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November 19th, 2009 | File Under music, Sound | No comments yet

You know that instrumental song that you hear everywhere, but you never hear the name of because … well, because it either has no words or the famous part of it has no words? Well that bugs me, so here for the sake of reference are those songs:

  • That mid-tempo groove track with the electric organ that you hear going to and from commercial on that late night talk show is “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the M.G.s.
  • That big band swing number that starts out with a drum solo is “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima, the Benny Goodman recording.
  • The haunted house music is “Toccata and Fugue in D minor for Organ” by Bach.
  • The circus music is “Entrance of the Gladiators” by Julius Fučík.
  • The bagpipe song that isn’t “Amazing Grace” is “Scotland the Brave” and is traditional.
  • The “Kill Bill” tune is “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei.
  • The plate-spinning tune is “The Sabre Dance” by Aram Khachaturian.
  • The Elvis intro-music is “See See Rider” and is probably traditional.
  • The loud melodramatic music in the commercial for the lousy movie is “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff.
  • The gunslinger music cue is the main theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Ennio Morricone.
  • The twangy rock-a-billy song with the saxophone is “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy.
  • The dramatic cue from the old suspense movie is one of several by Ronald Hanmer, most likely “Menace.”

Did I forget any? Describe it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

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September 20th, 2006 | File Under Nate, Sound | 3 comments

Attention-grabbing headline, eh? I was going to title this There’s Lots of Room for You on the Bandwagon, but I couldn’t pass up the shock value.

Anywho, the fun-loving cobblers at have finally released an audioscrobbler player that works on my operating system, so I decided to try it out.

In stark contrast to its disturbingly eschatological name, is nothing more calamitous than a little computer program that watches what music you listen to and logs it remotely. That lets you do two things: browse the site’s recommendations based on what you listen to, and share your song info with others.

So if you want to know what I’ve been listening to, all you have to do is visit Well, actually that’s just a summary page; recent tracks is the feature I was referring to.

There are plugins and whatnot to embed this info in WordPress, but I haven’t gotten around to them. And like every other “social computing” site to pop out of VC over the last couple of years, the site is strewn deeply with buzzword compliance like groups and tags. They don’t add anything to the service, they just make you want to spend a few minutes at the automatic Web 2.0 BS Generator to unwind.

Better Ned than Red

June 24th, 2006 | File Under Nate, Sound | Only one comment so far

Last week I did something I hadn’t done in about a decade — listen to a new Ned’s Atomic Dustbin single.

See, the band split up in the mid-90s, due to record label trouble. And for a long time, there was nothing. Several band members started other projects, some just left music entirely. Then in 2000, they were invited to perform a set at a multi-band showcase show celebrating the birthday of the local club where they got their break.

They must have enjoyed it, because the following year they played a couple of other gigs. In fact, they were scheduled to play in New York on September 14th (or 15th?), 2001 — I was unable to travel up there to attend, but did persuade the then-local Alisa Cooper to purchase tickets. That show, of course, never happened, given what transpired a few days before the scheduled event. The Neds never returned to the US.

But they kept doing more and more regular shows — Christmas every year is a staple — while maintaining that they only wanted to remain event-centric, not “reunited.” But then they released a couple of live CDs, and a concert DVD, then last year, a couple of new songs began to appear in the setlists. Finally, a couple of weeks ago (on my birthday, no less) they released a new single. I preordered.

Reasons to like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin? Legion. For one thing, they straddle genres in some unique ways. I say it’s like punk music if it had been invented by youths non-angry and (lacking a more polite way to put it) non-stupid. Most non-fans remember them only as “the band with two bass players” — although that doesn’t really describe the sound. One plays rhythm lines, the other lead. Yeah. Lead on bass. Don’t think Primus; nothing like that. The chap’s name is Alex Griffin, and he plays the bass like a guitar — either the melody or a countermelody to the lead guitar. But unlike with two guitars playing lead, the bass and guitar lines are in different enough registers that they don’t step on each other (I’m not a musicologist, if you hadn’t guessed). It’s just different.

That and Jonn Penney, the vocalist, who is a reason unto himself. The most upbeat individual in the music biz. He’s clever, he uses wordplay, he writes introspective, optimisticly-melancholy lyrics, and no matter what he says, he wins you over. I’m serious; in the Ned’s hiatus he founded an indie record label and in a one-page interview about it, he had me excited about indie music and local artistry — through talking about Stourbridge England, and how positive he felt about its music scene. I’ve never been to Stourbridge.

The Neds today are a little different; two of the original five — though invited, and still apparently on good terms — are not playing with them, replaced instead by volunteers from Jonn’s other hiatus project, Groundswell UK (whose album and single are also worth hearing).

So, how’s this new single sound? It’s good. Hibernation; for the fans I’d say it falls into the Are You Normal? spectrum, but not exactly. Beyond that it’s catchy enough that it sticks in your head. It seems to be well-received, too — according to MySpace, Ned’s are (temporarily) the number-one merchandise-selling artist.

Lucky for us, the band’s Web site says they’ve now headed to the studio, recording more new material. Perhaps that means a full-length album. If so, whichever direction they take it, it’s always fun to see those first-time reviewers grapple for a new way to comment on the two bass players.