Posts Tagged “Music”

Dylan Gardner plants roots in music world with first album, Adventures in Real Time

by Olivia Goldstein. 0 Comments

Up and coming pop musician Dylan Gardner looks like he could be the fifth member of The Beatles. He exudes Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) vibes with slicked back dark hair and a button up. Gardner has an old school aura with a pop rock fusion sound that places him into today’s music scene. Gardner’s debut album, Adventures in Real Time, was released on May 13, 2014. The album is an eclectic mix of songs. The singer, songwriter’s first album ticks several genre categories including pop, rock, ... read more

Weeknight outings

by Karen Peacock. 0 Comments

I spent a long time commuting from Frederick to jobs in D.C., Baltimore, and for a short, but hellish time, Springfield, Virginia. (Bless you, C. Burr Artz Library and your audio books . . .) Now that I live and work in Frederick, my weeknight quality of life has greatly improved. The Great Frederick Fair I was a weird kid. When taken to Woolworth's I'd pass the toys, the live birds and fish, the candy counter, and make a beeline for the pictures. (The ballerinas were my favorites.) Not much ... read more

Grading MTV’s VMAs.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Welp. For the last two years here (and what seems like 5,302 years at other outlets) I've taken to the World Wide Internet to blab about MTV's Video Music Awards. And because I'm nothing if not consistent, it's now time to make it year three of the VMAs on the FNP (and yes, if you could think of another acronym, it would have been used in this sentence). As is always the case (thanks again, archive system!), we will grade the show based on five different categories: Awards, performances, host, ... read more

‘O’ No, MTV (Part 4)

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

MTV is nothing if not obnoxious. Don't believe me? Take about four-and-a-half minutes. Click over to its website. Pick two stories. Read them. Walk up to a wall. And shudder as you feel the desire to bang your head against it wash over you like a warm rain in August. If the abundance of Internet-specific acronyms doesn't make you gag, the atrocious middle-school-cheerleader-undertone should do the trick.

And it's a shame, too, because its kitschy approach to content development/presentation tends to overshadow some pretty solid ideas. The most blatant example of such is the O Music Awards, or, as some may know it, MTV's pathetic attempt at establishing itself as a destination for innovative online programming. It's like allowing a gang of 16-year-olds to run Bank of America. Imagine the statements you would receive every month: "You have overdrawn your account by $56.59 LOL!"

This blog, in all its ignored glory, has taken to the World Wide Internet in the wake of the show's previous three ceremonies, and because we here at TV Without A TV enjoy both consistency and anger, it's now officially time to take a look at the thing's fourth installment. And by "look" I mean, "unfairly criticize," of course.

That's the thing, though: The gripes about this stuff are far from unreasonable. More often than not, each O Awards webcast feels like a midterm project for overly enthused undergrads. Why the network would treat the process with so little respect and attention drives beyond stupid and parks somewhere near offensive. Nobody is asking you to give out these awards, guys. If you don't care about how cheap it looks, why do it?

But I digress. This particular ceremony (the brilliant minds at the network once offered up two of these things in one year, so you can't really use the phrase "this year's ceremony," now can you?) devolved further than its predecessors. The token world-record-breaking-moment came in the form of Andrew W.K. going for ... Longest Drum Session in a Retail Store, a name that appeared to literally be made up on the spot by some bellhop in a blazingly yellow jacket. He went from a Wednesday to a Thursday playing the drums for exactly 24 hours.

Yes. When he likes to party, he likes to party hard.

W.K. looked genuinely spent after crossing the one-day mark, as the hosts for the thing (those two comedy twin-dudes who for reasons unbeknownst to anyone with a funny bone and a working pulse continue to land work on every single faux countdown the MTV family of networks cobbles together), awkwardly faked their way through an uncomfortable amount of enthusiasm. ?uestlove showed up. Hanson performed the one song off their new record that made me write this, and subsequently get attacked by some MMMbop diehards (seriously: Check out those comments). We learned that the former TRL studios haven't yet been turned into a homeless shelter. And — surprise! — Tokio Hotel won something.

To rub salt in the wound, we then found out that the most popular music television network this world has ever seen actually pays American currency to someone to write this ...

"OH MAN! OH MAN! OH MAN! That’s about all we can say at present, as our brain has leaked out of our ears and pooled on the floor. The O Music Awards have officially drawn to a close — yup, after 24 hours, 16 awards, 5 kittens, one goat and an entire day of drumming from our official HERO Andrew W.K. we can finally reveal all the winners and revel in glorious, sleep-deprived abandon. Yup, kids, after more than 100 million votes — 100 freaking MILLION — MTV, VH1, CMT and LOGO’s O Music Awards ended tonight with one final loud crashing beat of a drum. During the course of the 24-hour event, awards were doled out in categories like 'Best Artist Instagram,' 'Best Music App,' and 'Fan Army FTW.'"

Wait. Then there's this sentence:

"For the first time, the O Music Awards also featured our wildly popular 'Make a Band Famous' award and opportunity."

So ... it was the first time the thing was ever given out, yet it's also "wildly popular?" Wait ... what?

Anyway, the point is this: If I could link the other three posts about the other three O Music Awards ceremonies (thank you again, archive system), you would see how much hope I once had for such a forward-thinking notion. Television is moving toward the Internet, so why not have an Internet-specific trophy show? It was ahead of its time, I contended, not without a fair share of skepticism. Work a few kinks out, find a captain willing to steer the ship and watch as the whole process grows into something people can look forward to and talk about.

But that's not what has happened. It's essentially become a mockery of a travesty. Or a travesty of a mockery. Or a travi-sham-ockery. It's not even watch-able. No, like, seriously. It's very literally not watch-able. Why? Because nobody with a steady job and/or life that includes an adequate amount of sleeping hours could watch it all. That's what happens when you toy with a 24-hour format that is so heavy on filler that it's less substantial than a McDonald's hamburger. A hundred million votes mean nothing, if none of those 100 million people have any idea about how or when to find out if their vote went toward a winner. There's no focus on sustainability, no desire to build something that could last. Click away at nominees with the last name Jonas, sure. But at what point will the people producing the show actually expect those teeny-boppers to stick around to see who won something called the Friday Friday Award?

In short, it's too disorganized to be appealing to those who might care about seeing the show succeed, yet the implications of its existence are too serious to be taken with only a mere grain of salt. The promise of such an approach knows no bounds, but if the fourth edition of this artist and pony show is any indication, it's hard to believe that the thing has any type of future. And that's sad. Because, like it not, there will be an audience for this type of stuff. It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will be here. Silly production or not. 

And so it goes. For those who might want to check out the show's highlights, head on over to http://www.omusicawards.com. For those who want nominate their cat for "Favorite Musical Cat" for the next time this thing comes around ... well, I've got nothin' for you.

Season four of The Voice ends. Blake Shelton cannot be beat. Mankind ponders its future.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Can anyone name a person who has benefited from a spot as a reality TV singing competition judge more than Blake Shelton has? The answer is no. Nobody can.

For four seasons, now, I've taken to this very blog to poke fun at Mr. Lambert, and for at least three of those seasons, the guy has gotten the last laugh, even somehow turning the lead singer of failed punk-poppers Hey Monday into a karaoke competition star. Dude has carved out quite the following, bro-ing it up with the bro-tastic bro from Maroon 5, occasionally showcasing his thinly veiled comedic chops and offering up so many winks and nods that you have to wonder if his contact lenses are on the fritz.

But alas, this is the world in which we live, a place catering to the underdog, a place happy to celebrate obscurity. Say what you want about him or his perfectly arranged hair (and, of course, we will), but you can't deny his staying power, no matter how obnoxious his whole "I'm just a little country artist who is humble and down-to-earth" schtick can feel every now and then. Seventy-five percent of the time, the guy's a champion. I can't quite figure out if that's an indictment on the people who devote their lives to celebrating popular culture, or if that's an indictment on the state in which popular culture now finds itself: Hungry for charm and obsessed with an America constantly reminding the world how red, white and blue it is.

Danielle Bradbery, a 16-year-old future Annie who might enjoy a pistol or two, was crowned the fourth season's winner about, oh, say, 62 years ago (or, so it seems). Our Hero, Blake, with the help of an immaculate looking 67-year-old Cher (my God, I need the number of her plastic surgeon by 5 p.m. today), led her to the Promised Land.

OK. Well, maybe the Cher thing is a stretch, but at least she was there. Boy, oh boy, she was there. And with no Lisa De Moraes to rip off, we'll instead turn to the Los Angeles Times' Amy Reiter ...

"Old enough to be Danielle Bradbery's grandma but looking, if not quite like her sister, at least like her youthful aunt," Reiter wrote, "the iconic performer appeared in one of her trademark out-there getups (blingified leather; fishnet; wacky, chickenish hair), flanked by gyrating dancers, to debut her new single 'Woman's World,' in what was billed as her first live TV performance in more than a decade. Was she singing live? Who knows? Maybe, I guess, over a backing track. But honestly, it hardly mattered. Watching her out there doing her thing, albeit slowly, at age 67 ... was riveting regardless."

As for the other performers, the list went a little bit like this:

Pitbull, fresh off his abnormally stagnant Preakness set (and on the heels of what has to be the summer's most infuriating package tour with Keisha), brought out ... you guessed it ... a decidedly less Xtina-ish Christina Aguilera for a duet that made Adam Levine blush. Speaking of Preakness fun, Florida Georgia Line stumbled out there to team with Nelly for their ... oh forget it. The only thing worse than that trio is nothing. Bob Seger held court with the Swon Brothers during "Night Moves," giving whole new meaning to the word "Why." Bruno Mars Bruno Mars-ed the place up. One Repbulic ... blah. And Hunter Hayes sang himself into a supporting role in an eventual updated, country-fied reboot of "From Justin To Kelly."

Got that? Good. Now to the ratings. Attracting 15.3 million viewers, "The Voice" climax bested the finale of its most popular competitor, the oh-my-god-what-is-happening-to-us "American Idol," by about a million eyeballs (or, I guess, assuming everyone watching has more than one eyeball, the accurate number would be, say, two million eyeballs). For those trying to find perspective, game six of the NBA finals this year — one of the best NBA finals in a long, long time, by the way — brought in roughly 16.2 million people, making it the most-watched piece of television in the U.S. this year, to date. "The Voice" crowning, then, finished No. 2.

Bradbery, meanwhile, was part of Shelton's "dream team" (his words, not mine). She's the first country artist to win the show and she was also the first "Voice" personality to post a top 10 song on iTunes this season. Her debut single will be unleashed next Tuesday and yes, unless she decides to devote her entire life to music — tisk, tisk — she will graduate high school in 2015.

Yeah, and what have you done with your life?

The best part? Sir Elton John, he of little remorse, decided to sound off on the whole exercise when he appeared on BBC Radio 4's "Front Row," noting how the audience cares only about the judges and not the show's competitors. Oh, this is good ...

"Nobody on 'The Voice' in America has had a hit record," he said, according to the website Digital Spy. "Nobody on 'The Voice' in England has had a hit record. They're nonentities. Television and video have done a lot of damage to music. They've propelled people into stardom that aren't ready for it, you know, and can't sustain it. And they're only as good as the next song."

He's not wrong.

(Side: Adding fuel to the fire are rumors that Adele might replace Jesse J as a judge for the next season of the UK's "Voice." Silly me, I watched a few episodes of the thing while in Paris earlier this year, and if you think Adam Levine is obnoxious, get a load of the dude from Good Charlotte).

Anyway, the Big Lineup Experiment will cease next season when Ms. A and Cee-Lo head back to their oversized chairs, leading us to note two things. 1) Jeez, that hiatus really did wonders for their careers, because clearly they accomplished so much while being away from the show. And 2) Usher and Shakira are supposed to be coming back for season six, which is odd, because in season seven, the latest hot-stove item is that the lineup of judges will look like this: Blake, Shakira, Cee-Lo and Xtina.

Oh, so Maroon 5 has to tour ... in a year-and-a-half?

The revolving door of judges seems like a weird gimmick, no? Why sub out only two people per season, and why go back to the people you initially picked to steer the ship when others left the boat for land? And silly me, here I thought the suits at NBC finally read this blog when they decided to bring in new blood this season!

Call me crazy, but reusing fresh meat sort of defeats the purpose of the word fresh, doesn't it? Tell all four judges to pack their stuff up and bring in a rotating cast of stars (ha!) every other season. Shoot, turn some eyeballs, express your outlandish gull and bring in ... ready for this? ... a former "Idol" judge. Oh, just imagine! It would be like Hulk Hogan going all NWO on us. How great would that be?

And so it goes. For those still tuning in, the next season will kick off Sept. 23.

Season four of The Voice begins. Blake Shelton blasts back at critics by continuing to show up.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

And, we're back. For the fourth straight season, "The Voice" has returned to NBC, and for the fourth straight season, Adam Levine had a Brink's truck filled with white T-shirts back into his driveway and plop a wardrobe on his front lawn. After an off-season that clearly proved the suits at the Peacock were reading this blog religiously for the last few years (two new judges!), the best thing to happen to NBC in ages has returned with a new look and ... ... a new feel? Somewhat. Christina ... read more

Six strikes and you’re out.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Well, now, this is interesting. Anne Flaherty, of The Associated Press, wrote a story Tuesday and you might be interested in its premise. From the article's lead ... "Internet users who illegally share music, movies or TV shows online may soon get warning notices from their service providers that they are violating copyright law," she wrote. Fairly pedestrian, right? Now, for the money shot: "Ignore the notices," Flaherty said, "and violators could face an Internet slow-down for 48 ... read more

This just in: The Grammys are social.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

One of the strangest things in all of popular culture these days is this new reputation that the Grammys has as the go-to social-media-centric trophy show of all social-media-centric trophy shows. As a music nerd, I can't quite figure out why this effort to re-brand the thing has actually ... worked. Do we have LL Cool J to thank for that? The weird collaborations? The abundance of live performances (though, to be fair, the show has never really been particularly thin on live music, anyway)? The ... read more

Season three of The Voice ends. Blake Shelton coaches his girl to a win, extending his 15 minutes by 0:30.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Man. You take one little week off, and "The Voice" ups and crowns its season three champion. It's as though Xtina just had to get out and promote "Lotus," (or, as some of you may know it, "Not Genie In A Bottle") as soon as those eight-inch heels would allow. The nerve. Hey Monday. You know what that is, right? Oh, you don't? Well, let me explain: When the pop-punk boom from about 2003 to about 2009 ran amok in the popular music universe, any faction of people with silly haircuts, tight ... read more

So … how’s everything working out for YouTube?

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

YouTube and Google. It's a marriage made in Internet heaven. Or, well, at least that's what the suits behind both entities would love for you — yes, you! — to believe. It's also why YouTube announced plans this week to move forward with a little less than half the channels it backed about a year ago, when the video streaming service pumped more than $100 million into creating channels with original programming. Cynics, as you may expect, are shouting words like "oh," "no," "I," "told," ... read more