This week I’m thinking about old favorites, new obsessions, and the most brutal band to ever walk on earth. Find out more on this week’s installment of On the Radar.
Last week, Slim Shady released a new song with Skylar Grey called “Kill for You,” for her new album, Natural Causes, which dropped last week. But aside from this, Eminem has been relatively quiet since the release of the Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013. We got some new material on the 2014 compilation album Shady XV, but not much more than that. With this new collaboration with Grey and his classic, “Without Me” making an appearance on the Suicide Squad soundtrack, it got me wondering about the rapper. I even woke up singing “Who Knew?” and “Rain Man” in my head for a few days.
After the release of Encore and Relapse, I wasn’t so sure about the rapper’s future. He seemed to be relying on shock tactics and lame rhymes to make a passable album. But he proved critics wrong with the excellent Recovery and again with The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The latter is one of the strongest albums of Em’s later career. From the insane flow of “Rap God” to the intense, clever wordplay of “Bad Guy” the album showed why Eminem remains one of the best lyricists of our time. So isn’t it about time for Em to drop new music, especially with all the craziness happening in American politics? He’s gotta have something good to say. Rumors are flying that he’ll release a new album this year, but no word from the rapper just yet.
Record labels’ next target: Youtube to MP3 converter sites
Ever wanted a rare version of a song you couldn’t find anywhere else but Youtube? Don’t worry, there are endless sites that will convert your favorite Youtube videos to handy Mp3s. Cool right? Well, the music industry doesn’t think so. Since they can’t win the piracy war, their next targets are these converter sites and one of them is already in big trouble.
A group of record labels, including Universal, Sony, Capitol, and Warner Bros, is suing Youtube-mp3.org. The record labels claim the site “facilitates…means for its users to engage in copyright infringement, while profiting from the infringement,” and violates Youtube’s terms of service. The labels are looking up to $150,000 in damages for every single case of alleged piracy. Keep in mind the site has over 60 million users per month.
What do you think about this? Are record labels just getting greedy? On one hand, it’s always better to buy the song and support your favorite artists. But just because someone chooses to use a site like this instead of iTunes doesn’t mean they don’t support them. There’s a good chance they buy band merch and pricey tickets to their shows. And sites like this serve a purpose. Songs by obscure or foreign artists aren’t readily available on iTunes or streaming sites. Sometimes Youtube is your only choice. Whatever your views on this are, it’s pretty crappy for all parties involved. Don’t be surprised to see more sites like these taken down in the future.
Bear Hands are a post punk/indie rock band from Brooklyn that are still on the cusp of the underground. I first got introduced to this band when I saw them open for Cage the Elephant at the Vic in 2014. Though they’re described as indie rock, their sound is much harder to pin down. It’s rock mixed with synth, power pop, and electronic music. Whatever you want to call it, it’s infectious as hell and their tunes provide happy thoughts and grooves for my rough Chicago morning commute on the train.
This year saw the release of their third album, You’ll Pay for This, featuring slow burning, apathetic lead single “2 AM.” The band have spent the rest of the year on the road. After touring with Cage the Elephant, Foals, and Silversun Pickups earlier this year as part of the Spring Fling Rock AF tour, the band are back on the road with Foals. The band will play Chicago’s Riviera Theater on November 9. Interested in the band? Check out my recommended tracks “Giants” and “Bone Digger.”
Bring back Metalocalypse!
Like many TV loving metal hands, I love Dethklok. With the hit Adult Swim show Metalocalypse, they showed the funny and sometimes dark side of both metal and the music industry. Thanks to Brenden Small, we got four glorious seasons, each one funnier and more complex than the last. After the hour-long special, Metalocalypse: The Doom Star Requiem, fans waited for another season. Three years later, we’re still waiting.
Metalocalypse made a return of sorts this year when Small launched the Metalocalypse Now campaign to get the final season on the air. Despite the campaign being a success and financial backers coming forward to fund the final season, Adult Swim decided to pass. They even poked fun at fans’ outcry by printing petitions signed by fans and putting them directly into the trash as seen in a live stream video. Small stated he wants to go ahead with the new season, but can’t say how just yet. It’s clear Adult Swim have moved on from the series, so we have to take action. Hey, it worked for Futurama and Family Guy, unfortunately. Sign the petition here and tell the world why Dethklok rules.
Dash radio lets you censor your music
Music and censorship have been butting heads for years now never finding a happy medium. But even the most hardcore music fan has to admit, there are times when having clean versions of songs is nice. For example, when you’re driving around with your mom. Or if you listen to music in your work office you don’t a co-worker walking in on the dirtiest parts. But other times it’s hard to jam to your favorite song when it’s full of bleeps. Dash Radio has found a solution.
This week the radio station announced a new feature that allows users to toggle between clean and explicit versions of their favorite songs. All you have to do is hold a button to switch between the two modes. Now, you don’t have to worry about changing the station if kids are in the car. This is a cool idea that saves a lot of awkward moments. Other radio stations and streaming services would be doing themselves a favor if they introduced similar features. Who knew this would be the one instance where censoring music isn’t a bad thing?