• New Autechre Album

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    Electronic music pioneers Autechre have a new album coming out the week of March 22nd, titled “Oversteps” on Warp Records.

    The album will be available on CD and a special deluxe vinyl version. Both versions will include a free super high quality digital version of the album as well.

    Tracklisting:
    1. r ess
    2. ilanders
    3. known(1)
    4. pt2ph8
    5. qplay
    6. see on see
    7. Treale
    8. os veix3
    9. O=0
    10. d-sho qub
    11. st epreo
    12. redfall
    13. krYlon
    14. Yuop

    IDM nerds: start warming up your headphones!

    Contributed by Ellis Graham Busch

  • MTV Iggy

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    Do you ever find yourself searching for pop music with a global perspective? Our Architect Dean just stumbled on this new off-shoot of MTV called MTV Iggy : Breakthrough Music and Pop Culture from around the Globe.

    It’s still typical MTV style content, but with more of a global pop bent. You’ll find lots of music sub-genres like Korea Pop, rock in India, global Hip Hop, etc.

    There is also a TV segment that features different rock/pop bands from around the world and is featured on cable in select US markets. So if you love new music and pop culture, Iggy is the place to check out great tunes that might not be charting in the US.

    Contributed by Dean Carlson

  • I’m a Heinz Ketchup Kinda Girl

    heinz-ketchupI’m a big fan of starting with the basics in life. Basic manners (for life), basic recipes (for impressing in-laws), basic Spanish (for ordering margaritas).

    So, I thought it fitting that we launch this section of our blog with a little Branding 101 – a small glimpse into the phenomenon that we live and breathe at Muzak day in and day out.

    Our maiden voyage into branding is a discussion on consumer brand loyalty. What is it, exactly, about a brand that takes hold of us and stakes its claim as “preferred” in our minds? Not to mention our bank accounts. Is it calculated research into animal-friendly initiatives and a killer money-back guarantee? Or is it simply that the latest commercial made you want to laugh, cry, and host a spontaneous dance party all at the same time?

    One of my earliest memories of brand loyalty would be my unending devotion to Heinz ketchup, a pantry staple of all Pittsburgh natives. Somewhere along the way, it was ingrained in me that a good girl from “The ‘Burgh” would never dare to let a non-Heinz condiment pass through her lips. She’d buy the Hunt’s brand just about as soon as she’d parade around in a Cleveland Browns jersey, drinking apple martinis (see also: never. She’d bleed black and gold and order a beer, thank you very much!).

    It seems some loyalties are formed at birth, by the regions that shaped us and the parents that raised us. And some… some are a little less tangible. Take, for instance, Starbucks. In any given location, you’re likely to navigate your latte through a crowd of financial up-and-comers, soccer moms, plaid-clad hipsters and ER nurses. What this melting pot of customers have in common is a desire for the lifestyle and environment Starbucks provides: the cozy sophistication that draws the crowds day in and day out, the white and green cup that labels you as motivated and luxurious and the overstuffed armchairs that transform your mindset from rushed to relaxed.

    One prominent fight for customer loyalty currently clouding our commercial breaks is that of cell phone providers. Companies are now focusing on dependability of service over selection of phones, knowing that consumers won’t give a hoot about which company sells their new smart phone if their provider only has coverage on odd numbered days of the month. Aside from service aspects, each brand knows they have to embody specific consumer values to catch and keep loyal customers. Verizon touts dependability. Sprint: versatility and sophistication in numbers. AT&T: immediacy and conservation. And T-Mobile has Catherine Zeta-Jones. Really, what else do they need?

    What are your go-to brands, and why? Are your loyalties time-honored traditions or newly forged?

    Contributed by Lauren Cribbs

  • Songs For Haiti

    songs_for_haiti_squareThe great folks at Paste magazine have worked to organize dozens of artists like Andrew Bird, The Decemberists, Bob Mould and Ben Folds to donate tracks to raise funds for Haiti relief.

    The artists are donating unreleased tracks or more obscure versions of their music directly to Paste, who is hosting the digital library. By donating any amount of money to either The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders or the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund, users receive access to more than 200 MP3 downloads.

    This was a great idea, and a wonderful example of creative talents coming together to support a critical relief effort.

    http://www.pastemagazine.com/songsforhaiti

  • The Decade According to Billy

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    Muzak Audio Architect Billy Caldwell knows his music! Each day he’s toiling away in Muzak’s 2.7 million song database, carefully crafting playlists for clients. Want to know what he listens to during his free time? Below are his top ten albums of the decade past.

    10. M.G.M.T. / Oracular Spectacular. 2007. Sony/Columbia Records.
    Great electronic pop album from these much hyped but well deserved Brooklyn boys. Electric Feel and Kids still feature regularly in my DJ sets.

    9. Santigold / Santogold. 2008. Downtown Records.
    I’m a big fan of Santi White. She has a wide range of influences and she is an accomplished songwriter in her own right. This record fuses everything from Indie Rock, Hip Hop , Reggae and New Wave, to create a record so cohesive, it will satisfy the Brooklyn hipsters and beyond!

    8. Johnny Cash / American IV ‘The Man Comes Around’. 2002. American Recordings/Universal.
    This stripped down album of mostly covers reinvented Johnny Cash and introduced him to a new generation of fans. His takes on Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus and N.I.N’s Hurt still prove to be two of the greatest covers of all time.

    7. Amy Winehouse / Back to Black. 2006 Island Records.
    Despite all of her much publicized problems this record launched Winehouse and producer Mark Ronson as real forces to be reckoned with in the music industry. Along with her amazing backing band The Dap Kings (loaned from the incredible ‘Funk Superstar’ Sharon Jones) the two crafted an album of honest, hip and instantly classic ‘Throwback Funk’ that was a breath of fresh air in a world saturated with over commercial ‘Hip Pop’ and average Indie Rock!

    6. The Streets / Original Pirate Material. 2002. Locked On Records.
    Mike Skinner’s superbly crafted debut contains elements of House, Dub, Reggae, Ska and Rave. Add to that his own unique style of rapping about everyday life in England, Lager (Beer), going to clubs and a life of crime and what do you have…. one of the most original debuts of the decade and a record that still stands up today!

    5. The Kills / Midnight Boom. 2007. Domino Records.
    This record and band (if you can call them that, as there’s only two of them) are Rock and Roll at its very essence…. Raw, Sexual, Simple and Dangerous!

    4. Burial / Untrue. 2007. Hyperdub Records.
    When I first heard this record it blew me away. It immediately reminded me of the first time I heard early drum and bass and trip hop, so haunting and brooding that you almost feel in a dream state when listening. His use of samples, many of which are messages that left by his friends on his answering machine, give this music a whole new dimension.

    3. Radiohead / Kid A. 2000. Parlophone/Capitol Records.
    What can you say about this record that hasn’t already been said 1000 times? A record that I still play regularly, and somehow I am always amazed by the genius of its production, use of electronics and Yorke’s songwriting… a Masterpiece!

    2. Arctic Monkeys / Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. 2006. Domino Records.
    One of the greatest British debut records of all time for me. Up there with The Jam, Oasis’ Definitely Maybe, and The Stone Roses! A Raucous, Northern English rollercoaster of a ride with 4 lads from the former steel producing town of Sheffield England (also home to The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and WARP Records). I don’t think I’ve heard such an accurate account of English working class life since Weller wrote ‘That’s Entertainment’ and I think it’ll be many years before we hear a debut record so fresh, powerful and down right bloody intelligent!

    1. LCD Soundsystem / The Sound of Silver. 2007. DFA Records.
    An almost flawless album filled with so many classics that you’ll have a different favorite every time you listen! Its gonna be hard for James Murphy to top this one but with the new LCD record is due 2010 it gives us all plenty to look forward to!

    Billy Caldwell

  • Club Staple Staying Put

    Technics 1200

    Technics 1200

    Resident Advisor has a great article on the supposed demise and quick rebirth of the Technics 1200 and 1210 Turntables.

    Long the club standard for DJ’ing, the Technics were rumored, on the DMCWorld site, to be slowly phased out by Panasonic, Technics’ parent company.

    Thankfully, Panasonic has issued the following statement: “There are no current plans to discontinue the Technics brand and the production of Technics turntables”. Rad!
    Contributed by Steven Pilker

  • Still Mourned After 29 Years

    This is one of those events that have been etched in my mind forever. I remember the exact place where I stood when first hearing the news, and the disbelief/denial that followed.

    The Exterior of The Dakota

    The Exterior of The Dakota

    As we heard subsequent reports I always hoped and thought he would pull through despite having bled profusely while waiting for the ambulance to arrive at The Dakota.

    With the release of Double Fantasy just 3 weeks prior, there was much excitement surrounding his return, and that his best work was still ahead of him. Since the Beatles break-up in 1970, I had been a bit disappointed with John’s solo work. I guess my expectations were just too high, but felt that with this second wind, we would finally hear John at his very best.

    Much like the senseless deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, there was such euphoria and hope, only to be snuffed out, leaving many of us heart-broken and empty.

    There’s not much I can say about the impact John Lennon had on my life that hasn’t already been said or felt by most of my generation, but that he was and will always be my hero, inspiration and champion.

    Thank you John.

    Contributed by Bill Spencer

  • Beck’s Record Club

    psych-record-large-1If you haven’t checked this out already, please do so.  Beck is leading an awesome creative project called “Record Club” involving various artists for the last few months.

    Their goal is to record an informal album in just one day, just to play together and document what happens.  I’m pretty fond of several of the covers I’ve heard so far (especially the Velvet Underground covers) and look forward to checking for more.

    Collaborators include Wilco, Jamie Lidell, Feist, Devendra Banhar and Giovanni Ribisi to name a handful.

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