tattooed Love Boys": Don't know this either.
* Black Sabbath - "War Pigs": Awesome, awesome song - though it will be tough to see if I can be interested for the whole 8 and a half minutes.

4. Thrash and Burn

* Warrant - "Cherry Pie": I don't specifically remember this song, but Warrant kinda sucks
* Butthole Surfers - "Who Was in My Room Last Night?": Ha. Butthole Surfers.
* Matthew Sweet - "Girlfriend": Hm, this is the only one where I don't even know the artist. It sounds familiar (though gay).
* The Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knocking": Whoa, they got the Stones. Not that I really love the Stones, but it's an accomplishment.
* Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child O' Mine": Hopefully whoever sings this doesn't take the Axl Rose impersonation too seroiusly. Cool riff though.

5. Return of the Shred

* Rage Against the Machine - "Killing in the Name": YEAH! Awesome choice. I wonder if they can get a good Zach de la Rocha impersonator though. But the solo is awesome.
* Primus - "John the Fisherman": It will be the original recording of the song. Though it has a pretty cool yet pretty weird guitar playing, this will most likely be about the bass.
* The Sword - "Freya": Another artist I don't even know.
* Thin Lizzy - "Bad Reputation": Thin Lizzy is pretty cool, though you wonder if maybe playing that little melody from The Boys are Back in Town would be cooler.
* Aerosmith - "Last Child": Another well-made, non obvious pick. Not that I really love Aerosmith either, but still.

6. Relentless Riffs

* Heart - "Crazy on You": Some classic rock stuff.
* Stone Temple Pilots - "Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart": Some alt stuff.
* Stray Cats - "Rock This Town": Some I don't know stuff. Wait now I remember, they're that awesome rockabilly group. Yeah!
* The Allman Brothers Band - "Jessica": Oh yeah, the Allman Brothers Band! Talk about a cool group of guitarists.
* Jane's Addiction - "Stop!": Notice the amount of funk-metal in this game as compared to the last.

7. Furious Fretwork

* Anthrax - "Madhouse": Not really a band known for their guitar leads, but it's a good song.
* The Living End - "Carry Me Home": No idea.
* Lamb of God - "Laid to Rest": Modern metal. Not really my thing.
* The Reverend Horton Heat - "Psychobilly Freakout": This song rules though. It's pretty fast.
* Rush - "YYZ": The long instrumental, I'd say it's II's response to I's "Frankenstein". Played it, pretty tough, and not even that particularly fun. Maybe the Geddy Lee bass parts will be cooler.

8. Face-Melters

* Avenged Sevenfold - "Beast and the Harlot": Don't like the band, but I guess for what it's worth it could be fun to play their solos.
* Suicidal Tendencies - "Institutionalized": Good band, and though most people love this song, I don't really. But obviously I'm in the minority there.
* Dick Dale - "Misirlou": You know, the surf song. Awesome choice.
* Megadeth - "Hangar 18": A real ass-kicker. The first installment had a Megadeth song, but it wasn't so awesome since it was probably their easist riff to play. This one is long with a huge amount of complex solos. It will be a challenge.
* Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Free Bird": I don't know. It's a bit of an obvious choice to stick in as the "boss song". I think it should be Hangar 18.

Bonus Tracks

* The Last Vegas - "Raw Dog": They won the Be A Guitar Hero contest, so I'm sure it's shredding and pretty cool.
* Drist - "Arterial Black": Drist is pretty cool and Marcus Henderson tears it up.

Final Comments:
Some overall nice variety and selection. Less punk, more rockabilly and more hair-metal. Moves which, in my mind, play up to the game's strengths. Some obvious things still missing:
- "Crazy Train" by Ozzy or really any sort of Randy Rhoads solos.
- Anything by Metallica or Iron Maiden (I'd love to play "Battery" or "2 Minutes to Midnight")
- AC/DC or Deep Purple. Specifically, I'd like "Highway Star".
- Some Run-D.M.C. maybe?

I guess we can still hope in the bonus songs. If not, well there's always III.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Matisyahu = Woman hater

And though he was always annoying for his rather distinct lack of talent and connection to reggae (he's pretty much singing reggae as learned through Dave Matthews), it helped that he wasn't ALL gimmick: he was a decent enough singer, with a decent enough band, for what it was worth. Of course while he got all the attention for being a jew, many much more talented artists probably died on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica.

So it goes.

But then, I found out the dude's a hardcore woman hater. His religion won't allow for women to touch him, or allow them to sing, or pretty much anything of that sort. Basically, this religion treats women as second-class citizens at best. What else would you call it when you refuse to even shake a teen-age girl's hand who says she really loves you? Or when you think that all women should be silenced and not be allowed to express themselves creatively?

That's sexism, end of fucking story.

OK, it's his religion. But so fucking what. Reminder: this guy didn't live with crazy parents who turned him on to this religion. They were Jews who had no real religious interest in Judaism. Young Matthew, 20, saw this crazy sect of Judaism and the way it treats women like garbage and thought, "hm, well that's the religion for me!"

Secondly, there is no weird "mix", sonically speaking, to his brand of music. He's taking the very spiritually important reggae music and giving it a splash of rock (Eric Clapton did this much more successfully however many years ago) and replacing whatever relgiously important message with his own Dark Ages woman-hating ideals. And this is inventive?

I've heard him say that reggae is somehow based on Judaism or that Bob Marley somehow mentions Torah scripture. Uh, wake up, dumbass. Reggae is all about Rastafarianism, it's hard to seperate one from the other. The mentions of Zion and whatnot do indeed use "Jewish" terminology, but only because it is the basis (to an extent) of Rastafarianism, and if memory serves right, "Zion" isn't in Israel to them, it's in Ethiopia.

Summary: Matisyahu is a gimmicky, rather talentless, whitewashing woman hater.
Michael Franti > Matisyahu