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Feature Your Music on Selective Listening!

Featuring your music on the internet has never been easier. We have launched a new project to help us write meaningful content about your music that otherwise has to fend for itself in a virtual sea of other music.

We are really excited to announce that we will also be leaving this free WordPress format in due time so we can have our own domain. This will be more fun. 🙂

If you are interested in helping us with out “Featured Artist” project, or know someone who would be you should let us know.

Thanks for reading,
Selective Listening

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Music

 

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Exteme Feats of Musical Bad-Assery #5 Ravi Shankar Celebrates his 91st!

Rodger Daughtry, singer of legendary rock group The Who, once proclaimed that “I hope I die before I get old”. John Lennon himself said he hoped he wouldn’t still be singing “She Loves You” at age 40 (an age he sadly never made it past, RIP), and many popular musicians throughout the world revel in their youth. When our heroes get old, should they still be alive or remembered, we endlessly compare them to who they once were, which although is pure injustice is the status quo. While many go out revered, they go out with a fizzle, or at the least past their prime.

Ravi Shankar with Geroge Harrison

There is one man, however, who not only has persisted but has torn down the notion of age affecting the sharpness of a musical mind of the nimble ability of aged hands. He is one of my all time heroes: Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar is a held in esteem as THE best sitar player the world has seen (the sitar is a 20-ish string Indian lute), and is a composer of legendary status that has not only done the most for Indian classical music than any other single person, but has introduced it to the mainstream west and with his compositions masterfully blended the mathematical western traditions and the more philosophical traditions of the east that many thought were incompatible on any grand orchestral level. He is without a doubt, India’s most prolific and important musical ambassador, and through him many come to appriciate the country’s rich and vibrant culture. Here is a younger Ravi:

While Ravi was well-known throughout Indian circuits before the 60’s, it was during the 60’s, through his friendship with George Harrison, that he took America by storm, playing the Monterey and Woodstock music festivals. Where time has slowed some down, Ravi continued expanding his mastery and finesse, writing new pieces, including an awesome sitar concerto for orchestra published in 2008. April 7th, 2011 marked his 91st birthday, but unlike many 91 year-olds, Ravi is still out touring, sharing his love of his musical tradition and the deep spiritual devotion that comes with Indian music. As some may think, it is not just a freak show, a chance to see some awesome old person sit there and try and imitate themselves that you can brag about seeing. Ravi still has it. Despite his age and the complications that must come with it, Shankar has not lost a step. He still has an amazing ear for his ragas, and when needed he cans till rip up and down the sitar’s neck.

Here is the master in all his ripeness and glory:

Indian music (which will be explained in a later post) varies dramatically from western music in theory, and is all improvised from a set of ragas (until later, just think of them as scales or modes). The fact he at age 91 is still on the road and has a sharp enough mind to still keep producing his magic and have his body keep up with him is a strong testament to his devotion to his religion and music, which requires a vegetarian lifestyle, no drugs or drinking, and no illicit sex. Happy (belated) 91st birthday pandit Ravi Shankar. From the Selective Listening team, you da’ man!

Ravi Shankar, master of sitar

 

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Extreme Feats of Musical Bad-assery #4 the Hula

Hope you brought your appetite, because you and yo' crew are about to get SERVED (some delicious spam)

I’m not much of a clubber. I don’t go clubbing, dance the night away, get slizzerd, nor can I relate to anything Ke$ha has sung about, ever. I’m not condemning it, it’s just not me. Closest I got was a Ratdog concert in the front of a giant grooving mob of hippies pushed against a barrier, but that is neither here or there. I have however, listened to lyrics and have heard popular dance and hip-hop tunes dealing with the lifestyle, and from this I feel I am comfortable with how that club culture presents itself. I have also watched the South Park episode with the “dance off” with a rival dance crew, so I am pretty sure I can safely say that in comparison with a true dance culture, the western club scene is empty of any real power (except the roofies. Powerful, powerful roofies).

This is, of course, when compared to a true dance-culture, a culture that embraces the full power of dance and has elevated up to a pinnacle of social and mystical power. I am talking about the native population of Hawaii. Now, again I reaffirm I do not know the modern attitude towards dance that most 19 year-olds have, but I’m assuming that “hula” is not in the top-5 list of badass power-dances, but it could not be more true. Predating western discovery, occupation, and westernization of Hawaii, the native tribes used dancing as a substitute for outright combat and warfare.

Hula Hoop

pictured: WMD

What today in a club is a dance-off when someone disrespects you and your crew, had a much more amazing predecessor. There was so much mystical power associated with their holy texts, and their vocal and physical expressions, that rival tribes would demonstrate their superior mastery of the magic powers by dancing and chanting better than the other tribe. The tribe danced better had more magical power, and therefore obviously could whoop more butt than the other one could, should it come to fisticuffs. It never did. No one would dare cross the winning tribe, but to dance again.

Having people [sic]“get out the way of me and my crew crew crew crew” so you can do what you [sic] “do do do do” can at best get you beat up in the alley, or branded a king douche. Having glitter all on your eyes and ripped stocking in a place where the freaks all come to dance and “take it off’ sounds like a recipe for rape. No lands are won and lost, no slaves are taken and freed, no precious resources are trading hands, and no governments rise or fall in a club, but in ancient Hawaii when you and your “crew” got mad props and respect from dancing, it meant something much more than our western black eyes, hangovers, and special victim units. It meant you were THE big Kahuna. Now that’s what it really means to have to “represent”.

 

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Bieber Buzz Brings Busy Blog Day

We would like to thank everyone for being a good sport yesterday, unfortunately (for some of us) Justin Bieber and Paul McCartney are not collaborating on an early Beatles cover album. This was a little bit of yellow journalism in the spirit of April Fools Day. We hope you enjoyed this and are not too disappointed by the truth.

We have some interesting goings on here that in the next few weeks we hope will take off:

Good Music

We invite all of our readers to submit their favorite songs via comment or on our Facebook page, and we will put it on our list and keep it their forever. You can check out the list of songs, as well as a more detailed description of what the list is all about here.

We Want to Feature Your Music

That’s right. We are looking for fresh and unique content to keep on our site and we would like it to be about your music. You can help us get some awesome stuff to write about as well as photos, videos, and even your songs while we can give your music another outlet for exposure. We can’t promise that you will blow up into the next big thing, but we can certainly help you show your music to people who haven’t heard it yet.

We would like to perform an interview with you, and your group (if applicable) and write as much awesome stuff about you as possible, as well as periodic blog updates to keep people notified of your upcoming shows/music-related-events etc. The idea is that the more exposure we can get for your music, the more traffic we will also generate for ourselves.

We have some big ideas that we are getting pretty fired up about, and we will not reject anyone who is interested in doing this %100 and is also serious about their music. (Those are the only requirements)

If you are interested in doing this please contact us at our Facebook page and we can start collaborating on this.

Thanks for reading,
Selective Listening

Ps. We will still write about all the stuff we usually do, that’s kind of our thing.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Ben, Uncategorized

 

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Bieber set to release early Beatles cover album

The white smoke is rising, and the new Pope of Pop is being heralded! The recent dispute over the rightful heir of all things catchy and romantic will soon be over, which started with the death of the previous King of Pop. The current royal bloodline started in 1963 as the Beatles replaced Elvis as the pop icon of the world with an endless slew of #1 catchy love song after another. The second was crowned in 1983, as “cute Beatle” Paul McCartney mentored rumored “king of Pop” Michael Jackson and collaborated on music numbers, legitimizing his claim. His reign was unquestionable as he subsequently bought-out the Beatles music, essentially hoarding all and every right and claim to royalty for himself. Elvis died in 1977, McCartney, although still prolific, has failed to re-take the world by storm, Jackson has, too, deceased.

The state of chaos that has erupted has left many worried and confused, and the World of Pop Music has been lost amid a sea of auto-tuned one-hit wonders, lackluster comebacks, dime a dozen Disney acts, and very recently a fall into debauchery, with vying pop queens trying to out slut each other.  There seemed no hope, and such was confirmed as the Black Eye Peas effectively gave a eulogy to pop music at the Super Bowl halftime show. But oh ye of little faith! Recent leaks have announced that the wait is over: Justin Beiber is set to record a collection of the early pop songs that put Sir Paul McCartney on the throne. What makes this a legitimate rise to proper power in place of a coup d’état is that Sir Paul will be PERSONALLY seeing to the projects completion as the producer.

When asked about it, McCartney had this to say, “I think the kid is wonderful, and, you know, he’s really got talent and music could use a figure like him to center itself around, much like the aftereffects of Beatlemania, with all the bands going in the right direction. Pop music, you know, hasn’t changed that much since the early days. I mean, John and I wanted to emulate the teen idols of our day, so we sat down and tried to write catchy tunes that would be commercially successful, so I really don’t see the cause of the uproar over stuff like that by people who look up to The Beatles.”

Although the recoding is being kept secret, leaks and rumors have suggested the track listing will include such classics as “Love me Do”, “Please Please Me”, “She Loves You” and one of the more sweeter pop cuts from their debut album, which only seems fitting as it will be the first public statement by the new official Pope of Pop.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan v. Jimi Hendrix

All Along the Watchtower is the song you here in pretty much every montage about the sixties. Most of us immediately think of Jimi Hendrix wailing on his guitar when the song is brought up. I, for the longest time, even believed that Jimi Hendrix had written the song. I was dead wrong. And if you believe that Hendrix wrote Watchtower you are as dead wrong as I was. It’s lyrics appear to have their roots in Isaiah 21: 5-9 turned into basically an epic poem by master songwriter/storyteller Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan recorded All Along the Watchtower in November of 1967 and Hendrix began recording his cover less than three months later releasing it about nine months after Dylan released the original version of All Along the Watchtower. The rest is history.

Before we go any further here is a *short* list of some notable artists and groups who have also covered All Along the Watchtower:

Bear McCreary/Battlestar Galactica, Bobby Womack, Brewer and Shipley, Bryan Ferry, Calvin Russell, Chris de Burgh, Dave Mason, Dave Matthews Band, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, Giant Sand, Grateful Dead, Indigo Girls, Jackson Browne, Jeff Healey, John Mellencamp, Josh Charles, June Tabor, Lisa Gerrard, Michael Hedges, Mountain, Neil Young, Paul Weller, Phil Lesh and Friends, Phish, Richie Havens, Sal Valentino, Spirit, Taj Mahal, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dream Syndicate, The Killers, The Persuasions, TSOL, Turtle Island String Quartet, U2, Van Morrison, Widespread Panic, XTC plus everyone ever who may have thought it nice to pay tribute to either Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix.

Without also listing the countless movie scenes etc. that All Along the Watchtower has graced with it’s presence, it is pretty easy to say that it is a very prolific song.

I personally enjoy Dylan’s voice and harmonica, some people though, are averse to “Dylan voice” and also the harmonica. While I appreciate both, one of the major reasons Hendrix’s version of Watchtower blew up and Dylan’s didn’t might have been Dylan’s excessive use of both “Dylan voice” and also the harmonica. Another reason could be that the album on which the song appeared, John Wesley Harding was released in 1967: the same year that saw the debut of the Grateful Dead, the supergroup Cream, Hendrix’s rise in America, Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Beatles’ Srgt. Pepper’s Lonley Hearts Club Band, and tons of other rockin’ psychedelic tunes which can often eclipse a low-key (although awesome) roots-country album by an artist who really prefered to stay on the down low.

Those who are curious about taking their appreciation of “Dylan voice” to the next level can check out his “Nashville” voice here at Selective Listening, though, I warn you in the same way the people at Chinese restaraunts warn you about how spicy your food is about to be… we know that’s what you ordered, but you don’t understand this is really freakin’ spicy… You are sure?…*sigh*…alright have it your way… click here

Hang on for a second though- Bob Dylan is a folk hero and song writing legend. He deserves as much respect for writing the song as I feel Jimi Hendrix does for enhancing it.

It’s like Bob made an awesome kid who would eventually go on to achieve great things. Jimi Hendrix just adopted him, took away his goofy harmonica and taught him how to play a mean electric guitar. Seriously, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar solo in his cover of All Along the Watchtower is regarded by many to be one of the greatest guitar solos ever. From about 1:42 – 2:49 Hendrix executes a guitar solo, as artistic and beautiful and expressive as any piece of art laying around in any art museum ever.

Dylan even admitted to being overwhelmed by Hendrix’s talent and musical abilities and even went so far as to say:

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

Jimi Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower was so unbelievably amazing, that now when Bob Dylan plays his own song, he plays Hendrix’s version as a tribute to Hendrix. Tell me that doesn’t sound like some kind of weird Chuck-Norris-type joke. At the end of the day though, it simply is Bob Dylan’s respect and admiration for Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower that makes this cover so great, perhaps even the greatest cover song of all time.

 

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Mr. Spock and Bilbo Baggins

Some bands make it big. Some bands have huge followings that display an almost religious ferocity in their devotion. There are few people, however, few single-bodied mortal beings that have risen to such status in the world of music and culture. Grateful Dead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia comes instantly to mind, and I can only really think of one more man who has attained such status: Leonard Nimoy. That’s right, I brought Spock into this, so set your phasers to stun and just hear me out.

To boldly go where he probably should have never went... the recording studio

Trekies have been known since he dawn of Star Trek in the 1960’s to take fandom  to a whole new level of whacked-out-ness, and I think I am about to make the day of those of us who appreciate the finer things in life (and then go to conventions in their mom’s minivan). Not only did Mr. Spock, in the experimental spirit of the era, test the waters of a pop musical career, he did so by evoking the name of another saint of the genres: Bilbo Baggins. The most widespread, or at least the most popular surviving, single of his career was “The ballad of Bilbo Baggins”, a tale recounting the life and adventures of one of the coolest little people in literature. I could go on and examine the music and video, talk about clichés of the decade and this kind of music and make some sarcastic commentary, but I assume you can too. Instead, I’m just gonna sit back and let Spock, his vibrant go-go line, innovative harmonies and his love of all things short, hairy and that just wanna be left alone have their moment as Shire-folk everywhere cringe at that dark time in their history, not when the forces of evil threatened their peaceful way of life, but when Leonard Nimoy shook their world. Rumor has it that every year since Nimoy quit doing music, the Bagginses and the Proudfeet have held an annual Hobbit-kegger where they smoke pipes, shoot fireworks with Gandalf and tell tales of how short-lived and non-prosperous Leonard Nimoy’s pop music career was.

And to those of you who have never heard of this, you’re welcome.

Spock sings about effin’ Hobbits… Seriously.

 

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