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Human Radio Solo

Ross Rice, songwriter, musician and former lead vocalist of the one-album wonders Human Radio has recently (end of 2005?) released his second solo album Dwight. It’s the best thing he’s done since the one and only official Human Radio release, a self-titled masterpiece that came out on Columbia Records in 1990. There are MP3’s available of the second, never released Human Radio album that while very good, doesn’t pack the punch, production or artistic brilliance of the first album.

Dwight is a fantastic album and Ross has really done a great job with the songwriting, vocals and production. There are some surprisingly progressive tracks like Blindman and the very Human Radio sounding opener Hard Times for the Revolution. There are some great lyrics here as well; this is one of my favorite passages from Blindman:

You feed me breakfast underwater. You melt the ice around my eyes. You treat the moon just like a daughter. You bring me down when I’m getting too......high. So why am I a study in blue? I’m like a blindman looking at heaven. That’s the way that I’m looking at a blindman looking at heaven.....

Musically it’s the progressive power-pop influenced style that Human Radio was known for, with a bit of The Beatles influence and Cheap Trick sound coming through here and there. This a great find and I would highly recommend it. Below are a couple of links where you can get more information, hear samples and order the CD. It’s on a small independent label called Memphis Records and I believe it’s only available online. Special thanks to the great musicologist Jim Worthen for the tip on this one. I would have completely missed it!

Super Bowl XL - An Extra Large Mess

The past couple of years I’ve written a Super Bowl column for the blog, mainly focusing on the music. I’m not a huge Stones fan so I really don’t have much to say about it this year. Mick is still a pretty good performer considering his age, lifestyle and the simple fact that he’s a member of the Rolling Stones. The musical highlight for me was the amazing pre-game performance by the Stevie Wonder Family. Wow! The lowlight would have to be the national anthem, Aaron Neville has really never sounded worse, has he?

The real story this year is the officiating during the game. This subject is being beaten to death, but so much of it is partial and coming from fans or haters of one team or another. I had no vested interest in the game because I am a hardcore Vikings fan. I'm not a Steelers or a Seahawks fan and I’m not a gambler so I had no money on the game.

So many people are suggesting a conspiracy, which is so speculative it borders on ridiculous. Let's just forget about speculations and look at what we do know.... I recorded the game on my DVR and have gone back and looked at the controversial Steelers touchdown. At no point in slow motion can you show me where the ball touched or crossed the plain of the goal line. They replayed it from a few different angles and it is obvious he didn't make it. Close, but no cigar. Then there's the pass interference call that negated the Seattle touch down. If anything, it was an offsetting penalty as they both had their arms out and were touching each other, but I just don't see that as a valid call, and most sports analysis experts don't either. Then there's the chop block called on Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck. He was on defense at the time, going for the tackle. I watched this at least 6 times and there's no way it's a chop block. That was the most inane of all the bad calls and there were many. Then there's the huge Seattle play, the bomb completed to the 3-yard line that was called back on a phantom holding call. It was replayed at least 2 times during the game and on ESPN numerous times since, and there was no holding on the play. Then there's the fact that at least 2 times the Steelers were clearly off sides before the ball was snapped and it wasn't called. If the officials had jobbed the Vikings like that I would be livid. My only reason for caring is that I hate to see the Super Bowl of all games so poorly officiated. I'd like to see the Steelers or the Seahawks win on their own merits. I also can't figure out what game the people who say the officials didn’t job the Seahawks were watching.

Now, were they jobbed as part of some big conspiracy? That's a stretch and I think the only people you're hearing that from are Seahawks fans, or people who hate the Steelers. I'm not in either of those camps. One thing that does lend some credibility to these crazy conspiracy theories is that bad officiating didn’t really extend to both teams and seemed to be only going against the Seahawks. I also would not be too quick to say there's no money to be made by throwing a game, if it were possible. Gambling on the Super Bowl alone is a multi-million dollar business and if someone was able to sway the outcome of a game it could conceivably be worth millions to them. To say that the NFL has no vested interest in what team makes it or what team wins isn't entirely accurate either. Their revenues are affected. But is it a conspiracy? We don't know that. It's crazy to say definitively either way. But I wish everyone could agree on what we do know and can see. The officials totally jobbed Seattle, and the game could have gone the other way if it had been called fairly. I'm not saying it would have gone the other way, but it easily could have. If I was a Steelers fan I would be just as mad about those bad calls as the Seahawks fans because it takes away from the victory. Now people can say the refs helped them when maybe they could have won it just as easily without the interference from the refs. Unfortunately now we'll never know.

I hope there's better reffing next season in the NFL. I'd rather know my team wins or loses on their own merit, not because some official wasn't paying attention or had an agenda.

The CD Comp (formerly known as ‘The Mix Tape’)

Remember making mix tapes? I loved making my own mixes…putting all my favorite songs on tapes for friends. Then that switched to CD-R’s. Now I love making CD Comps (compilations) to listen to in the car and send to friends, hoping to turn them on to my latest music discoveries. Half the fun is thinking of a comp title and making artwork for the packaging and the other half is picking the songs. I thought I’d post the track listing for my latest comp along with the album art so you can see what I’ve been listening to. The artwork for this new comp is special because I incorporated my son’s spin art and I think the cover ended up looking pretty cool. I had the cover idea and the songs before I actually had a title, then once I had the cover imaged designed and listened through the songs I came up with “Combo Splatter.” Let me know what you think!

Check out these track listings. This is a good indication of what I’ve been listening to lately. It had been awhile since I’ve had time to make a comp so this one ended up being a double disc set. Many of these songs are available on iTunes or on CD, but some of them are not yet released.

Combo Splatter – Disc One

Song – Artist – Album

Señoras y Señores - The Pinker Tones - The Million Colour Revolution

The Wand - The Flaming Lips - The Wand Single

La Camisa Negra - Juanes - Mi Sangre

I Constantly Thank God For Esteban - Panic! At the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Red is Blue - Ben Folds - Hoodwinked

Jesus Was a Crossmaker - Rachael Yamagata – Elizabethtown-Songs for the Ride Home

It's Our Time (rough mix) - Pivitplex - The King in a Rookery

Glow - Todd Edwards - Hoodwinked Soundtrack

Critters Have Feelings - Todd Edwards - Hoodwinked Soundtrack

Feel For You - Doug Powell - Cars Demos

Let's Go - Space Cadet - Greatest Hits

This Is Everything – Wisely - Parador

The Escalator Song - The Negatones - The Negatones

Leaders of the Free World – Elbow - Leaders of the Free World

Act Of The Apostle I - Belle And Sebastain - The Life Pursuit

Everything I Own - Dan Wilson - Live from KCMP

Spiritual Man - Toto - Falling In Between

Karma Hunters - The Pinker Tones - The Million Colour Revolution

Bossa for Bingo - John Mark Painter – Hoodwinked Soundtrack

Combo Splatter – Disc Two

Song – Artist – Album

Hoodwinked Theme – John Mark Painter  - Hoodwinked Soundtrack

Greatest Hits - Space Cadet - Greatest Hits

Exodus Damage - John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt

NY Excuse (Radio Edit) - Soulwax  - NY Excuse 7 inch

The Blues Are Still Blue - Belle And Sebastian  - The Life Pursuit

Everything's OK (rough mix) - Pivitplex - The King in a Rookery

Am I Wry? No - Mew - Frengers

Hooked - Toto - Falling In Between

Testify - Channel Light Vessel - Automatic

The Confrontation Happened - The Negatones - The Negatones

Love Is Like Oxygen - The Numb Ones - Everything In Between

Tear You Apart (Radio Edit) - She Wants Revenge - She Wants Revenge

Jimmy Neutron Theme - Bowling For Soup - Goes To The Movies

In Pea We Nuts - The Pinker Tones - The Million Colour Revolution

Dallas - They Might Be Giants - Venue Songs

Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland – Grandaddy - The Windfall Varietal

Fountains of Wayne Hotline - Robbie Fulks - iTunes Single

Piccolissima Descarga - The Pinker Tones - The Million Colour Revolution

Underpants! - Victor Scott - Happy Days