Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baseball and Portishead back for '08

Baseball Returns

Enough with steroids, new stadiums (DC and coming soon to NY, Minn. and Florida), crossover promotion and even the winter leagues, I'm ready for the real deal. I have the 2008 Preview issue of Baseball Digest, and that's all I need (and Street and Smith's) right now.

Baseball Digest is the place you go to read about the game from a historical perspective, comparable to MOJO, the english classic rock magazine. In a world of pitch-by-pitch updates on cell phones, I still find their content fascinating. The letters, the quiz, old man John Kuenster's editorial and The Game I'll Never Forget are features I love. The Goose is in the new issue too as this year's sole Hall of Fame inductee.

It's now down to 8 issues a year after going from 12 to ten a few years ago. I hope BB Digest is around forever but turnarounds aren't typical in show business. Please read and subscribe to Baseball Digest if you are into baseball. They recently put out a book compiling their greatest stories, The Best of Baseball Digest, which is a nice resource on many players and topics.

The baseball digest letters section is great for people griping and looking up old info, as well as stating an opinion. It's similar to the MOJO letters column, where our old friend Daniel Makagon (formerly of KXLU, Los Angeles and WMTU, Houghton MI) recently called out my hero and client Elvis Costello in response to an epic interview (conducted at the Lincoln Memorial) where Elvis said he would never make another album and never play another show in England! Makagon thought EC was hypocritical for re-releasing his catalog several times essentially. There were a lot of negative reactions, but in my book (and my blog), Elvis can't do much wrong.

Fear Nuttin' Band

Fear Nuttin' concludes their tour with The Toasters and looking for stations to visit. Please read below about a band who's album I promoted years ago that started out just like Fear Nuttin'. They are a fierce combo of dance-hall reggae and hard rock. Sir Walford of WCDB Albany will probably be our first stop and accurately compared them to the Bad Brains. Sir Walford is a legendary roots reggae dj who has been on the station since the 80s and has a ton of listeners to both "The Other Side of Sir Walford" and "The Many Moods of Sir Walford."

Joseph Israel

Joseph hits Miami hard tomorrow with the Marley family at Carifest, and continues on to the following: 3/2: Jacksonville; 3/3 Wilmington; 3/4 Asheville; 3/5 Falls Church; 3/6 New York City; 3/8 Canton NY; 3/9: Boston; 3/10 New Market NH; 3/11 Rochester NY; 3/12 Athens OH; 3/13: Cincinnati OH; 3/15 Fayetteville AR

Willie Nelson
The new video features Jessica Simpson, Paula Nelson, Ben Dorsey, Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Willie in the First Bad Boy Lawn Mower Race through Luck TX. (embedding disabled so please click to view)

Buddy Miles RIP
The LA Times obituary says he sang for the California Raisins as well as playing drums with Jimi Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield, two of the greatest guitarists ever. Here's a bit of Buddy Miles as I remember him best:

Portishead back for 2008, fresh as ever

Our friends Portishead return with a new album in April. In 1994, with the grunge revolution still going strong, earbender took a project no other indies were interested in, the debut by Portishead, Dummy, and it made it to the top 10. I'm glad they are back but will be at Jazzfest when they do their Coachella thing. An interview with artist Jonathan Coulton on where he described the loyalty of his fans, generated slowly and steadily via blogging reminded me of Portishead.

College radio is where Portishead engendered such loyal fans that ten years later, they come back to headline the best festival in the USA. Portishead will have good songs, and the passage of time makes me wonder how their sound might have changed (especially now that so many have caught up and adopted spy music/beats/chanteuse style. But I will be at Jazzfest for the re-debut.

Paula Nelson on KUT 2/27

In anticipation of SXSW, here's a bit of our client Paula Nelson on KUT this past Wednesday. Paula will also be broadcasting live from the legendary south Austin spot The Saxon Pub tonight on, so please tune in. The Saxon Pub is a great hang where Poodie once gave me the definitions of "Friday Night Hero" and "Pressure Cooker" strip clubs in the same story. It's going to be a fun night and Paula's album Lucky 13 is coming soon.

If you can't make it to Austin, you can virtually visit the Best Pub in Britain.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Want to Believe opens, Willie Nelson on Democracy Now! and KEXP hits NY

Cai Guo-Qiang had the big opening at the Guggenheim last night and it was pretty spectacular. Here's some video to give you a small sample. There were also great gunpowder paintings, the wolves they showed in the newspaper, pigs, snakes, tigers and other thought-provoking images of China, nature, commerce, politics, etc.

Willie Nelson appeared on the 12th Anniversary show of Democracy Now this week. Please click on this link to hear Willie go off in words and song.

KEXP Radio Liberation had its launch party on Thursday night. Kevin Cole told me the project has been two years in the making and as a fan of diversity in music, this is a good thing for New York. Some folks mis-interpreted my comments about WRXP. It's not that I expect them to play James Brown and Run DMC, I just wanted to say that white music for white people is not my bag.

KEXP (mistakenly referred to as "WKEXP" on stage by Antibalas) Radio Liberation brought a youthful and ethnically mixed crowd to their event... has there been a WRXP New York Rock Experience launch party? I assume they will have a street team at the upcoming Springsteen show along with a wrapped van, and I'll be on the lookout. SBR Creative was shaken up by the first wrapped vehicle in adult rock, which I brought to the R&R conference in 2001, so I look forward to seeing what they do. Being "world class" they should use the Smart, but being green isn't part of the yuppie identity here like on the west coast.

Here's a snip of Antibalas from KEXP/Radio Liberation's launch party:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Earbender Reggae/Radio Refresher

It's all coming together! This is the first post I am making that is connected to an eblast, so if you are visiting via my email, thanks for stopping by. Earbender has been up for a few months and I have made some posts that combine my interests in music, sports, pop culture and politics. Hopefully these are topics that compliment and conspire with the music I am talking about too. It's supposed to be more flavorful than just promoting, and hopefully informative too.

Joseph Israel "Mankind"

Baseball and ethics seem to be the main focus on Cardboard Gods, and I'm proud to tell you they are the first sports page to list a link to earbender. Reflecting out our diverse topics, college radio page "Spinning Indie," political reporter Daniel Patterson on "Creepy Sleepy" and (cough) "Celeb Stoner" all now have a link to this page on theirs.

I wasn't surprised to read in the NY Times that Gitmo inspires art. They just haven't found a way to silence them yet, apparently.

In an age where racism has such dramatic implications, why not get into some reggae which helps bring everyone together? Below are links to a couple of artists I am promoting, Fear Nuttin' and Joseph Israel, and while they have reggae/rasta/roots music in their hearts, they are both trying to take it further.

Fear Nuttin' "Pon di Block" video

Reggae for Children is a good thing

Hear some sweet music from Joseph Israel on Global Hit

For you classic rock fans, here is a great picture of the Rolling Stones and Martin Scorsese outside the Berlin premiere of the film "Shine a Light." I heard a few songs from outside the door of the Beacon Theatre, I'm sure it's going to be a good one. Here's a review from the London Times. Almost stole the poster from the Sony Imax too, would have if it was better looking. Did Robbie Conal create it?:

Monday, February 11, 2008

21st Century Gadgets, Reggae Tours

Check out the Squba, a Swiss made car that goes underwater, with a built in breathing apparatus. The roof stays off for easy escape. I also have some video from the Virgin Galactic Plane announced at the AMNH yesterday. I like the fact that we are starting to see some 21st Century, futuristic developments. The three main candidates for president all have a connection to the sixties... I wonder who America will choose.

What's the next level of Guitar Hero? It's such a good game that kids are buying the old records and even taking more of an interest in playing guitar. What could be next? A huge crossover market for Wii and the others to senior citizens is one result. Another I have been thinking of were Jazz Hero and Symphonic or Philharmonic interactive games. You could have the weirdest controllers for all kinds of instruments, and especially the baton for the conductor. It seems like older listeners would want to play this music but you probably need young tendons to play "Ornithology."

In the meantime, Guitar Hero III features Aerosmith.

The Virgin Galactic video:

Joseph Israel is on tour spreading reggae love in the following cities, with a new ep including classic rock conscious covers as well as performing originals from his most recent album "Gone Are the Days."

Feb 17-The Waiting Room, Omaha NE
Feb 20- The Snorty Horse, Springfield MO
Feb 21- VZD's, Oklahoma City OK
Mar 1 - 15th Annual Bob Marley Caribbean Festival, Miami FL
Mar 2 - Free Bird Live, Jacksonville FL
Mar 3 - 16 Taps, Wilmington NC
Mar 4 - Emerald Lounge, Asheville NC
Mar 5 - State Theater, Falls Church VA w/ Lionize
Mar 6 - Sullivan Hall, New York NY
Mar 8 - The Java Barn (St. Lawrence University) FREE SHOW, Canton NY
Mar 9 - Bill's Bar, Boston MA
Mar 10- The Stone Church, New Market, NH
Mar 11- Water Street Music Hall, Rochester NY
Mar 12- The Blue Gator, Athens OH
Mar 13- Annie's, Cincinnati OH
Mar 15- George's Majestic, Fayetteville AR
May 25- Desert Rocks Music Festival, Moab UT

Another great new artist I'm working with, Fear Nuttin' Band, is a hard rocking reggae hybrid now on tour with the Ska legends The Toasters. Fear Nuttin' Band is pumping YARDCORE, their new album which comes out on April 29 on BoDog Music. They rock hard, you should see them if you have the chance.

Fear Nuttin Band dates with The Toasters and beyond:
2/17 -- Pittsburgh, PA (Diesel); 2/18 -- Indianapolis (The Underground); 2/19 -- Cedar Falls (The Reverb); 2/20 -- Milwaukee (Miramar Theatre); 2/21 Minneapolis (Triple Rock Social Club); 2/22 -- Chicago (Reggie's Live); 2/23 -- St. Louis (On Broadway); 2/29 -- Northampton (Iron Horse)

I was sorry to hear that Roy Scheider died last weekend. He was a constant presence in a variety of action movies in the 70s, typically in the role of the non-conformist cop. He was huge as the Chief in Jaws, but how about this incredible chase scene from video from "The Seven-Ups"? They roll up 10th Avenue, onto Amsterdam Ave., the West Side Highway, GWB and Palisades Parkway.

Also on the 70s tip, an original blogger (he was opinionated on homemade media), Karl Ehrhardt, 'Sign man' of Shea Stadium, died at 83 this past week. Perhaps it's just as well it was without having to see Shea demolished next year. He was awesome, I sat near him on the 3rd base side many times. The signs were day-glo and dark blue (something lost in these pictures). He was funny and harsh at the same time. "I just called them the way I saw them" said Ehrhardt.

Karl Ehrhardt

Pimp C

The sad story of Bun B bravely carrying on in the wake of his partner Pimp C's sudden death at the end of last year was in The NY Times earlier this week. The article discussed Bun B's resolve and how he had carried on while Pimp C was incarcerated a few years ago, but turns very sad in the last paragraph:

"...But on Friday night it was hard not to be overwhelmed by what’s gone. Houston’s sad roll call keeps getting longer: not just Pimp C and Big Moe and DJ Screw, but also Fat Pat, H.A.W.K., Big Steve, Big Mello and others. A few years ago Houston hip-hop was exploding; now the boom has come and gone, leaving the survivors to plot their next moves. Backstage Bun B said, “We had a good run, now it’s time to knuckle down.” No doubt he’s right. But it won’t be the same."

My vibes to Bun B, all Pimp C's family and friends and the Rap-A-Lot label.

Here is Pimp C's "Knockin Doors Down" video, uncut version in tribute:

Friday, February 8, 2008

WRXP, The New York Rock Experience

WRXP, New York 101.9 FM went on air this week, the first new rock station in the city since maybe the last incarnation of WNEW in the 90s? The slogan is "WRXP, the New York Rock Experience, and it's run by some folks I know, Bryan Schock as Music Director and John Bradley of SBR Creative and Mike Henry of Paragon Media Strategies are consulting. For some reason, this is a very diffficult thing to do -- it's been years since anyone attempted anything different -- but I also think it is because WFUV, WSOU and WFMU are so excellent over the past few years especially. Good luck to all.

But thanks to modern technology (and my old Panasonic baseball game radio), you can decide for yourself, hit play below and tune in to hear a sample 45 minutes of WRXP, recorded this afternoon!

One fun thing they have on the air already, are little "rock memories" of New York as recalled by people who don't seem to have much local flavor. The stories are interesting, and detailed, such as one that mentioned Bob Dylan dedicating a song to George Harrison on stage at MSG. I must admit that I did have the full-on NY rock experience of hearing Springsteen's "Jungleland" and yelling "Clarence!" during the sax solo.

A truly bizarre promo mentions many old New York djs and radio stations, including some which are still in full effect: WPIX (which at 102.3 was a hair away from 101.9); WFUV, WPLJ, WNEW and Cousin Brucie. They left out Meg Griffin, a common thread in most of their spiel, Sirius Disorder, and the fact that WFUV is home to most of the old 'NEW djs and artists. We may as well throw in New Yorker Mike Marrone's XM station The Loft too even if he isn't around here in body (who else plays Dwight Twilley and Marshall Crenshaw as much?). When the promo had a quote from someone saying "when WPLJ was...", I went over to 95.5 to see. It's still there.

Speaking of Meg Griffin and Sirius, I only looked at my little baseball radio once to see what song was playing on the readout. It seems I've become accustomed to that great feature on satellite and on the ipod.

WRXP is also up against Cousin Brucie's old station WCBS, but will benefit massively by folks tuning back and forth between the two frequencies, based on MY way of listening at least.

I am not surprised that WRXP omits a large part of the New York Rock Experience (that btw all the other stations I have mentioned include): Black Americana music. They are pumping out white music for white people, a challenge especially without playing country artists (like Bon Jovi). There is plenty of new music and great old music to play but I feel people around here have more diverse taste and "experiences" even if they define themselves as rock fans. And some of the biggest artists come from these fringes or offshoots of rock.

RIP, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Times says he made the Beatles more productive. I say they were in the middle of nowhere and they were the Beatles, just w/o distraction.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hank Aaron, Bob Marley and Babe Ruth Birthdays

This week, I am into commemorating three of my heroes who happen to have a birthday within two days of each other, Hank Aaron (2/5) and also Bob Marley and Babe Ruth, who were both born on February 6. It was also Fat Tuesday yesterday, and the word from the Big Easy is that it was almost back to pre-Katrina levels in attendance.

I'll be forever loving Bob Marley! Here's a great version of "Forever Loving Jah" as sung by a cancer-ridden Bob about six months before his death in 1981 at age 36. I was moved by a great special on XM's Reggae station the Joint today that featured an extensive narrative of the group's early years by Bunny Wailer. He said the Wailers story was "magical and mystical" and I agree. Many thanks Bob Peter and especially Bunny!

I also dropped by the Giants parade (see video below) yesterday, celebrating their incredible win over the NE Pats in Super Bowl LXII. Take that, Red Sox nation! I was predicting a Giant win based on vibes and Sports Illustrated, and I let Patrick Bryant from WMBR, Cambridge know it ("your guys are going down and I can't wait to see it.") They cheated against the Jets, and they lost their perfect season to the Giants. Very sweet.

For years, I have been pumping up El Serie del Caribe (that's "Caribbean World Series" en ingl├ęs), and in recent years coverage has increased to the point where we now have two stations in New York as well as the great going almost all out. The lineups are at least 60-70% current major leaguers and the crowds and parks look great. I hope I get to see it someday.

One thing I didn't see was the last U2 tour. Sometimes you can't make it on your own, you know? I didn't work it that hard but I'm glad because I saw the film the other day and want to let everyone know that U2 3D is a GREAT concert movie, maybe one of the five best ever. Amazing music played well and the 3D effect is excellent. We see the band (like Larry hitting those drums!) in detail from many angles, never boring. After 30 years to have all the original members in a band is so great, it seems like no time has gone by at all. They have even survived a baldness gracefully.

Even the crowd shots in U2 3D convey nothing but energy, exuberance and joy from the kids who are packed in and pulsating in unison to the music. If you like U2, don't miss it.

Speaking of the great Hank Aaron, I was disappointed to hear that earbender Sports Personality of the Year Lewis Hamilton had been the target of racism from racing fans at a race held in Barcelona, Spain last weekend.

Another friend of ours with a Hank Aaron connect (they are both from Alabama) is Shelby Lynne, who appears on Craig Ferguson tomorrow night (2/7).

RIP, Pimp C, apparently the victim of a cough syrup overdose.

On the promotion front, our client Joseph Israel is back on tour:

Feb 6 - Broadway Oyster Bar, St. Louis MO
Feb 7 - Iowa City Yacht Club, Iowa City IA
Feb 9 - The Wild Hare, Chicago IL
Feb 10- Iowa State University @ The Maintenance Shop, Ames IA
Feb 14-The Record Bar, Kansas City MO
Feb 16-The Bottleneck, Lawrence KS
Feb 17-The Waiting Room, Omaha NE
Feb 20- The Snorty Horse, Springfield MO
Feb 21- VZD's, Oklahoma City OK
Mar 1 - 15th Annual Bob Marley Caribbean Festival, Miami FL
Mar 2 - Free Bird Live, Jacksonville FL
Mar 3 - 16 Taps, Wilmington NC
Mar 4 - Emerald Lounge, Asheville NC
Mar 5 - State Theater, Falls Church VA w/ Lionize
Mar 6 - Sullivan Hall, New York NY
Mar 8 - The Java Barn (St. Lawrence University) FREE SHOW, Canton NY
Mar 9 - Bill's Bar, Boston MA
Mar 10- The Stone Church, New Market, NH
Mar 11- Water Street Music Hall, Rochester NY
Mar 12- The Blue Gator, Athens OH
Mar 13- Annie's, Cincinnati OH
Mar 15- George's Majestic, Fayetteville AR
May 25- Desert Rocks Music Festival, Moab UT

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Rosenfelder Index," Super Bowl Music spots

Thanks for stopping by to read the first "Rosenfelder Index," an estimate of the cost of buying one of everything advertised during our nation's biggest tv show, the Super Bowl. I believe it shows where the ad industry thinks the country is going, or where it wants it to go.

And considering how much time has been spent talking about the ads, it seems to me the Rosenfelder Index should have debuted a long time ago, in the 90s when I first thought of it. It would have been fascinating to see the drop in price when the thing was raging, for example, but the ad business has been media fodder for a long time. It has just been accelerated. Ben Franklin would have had a sick blog!

The ads appeared in blocks of five or six, except at the beginning of halftime when there were seven or eight in a row. I was interested in the big companies that ran multiple ads with different themes but I also paid attention to the one-timers who must have been "banking heavily" on those spots getting some results. (Where are Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate right now?!)

I noticed Fox would give a glimpse of football before the last few ads to get people to slow down the Tivo as if the game were coming back on, just to show a few more spots, hopefully viewed in real time. Some of the ads were closed-captioned, but some not, another trick to get people to watch.

Looking back through my list, they sure seem uninteresting and anticlimactic compared to the game, which is unusual for the Super Bowl. As the late Dave Rubin, a frequent attendee to the games would say amid all the partying, "is there even a game today?"

Nothing advertised was particularly interesting or groundbreaking as a product. A few interesting omissions: why was American the only airline to take out a 30 second ad? Continental is the official plane of the NY Giants, but those were the only mentions of one of the country's most important businesses. There was also a dearth of soap/detergent ads -- it's understandable that there is not much thought of cleaning or primping during the big game. But there were no insurance ads!!!!!

Maybe there really is a crisis because even a music company got in on the Bowl, the Doritos-sponsored Kina Grannis performance that also tagged iTunes. Interesting considering Universal Music's support of Amazon... I suppose there is more info about that on Not that terrible a song, nice placement early in the game too.

On YouTube, Kina says to vote on "" I hope kids have fake names they leave on all these sites!

Chase featured "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers; Alice Cooper appeared in Bridgestone's ad near the end of the game; Justin Timberlake was pumping Pepsi and Amazon; Dunkin Donuts had a weird song "Doing Things I Like to Do," one of those records that could be popularized by a commercial -- it's just annoying enough!

The Rosenfelder Index for Super Bowl XLII (42) was: $456,000

Super Bowl Ads Divided by Sector (companies/products with multiple spots in bold):

Cars and related products:
Cadillac Escalade; Tri State Ford Dealers; Lexus GS; Ford Focus; Microsoft Sync/Ford Edge (w/Flaming Lips); Audi R8; Bridgestone Tires; Garmin navigation system; GMC Yukon Hybrid; Microsoft Sync/Ford; Ford Edge; Toyota Highlander; Chevy Impala; Nissan Murano;; Bridgestone (with Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons); Hyundai Genesis; Ford Edge (with Derek Jeter); Acura MDX; Toyota Sequoia; Cadillac Postgame (approximately 450K)

Bud Light; "Aerial Coverage" from Budweiser; Diet Pepsi Max (with Macy Gray, LL Cool J, Missy Elliot and one more I am spacing);; G2 (with Derek Jeter); SoBe LifeWater; Pepsi and (with Justin Timberlake); Vitamin Water; Dunkin Donuts; Coke (with James Carville and Bill Frist and then later with Charlie Brown and Underdog); Gatorade drinking dog -- can't be good for dogs; Amp Energy Drink (with car battery attached to nipples?). (One bottle of each, approximately $14)

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins; Vantage Point; Drillbit Taylor; Unhitched; Wanted; Iron Man (5/2); Leatherheads; Narnia (5/16); Wall E; Jumper; You Don't Mess with the Zohan; Semi Pro (combined with Bud Light). (Ten dollars each, approximately $120)

Opinion: I'm very pumped for Iron Man and the associated page is appropriately hi-tech.

Tide (; Sunsilk (featuring Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Was the woman in between them Joss Stone?) near the end of the game ( (About $7)

TV Shows:

By far the most spots went to Fox themselves, with incessant mentions of Sarah Connor Chronicles (6); Daytona 500 (4); NFL Pro Bowl (3); American Idol (4 + Jordin Sparks' embedded performance of the National Anthem); House (6); New Amsterdam (1); Prison Break (1); King of the Hill (with Tom Petty reprising a great scene from the Blues Brothers) and its FX Channel. I thought the ad for Axemen on the History Channel was a spoof until it was over and didn't turn into a Holiday Inn Express commercial! (They don't take your money, just your TIME)

Chase had four spots; E*Trade had three culminating with a vomiting baby. Prudential had a high-profile spot typical of the first half that focused on "positioning" statements, not a call to action. (Depends how much you use them -- $100/year easily)

Claritin D had two ads, the second featured NASCAR driver Carl Edwards; Zantac heartburn pills showed up at an opportune time -- just after halftime (when the Doritos and beer pitched through the first half might be kicking in). (About $25 for one of each)

Dell had two ads for the XPS One stressing its design. Service providers like Sprint, AT&T and Verizon combined their ads with devices, the Blackberry Pearl and LG's Voyager. Apple came correct with its Mac Book Air arriving in an interoffice envelope. Dell also had two values-based ads that featured a choppy song performed by Mick Jagger, promoting the Red campaign ( Toshiba threw in an ad for a cheap HD DVD player just after halftime. Does that get lost in the sauce maybe? Charles Barkley's T Mobile ad seemed to have a good story line, but I had the sound off. (About $5500)

Websites: with two ads; with three gross ones and two clever animated and inoffensive ads from (and you know being salesman really sucks, so that's a nice achievement in an ad).

I'm not sure what was advertising, I guess they are a (bad) ad agency? appeared on screen twice and other sites that advertised in hope of hits included (with Danica Patrick), and the Cadillac MVP voting text promotion. (GoDaddy costs $10/year)

A few other Super Bowl one-offs:
Planters Cashews making a gross woman attractive; FedEx; Ice Breakers Gum (featuring Carmen Electra, a brand Prince created years ago btw); Taco Bell and Ontario Canada. (Aside from a trip to Canada, you could spend under $50 if the FedEx wasn't too late in the day).

Victoria's Secret and UnderArmor had one ad each. One idealized Male and one idealized female ad -- neither brand look good on rolls of fat, maybe this is why there are hardly any clothes advertised on the Super Bowl! (About $50 each)

Public Service Announcements:; Parents, the Anti-Drug; The United Way; Ronald McDonald House.

You get the feeling that reality is creeping in at the end of the game as the ads start to involve more everyday concerns as opposed to the start when everything is new and optimistic. I'm glad Ontario was one of the first ads for this reason.