Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

Life is music June 11, 2013: Love is a PRISM edition

On this rudieTuesday, I continue a theme of events that can be tagged under “civil-liberties.” (Or lack thereof.)

By now, news of the NSA tracking your emails, credit card transactions, Skype conversations and more is pretty widespread.

Today, the ACLU has announced a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the attack of freedoms. Since the freakishly broad nature of the NSA snooping was revealed, it’s been a huge issue of contention. Lawmakers, the ones within the government who benefit from the information, are generally supporting it. According to a Pew poll, civilians, the ones who are being surveilled, are split. If the poll is accurate, Americans lean towards supporting the NSA, but I question what the reaction would be if they knew for a fact that they were the ones being surveilled. Some say surveillance like this is necessary for national security, and that civilians did not need to know PRISM is happening — a wonderfully cliche position that ignorance is bliss.

Since the start of Obama’s presidency, FBI requests of information gathered by the Patriot Act have risen like crazy. The Act is what allowed the creation of PRISM, the once-top secret federal project that did the snooping into civilians’ private information and conversations.

A man named Edward Snowden will likely soon be placed on trial by America as the leaker of the NSA info, the whistleblower, the traitor. He’s set to be a new Pfc. Bradley Manning (who, by the way, has been detained in some pretty awful conditions.)

So I offer a song this week that makes light of a dark situation. A band of fellows who sing about crime in a way that makes committing ones sound like a punk show. Some Masked Intruder for you all, for the sweet irony of pop-punk licks and sad, sad subject matter that they provide. Also for the fact that I can make a pun off the lyric “love is a prison” in my head by turning it into “love is a PRISM.”

… And the research I did for the article, all the links I found and linked, I’m sure are now in the NSA’s database, too.

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Life is music May 28, 2013: World gone crazy edition

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

As if the DOJ snooping around at the AP wasn’t bad enough, news broke today that Seattle police withheld records about a May Day memo, knowingly violating public records laws.

These two events are hardly the first moments of government secrecy, but they did come to light awfully close together. How can a government and police force exist for the people when they violate the very laws they’re supposed to be upholding?

We’re living in an state of being where we’re told more and more frequently it shouldn’t matter that we’re losing our civil liberties if we have nothing to hide. Meanwhile, we’re living under a law system that is becoming increasingly more secretive. I see a serious disconnect when people are seen as inherently guilty rather than innocent, while the powers that are supposed to protect justice engage in an ever-expanding blackout.

Try and tell me we’re not living in a world gone crazy. The Slackers know it, and they’re right.

Blogger’s note: I realize I used a Slackers song for the AP story, too. It’s coincidence, but it was so fitting to use one of their songs here, too, that I couldn’t not do it. RudieTuesdays for the win.

Listen to this new Lemuria song because it’s awesome

Listen to this new Lemuria song because it’s awesome

And pre-order their new album. Or just buy a t-shirt. But I mean why would you pass up the opportunity to own some more wonderfully poppy, turn-your-brain-into-flowers-and-puppies-and-goo, catchy-licious Lemuria tunes on vinyl.

And go see them live this summer some places in the U.S. but mostly in the U.K.

Release your inner riot grrrl in Brooklyn this weekend

Release your inner riot grrrl in Brooklyn this weekend

The local line up features Claire’s Diary, The Tablets, Tiny Tusks and Bad Behavior. The evening will combine live performances with short films by the artist Itziar Barrio between sets, which delve into feminist oriented concepts and Brooklyn’s cultural landscape.

Because Memorial Day weekend (and any weekend, really. Or weekday, for that matter) is a good weekend to celebrate some awesome women.

Life is Music May 21, 2013 edition: Oklahoma City tornado recovery resources

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

Seems like this is another week where I’m left writing about a story that I wish I didn’t have to talk about. The good thing is this week’s disaster wasn’t a deliberate act of human hatred; the bad is that natural disasters can leave just as tragic a mess in their wake.

As of when I’m writing this, 91 people are reported to have died. Just a few hours ago, that number stood at about 50. By the time you see this, it will probably be an even higher statistic.

Having lived the vast majority of my life on the east coast, tornadoes were for a long time very foreign to me. I knew of the movie Twister. I had seen photos of them happening; a 400×600 pixel .jpg cannot do justice to the sheer power of a real tornado touching land. I heard stories of one passing through my college alma mater, but any aftermath of the minimal damage had been fixed long before I arrived.

Then, last year, I served with AmeriCorps NCCC. Part of my service took me to Henryville, Indiana, a town that is now a year into recovery efforts that will likely be ongoing for the better part of the decade. The town, along with neighboring towns that were in the unavoidable path of destruction, was completely leveled by a vicious tornado in March 2012.

It’s strange to see the aftermath of such destruction up close. To me, hurricanes were expected, but tornadoes were once so foreign. They leave a very specific, and very brutal, type of damage in their wake. Survivors of storms like this can be left with post-traumatic stress disorder, just like someone returning from war can experience it.

Unless I ever have to live through a natural disaster, I can never know the terror felt by everyone in that Oklahoma City suburb last night. I can never know the loss felt by families in Henryville who lost a doublewide trailer, the only home they knew, as they huddled in shacks and hoped for their lives to be spared by the storm.

What I can know, and what I did learn, is the strength people have inside them to rebuild. People will mourn; we will have ups and downs. Some will never recover from the mental stress; others will immediately run outside once the storm has passed to look for neighbors in need. Communities can and do band together with solidarity they didn’t know they could posses.

Moore will recover, just as will Henryville, and Joplin, and other communities affected by disaster natural and otherwise, at home and abroad. The communities have a support system within themselves, an inevitable bond with each other, and solidarity from others who can only empathize from afar.

It’s going to be a long, long road. But the survivors will rebuild, move on, and become stronger as a result.

Resources:
The City of Moore Recovers
All-encompassing list of immediate needs, shelters, emergency services and more
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Feed the Children

En español
Red Cross
Moore Oklahoma Tornado Info Facebook
Resources for pets and animals

Edit: At this time the death toll has been revised and lowered to 24. Here’s hoping it stays down.

Life is Music May 15, 2013: ‘You Rang? Here’s Your Cuffs’ Edition

It’s another rudieTuesdayWednesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

In case you hadn’t heard, news broke Monday that the Justice Department subpoena’d a whole bunch of Associated Press phone records, supposedly as part of an investigation into a failed terror plot. The story spread fairly quickly; this isn’t just big news for journalists, but for anyone who makes phone calls. Or texts. Or has some sort of conversation with others in a form that can be recorded.

For journalists, if this can be allowed, sources can’t necessarily be kept anonymous. For whistleblowers and sources, who already face an inordinate amount of pressure to keep their blowholes far away from any whistle or face the consequences, this may be even less incentive to step forward.

This is also pretty bad-looking for the Obama admin, which keeps hailing itself for transparency and yet seems to keep taking awfully bumbling and obvious steps towards opaqueness.

For this week’s story, I’m going with The Slackers’ “Information Error.” It’s in honor of this “error” of secrecy in the Justice Department’s method of obtaining the memos. It’s for the fact that any information we transmit is becoming more and more subject to scrutiny and guilt until proven innocence “in this age of terror.” And it’s because The Slackers help me feel better when things are looking bleak.

Free ska comp from Dying Scene: Pick it up

Ska-Punk’s glory days of mainstream success and radio air play may have come and gone with yesteryear but the punk sub-genre is far from fading into obscurity. In fact it’s very much alive and well, and we’ve got the bands to prove it. “Skaface: Evolution” is a compilation that focuses on the “punkier” side of ska-punk, highlighting bands that convey the speed or angst that originally helped define our beloved genre. Through trombones, trumpets, saxaphones and upstroked guitars the mode of “ska” delivery varies but the musical aesthetic of this group of artists is undeniably “punk rock.”

We’re releasing this digital comp simply because we think the bands it features are badass and deserve a little more attention in the punk scene at large. It features quality tunes from 15 amazing ska-punk acts, including previously unreleased material from Big D And The Kids Table, Mustard Plug, Mad Caddies, 4 Aspirin Morning, Ghetto Blaster and Huge Puppies.

– Dying Scene releases free comp: “Skaface: Evolution” (features unreleased Big D, Mustard Plug, Mad Caddies and more)

Every day is a good day for ska! Every day is an even better day when that ska comes in the form of a free comp with some killer bands. Ska’s not dead as long as there’s people who love it.

Download it here.

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