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Music For Bloggers: Vol. 7

Last time I promised to post more Music For Bloggers within a couple of weeks. Almost month later”¦ As always, if your blog doesn”t feature now, it might do so in the future. Does anyone find this feature useful?

Uncle E”s Musical Nightmares
This might look like an act of reciprocity: a little while back, Uncle E. posted a bunch of made-up and amusing “facts” about Steely Dan, in honour of this little blog. While I was genuinely touched by that, I really do enjoy Uncle E.’s lists, notes and the occasional rant. His fireworks about his “little iPod cigarette lighter FM “˜port” thingy” (it’s called an iTrip, I think. At least when the fuckers from Apple make it) a few days ago is quite spectacular; and his alternative CD-R playlist not at all unattractive. Unle E. does not give us music, but he gives us some good ideas ““ and entertains us along the way.
Cat Stevens – 18th Avenue (Kansas City Nightmare).mp3

Jens Lekman ““ smalltalk
I don”t go in much for blogs written by artists. Maybe I”m betraying my utter lack of empirical research now, but my impression is that often they are either banal or written by the act”s PR interns. Armed with that prejudice, I don”t tend to seek out such blogs. Occasionally I”ll stumble upon one by accident; usually when I do research for this blog. That”s how I found Jay Brannan”s blog, and that”s how I found Jens Lekman”s. If it is necessary to introduce to the reader the great Lekman, the dear reader might right-click HERE for an introduction. Jens doesn”t update his blog with compulsive regularity, unfortunately. The last entry was on June 30. Still, so much greater the joy when he does. I like this, from his entry on 19 June: Everytime I play on some satellite radio station I always end up in the same discussion. [Satellite radio station guy] “You know you can say anything you want here right?” “Oh yeah? That”s cool.” “You know, really, anything.” “Sweet.” “I mean, you can say fuck if you want to.” “Ok.” (silence) “…We”d really like you to say fuck as much as possible.” This absolutely wonderful song namechecks Jens Lekman:
Hello Saferide – The Quiz.mp3

Ain”t Superstitious
The blog”s full title in full is “Ain”t Superstitious, but these things I”ve seen”, which by dint of a comma is an even bigger mouthful than Any Major Dude With Half A Heart. Like most music blogs with long names, it”s named after a song lyric, in this case a Faces song. Blogger Paul Madison, a resident of Wisconsin (one US state I know absolutely nothing about) has a nice, crisp style of writing; he knows his stuff and how to convey it. His music selections are invariably of interest “” he scooped me with a post on Lennon/McCartney compositions recorded by other acts. To make sense of my dedication, you”ll have to visit Paul”s blog.
The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods (12″ version).mp3

AM, Then FM
I could have sworn that I featured this blog before, but apparently not, as repeated scans of previous Music for Bloggers entries confirmed. Perhaps I wrote a masterful review and in the haze of a drunken hour miserably deleted it. Like Paul of Ain”t Superstitious, Jeff is from Wisconsin. His blogroll features many sites also included on mine, but not the blog of his fellow Wisconsan (and vice versa). Which means that either they don”t each other (possible, unless Wisconsin has a population of 250; as I said, I know nothing about Wisconsin) or they do know each other but are entertaining a long-running family feud. They”d like each other”s blogs, I”m sure. Jeff deals in mostly vinyl rips, some of them quite rare, and evidently in covers of the Rolling Stone featuring Linda Ronstadt in her loveliest pomp. And some good writing along the way. This reminds me, August 12 is Vinyl Record Day , and AM, Then FM and other friends of this blog will take part. I”m trying to organise a turntable (my Technics has no stylus, and I no money for a new one) and learn to rip vinyl before then, but I”m not hopeful that I”ll succeed.
Steely Dan – FM.mp3

PsD Photoshop Disasters
I discovered this blog only yesterday, when I had a shitload of work to do. Work, which includes the occasional bit of photoshopping, had to be damned for an hour or so while I guffawed at some of the idiotic things that can happen when you let the monkeys loose on clever toys. How likely is it to clone, if you need to clone at all, a solitary hand parked on a fence? How difficult is it to let the lovely model keep her belly button (I like belly buttons. Surely everybody likes belly buttons)? I can”t understand why some images need to be created from scratch in Photoshop instead of in a photo studio, or why a model”s arm needs to be stretched to unnatural lengths. And is there no quality control. Not in glossy magazines, Apple ads or DVD covers. DTP has made print media production much easier, but it has also allowed talentless amateurs on the steering wheel. They go crazy with layers and the cloning tool, they O.D. on fonts, they violate every rule of colour management. I once saw an NGO”s annual report which ran all text in red on black background. The design agency ““ for it was a graphic design company, not he secretary”s 12-year-old son who designed the report ““ won an award for it! The Photoshop Disasters blog is a healthy way to mock incompetence an

d sloppiness in design. The dedicated song is a 2002 track from a now disbanded South African rock group.
Perez – Picture Perfect.mp3

SibLingshot On The Bleachers
This is a fairly new blog, kicking off business just two months ago. In its first month, blogger ib created almost as many posts as I did in all of 2007, and just in July more than I have this year. And we”re not talking about quickly churned out one-liners, but well-written and thoughtful posts written from a position of knowledge. That is impressive. ib”s music selection is very good, too, covering a wide range of genres, from Deodato via Johnny Cash and Jonathan Richman to the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Normally there is just one song per post, which means that quite a bit of thought goes into choosing the most suitable song. Some of the stuff is very rare. Given ib”s eclectic tastes and weird blog title, I”ve been stuck for a dedication. I remember early in his career, ib posted the Dionne Warwick and Frankie Goes To Hollywood version of Do You Know The Way To San José. You can never go wrong with a bit of Burt, so from 1965…
Jackie Trent – Make It Easy On Yourself.mp3

Dr Forrest’s Cheese Factory
This is a treasure trove in a goldmine. It”s a malfunctioning cash machine which cannot stop spewing out loot ““ provided one wants comedy or collects really bad music, or gets a kick out of audio novelties. The blog”s narrative is manic, and so is the rate of posting. My heart leapt when I opened the blog yesterday and saw the Kids From The Brady Bunch album, which is truly terrible and needs to be listened to. Once. Ethel Merman”s famous disco album? It”s there. I”ve seen many albums for download in the Cheese Factory which are staples of the “worst album covers ever” type of lists. You know the type of obscure sleeves which may depict four fat brothers and their one-armed mother in matching brown polyester suits warning the kids of the devil in country style. Chances are good that the Cheese Factory has that album. The Cheese Factory also seems to share my obsession with horrible moustaches. To celebrate everything done in the best possible taste, here”s a song the Cheese Factory does not have:
Kenny Everett – Snot Rap.mp3

N.M.E. & Melody Maker
I don”t know whether there are more sites like it, but this unassumingly named blog provides a wonderful service: scanned articles from the Melody Maker and New Musical Express, circa 1987-96. At times, it might embarrass the hacks featured (I”d hate for someone to dig up some of the rubbish I wrote 15 years ago), but it”s great fun. And what fine writers there were: David Stubbs (whose Mr Agreeables and variations thereof also feature), Simon Price, Andrew Mueller, Everett True… and a few NME types. Funny, I never liked the NME much, but, goodness, it”s so bloody horrible now that I miss the old incarnation. And the Maker is long dead. So, while we mourn the existence of the non-broadsheet, rather too laddish NME, we can revisit the good old days. Hey, is there a blog dedicated to Smash Hits” Black Type? Is he Back! Back!! Back!!! somewhere? Of all the dedications in this post, this track was a no-brainer.
The Cure – Desperate Journalist.mp3

Previously featured:
Music For Bloggers Vol. 1: Totally Fuzzy, Not Rock On, Serenity Now (RIP), Stay At Home Indie Pop, The Late Greats, Tsururadio, 200percent, Jefitoblog (RIP), Television Without Pity, Michael’s World
Music For Bloggers Vol. 2: Fullundie, Mr Agreeable, Greatest Films, Peanut’s Playground, Just Good Tunes, Csíkszereda Musings, Mulberry Panda, The Black Hole, Secret Love, Hot Chicks With Douchebags
Music For Bloggers Vol. 3: Girl On A Train, Maybe We Ain’t That Young Anymore, Earbleedingcountry, Spangly Princess, Ill Folks, Deacon Blues, One-Man Publisher, CD Rated
Music For Bloggers Vol. 4: Pop Dose, Todger Talk, Holy Goof (RIP), Echoes In The Wind, Sunset Over Slawit, The Hits Just Keep Coming, The Ghost of Electricity, Guitariotabs
Music For Bloggers Vol. 5: The Quietus, Barely Awake In Frog Pyamas, The Great Vinyl Meltdown, Fusion 45, Inveresk Street Ingrate, The Songs That People Sing
Music For Bloggers Vol. 6: my hmphs, Visions of Wrong Terrence, Don’t Burn The Day Away, Mine For Life, 3 Minutes 49 Seconds

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  1. Paul
    July 25th, 2008 at 00:17 | #1

    Thanks much for the kudos sir. Sorry to have scooped you with the Lennon/McCartney post. I’ll call it even for you stealing my thunder with the “Pissing off the Taste Police with Lionel Ritchie” post. I was all set to air good stories about “All Night Long” and “Dancing on the Ceiling”… but you did it better. Perhaps we should collaborate soon.

  2. wzjn
    July 25th, 2008 at 01:15 | #2

    Thanks for the tips on a few blogs I hadn’t heard of. Nice to see this feature as I unfortunately haven’t been very long. Kudos!

  3. Uncle E
    July 25th, 2008 at 06:43 | #3

    Thanks muchly for the shout, Dude. Yours is a frequent landing site for me, I really enjoy reading your posts. Great variety.

  4. Any major dude with half a heart
    July 25th, 2008 at 09:57 | #4

    Oh, I’d love to read your riff on Lionel, Paul.wzjn, I really enjoy your blog. I mean, Clarence Carter and Leo Sayer on one page, that is great stuff. Consider yourself linked.

  5. Matt
    July 25th, 2008 at 20:34 | #5

    I think this is a very useful feature, and do hope you continue up on it…I agree, totally, on SibLINGSHOT, too… I’ve been checking his site regularly and it makes me want to blog better. Unfortunately I’m only me. Hee!anyhum…I like your site a lot. I’ve been browsing it quite frequently (since it showed up on my radar), and am always taking away something. Keep up the good works!

  6. ib
    July 31st, 2008 at 10:34 | #6

    Thank you kindly for the shout, AMD. I'm still chortling over your Brian Johnson puncture repair kit analogy (with the emphasis on "anal") from "Albums of the Year: 1980". I'm not long back back in from the great outdoors and catching up on last weeks web postings.On the subject of NME & MM, I still mourn the demise of the music weekly broadsheet – their great decade was the 70s for my money – so I'm grateful for the link supplied. Nick Kent was especially good, as well as the (very) occasional contribution from Lester Bangs like some 19th Century nomad on tour with the India Company and procured for a song and and a promise.Thanks, too, Matt for your equally kind words.

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