(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘rock

“Heavy Metal is the most conservative of all loud music. Let’s face it, not even a gym teacher could get as many people to dress alike.”*…

Nimrod and His Companions Venerating Fire, by Rudolf von Ems, c. 1400. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Jeremy Swist on heavy metal’s fascination with Roman emperors…

Roman emperors have enjoyed a prolific reception in metal music around the world—Caligula and Nero most of all, with not only hundreds of individual songs but also entire concept albums dedicated to them, such as the Belgian band Paragon Impure’s 2005 album To Gaius! (For the Delivery of Agrippina) and the Russian band Neron Kaisar’s 2013 album Madness of the Tyrant. The year 2021 saw the release of two separate records about Nero: the UK band Acid Age’s Semper Pessimus and the Canadian band Ex Deo’s The Thirteen Years of Nero. The extent of certain emperors’ popularity can even be quantified, thanks to the online database Encyclopaedia Metallum. Entering each emperor’s name into the advanced search for their appearance in lyrics and song titles, and after eliminating duplicates and false positives (e.g., nero being Italian for “black”), led me to create the following bar graph, which went semi-viral on Twitter in April 2021:

Nero with 139 songs, followed by Caligula with 110, tops a sizable catalogue of 444 songs. Yet this data set consists only of mentions by name in songs with available lyrics in the Encyclopaedia Metallum and excludes untold numbers of tracks about emperors that do not name them, such as “Incitatus,” an old-school death metal ode to Caligula’s horse and would-be consul from 2019 by the Brazilian band Orthostat, or the American band Graves of Valor’s 2009 song “Locusta,” named after the woman Nero praises as the poisoner of not only his predecessor Claudius but also his stepbrother Britannicus and his mother Agrippina.

The numbers speak for themselves: emperors are metal. But why?…

Find out: “Enjoy My Flames,” from @MetalClassicist in @laphamsquart— an illuminating (and entertaining) look at (what is, in the end) a fascinating sub-genre of historical fiction, and what it tells us about our times.

Jello Biafra

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As we ponder head-banging, we might recall that on this date in 2003 Metallica’s St. Anger (the heavy metal band’s eighth studio album) was released– and went to #1 on the Billboard album chart (holding off a strong entry at #2 by Jewel, who’d moved on from her folkier roots to dance pop with 0304).

The St. Anger cover

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 12, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Well, I was born in a small town”*…

… which is, new federal designations now dictate, definitely not an urban area…

Hundreds of urban areas in the U.S. are becoming rural, but it’s not because people are leaving.

It’s just that the U.S. Census Bureau is changing the definition of an urban area. Under the new criteria, more than 1,300 small cities, towns and villages designated urban a decade ago would be considered rural.

That matters because urban and rural areas qualify for different types of federal funding. Some communities worry the change could affect health clinics in rural areas as well as transportation and education funding from federal programs…

Groups like the American Hospital Association say the changes, which are the biggest being made to the definitions in decades, could cause problems for people who need medical care in rural areas…

Different federal programs use different definitions of urban and rural, and some communities qualify for rural funding for some programs and not others. But any changes “will have significant implications for many groups and communities,” said Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire who studies rural issues.

“Another likely concern for many rural communities is that if many existing urban areas are redefined as rural, competition for the limited rural funds will increase,” Johnson said…

The difference a designation can make: “100s of US urban areas will become rural with new criteria,” from @AP.

[image above: source]

* John Mellencamp, “Small Town”

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As we contemplate categories and their consequences, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965, at Magoo’s Pizza in (the then small town of) Menlo Park, CA, that Phil Lesh attended a performance of a band then known as The Warlocks. High on acid, he enjoyed it so much that he danced by himself in front of the bandstand. The Warlock’s leader, Jerry Garcia, cornered him and announced, “Hey, man-you’re going to be the bass player in this band”… and so the fundamental line-up of what became The Grateful Dead was set.

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“Their principal dependence is not upon their arms, I believe, so much as upon the failure of our revenue”*…

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent rounds of economic sanctions has underscored the important role of money in conflicts. As Jamie Catherwood explains, for hundreds of years nations have used money as a means of control and geopolitical influence. Financial instruments and economic sanctions have been wielded like any other weapon…

Over the course of centuries, nations have utilized money as a means of control and geopolitical influence. Financial instruments and economic sanctions have been wielded like any another weapon.

In fact, President William Taft’s foreign policy became known as one of ‘Dollar Diplomacy’. President Taft explicitly referenced the interchangeability of traditional weapons and debt in his State of the Union Address in 1912, explaining that his foreign policy was to “substitute dollars for bullets”

The methods and mediums through which countries wield this economic weapon changes over time, but the objectives of economic sanctions today are the same as those of centuries past: hurt the enemy by hurting their economy and restricting access to financial lifelines.

This article uses historical case studies across multiple centuries to demonstrate how money has been weaponized or used as a geopolitical tool in conflicts…

As the prevalence of “hot wars” continues to decline, the weaponization of money and finance stands to play an increasingly key role in how wars are waged…

A Brief History of Economic Warfare,” from @InvestorAmnesia.

* “Their principal dependence is not upon their arms, I believe, so much as upon the failure of our revenue. To think they have taken such measures, by circulating counterfeit bills, to depreciate the currency, that it cannot hold its credit longer than this campaign. But they are mistaken.” – John Adams, in 1777, on Britain’s attempts to undermine the U.S. economy

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As we brandish banknotes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that Pink Floyd’s 8th studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, reached the top of the Billboard 200 album chart. It had entered the chart on March 17 of that year, just over two weeks after its release, and held the #1 spot for only a week. But it was in the chart for for a record-setting 741 consecutive weeks. It has popped back into the charts over the years, and has currently been ranked for over 900 weeks (and counting). Overall sales of the album are estimated to be close to 50 million copies.

Money
It’s a crime
Share it fairly, but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money
So they say
Is the root of all evil today

Money,” Track 6 (Track 1, Side 2) of The Dark Side of the Moon

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“The music was always in the background, like music at a church service; it was something to depend upon”*…

The Gap In-Store Playlists blog is the passion project of Mike Bise, a 56-year-old elementary school computer teacher and former Gap employee. Bise, who worked at Gap for 15 years, started the blog in 2015 on a quest to compile every in-store playlist from 1992 to 2006. In the nearly seven years since, he hasn’t let up. And with help from all corners of the country, his musical quest is now nearly three-quarters of the way complete…

I began working at the Gap at Highland Park Village in Dallas on October 17, 1992. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the music played in the store during business hours. At the time, my main musical passions were the songs of Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush, as well as dance music played in clubs. Gap exposed me to a wide array of music such as House, Techno, Alternative Rock, Modern and Classic R&B, Acid Jazz, and so much more. From that very first day, I was captivated by all of this new music and wanted to purchase much of it for my own enjoyment at home, in the car, etc.

When I started at Gap, the music was on four-hour cassette tapes made by AEI Music. In an eight-hour shift, you would usually hear all of the songs twice a day. By March 1998, Gap had switched over to four-hour CDs for the music, still created by AEI. In April 1999, Gap began using Muzak as the company’s music service, again with four-hour CDs. Eventually, both AEI and Muzak would be acquired by Mood Media.

When each tape/CD arrived at the store each month, a paper playlist insert was included which listed all of the songs and artists on that month’s tape/CD. Most stores posted the playlists either at the cash wrap or in the backroom for employees who were interested in the songs as well as to be able to answer customers’ questions about the music.

New tapes usually arrived the last week of each month. While the old tapes and CDs were required to be mailed back to AEI back then, the playlists did not have to be sent back. Therefore, most playlists piled up in the backroom or were discarded. Because of my interest in the music on the tapes, I asked my manager at Highland Park Village if I could take each old playlist at the end of the month when the new tape arrived. Thus started my collecting of the Gap In-Store Playlists!

I collected almost every single playlist from the Gap brand from June 1992 to February 2006, as well as most GapKids and babyGap playlists from May 1998 to February 2006 and many GapBody playlists from 2000 to 2004. I stored the playlists in a small cardboard box that was once used in visual displays at Gap in 1995. I would buy CDs with the songs I wanted, plus buying individual songs form iTunes starting in June 2005, while ever-so-slowly putting together playlists on my computer. In the back of my mind, I planned to recreate all of the playlists on my iMac. I wasn’t just interested in single songs but the playlists as whole entities.

Shortly after I left Gap in February 2006, I lost the box that contained all of the playlists during a move. It was devastating to realize that all of the playlists were gone forever. Eventually, I began my Gap Playlists blog in the hopes of attracting others who also saved the playlists from when they worked at Gap. Although I have recovered dozens of playlists thanks to the blog, there are still many more to go to reach my goal of re-obtaining the playlists that I lost.

If you worked at Gap and saved any of the paper playlists that came with each month’s CD/tape, please share them with me. Contact me at: michaelbise@msn.com…

Retail refrains: “Gap In-Store Playlists,” from @GapPlaylists.

See also “The Guy Collecting Every Gap Store Playlist Ever Made,” @WeAreMel, from whence the photo above.

* Joyce Carol Oates

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As we hum along, we might recall that it was on this date in 2009 that the Tennessee State Legislature voted to names a stretch of Getwell Road in Shelby County (running from the Mississippi state line to Interstate 240) as the Jerry Lee Lewis Highway.

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“A nice blend of prediction and surprise seem to be at the heart of the best art”*…

Walter, later Wendy, Carlos was a pioneer of electronic music, a collaborator with Robert Moog in developing the Moog Synthesizer that changed music forever (among other things, she convinced Moog to add a touch-sensitive device, allowing greater musical dynamics) and a performer/recording artist who popularized the instrument. In 1970, she did an explainer for the BBC…

We can break popular music into two periods: before the Moog and after the Moog. Upon its debut in 1964, that synthesizer made a big splash in the small but long-established electronic-music world by, among other innovative qualities, being smaller than an entire room. Over the next few years, inventor Bob Moog (whose previous line was in theremins) refined his eponymous brainchild to the point that it became accessible to composers not already on the cutting edge of music technology. But for Wendy Carlos, the cutting edge of music technology was where she’d spent most of her life; hence her ability to create the first bestselling all-Moog album, 1968’s Switched-On Bach

She even plays a bit of the second movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #4, Carlos’ rendition of which on Switched-On Bach‘s follow-up The Well-Tempered Synthesizer moved no less an authority than Glenn Gould to call it “the finest performance of any of the Brandenburgs — live, canned, or intuited — I’ve ever heard.”…

A titan of electronic music breaks it down: “Wendy Carlos Demonstrates the Moog Synthesizer on the BBC (1970),” from Colin Marshall (@colinmarshall) in @openculture.

* Wendy Carlos

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As we plug in, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that Chuck Berry recorded “Roll Over Beethoven” for Chess Records. It was released the following month and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 29 on the pop chart. “Roll Over Beethoven” is one of the most widely covered songs in popular music – “a staple of rock and roll bands”, according to Cub Koda of AllMusic– with famous versions by Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beatles, Carl Perkins, and Electric Light Orchestra. In 2003 it was was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

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