• Core Programming Revamp

    Courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt

    Courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt

    Every once in a while we like to shake things up a bit. So earlier this year, our Audio Architecture team took a look at the 90 Core Programs that they lovingly curate. Was anything missing? What programs were the most popular with Core Program listeners, and which were the least?

    After a lot of hard work and creative development, our team selected nine programs to take off the air. (But don’t worry–they’ll still be available on disc based systems.)

    In their place, I’m excited to announce nine all new Core Programs, which will be available beginning January 3rd.

    Below are our working program descriptions, along with a few of the artists you can expect to hear. We hope you enjoy!

    The New Wave: The New Wave captures the absolute anthems of the early years of true Alternative rock—along with all of the dissidence, experimentation and attitude that defined this genre of music. Much more than skinny ties and Doc Martens, The New Wave features artists like the Ramones, The Cure, Talking Heads, The Smiths, Blondie and Elvis Costello.

    The Beach: Perfect for enjoying while at an outdoor bar or deck with friends, consider The Beach your soundtrack to a year round vacation. Classic laid back beach sounds mix with Reggae, Country and World music to form an experience best suited with relaxation in mind.  Memories of favorite vacations and outdoor concerts come to life with artists such as Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Kenny Chesney and Jack Johnson.

    Martini Time: Smoking jackets and ascots are optional, highballs and Dirty Martinis are the order for the evening. Whether you prefer yours shaken or stirred, Martini Time delivers a full menu of retro cocktail music that’s sure to satisfy everyone. Timelessly cool, novel and kitschey, Martini Time is sure to set the mood for fun with artists like Les Baxter, Esquivel, Quincy Jones and Henry Mancini.

    Toned: An alternative and fun high-energy fitness program, Toned offers listeners a slightly lower impact option to The Circuit, in the medium (120) BPM range. Mixing dance, pop, rock and classic favorites, Toned delivers consistent energy across multiple genres.

    Shine: Shine delivers the best and the brightest of today’s current Adult Contemporary sounds. Perfect for retail, grocery and casual dining establishments, Shine is positive, comfortable, consistently upbeat and easily familiar to a wide audience of listeners. Featuring artists such as Colbie Caillat, Train, Feist and Gavin DeGraw.

    The Party Playlist: If you’ve ever tried to put together the ultimate party playlist, look no further! The Party Playlist offers non-stop, high-energy party anthems—the classics, rock, pop, disco and soul—all blended together to keep spirits high and the party going. Artists include: B-52’s, Prince, Kool & The Gang and the Black Eyed Peas.

    Country Gold Focusing on the 70’s and early 80’s when Country music provided a raw, authentic soundtrack to everyday America, Country Gold celebrates the true heritage years. You’ll hear the legendary pioneering voices like George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Conway Twitty and Dolly Parton.

    The Cafe: The quintessential coffee house program, The Cafe is perfect for enjoying with a cup of joe and the paper in an overstuffed chair. This blend of classics from multiple genres and generations features artists including Norah Jones, Ray Lamontagne, Dave Matthews, Bob Marley, John Mayer and Ray Charles.

    Ambrosia: Ambrosia is a celebration of the classic soft rock and pop sounds that defined the easy rock explosion of the 70’s and 80’s. Featuring memorable melodies and lyrics, Ambrosia offers familiar, light tracks from the most loved and familiar artists of the era, including: Chicago, 10cc, Journey, Linda Rondstadt, James Taylor and America.

  • SXSW 2011 Band Lineup Announced

    jwj-sxsw-5491bAbout to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the now famous SXSW Music and Media festival has posted the preliminary music lineup for 2011. Next March, Austin, Texas will be filled with fans and revelers as some of the most buzzed about new acts take various stages at venues across the city.

    Preliminary lineup includes:

    A Place To Bury Strangers
    Alcoholic Faith Mission
    Apex Manor
    The Appleseed Cast
    Art vs Science
    Asobi Seksu
    Babe Rainbow
    The Bees (UK)
    Black Math Horseman
    Black Spiders
    Bombay Bicycle Club
    Brandt Brauer Frick
    The Cabriolets
    Calder Quartet
    Candy Claws
    Chapel Club
    Chico Trujillo
    Chikita Violenta
    Clock Opera
    Cloud Nothings
    Dam Mantle
    Designer Drugs
    Doctor Krapula
    Ebony Bones!
    Ed Harcourt
    El Guincho
    El Hijo de La Cumbia
    Erland & The Carnival
    Erykah Badu
    FM Belfast
    Frankie and the Heartstrings
    Fujiya & Miyagi
    Get People
    Giana Factory
    Go Back To The Zoo
    The Head and the Heart
    High Rankin
    The Holidays
    In Fear And Faith
    Iron Age
    The Jezabels
    John Vanderslice
    Jon Fratelli
    Kids of 88
    Le Butcherettes
    Lia Ices
    Liam Finn
    Light Pollution
    The Luyas
    The Main Street Gospel
    Marcus Foster
    Mark Eitzel
    Miami Horror
    Micachu and The Shapes
    Miss May I
    Mustard Pimp
    The Naked and Famous
    Nite Jewel
    Parts & Labor
    Plan B
    PS I Love You
    Pulled Apart By Horses
    Rosie and Me
    Scars On 45
    Shilpa Ray
    Small Black
    Sol Pereyra
    Spleen United
    Steve Mason
    Sun Airway
    The Swiss
    Tego Calderon
    Thiago Pethit
    Those Dancing Days
    Toro y Moi
    Veronica Falls
    Vicente Gayo
    The War on Drugs
    Wild Flag
    Wye Oak
    Young Legionnaire

  • Taylor Swift Sells 1 Million in 1 Week


    Even by 1998 standards, selling a million copies of your album in just one week is big news… but in 2010, it’s huge. We’ve been told for some time now that the full length album is supposed to have died at the hands of individual digital downloads–but serious Swift fans don’t appear to favor just one single–they want it all.

    The 20 year old Country Music starlet has effortlessly broken previous records since the day she arrived in Nashville, after being signed to Big Machine Records as the youngest staff writer at age 14. Since then, she’s counted ‘Best New Artist’, ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Artist of the Year’ as just a few of her accolades, and has sold an estimated 13 million records worldwide.

    Part of her success could stem from the fact that the singer manages to maintain a squeaky clean, innocent image, despite the pressures that typically impede on other young musicians’ careers. But the simple fact that she is mom-approved would mean little without her obvious talent. In a tween music scene jam packed with glossy pop hooks and auto-tune, Taylor Swift relies on herself to get the job done. And even if you aren’t a fan, that’s a goal we can all aspire to.

  • Austin City Limits

    The 3- day long Austin City Limits Music festival is less than a decade old, but has quickly joined the ranks of other premier festivals in the United States like Lollapalooza, Coachella and Bonnaroo.

    This year’s headlining acts: Phish, Muse and The Eagles.

    Celebrating all forms of music from country to hip hop, the festival’s diverse lineup of acts also includes M.I.A, The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Silversun Pickups, Norah Jones and The Flaming Lips.

    Austin, also home of the famous SXSW Festival, boasts one of the highest number of live music venues per block in an urban area. While the main festival stage is located in Zilker Park, music lovers will also find hundreds more live music acts on smaller stages across the city.

    Are you there? Send us you photos!

  • Arcade Fire Partners with Cult Hit Director for Webcast

    Arcade Fire will be performing tonight, August 5th,jump-small at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden and there will be a familiar cult favorite director behind the lens for a live Webcast: Terry Gilliam.

    Gilliam has been a fan since Arcade Fire’s debut, so when their manager called Gilliam’s agent to suggest such a venture, he jumped at the chance. In Gilliam’s own words: “God, I’m really depressed sitting here in London. Let’s go and be a groupie for a bit”.

    While this isn’t the first time a band has live-streamed a show, it is the first to do so with a major Hollywood director.  And no, The Last Waltz wasn’t a live Webcast either… though, that would have been awesome!

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • A Fourth Awards Show for Country Music?


    Country Music is a diverse genre, to say the least. Born from a mix of folk music traditions, Country Music went commercial in the 1920s when Columbia Records signed artists under the genre name “Hillbilly Music”.

    And for decades, people who made it big in Country became household names. The Carter Family, Roy Rodgers, Elvis Pressly, Dolly Parton–even Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift–are all popular in the main stream and have no shortage of fans.

    So it’s fitting that we see Country Music’s biggest stars at three dedicated events per year: The American Country Music Awards, The CMT Awards and The Country Music Awards.

    But Fox networks just announced a plan to host a new annual country music awards program–a fourth annual Country Music awards show. Does Country Music need that many?

  • #Wronglyrics

    jimi-hendrixOne night my dad and sister were watching Everybody Loves Raymond together.  In the episode, Raymond and Robert are showing off their dance moves to “Jungle Love.” While singing along to the music, my dad sang “Chug-a-lug” instead of “Jungle Love.” When my sister called him on his mistake, he claimed that those were the correct lyrics and the song was about drinking.  They finally looked up the lyrics, and father found out he had been singing the wrong lyrics for twenty-five years!

    Everybody has mumbled over a song’s lyrics when they couldn’t quite make out the words, but sometimes we think we know the lyrics for years before realizing we’ve been embarrassing ourselves.  Misunderstood lyrics are called mondegreens (mŏn,də-grēn), and there are several sites dedicated to posting the most famous mondegreens in music history.  One of the most well known mondegreens is in Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze.  Many people hear “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” when the actual lyrics are “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”

    While you can see how easily it is to confuse the Purple Haze lyrics, some mondegreens are little more farfetched.  One of our very own Muzak employees believed Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” actually said, “No mustache could have been clearer.”

    Have a laugh at the mondegreens below, and comment with any that fooled you for years.

    Mondegreen / Actual Lyrics / Artist

    In-a-gadda-da-vita, honey /  In the Garden of Eden, honey  /   Iron Butterfly

    *The singer bungled the lyrics while drunk in 1968, and they decided to keep them this way.

    She’s got a tick in her eye /  She’s got a ticket to ride /  The Beatles

    Bald Headed Woman / More Than a Woman / Bee Gees

    I’ll never leave your pizza burning / I’ll never be your beast of burden / The Rolling Stones

    You made the rice, I made the gravy / You may be right, I may be crazy / Billy Joel

    Are you going to starve an old friend / Are you going to Scarborough Fair /  Simon & Garfunkel

    The girl with colitis goes by / The girl with kaleidoscope eyes / The Beatles

    Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a shot glass man / Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man / ZZ Top

    Contributed by Allyson Shelton

  • True Artists on True Blood

    24043_413039046678_99009666678_5090269_3491802_nEd note: It’s summer time, which means Muzak is buzzing with interns. We’ll feature a number of their posts through August, so stay tuned!

    The casual viewer may not have realized the importance of music in HBO’s True Blood, but avid music lovers can’t help but notice music supervisor, Gary Calamar’s, inspired ability to create the perfect atmosphere using tunes unknown to most viewers.  The importance of music in True Blood is up front and center if the fans care to notice.  Every episode title is named after a song used in the episode, more often than not during the end credits.

    True Blood is introducing an eclectic mix of distinctive, rustic music to a whole new audience.  In fact, YouTube clips containing many of the songs featured on True Blood are littered with comments praising the show for initiating them to new and little known artists.  One of the musicians True Blood has helped launch is country performer Jace Everett by plucking his song, “Bad Things,” out of obscurity and plopping it onto one of the biggest shows on TV.

    As season three begins, music lovers can look forward to a show dedicated toward implementing music that adds character to the program and, in turn, new artists to the viewers’ playlists.

    Contributed by Allyson Shelton

  • Persistance Pays Off for The Melvins


    After 26 years and a jaw-dropping 19 albums, rock group The Melvins found themselves on Billboard’s Top 200 chart this week. The band, formed in 1984, has rotated through several bass players–including Lori Aldren Black (stage name Lorax) a daughter of Shirley Temple. Their latest, “The Bride Screamed Murder”, sold just 2,809 copies.

    While this story proves that persistence pays off, it is also a case study of the state of American album sales. Digital downloads, illegal pirating and the recession have all contributed to the estimated slowest week in music sales since 1970, as estimated by Billboard.

    The Melvins, who were already cult favorites and worked with Kurt Cobain, have sold over 500,000 albums over their quarter-century career.

  • Rock Legend Ronnie James Dio Loses Battle with Cancer


    Ronnie James Dio was one the biggest stars in Heavy Metal history, despite standing only 5 feet 4 inches tall. His love of music was apparent from an early age, but there was no way to predict that the Italian American only child, who was raised on the Trumpet and French Horn, would take such a bold path in life.

    With an impressive career spanning six decades, Dio performed with dozens of bands, including: Rainbow, Dio, Heaven and Hell and (perhaps most famously) Black Sabbath. His voice was unique, powerful and immediately recognizable, despite never having never studied vocal performance. The singer would later credit proper breathing techniques he learned while studying the Trumpet and French Horn for his powerful sound.

    Along with Gene Simmons of Kiss, Dio helped to make the “devil’s horns” gesture famous. He’d credit–of all the people in the world–his grandmother, who often did this. Apparently, the gesture carried superstitious significance among old world Southern Italians.

    While Dio’s contributions to Metal have made him incredibly famous, the singer always maintained a relatively normal family life. His only son Dan resides in Upstate New York, where he is a meteorologist.

    Dio’s legacy will always be his music–but I hope that future generations will also appreciate his story. As one of the most unlikely candidates to become an A-list Rock Star, Ronnie James Dio achieved world wide fame simply by pursuing his passion.

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