the listenerd

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Tag: bands

On duplication, recommendation and Cool Bands Made Uncool

Last week, an amusing, music-related meme popped up on Twitter. The nugget of the idea – “Cool Bands Made Uncool” – was to take a band name and add something to it to give it nerd flair. Fleetwood Mac becomes Fleetwood PC (many times over); Megadeth becomes Megabeth. You get the picture; it’s easy to get – and that’s sort of the point.

Below is a sampling of some of the Cool Bands Made Uncool that appeared on Favrd (plus a couple more):
The Whom
50 Centrum
Sigur Ray
REO Stationwagon
Nine Inch Toenails
Ham Radiohead
Bacterial Culture Club

Although the meme seemed to have peaked sometime on Tuesday, new ideas continue to roll in. (I, for the record, made one very brief foray into the genre.)

The two things I find interesting about this and other mini-memes centers around the scalability of ideas and the potential to use this platform to figure out what one might want to think about next.

Viral ideas that are Gutenbait – tumblrs that seem almost as if they’re optimized to garner book deals – usually aren’t very deep. They’re easily graspable, one-trick ponies – to wit: This Is Why You’re Fat – that happen to scale well; in this case, in a specific direction beyond tumblr (and toward traditional publishing). Even smaller amusements, like twitter memes, also demonstrate a scalability of concept; one that’s become increasingly easy to watch play out from start to finish, and one that might also hold some significant potential beyond fleeting entertainment.

As one watches Cool Bands Made Uncool spread, it’s immediately apparent that duplication – purposeful and accidental – quickly piles up as the crowdsourcing around this type of little ideas surges. The Dead Kennedys take a thousand different zags off the same zig – The Alive Kennedys, The Remaining Kennedys, The Alive-And-Kicking Kennedys. REO Speedwagon becomes R.E.M. Speedwagon, REO Stationwagon (multiple times). The Who becomes The Whom to one person and then to a dozen more, replicating through creativity or mimickry, whichever.

One can watch the memes morph, as well. Instead of changing band names, smart asses take up different tacks. Cool bands made uncool? Try U2. Or simply “You like them.

Other twitterers stay on track, following the idea to places of delicious absurdity. Kernel Panic at the Disco. A Letter Writing Campaign Against the Machine. And my favorite; quirky, stupid and fantastic: Echo and the Furcon Attendees. From some dude from Portland. Whom I didn’t even follow. And probably won’t ever. And probably will never cross paths with again.

The thing that I’ve found compelling about twitter for the past couple years – the core of this post that I’ve barely even brushed up on (because I can’t yet adequately explain it) – is that the platform feels like the start of a recommendation engine for ideas. One can see it easiest in these little memes – where the action is sped up. Just as can monitor one’s musical decisions and recommend “neighbors” whose tastes greatly overlap, twitter – though the tools are still dull at this point – can align users with their own “neighbors,” based purely on ideas.

There’s much more to say about this; so more to come. I guess.

Links for 1.19.09: Podcasts, smash shacks and eating paste

*Podcasts: Whether you adore or deplore Hipster Runoff’s schtick, you’ll be able to tell just by listening that their new podcast is lovingly crafted. To wit: “You might know Hype Machine as a place where people go to steal MP3s slash find them on blogs.” Please give it a chance.

*Instruments: Yo-Yo Ma will be playing a CARBON-FIBER cello tomorrow. WHAT YEAR IS THIS, 3080?!?!?

*Fashion: Run DC, a t-shirt in the style of Run-DMC. [It was on BB, but what the hell?]

*Stress: Over on the Twin Cities Business blog, WHICH RUNS A DISGUSTING IMAGE OF MY LOATHSOME FACE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE, there’s an article we wrote about Sarah’s Smash Shack, a place that charges people to come in and smash things in order to relieve their stress. Discounts for senior citizens.

*Lists: Paste magazine tells us which albums we should consider getting excited about in 2009. Said list includes “Condo Fucks.” What? (Admission: I used to eat paste as a child.) [earfarm]

*Local: For the finest in music created by people this blogger works with, may I refer you to Hyder Ali? New music to download here.

Links for 8.20.08: Can songwriters make a living selling clothes?

*Royalties: Lyric Culture sells clothes with song lyrics on them, with the songwriters receiving royalties. Seriously, the twitter fortune cookie idea wasn’t that outrageous… [ypulse]

*Sap: A few months old, but a 33-minute NPR interview with the couple from the movie “Once.” [buzzsugar]

*Bands: Paste magazine takes a look at up-and-coming bands: Bon Iver, Wale. [pop candy] (Thanks for the dumb-ass interstitial ads when I try to go out the door Pop Candy!)

*Rich people: Forbes lists hip-hops richest moguls of 2008. [daily swarm]

*Local: Read the Reveille review of Bon Iver’s recent concert at First Ave: “I’ve been to sold-out shows at First Avenue before, but not like this one. Even in the back of the room, the fringes of the crowd were just as rapt and reverent as the ones at the front.” (At this rock club, they will shush you if you so much as rustle during a Low set.)

*Huh: Toby Keith is a Democrat.

*Off topic: Shoes that look like waffles. [neatorama]

*Olympics: Race Usain Bolt with your fingers. [jimray]

Links for 7.25.08: MySpace music, Minneapolis style, Limewire legalese…

*Social media: MySpace music slated to launch in September. I do not have a MySpace. (Note that I did not botch the vernacular by saying “MySpace PAGE.”) [earfarm]

*Photos: A collection of photos from Fleet Foxes recent show at First Ave’s 7th Street Entry from More Cowbell. I am old.

*Local: The Minneapoline on [mediation]

*Attention, Arnel Pineda fans: There is a Journey MP3 player now. [bb gadgets]

*Law: Limewire does not believe that litigation is a good digital media strategy.

*Automotive: Truck antlers. (As I have mentioned many times — though not on this blog — I took my current job for one reason and one reason only: Truck Nutz. [antlers via coudal]

Links for 7.6.08: Band as brands, Darnielle on Sabbath, MP3 blog mania…

*Is treating artists like brands really the future of music? (Especially considering treating brands like brands is a practice that’s sort of out of vogue.)

*Nerve interviews The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle on his Black Sabbath novella, Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality: “I thought about pitching stuff that was lots heavier, but I thought, one, I came late to most of it except for Celtic Frost and Megadeth, and two, you got to get Sabbath out of the way first.” [largehearted boy]

*Peruse: A very large list of MP3 blogs, broken out by category. [mediaeater] Also from the indomitable Mediaeater comes TasteKid, a recommendation engine for music, movies and books.

*Inventions: A nanotube radio receiver – created from a single carbon nanotube, these things could swim in the human bloodstream. “We have already used the nanotube radio to receive and play music from FM radio transmissions such as Layla by Eric Clapton (Derek and the Dominos) and the Beach Boy’s Good Vibrations.” [neatorama]

*The New Yorker‘s Alex Ross tours the Chinese classical music scene: Classical music draws huge crowds in China, and more young people are training, but Ross says commerce, art, and politics are keeping the scene a messy one.

*Off topic: The 50 Worst Sex Scenes in Cinema. Get the butter. And the popcorn (I guess?). Hello?

Links for 7.5.08: Lil Wayne champagne, net neutrality album, more Kanye shoes…

*Hot on the heels of Lil Jon’s announcement that he’s launching a winery, Lil Wayne comes out with his own champagne, Halo. [buzzfeed]

*Bands vs. Fans: On the occasion of Amy Winehouse cold-cocking a fan, the Times lists (with some good video linkage) their top 10 fan/band altercations. Includes: Tim Mcgraw vs. Fat Guy and Akon’s “Dry Humping Incident.”

*Video: Flight of the Conchords perform “Ladies of the World.”

*Rock The Net, an album being made to support of net neutrality – will drop later this month. Stream Rock the Net tunes here. The album features Bright Eyes, Aimee Mann, They Might be Giants, and others.

*Kanye teams with Louis Vuitton to design some shoes.

*What the fuck is a modular sound flute?

Who is each state’s best band?

50 bands, 50 states. Perhaps you have been asking yourself this question for a long time. Or perhaps you just like looking at maps.

In Minnesota, it is currently a knock-down, drag-out battle between Bob Dylan and Prince.

In Maine, they have Juliana Hatfield. [magnetbox]