KSCR - Live from Comic Con 2010

One week of the year, San Diego is host to one of the largest gatherings of its kind, Comic-Con International. Comic-Con is host to a myriad of exhibitors and professionals attracting enthusiasts of comic books, film, television, video games, anime and science fiction.

It’s no surprise Disney once again earned the spotlight this year, kicking things off with a press conference for the much anticipated film Tron: Legacy. Scored by mysterious electronic duo, Daft Punk, it will undoubtedly be the highlight of the coming holiday season.

Outside the conference, Tron fans scoured all over downtown San Diego as part of a Tron Legacy scavenger hunt via Twitter. Participants were provided with instructions and coordinates for each "mission," culminating in a rendezvous at the “End of Line Club” at Flynn’s Arcade.

Named after the arcade from the original film, Flynn’s is a unique installation created exclusively for Comic-Con weekend for fans and other members of the Tron world to converge. Inside, one can find a fully functioning video arcade with classics like Galaga and Asteroid, memorabilia from the original film and an incredible “space-station” environment populated with citizens from the Tron world.

KSCR’s own DJ Ahmar aka VFN had a chance to visit Comic-Con 2010 and enter the world of Tron at Flynn’s arcade. (Fun fact for Daft fans: Inside, we spotted Mr. Michel Gondry, director of the memorable video for “Around the World”)

Click Here to view the photos through Flickr. Photos taken the weekend of July 22-25 during Comic-Con 2010 in San Diego, California.

Big thanks to Walt Disney Pictures, Comic-Con International, KCRW and Myspace.

"The View From Nowhere" is a weekly show airing on KSCR Radio in Los Angeles

"THE DEATH OF OINK, THE BIRTH OF DISSENT, AND A BRIEF HISTORY OF RECORD INDUSTRY SUICIDE."

Here is a fantastic blog about the fall of OiNK and its prophecy of music industry revolution It's a bit long, but a worthwhile read. There's a section in particular that I want to post below, for it yields understanding to the incentive and opinions behind many of us here at KSCR. "Unlike newspapers, record companies own the distribution and the product being distributed, so you can't just start your own website where you give out music that they own - and that's what this is all about: distribution. Lots of pro-piracy types argue that music can be free because people will always love music, and they'll pay for concert tickets, and merchandise, and the marketplace will shift and artists will survive. Well, yes, that might be an option for some artists, but that does nothing to help the record labels, because they don't make any money off of merchandise, or concert tickets. Distribution and ownership are what they control, and those are the two things piracy threatens. The few major labels left are parts of giant media conglomerations - owned by huge parent companies for whom artists and albums are just numbers on a piece of paper. It's why record companies shove disposable pop crap down your throat instead of nurturing career artists: because they have CEOs and shareholders to answer to, and those people don't give a shit if a really great band has the potential to get really successful, if given the right support over the next decade. They see that Gwen Stefani's latest musical turd sold millions, because parents of twelve year old girls still buy music for their kids, and the parent company demands more easy-money pop garbage that will be forgotten about next month. The only thing that matters to these corporations is profit - period. Music isn't thought of as an art form, as it was in the earlier days of the industry where labels were started by music-lovers - it's a product, pure and simple." Hopefully, the digital revolution will eventually banish money grubbing executives from recycling music as a disposable flavor-of-the-week. In addition, I suggest anyone who believes "indie snobs" are informed not by personal taste but by a self-righteous, just-for-the-sake-of-it rebellion to the "sheep" of pop culture, to read the above essay and then consider the common defense of mainstream music: "Popular music is popular for a reason. It wouldn't be popular if it wasn't good."

Peanut Butter, Collected Animals, Closed Captioning for the Hearing Impared

Last week marked a significant milestone in the indie music world. In this day and age, as obscure and less-marketed music constantly finds itself thrust into the popular culture spotlight, it becomes less shocking when an Of Montreal ripoff pops up in an Outback Steakhouse commercial, when Mates of State is shown touting AT&T phone service, when Bright Eyes graces the stage of The Tonight Show. Yet, despite these leaks of indiedom into the ‘real’ world, it still seems rather surprising that, of all the bands in the non-mainstream world, for Animal Collective to have been asked to perform on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Who is the brilliant executive who ok’d this decision? (They must be a genius.) Better yet, who’s the brilliant closed-captioner who, while watching the band’s performance of “#1,� decided these words would accurately describe the ethereality of the song to the hard-of-hearing?: Animal Collective performs on 'Late Night' and has a run in with closed captioning Honestly, were they unable to see that Noah Lennox, (AKA: Panda Bear) clearly does not possess any estrogen? Perhaps the captioner lacked his sense of sight, and had to rely upon his sense of hearing to communicate to those with the former and without the latter. All joking aside, though, Animal Collective’s appearance on national television not only makes great strides in the world of independent music, but for the band themselves. Strawberry Jam, the title of New York City-based band Animal Collective’s newest release, seems somewhat of a contradiction, for the sugary-sweet artificiality conjured up by the album’s name clashes horribly against characteristics of the group’s previous releases. Known for its revolutionary delves into uncharted areas of electronic psych-rock, Animal Collective—which consists of members David Portner, Noah Lennox, Josh Dibb, and Brian Weitz operating under the clever monikers of Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist, respectively—push, often, into unsettling, confusing territory; sugar-coated and generic it is not. However, despite the inherent contrasts which arise through the album’s name, Strawberry Jam, upon first listen, seems more of a delightfully fitting name than misguided misnomer. In fact, the album emerges as a collection of songs as accessible and easy to love as, well, strawberry jam. Blending together their traditional high-register harmonies with intensely developed and intricately executed electronic instrumentation, Animal Collective seems to abandon their previous musical style—vaguely ethnic songs strongly influenced by experimental folk structures—on Strawberry Jam. The result emerges as an oddly fantastic one. Unexpectedly, the characters of Animal Collective jump from upbeat trip-pop—seen on track such as “Peacebone� and “Chores�—to mellow, reflective numbers, such as “Fireworks� at the drop of a hat. These constant shifts, however, work together perfectly, with each track building off their predecessor. Performing on Conan may have been a public jumping point for Animal Collective, but Strawberry Jam should be seen as their long-deserved bridge between a discriminating audience and those who appreciate well-crafted music. So, pull out that white bread and peanut butter, and spread a liberal amount of Strawberry Jam onto your next afternoon snack. Watch Animal Collective's national television debut here.

A new, free Radiohead album next week? The world must becoming to an end

I know this may be a little late, but I just couldn't bear to not see anything on the blog about this monumental occasion. Radiohead may have just pulled off the biggest coup in music history. They're about to simultaneously steal the hope Diamond, re-sink the Titanic and end global poverty...forget it, I can't even sum it up in one sentence. How? Well, first off--the band haven't given us an album since 2003's lackluster "Hail to the Thief" (unless you count Thom Yorke's boring solo album "The Eraser"--I, of course, don't)...and they told us that we wouldn't be getting one until at least 2008...letting us all down for a 4th straight year. That announcement was particularly depressing when the band had a blog about their recording sessions and after Jonny Greenwood (the world's greatest guitar player) told Pitchforkmedia that the band was "done recording". Damn you, damn you to hell...right? Wrong. What does it mean? Well, an $81 package that includes 2 vinyl lp, 2 cds and a hardcover book and/or a digital download on October 10th. Yes, September 10th--seven days from now. The band announced the album, "In Rainbows" on September 30th and are releasing it on October 10. That may be the fastest turnaround for any major-label band ever. Hold up, though--Radiohead are no longer a major label band--the band doesn't even have a record label anymore. "Hail to the Thief" fulfilled their obligation to Capitol/Parlophone--and you can be damn sure that no money-making label would want to be anywhere near Radiohead at this second. Why? No, it's not because of the music (I've only heard a few of the songs--"Nude" has been a fan favorite since forever and is the song that almost caused the band to break up on the 1997 documentary "Meeting People is Easy"...and "Reckoner" was a terrible song played live on the "Amnesiac" tour)--it's because they, in theory, are giving the album away for free. Yes, for free. You decide how much you want to pay for the record on the band's official site--and you are promised the download of the album on October 10. As much as it pains me to admit this, I decided to pay $0.00 for the album (I will probably buy the $81 pack in December, because they won't even begin shipping until December). I had to wait in an online queue (oh you charming British lads), but I was given a receipt and told I could download the album on October 10th. O rly? srsly? Really. We all know that Radiohead are probably the most influential modern band (finding a band with a singer that doesn't sound like Thom Yorke these days is the exception, not the rule) and that this album, in all honesty, is going to bring the rock...and the glitch...and the noise....and the ethereal...and the downright awesome. And, best of all, we can all have it for free (legally). You'd think there was a catch, but, no, not this time. It'd be one thing if Muse gave away their album free (*barfs*)...but Radiohead? Not to be cheesy/punny, but the boys must be paying off the Karma Police or something (*crickets*). Anyway, here's the tracklist for the RH nerds out there ("Bodysnatchers" sees Jonny bringing the Telecaster funk from the live bootlegs I've heard...and it seems that they've relegated a good deal of the songs that they were playing on their last European tour onto the exclusive, $81 disc...so at least we know we're getting a load of fresh songs for free): Disc 1 1. "15 Step" 2. "Bodysnatchers" 3. "Nude" 4. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" 5. "All I Need" 6. "Faust ARP" 7. "Reckoner" 8. "House of Cards" 9. "Jigsaw Falling into Place" 10. "Videotape" Disc 2 1. "MK1" 2. "Down Is the New Up" 3. "Go Slowly" 4. "MK2" 5. "Last Flowers" 6. "Up on the Ladder" 7. "Bangers and Mash" 8. "4 Minute Warning" Wasn't it Thom who sang "No alarms and no surprises, please?" Gah. Alright, really. You know to call it a day when you're expressing your emotions with Radiohead song quotes.

Amazon launches new MP3 download service

Cheap and quick - it's how all of us expect to get our music delivered nowadays. Internet megasite Amazon.com has released their new service, AmazonMP3 to meet our expectations. Rivaling other services like iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster, AmazonMP3 aims to provide a plethora of music downloads for relatively low prices. With currently over 2 million songs, there is surely something to please everyone. What's the difference between this and iTunes? Not everybody has an iPod, and therefore not everybody uses iTunes. The great thing about AmazonMP3 is that it provides DRM-free files that can be played in any media player and on any media device. Also, like other services, AmazonMP3 provides all the necessities - 30 second samples for each song, embedded album art, and high quality sounds. The best part, however, is the difference in price. Here is a chart comparing it to iTunes and Napster:
Service Song price Album price File format
iTunes $0.99 $9.99 AAC
Napster $0.99 $9.95 WMA
AmazonMP3 $0.89-$0.99 $6.99-$9.99 MP3
What's the catch? There isn't really a catch per se, but the service does require you to download the Amazon MP3 Downloader software onto your computer. Fortunately, this is a quick and painless process. You simply choose your artist and song, pay for it using your Amazon account, and the download automatically begins in the MP3 Downloader. High download speeds will get you your music before you know it. Amazon MP3 Downloader Happy downloading! Link: AmazonMP3.com
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