Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Tribute To Dick Clark and American Bandstand

On the morning of April 18th 2012, the legendary Dick Clark, died of a massive heart attack at age 82. He had suffered from a stroke in 2004 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Without Dick Clark, many of the music icons we have today would not have had their big breaks. He hosted American Bandstand from 1952 to 1989 and showcased many artists and bands on this show to enthusiastic dancing, screaming teenagers. 

Here are some of my favorite moments of American Bandstand.

Dick Clark Interviews James Brown in 1983:

Public Image Ltd perform on American Bandstand:

Dick Clark Interviews The Beach Boys:

ABBA performs on American Bandstand in 1975:

Dick Clark Interviews Jefferson Airplane:

The Jackson 5 live on American Bandstand in 1970:

Dick Clark Interviews Paul Collins' Beat: 

Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett on American Bandstand:

Run-DMC Interviewed by Dick Clark:

Link Wray Performs on American Bandstand:

Love Perform on American Bandstand in 1966:

The Music Machine Perform on American Bandstand in 1966:


RIP Dick Clark

- Mike C.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Rise of the Hologram Pop Star

If you haven't seen the holographic performance of Tupac Shakur yet then you probably have no internet, or perhaps no interest in what's going on in the music world at the moment. Let me be the first to inform you that holograms of pop stars will soon be performing and touring shows around the globe. This technology is making rapid advances and has been used since the mid-2000s. 

Here's a breakdown of notable holographic performances since that time starting with the present:

1) Hologram Tupac at Coachella 2012.

Hologram Tupac was hyped before Coachella even began and the performance stirred mixed reactions to concert attendees and online music fans. While many were marveled at the use of projection technology, several others flocked to social media sites to express their fear that Tupac was possibly still alive. The Hologram Tupac even gave a shout out to Coachella. How can someone who's been deceased for 15 years pull this off? 

My suspicion is vocaloid type music software that can take a person's speech or singing style and allows song writers to customize their own songs just by typing in lyrics and musical notation. This brings us to our next musical hologram.

2) Hatsune Miku, a vocaloid performance in Japan.

The most famous vocaloid pop star out right now is Hatsune Miku. From watching the video above, you'll see a holographic image of an anime girl singing and dancing with hundreds, perhaps thousands of fans waving glow sticks in the air. You might be thinking to yourself that this is all neat, but why didn't they just have the REAL human singer perform instead of a hologram? Take a seat my friend. There is no real singer. Hatsune Miku's voice is 100% computer generated by vocaloid software and several different vocaloids exist and perform along with Miku Miku Dance 3D software that helps render the holographic images.

3) Gorillaz & Madonna at the 2006 Grammys.

I've tried to look deep into the past for other artists/bands that used holograms, but the earliest footage I could find is the Gorillaz and Madonna performance at the Grammys in 2006. How quickly do we forget that 6 years ago, musical holograms made a mainstream appearance. The holograms were made by Musion Eyeliner System and yes, Madonna is an actual hologram in the above video. The group De La Soul were the only real performers.

What do you think of holograms performing and possibly touring in the future? Would you like to see hologram images of the Beatles or the Ramones? 

- Mike C.

Monday, April 16, 2012

10 Musical Highlights of Coachella 2012

Did you go to Coachella this year? If you did, then you are probably still recovering from this past weekend of all the craziness that happened. For the rest of music fan world, we all had to tune in to youtube to catch some of the acts live streaming into our bedrooms and offices without paying $6 for a bottle of water. 

Here are 10 musical highlights of Coachella in no particular order:

1) tUnE-yArDs

2) Tupac Hologram

3) Buzzcocks

4) The Big Pink

5) Noel Gallagher Rant/Interview

6) Azealia Banks (Full Live Set)

7) M83


9) The Black Keys

10) Kaiser Chiefs


I wish there was footage of the Black Angels. Their set was very legendary and ended with a sitar freak out. Hopefully, this will surface very soon.

- Mike C.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Olympics Organizers Ask Keith Moon To Perform Event

London Olympics organizers proved to everyone in the world how out of touch they were recently by contacting the Who's management to inquire if Keith Moon would be interested in performing at one of their up coming events despite the infamous drummer being deceased since 1978. 

The Who's long time manager, Bill Curbishley replied, "Keith now resides in Golders Green crematorium, having lived up to the Who's anthemic line 'I hope I die before I get old'. If they have a round table, some glasses and candles, we might contact him."

Link to the article:

Who should the London Olympic Committee contact next for their up coming events? John Lennon & George Harrison? Amy Winehouse? Marc Bolan? John Bonham? Ronnie James Dio? Brian Jones?

- Mike C.

Leonard Cohen's Ex-Manager Guilty of Harassment

Kelley Lynch and Leonard Cohen.

It appears that Leonard Cohen's trial against his former manager and ex-lover, Kelley Lynch has come to a conclusion with a jury finding Ms. Lynch guilty of harassment and violating a restraining order multiple times. She may face up to five years in jail. 

The singer of classic songs "Suzanne" and "Hallelujah" spent a portion of three days in a court room testifying that Lynch had been sending hundreds of threatening emails and voice mails since 2004 when Cohen fired Lynch for embezzling millions of dollars from his savings accounts while he stayed at a Zen Monastery in California. 

"I was not willing to take the risk, the risk that someone who leaves me messages that are deranged and violent is not going to turn up outside my house," Cohen testified.

Here is the link to the complete story:

Is Kelley Lynch a psycho? Would you have filed a restraining order against her for leaving 10 minute threatening voice mails? Would you ever consider having an affair with someone in charge of your bank accounts? Will Leonard Cohen write a song about this experience? an album? Did he already recently do that? 

Go check out Leonard Cohen's web site:

- Mike C.

Obama Calls Kanye West a Jackass, Again!

Looks like President Obama stands behind his 2009 remark, calling Kanye West a "jackass". In a recent interview for the latest Atlantic Monthly, Obama is asked if he prefers Jay-Z or Kanye West. Obama answered "Jay-Z" and gave praise to Kanye but then concluded that "He IS a jackass, but he's talented." 

Link to the Article:

What do you think of Kanye West? Is he still a jackass? Is Obama telling it like it is? How much longer will it be until Kim Kardashian calls Kanye a jackass? Will the GOP now side with Kanye and claim that he IS NOT a jackass just to be partisan against Obama? Will Kanye West fans vote republican this November? 

- Mike C.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Johnny Marr Remembers the Smiths Studio Albums

One of my favorite guitarists of all time, Johnny Marr gets an interview with Spin magazine today and reminisces about the Smiths studio albums he helped forge into alternative classics. With so much talk of the Smiths coming from Johnny Marr lately, you'd think that he was priming everyone for a Smiths reunion, but don't hold your breath. The guitarist has mentioned at the Brit Awards that he would get the band back together when the current British government administration steps down. "That's a fair trade." the guitarist remarked.

Here is the link to the Spin interview:

- Mike C.

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Interview with Drowner

Whenever someone mentions the musical genre 'shoegaze', it would not be out of place to think of UK bands, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, or the Cocteau Twins. After all, those bands were creating atmospheric feedback with ethereal vocals way before the term 'shoegaze' was invented. What was once a derogatory term, shoegaze has entered the 21st century with more fans and bands sprouting up from all corners of the world. One such corner includes a lot of bands influenced by the shoegaze/dreampop movement from Texas. With blogs like When The Sun Hits from Houston and a Fort Worth dream pop record label, Saint Marie Records spreading the love of shoegaze, Texas makes for an exciting state to live for fans of hanging whispered vocals and reverb drenched feedback guitars. 

Drowner in the studio.

I have been following Drowner singer, Anna Bouchard on Twitter for some time and came to know of her band through her various tweets and found out that Drowner are from the Houston area and have recently signed to Saint Marie Records. After ordering and buying Drowner's latest self-titled EP, I wanted to contact them for an interview for Temporary Rough Venom. The band consists of Anna Bouchard on vocals, Darren Emanuel on drums/keyboards/guitar, Sean Evans on guitar, and Mike Brewer on bass guitar and formed in late 2010 first as a collaboration between Darren and Anna. 

Drowner in the studio.

When I asked how Drowner became a band, Anna reveals, "Darren had been testing some guitar sounds and was growing increasingly interested in forming a shoegaze-influenced band, and his first concern was finding a singer. When the opportunities arose, we ended up adding Sean and Mike to the band to further expand our sound. It was always our vision to be a full band, but it took time to bring together the right musicians for the job." When asked of their relationship with Saint Marie Records, Anna responded, "Our relationship with them is awesome. They have been really supportive of us as artists and have done a great job of getting the word out there about our music. We aren't exactly sure how we got their attention, but we are glad we did."

Anna Bouchard of Drowner KPFT 90.1FM interview.

In addition to a great dream pop sounding self-titled debut that echoes dreamy influences of Cocteau Twins, Curve, and Slowdive, a couple of the EP songs get brilliantly remixed. 'Chime' gets a remix by Darren's side project Apples to Earth, while 'Never Go Away' bridges the gap between shoegaze and dubstep with a remix by Anna's brother Nikki Gunz. When I asked about the band's influences, they each told me their favorites. Anna mentions Siouxsie Sioux, Bjork, Michael Stipe, and Liz Fraser, while Darren lists Robert Smith, and Hammock among his personal favorites. Guitarist Sean cites David Gilmour, Kevin Shields, and J Mascis as influential, while bass player Mike mentions Simon Gallup, Bruce Thomas, and Mike Watt as his favorite bassists.

Drowner video still.

When I asked the band what is getting a lot of attention in their music players, Anna has been enjoying tracks from The Sunshine Factory, Her Vanished Grace, and VibraGun, while Darren has been listening to the Daysleepers and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Sean lists old My Bloody Valentine EPs and Miles Davis' 'Bitches Brew', while Mike has been enjoying Charles Mingus and the Pixies. With great influences like these, Drowner is a band you must check out and support.

Here is Drowner's video for "Point Dume":

Drowner Website:

Band Label: Saint Marie Records 


- Mike C.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Goes Goth!

Happy Nightmare Easter!

Whenever anyone thinks of Easter, they imagine fluffy white bunnies, multi-colored Easter eggs, and pretty baskets. There's really nothing of relevance for an adult on Easter other than making colored eggs for children and egg hunts. Who would have thought that there would be a goth Easter Bunny that made an appearance as the villain in the 1971 claymation classic, Here Comes Peter Cottontail? 

Goth eggs were the rage in 1971.

This Goth Easter Bunny goes by January Q. Irontail and was voiced by Vincent Price, which automatically gets goth street cred. Irontail wears a black over coat and black vest and literally has a spiked iron tail that was a result of a child accidentally running over his original one. He has a pet bat that he can mount to fly around and also a large pet spider. 

"Bauhaus is on the radio, let's dance!"

January Q. Irontail's maniacal intentions include to become the official Easter Bunny and make all eggs black and distribute chocolate octopuses and chocolate spiders. I am shocked that Irontail doesn't show up more on Hot Topic t-shirts or as a tattoo on some goth girl's arm. He is the missing link between Easter and Halloween. Perhaps Tim Burton should remake this classic and focus on January Q. Irontail, the most goth Easter Bunny in Television history. 

"All children like chocolate spiders and octopuses!"

"I am the coolest Easter Bunny of ALL TIME!"

Here are the highlights of January Q. Irontail:

- Mike C.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

13 yo Kid Calls Sonic Youth "the worst band"

Sonic Youth took a harsh critical analysis by a 13 year old kid today as witnessed by their facebook posting of an apparent email sent to the band. In the band's 31 years of performing uncompromising avant garde indie music, not once has such a scathing indictment of the band's music been documented to mixed reactions by fans. 

Here is what the 13 year old wrote, according to Sonic Youth's Facebook post:

"I'm going to be 100% honest with you.

I'm 13. I have a little band. We are so much better than you. Honestly. You are the worst band I have ever seen in your entire life. You are worse than Rebecca Black. The bass player just hacks the bass and plays one chord. The guitar players are playing out of tune guitars and... well not even playing actually chords. I couldn't sound worse if I tried. It actually sounds like a joke to me. The drummer is okay. But honestly the vocalist is completely out of tune. Oh and The Black keys have two people and are better than you.

From: Me, and pretty much everyone else who has accidentally stumbled upon your terrible music. "

What do you think of this 13 year old kid's opinion? Is he telling it like it is? Are Sonic Youth the worst band? Should Sonic Youth and Rebecca Black do a collaboration similar to 'Kool Thing'? Did Steve Shelley remain unscathed by the young critic? Will we get answers from the Black Keys? Will Kim Gordon ever learn more than one chord? Does this kid understand art? Was he raised on "Dad Rock"? Will he get "it" someday? 

Follow Sonic Youth on Facebook here:

- Mike C.

Monday, April 2, 2012

20 Harsh Tweets Of The Fray's National Anthem

The Fray performed the National Anthem at the NCAA Kentucky vs. Kansas Championship Basketball game last night and sounded like they were performing at a coffee house open mic night. 

Here is what the people of Twitter had to say about this performance:




Here is footage of the Fray's performance:

- Mike C.

Sparkshooter Web Comic Tributes Mike Contreras

It was a very nice surprise to wake up and check my facebook and find that yours truly has a blog tribute posted on Sparkshooter this morning. Sparkshooter is a web comic that chronicles the fictional band Crazy Yeats and their attempt to win a battle of the bands at a club in Indianapolis. The web comic is written by Troy Brownfield and the artwork is illustrated by Sarah Vaughn. I have a feeling that my comic likeness may appear in a future update but I'm not sure which band I may be performing with in this comic universe. Even I'm losing track of who I play with these days. 

"Am I in your band?" - Mike Contreras

One of the first things I noticed when I opened the link to the blog tribute is an older Red Light Driver promo pic with me smoking a cigarette at the bar. I have quit smoking cigarettes for over two years now and it's been the best decision I've ever made. I'm rarely ever sick and I sing better. I also have saved thousands of dollars by not buying a pack of smokes every day. I've pretty much turned my addictive energies into music and writing and those two activities have kept me healthier, mentally and physically. 

Here is the link to the Sparkshooter blog tribute to yours truly:

Thanks to Troy Brownfield for the write up! You Rock!

- Mike C.