MTV Overdrive = Underwhelmed

MTV announced a new service aimed at exposing new acts, but it uses Microsoft DRM and won't work on Macs, so who cares?

When are these idiots going to figure out that hobbling any content, free or otherwise, is a recipe for opting out completely?  Ironically, the big feature band is the Arctic Monkeys, who gained a toehold in Britain by making their music available everywhere for free download.  How long before bootlegs of their MTV performances show up on Limewire

Ingrid’s Ruse – Good Ruse, Bad News

First off, the newest edition of Ingrid's Ruse has an edge that I never imagined would work, but does.  The best analogy I can offer is a female-led Buffalo Springfield – they descend into very delicate musical valleys, then rise aggresively and head for the clouds.  Ingrid's vocals possess way more authority than they did in the days when she was barely out of open mike nights.  But she's matured overall.

With Ezra gone, and every position from the original combo changed over, she had to become a band leader instead of just a lead singer.  But nothing about it feels forced. She worked a difficult room like a pro, and held her own with Josh Maccio's frenetic guitar solos. New bassist Cam McIntyre is settling in, and Seamus on drums is a force of nature.

It's a very different band – I can hardly imagine them doing "Carey," for example – but I like it a lot.

Can't say the same for Skunk Hollow, the room they were in Saturday.  It's tiny, with horrible acoustics, and patrons who could care less about music.  Right as the band was about to go on, two tables of four sat down right next to them, and I swear, every person at both tables was talking simulatenously.  I looked around the bar for one person whose lips weren't wagging, and could fine none.

This hole in the wall has no business presenting talent in any form.  I can't imagine a worse venue.  Just because Vermont has banned smoking in restaurants doesn't mean Skunk Hollow isn't polluted.  The food's not that great either, whatever their illustrious reputation.  Go see Ingrid's Ruse at the Windham, where fans go FOR the music, not in spite of it. 

More Neil Young

Neil Young's new album, "Living With War," was completed in 9 days and should be released very soon. Howie Klein, who has an excellent political blog, had the chance to hear the record yesterday and declared it "beyond belief. I mean it's so great I was jumping out of my skin." He couldn't say much more than that due to an NDA. He added this, however:

Every song is about… you know what (and who). Musically it is so powerful and emotionally it's even more powerful that that!! Many tears while I sat alone with the headset on. Since I already mentioned "Let's Impeach the President," I'll just say a few things about that. It's this great rocker that ends as a gospel song and reads like an indictment. I mean Neil sounds like he's been reading Daily KOS or FireLakeDog! Someone's gotta get this to Henry Waxman! Neil even lays out some evidence in the form of Bush running his mouth on tape.

Will this go down as Neil's greatest album ever? It will be a contender musically. And the impact lyrically could be profound. I'll talk more about that when my period of musical purdah is up next week. If you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and offers you the opportunity to hear just one song, ask him to play "Flags of Freedom." (Have kleenex handy.)

Here are the lyrics to the title track:

I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with war right now

And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again
And when the night falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)

I join the multitudes
I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
To never kill again

I'm living with war in my heart
I'm living with war in my heart and my mind
I'm living with war right now

Don't take no todal wave
Don't take no mass grave
Don't take no smokin' gun
To show how the west was won
But when the curtain falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)

In the crowded streets
In the big hotels
In the mosques and the doors of the old museum
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
Try to remember peace

The rocket's red glare
Bombs bursting in air
Give proof through the night,
That Our flag is still there

I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with wat right now.