Are You Ready For Some Football?

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TOMORROW IS SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!

There have been some songs that, for one reason or another, have become attached to sporting events. I’ve listed below some of the ones that I’m familiar with… they’re all classics. ALL of them (I stress the word “ALL“) should be played tomorrow, especially the first song.

I said, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST SONG.

It’d be interesting to find out how some of these songs became stadium standards. Who was the first to play Queen‘s “We Will Rock You,” or Gary Glitter‘s “Rock and Roll Part 2?” What sort of mad genius started this trend?

What I’d like for you to do is to answer this question. Yes, your report needs to be typed (double-spaced), and you will need at least five sources. MLA format is recommended, and make it about… oh… twelve pages long.

Please cite your sources correctly. One major pet peeve of mine is poor citations. If you’re not sure what the MLA format is, click here.

Yes, grammar and spelling will count. Presentation is pretty darn important as well… so make sure you line your report folder with, say… a couple of twenty Benjamins.

I expect this report to be completed by kickoff time on Sunday, so you’d best git movin’.

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Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Chargers Anthem (P.O.D.)

Download: Rock & Roll Part 2 (Gary Glitter)

Download: We Will Rock You (Queen)

Download: Thunderstruck (AC/DC)

Download: Welcome To The Jungle (Guns N’ Roses)

Download: Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

Download: The Final Countdown (Europe)

Download: Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) (Steam)

Download: We Are The Champions (Queen)

This Week’s Top 5 Most Played Songs From Swap’s iTunes


The Rules: I reset the play counters for all the songs currently on my iTunes. Then at the end of every week, I check to see what the top five most played songs are. Whatever happens to be in this top five are then presented in order here from most played to least. If I have posted a particular song in the past, then I will bypass that song and post the next in line. If one artist dominates the list, then I will write about that artist in lieu of a Top Five list.

The very first month of 2009 is coming to an end. This means… SUPER BOWL TIME!!!!!

GO CHARGERS!

Aw, rats.

I guess there’s nothing more to do but take a look at This Week’s Top 5 Most Played Songs From Swap’s iTunes

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Sinner in a Sin (live) – Bo Bice

The death of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s keyboardist, Billy Powell, hit me harder than I thought it would. Powell was one of my biggest influences in rock keyboards, and to lose his talent was… well, unexpected.

I guess his death brought back many fond memories of being on tour with Bo Bice, because it was through Bo that I even had the chance to meet Billy. These memories turned into spinning my favorite song of Bo’s, “Sinner in a Sin.”

The track is off his second release, See the Light, but the version I listened to most this week was from a live performance he gave just last year.

I think this is one of his finest performances… I played this version 14 times this week… pretty much all in one day.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Sinner in a Sin (live on the MDA Telethon)

Bo Bice on Amazon
Bo Bice on iTunes
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No Surrender (live) – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen‘s new album, Working on a Dream, was released this last Tuesday. I’ve read some really great to some really not-so-great reviews of the record, which is a bit surprising for a Bruce album… I’m gonna spend some time with it this weekend and give it some good spins before I pass my verdict.

Oddly enough, one of my least favorite tracks from his blockbuster album, Born in the U.S.A., has become one of my favorites. I thought the production of “No Surrender” was terrible on the record because the fast pace and uptempo simply didn’t fit the sentiment of the song… I think he finally got it right in his Live 75-85 box set. He slowed it down, and performed it acoustically.

MUCH better.

This version I listened to this week is an acoustic version, but from his 1996 solo tour. It’s a departure from both official releases, but fits nicely into the tone of the song.

So maybe if you didn’t like Working on a Dream, it’s simply because of the production… you just never know… songs have a tendency to hit their stride after some live shows.

Download: No Surrender (acoustic live live @ univ of akron, oh, 9.25.96)

Bruce Springsteen on Amazon
Bruce Springsteen on iTunes
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The Devil is My Running Mate – Jason Isbell

I became a fan of Jason Isbell through his work with The Drive-By Truckers. After splitting with the Truckers, Isbell released his first solo effort, Sirens of the Ditch, to some excellent reviews and acclaim.

It’s a wonderful album, and it’s one that seems to find its way into my stereo every now and then, without my even realizing it. Isbell’s song writing has always been overshadowed by his guitar work, so it was great to se that Sirens showcased both of those talents equally.

I played “The Devil is My Running Mate” eight times this week… the song is haunting, familiar, and relatable… who doesn’t feel this way?

Isbell is set to release his second album on February 17. Be one the lookout here at TheFrontloader.com for more Jason Isbell news!

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: The Devil is My Running Mate

Jason Isbell on Amazon
Jason Isbell on iTunes
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Back Where I Come From – Kenny Chesney

“Back Where I Come From” has always been my favorite Kenny Chesney song. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown tired of his “beach-cowboy” image, or maybe it’s because it’s just a damn good song.

I used to play this song during soundchecks because it’s a fun song to sing. My buddy Patrick and I would sing it together… I’d often forget the second verse and he’d pick up the slack.

There have been a gazillion country songs with the same theme as “Back Where I Come From,” and I’m sure I haven’t heard them all. I wonder if Chesney has actually gone back to where he comes from?

“Back Where I Come From” was spun six times this week.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Back Where I Come From

Kenny Chesney on Amazon
Kenny Chesney on iTunes
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You – Abra Moore

I rediscovered Abra Moore‘s “You” this week. It’s off her latest release, On the Way, and has just been sitting in my iTunes for the longest time.

Abra Moore‘s 1997 record, Strangest Places caught my ear when I saw her perform “Four Leaf Clover” on some late night show… her voice is really a thing of beauty.

“You” was played five times this week (it’ll most likely get more plays next week as I’m totally digging the whole album now). The song totally soothes the soul.

“Where you go, love will follow.”

LOVE that line!

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: You

Abra Moore on Amazon
Abra Moore on iTunes
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I’m going to root for The Steelers because if they win, then at least I can say that MY team, The Chargers, lost to the Super Bowl Champs.

And in the end, MY feelings are what matters the most.

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Bruce Springsteen Press Conference & NFL.com Interview

Springsteen Interview

Bruce Springsteen gave his first news conference in 21 years yesterday (1/29). According to newsday.com, Bruce first addressed the packed banquet room by saying, “If there’s going to be a lot of questions about football, this is going to be the shortest press conference ever because I don’t know anything about it.”

When asked what songs he and The E Street Band would be playing at halftime, Bruce said, “I’m the Boss! The Boss decides what we play. Nobody else decides. People suggest. Hint. Beg. Cajole. But I decide.”

Udpate: Just came across audio courtesy of the LA Times, and some video courtesy of the Wall Street Journal (thanks to our friends at Blogness on the Edge of Town for the heads up). You can listen to the full press conference here, and here is a video clip:

Following the press conference, Bruce sat down with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen to talk about the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show. It’s an interesting interview. Springsteen discusses why, after a long and brilliant career, he’s finally decided to play the Super Bowl show.

“We’re just there to make the fireworks look good,” he jokes.

Click here to watch the interview.

Bruce won’t reveal anything about the halftime show setlist, so I’m posting a couple of songs that I hope make it in the show.

WHOA! Lookie there… nothing from Working On A Dream. Whoops.

I’m gonna have to think about that one…

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Born to Run (live, Dec 29, 1980 Nassau Coliseum)

Download: The Promised Land (live, Dec 29, 1980 Nassau Coliseum)

In Memory of Billy Powell (June 3, 1952 – January 28, 2009)

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I’ll never forget the first time I met Billy Powell. It was in Atlantic City, backstage at the VH-1 Decades Rock Live show for Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was still on tour with Bo Bice, who was invited to make a guest appearance for the program. Although I did not get to jam with Skynyrd, I was able to wander around the grounds, and was able to meet some legends. Hank Williams, Jr. was there, Kid Rock showed up backstage, Three Doors Down made an appearance, and, of course, the guys from Skynyrd.

Some of us in Bo’s band were hanging out in the hallway of the dressing rooms when Billy Powell walked in to get ready for the interview portion of the show. Everyone knew how much I revered Powell’s keyboard playing, so they encouraged me to go introduce myself. At first I did not want to… I was so extremely star-struck, I didn’t even know what I would say.

“Just tell him you think he’s great!” the guys told me.

“Ok!” I said as I slowly walked towards Billy.

He could see me coming a mile away… but Billy stood there and let me approach him. This was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life… I get to meet Billy Powell!!! I kept looking back to the guys for support. They waved me forward, mouthing words like, “Go on!” and “Do it!” My confidence grew with each step until I was finally standing in front of Mr. Powell.

He stared at me, expecting me to say the first words, but I just stood there.

Silence.

He kept staring at me, smiling, probably wondering, “What’s with this guy?”

I finally mustered up the strength to say all the things I’ve always wanted to say to him… I wanted to tell him how much I love his playing, how he’s been such a big influence on me… but all that came out was:

“You’re Billy Powell.”

Billy replied with, “Yes, I am Billy Powell.”

Silence.

“You’re… Billy Powell!”

His smile widened… “Yes, I am Billy Powell.”

“Wow. You’re Billy Powell!”

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Me & Billy Powell’s keyboards

What happened next is something I’ll never forget. Billy looked at me, then to the room he was supposed to go into, and said, “I’m gonna go now… into this room. Ok? Here I go…”

And with that, Billy Powell smiled and went to do the interview segment.

I just stood there and waved. I think I stood there for a good thirty seconds before I realized that I never got a picture with him, nor did I even shake his hand.

When I turned towards the guys, who had watched the entire exchange, they all had looks on their faces like they had eaten a whole lemon. Some of them gave me the thumbs-up sign… “Nice!” was all they could think of saying to me.

Well, I watched most of the show backstage, standing right in view of Billy Powell’s hands. I still marveled at his playing style, the notes that he chose, and how fluid he was with just about everything he did.

Right after the show, Billy passed me again in the hallway. Just like before, I froze up… but this time, he pointed to me, saying, “Hey, I’m Billy Powell!” Billy then grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously. I swore I would never wash my hand again.

And I haven’t… to this very day. You do NOT want to see this computer keyboard.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to not only have had the opportunity to see Billy play live, but to also have had the chance to meet him. His legacy will live on in all the Skynyrd records, and within the hands and hearts of the thousands of keyboardists he had a direct hand in inspiring. I’m gonna go spin some Skynyrd now… you should do the same…

Fly, Free Bird… Fly.

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Free Bird (demo)

Download: Call Me the Breeze

Kings of Leon Live: 12-10-08


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Here’s an awesome bootleg from Kings of Leon, dated 12-10-08. This show was in support of their latest record, Only By the Night, a record that has earned its place on many “Best Of 2008” lists, despite fan accusations of “selling out” and “going too commercial.” I’ve been a fan of Kings of Leon since Aha Shake Heartbreak, and although I can understand the fans’ apparent disapproval of the change in sound, I can’t see why that is such a negative thing.

This bootleg takes the songs from Only By the Night and puts it onto an even playing field with their older material, and as you’ll be able to tell, Only By the Night songs can hold their own without the “commercial” production.

The opener, “Crawl,” absolutely, positively, and in all other ways, kicks ARSE. I swear I could play this track alone for days and be satisfied. If you’re a fan of the album version, you will LOVE this live take.

As always, bootlegs are great introductions to bands, so if you’re not familiar with Kings of Leon, take the time and listen.

There are twenty tracks in all here, but never fear, we’ve ZIPPED it up for you.

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Kings of Leon on Amazon
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Your Dig-It Downloads:

Kings of Leon – Live at National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, England (12-10-08)

Download: Crawl

Download: My Party

Download: Razz

Download: Molly’s Chambers

Download: Joe’s Head

Download: Fans

Download: Revelry

Download: Milk

Download: Four Kicks

Download: Pistol Of Fire

Download: Wasted Time

Download: Sex On Fire

Download: The Bucket

Download: I Want You

Download: Notion

Download: Use Somebody

Download: On Call

Download: Closer

Download: Knocked Up

Download: Black Thumbnail

I’m With (And Without) The Band… New Releases


album news

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Fiction Family – Fiction Family (1/20/09)

Fiction Family is Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek and Jon Foreman of Switchfoot. Last week they released their self-titled album, the first from the duo. The album features 12 original tracks written, arranged and recorded by Watkins and Foreman at their homes in San Diego. Of the album, Foreman says, “We came up with a few cowboy rules for the project: No double tracking. No pussyfooting. No tuning of vocals. etc… With very few exceptions, every note was written, arranged, played and recorded by Sean and myself.”

Both Watkins and Foreman are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, so they took turns singing lead vocals, and both played several instruments on each song. Nickel Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins, whose debut album is scheduled to be released in April, is featured on a few songs.

Fiction Family is currently on tour in support of the release, and the guys have been keeping fans updated on their road blog. For tour dates and other information on the duo, visit their official site.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: When She’s Near (Fiction Family)

Fiction Family on Amazon
Fiction Family on iTunes
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Nickel Eye – The Time of the Assassins (1/27/09)

Nickel Eye is the side project of The Strokes’ bassist Nikolai Fraiture. While the Strokes have been on hiatus, Nikolai decided to adapt some of his old poems and writings into music. The result of that is Nickel Eye’s first album, The Time of Assassins, which was released today (1/27) on Rykodisc.

The album, which includes guest appearances by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Regina Spektor, is inspired by some of his favorite artists, such as Neil Young, Frank Black, Leonard Cohen and The Kinks.

According to the Nickel Eye myspace profile, a video for “Brandy of the Damned”, one track from the album, is nearly ready for release, and a Daytrotter session is in the works.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Back From Exile (The Time of the Assassins)

Nickel Eye on Amazon
Nickel Eye on iTunes
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Neal Casal – Roots & Wings (1/27/09)

Best known most recently for his work as guitarist with Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, singer/songwriter Neal Casal follows up his 2007 Rain, Wind and Speed release with a new album, Roots & Wings. There has been very little fanfare surrounding this release… but I can tell you that Casal does a wonderful job on this 16 track album and is definitely returning to his folk-rock/Americana roots.

If you’re a fan of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, you’ll enjoy this record. Casal has quite a few releases under his belt, dating back to 1995 with his debut album, Fade Away Diamond Time. This new offering would be a nice introduction to his style and voice.

Roots & Wings is available exclusively on Casal’s website and can be purchased in a variety of physical and digital formats. Casal is also offering a free download of a track from the album, “Cold Waves”, if you sign up for his email list.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Tomorrow’s Sky (Roots & Wings)

Neal Casal on iTunes
Neal Casal on iTunes
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Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (2/10/09)

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys will be releasing his solo debut, Keep It Hid, on February 10th. With his Black Keys bandmate Patrick Carney, Auerbach has recorded five critically acclaimed full-length albums, beginning with 2002’s The Big Come Up. In 2008, Attack and Release debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at 14, marking The Black Keys’ highest position to date.

The Black Keys are on the road touring, and following the release of Keep It Hid, Auerbach will set out on a national tour in support of his album. Those Darlins and Hacienda will be opening for Auerbach, with Hacienda taking on the role of Auerbach’s backing band.

Along with his work with The Black Keys and his solo endeavor, Auerbach also has his own record label, Polymer Sounds.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: The Prowl (Keep It Hid)

Dan Auerbach on Amazon

The songs posted above are for sampling purposes… to give you a taste of the music. If you like what you hear, I encourage you to support the artists… pick up the albums, attend a show, spread the word. The only way they can continue is through our support.

Counting Crows: Mr. Jones

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When I think of Counting Crows, the first thing I think of is how they were trying to copy The Black Crowes by wanting to be “crows.” Let me just settle this right now… when people refer to “The Crow(e)s,” they’re talking about The Black Crowes, and nobody else. There. I said it.

The second thing I think about when I think of Counting Crows is their amazing debut record, August and Everything After. Originally released in 1993, this album remains their most popular because of the various hit singles off of it, “Rain King,” “Round Here,” and their biggest hit to date, “Mr. Jones.”

“Mr. Jones” hit the Top 10 in April of 1994 and helped push August and Everything After‘s climb into the Top 10. August and Everything After eventually went on to sell more than 4 million copies, a number that they haven’t reached again. I’m going to state for the record that I think their sophomore album, Recovering the Satellites, is their best record… that really doesn’t have anything to do with this article, I just thought I’d throw that in there.

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The meaning behind “Mr. Jones” has always brought up conversation. When I first heard about the song, I was under the impression that the song was about longing for fame and fortune because of the line, “When I look at the televison I want to see me staring right back at me.”

It wasn’t until I saw Counting Crows on VH-1’s Storytellers that I discovered the real meaning behind the song. I was close, but not exactly right… here’s what singer Adam Duritz said on the program (thanks to CountingCrowsFAQ for the transcription):

“It’s really a song about my friend Marty and I. We went out one night to watch his dad play, his dad was a flamenco guitar player who lived in Spain, and he was in San Francisco in the mission playing with his old flamenco troupe. And after the gig we all went to this bar called the New Amsterdam in San Francisco on Columbus and we got completely drunk. And Marty and I sat at the bar staring at these two girls, wishing there was *some* way we could go talk to them, but we were, we were too shy. And we thought, we kept joking with each other, that if we were big rock stars instead of such loser, low-budget musicians, we’d be able to, this would be easy. And I went home that night and I wrote a song about it.

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And I joke about what’s it about, that story. But it’s really a song about all the dreams and all the things that make you want to go in to , you know, doing whatever it is that like seizes your heart, whether it’s being a rock star or being a doctor or whatever it is, you know. And I mean, those things run from like ‘all this stuff I have pent up inside of me’ to , ‘I want to meet girls’ you know, because I’m tired of not being able to. And it is a lot of those things, it’s about all those dreams. But it’s also kind of cautionary because it’s about how misguided you may be about some of those things and how hollow they may be too. Like the character in the song keeps saying, ‘When everybody loves me I will never be lonely.’ And you’re supposed to know that that’s not the way it’s gonna be, probably. I knew that even then.

And this is a song about my dreams”

“What???” you say? “It’s not about his D**K?”

Yeah, that was another interpretation that was floating around. As Duritz explains in the Storytellers episode, “When we did the interview for Rolling Stone, I walked with David Wilde into the [Muse De Ce] in Paris one day and the first thing that happened was these two kids ran up to us and said, “Hey! You’re the guy from Counting Crows, right?” And I said, ‘yeah.’ And he said, “Is Mr. Jones about your dick?” I wanted to kill the guy because I knew where that was going to end up, which is the first paragraph of the article in Rolling Stone.”

Here’s the music video for the song. I always dug how Duritz wore his jeans inside his boots. And I’m gonna have him arrested because he stole all my dance moves.

I’ve posted the Storytellers performance in the Dig-It section below, along with an another acoustic version that starts with some funky Duritz falsetto-thing. I actually prefer this version to the Storytellers because of his vocal performance. He’s got more conviction here, which is great to hear.

The Storytellers version is really interesting, though. The song starts off with lyrics from The Byrds“So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star?” and he changes up the bridge and last verse to reflect the effects of success. It’s funny to see what fame and fortunes does to you.

Makes you wonder if Duritz would still write a song like this if he knew then what he knows now.

But that’s the beauty of a snapshot… you can’t take it back.

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Counting Crows on Amazon
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Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Mr. Jones (original version)

Download: Mr. Jones (acoustic)

Download: Mr. Jones (VH-1 Storytellers acoustic)

It’s YOUR Year to Shine!!!! (if you’re an ox)


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Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

Yes, it’s Chinese New Year, and it’s the year of the Ox. For all you Oxen out there, WOO HOO!!!!!

For all that aren’t, Awwwww… maybe next year.

What does it mean to be an Ox? I have NO idea! But enjoy!

Right now you’re probably wondering how the Chinese developed their version of the Zodiac. There are twelve animals in all: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. It takes twelve years to go through the cycle… but how was this order determined?

Being Chinese myself, I was told a story of the Chinese Zodiac Origin when I was very young… there are a few versions out there, but this is the one I’m most familiar with

(thanks to Chinavoc.com for the write up!)

A race was used to decide the order of the animals. They were all to cross a river and report to the Jade Emperor…

The cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, overcome with a fierce competitiveness, the rat decided that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat has never forgiven the rat, and hates the water as well. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it claimed first place in the competition.

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Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting, while explaining to the Emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.

Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race but the rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle.

Coming in 5th place was the dragon, flying and belching fire into the air. Of course, the Emperor was deeply curious as to why a strong and flying creature such as the dragon should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back a little. Then, on his way to the finish line, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging on to a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the horse appeared. Hidden on the horse’s hoof is the snake, whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright, thus making it fall back and gave the snake 6th spot while the horse took the 7th.

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Not long after that, a little distance away, the ram, monkey and rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the ram and the monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the ram as the 8th creature, the monkey as the 9th, and the rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal is the dog. His explanation for being late—although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest—was that he needed a good bath after a long spell, and the fresh water from the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn’t make it to finish line.

Just as the Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig. The pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat finished too late (thirteenth) to win any place in the calendar, and vowed to be the enemy of the rat forevermore.

Make sure you eat some fish today! That’s GOOD luck! And do NOT clean anything!!! That’s BAD luck!

And now, for your Chinese New Year enjoyment, is Monty Python‘s wonderful tribute to the Chinese folk of the world, “I Like Chinese.”

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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Your Dig-It Download:

Download: I Like Chinese (Monty Python)

No Reunions For You!


tour news

This post should really be categorized as NO Tour News,” because it turns out that there will be no reunions of any kind this year for Led Zeppelin or The Faces.

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Regarding the Led Zeppelin reunion tour… Robert Plant did not want to do a tour with his ex-bandmates, even after their hugely successful 2007 one-off show. He made his point in the Uk’s Sunday Times by stating that, “The whole idea of being on a cavalcade of merciless repetition is not what it’s all about.” Although I would have been thrilled with a Zeppelin tour, I can understand his point. Plant has carved out a nice solo career for himself, and he’s all about moving forward.

The remaining members (Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) were still pushing for the tour, though. They teamed up with drummer Jason Bonham (John Bonham’s son), and began the process of auditioning singers to replace Plant.

Last September, Plant expressed his disinterest in the whole idea again by posting on his official site this statement: “It‘s both frustrating and ridiculous for this story to continue to rear its head when all the musicians that surround the story are keen to get on with their individual projects and move forward. I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects.”

As you would have guessed, nobody, and I mean nobody could replace Plant. At first Page, Jones, and Bonham wanted to tour under some other name than “Led Zeppelin”, but now they are simply dropping all of it.

Page’s manager, Peter Mensch, made this point abundantly clear on MusicRadar.com by saying, “Led Zeppelin are over! If you didn’t see them in 2007 [when they played a one-off reunion at London’s O2 Arena], you missed them. It’s done. I can’t be any clearer than that.” He goes on to explain, “They tried out a few singers, but no one worked out. That was it. The whole thing is completely over now. There are absolutely no plans for them to continue. Zero. Frankly, I wish everybody would stop talking about it.”

Okaley-dokaley, Mr. Mensch… but if it’s ok with you, here’s a rare outtake of “Friends” for us to enjoy.

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Friends (outtake)

Led Zeppelin on Amazon
Led Zeppelin on iTunes
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I have to admit that I was quite hopeful for a Faces reunion, especially after the surviving members got together for a much publicized rehearsal. We here at TheFrontloader.com were so excited about it, we posted an old Faces bootleg to celebrate the occasion. There were rumors about recruiting Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea, to replace Ronnie Lane… there were rumors about a new album in the works…

Turns out that none of that was happening, though. In a recent Billboard article, it was reported that a spokesperson for Rod Stewart issued this statement: “There are no plans for a Faces reunion tour this year.” In addition, a spokesperson for Flea seemed confused by saying that Flea “knows nothing” about a possible Faces tour.

Ratfarts.

Going back to Plant’s statement about “The whole idea of being on a cavalcade of merciless repetition is not what it’s all about,” do you agree with him, or do you enjoy seeing these older bands hit the road again? The Van Halen reunion tour wasn’t actually a “reunion” because it didn’t feature all of the original members, and the whole notion of The Doors without Jim Morrison was ludicrous for me… but nobody can argue that The Police‘s reunion tour wasn’t $340 million successful.

Do you think these reunion tours hurt or help the legendary status of these bands?

Here’s a live performance of The Faces“Flying” to simmer on.

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Flying (live)

Faces on Amazon
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Featured Artist: Elevation

Being in a band isn’t as easy as it may seem. Musicians will often compare the band relationship to a marriage… personalities will often clash, disagreements will arise, and breaking up is sometimes the single most difficult thing to do because everyone wants to do what’s best for the group, and not for the individual. Joining a band is a huge commitment, not only to the other members, but to the music as well.

Atlanta’s Elevation is a great example of the heights a band can achieve by rebuilding until they get it right. Originally formed in 2002 by singer Nathan Smith, Elevation has taken a few years to put all the pieces together, but now that the members have been solidified, they’ve released an excellent new album called Strangelove. It’s loud, it’s big, it’s rockin’, it’s emotional, and it’s really, really, really catchy.

My first introduction to Elevation was their first single, “Razoreyes.” This song is a fine representation of their sound… it’s got a retro feel to it, but as a whole it’s as current as the daily news. The pseudo-disco beat immediately catches your attention, and once the chorus hits, you’re hooked. “Razoreyes” also showcases their excellent pop sensibility, as there are hooks pretty much everywhere in the song. It took me a good day and a half to get the chorus out of my head.

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After digging on “Razoreyes” for a while, it was time to move on to the rest of the album. Strangelove is full of songs that I can hear on the radio right NOW. The production, musicianship, and song writing would all have absolutely no problems sliding into any rock radio program, but don’t let that statement fool you… although Elevation writes some excellent pop songs, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more underneath the surface.

One of the many examples of this for me is the beautiful “Not Going to Beg.” This delicate piano driven piece brings Smith’s voice front and center, and I think this is his finest performance on the record. The song has a gorgeous melody, yes… but it’s how he handles the melody that pulled me in as a listener. He’s got a set of pipes, that’s for sure, but “Not Going to Beg” showed me that he’s able to be vulnerable without losing any of his strength.

I love how he sings the line, “And the way you looked at me just sank my heart.”

While looking through the Internet for more info on Elevation, I came across this studio video of “Not Going to Beg.” Take a few minutes and watch it… it’ll give you an idea of how the song came together.

I’ve posted this track in the Dig-it section below, along with the single, “Razoreyes.”

Another choice track is “Be Free.” This uplifting song begs to be performed live, and is, hands down, my favorite song off the album. The structural simplicity allows the rest of the band to take the time to work their dynamics, and they definitely work it to the limit. The coda is just as huge as you hoped it would end up being… I have a feeling that this is a show-stopper in their live performances.

“Be Free” is also one of the stronger lyrical moments for the band. I dig the message of the chorus:

The world still turns as you sleep
So just let it be
Come on be free
It’s all right to believe in the things you can’t see
Come on be free

Some sound advice given there. It may not be a new message, but it’s one that I think a lot of us can relate to.

Strangelove carries a hefty fifteen tracks, so it might take a while to digest it. It’s a fun listen, though, and well worth the time spent. Good song writing is always the number one priority for any record, and Elevation has put together a quality collection here. Without the song, nothing else matters.

The album was released in August 2008, so the band is still out on the road in support of it. They’ll be in Athens, GA for a couple of shows starting tonight… if you’re in the area, go check them out. Judging by the energy they show on the record, I have no doubt that you’ll get your money’s worth.

Here are the details on those two Athens shows:

Jan 26 2009 @ 9:00P – TASTY WORLD w/Lights Resolve in Athens, Georgia
Jan 27 2009 @ 9:00P – MASQUERADE w/Lights Resolve in Atlanta, Georgia

Visit the band on MySpace. You’ll find a few more songs to sample, and a short video documentary on the band.

Also, the band has just launched their “Easiest Contest Ever” contest. All you have to do is add their single, “Razoreyes” to either your MySpace or Facebook profiles… the first twenty people who do this will receive a free, autographed copy of Strangelove. You can check out the details on their MySpace blog.

Pick up the record, dig it, share it, see a show, grab some swag, spread the word…

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Elevation’s official site
Elevation on Amazon
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Your Dig-It Downloads: (right click on link to download)

Download: Razoreyes (radio edit)

Download: Not Going to Beg