Friday, February 27, 2009

Holy cow!

Is the blog back?

It kinda seems like it’s back.

I wonder if it’s really back.

Two-Sentence Review: Coke Zero’s “Mean Troy” Spot

I was going to post this Coke Zero spot and rant about how awful it is and, even worse, how this spot sucks all the emotion from the original leaving it as a heap of used up trash at our collective feet and eliminating our ability to hold onto the feelings we associated with the original while simultaneously destroying a piece of great American advertising for a cheap and unfunny gag, but I decided I didn’t want to be that guy. Then I decided I am that guy after all.

Thank God it’s Friday’s song of the day

The Condo Fucks is a fake band (well, fake in the sense that they have a false bio). The Condo Fucks are actually an alter ego of Yo La Tengo; cutting loose and having fun.

On Fuckbook* (note the reference to YLT's Fakebook) they get a bit Iggy and the Stooges on us and play a bunch of punkish covers of early rock tunes by the Small Faces, Richard Hell, Slade, and even the Beach Boys.

Here’s the Condo Fucks covering the Small Faces' “What'cha Gonna Do About It":

* Sorry about all the foul language; I don’t have much fucking choice.

This doesn't bother me at all

I just hope they got a decent deal for him.

Using YouTube effectively

Posting this as a sort of proof of Seth Godin's posts about the music industry, most recently this one.

Kina Grannis is a female singer-songwriter from California and is a great case study for the power of the web as a way to reach people and turn them into fans.

Back in late 2007 Kina started posting videos of herself singing and playing songs on her YouTube channel. A lot of people do this, but not many do it as well as Kina. She made it a regular thing, posting a song a week—sometimes her own originals, sometimes cover tunes (including Feist's "1234", Bon Iver's "Flume" and Iron & Wine's "Naked As We Came" above). Sometimes they're recoded live with the video, other times she puts the audio into GarageBand and adds additional parts. Pretty ambitious.

Besides being beautiful/adorable and really talented (regardless of whether you like her music or not), she’s extremely charming. She often speaks directly at the camera for a few minutes after playing her song and always comes across as very genuine and totally likable (and occasionally goofy).

She’s also a great self-promoter without tarnishing her image. She tells viewers about her upcoming shows or charity events where she’ll be performing. She and her friend and sometime collaborator David Choi did a video promoting JCPenney clothes. Heck, she even won a contest by writing a song promoting Digg (video here).

If she seems familiar at all it might be because she also won the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest 13 months ago and had 60 seconds of her song and video “Message From Your Heart” played during last year’s game (in addition to a deal with Interscope Records). But this contest wasn’t judged just by the folks at Doritos; winning required a fan base. Luckily, over the previous few months, Kina had been building a passionate one.

Over time, as more and more fans started subscribing to her YouTube channel she fostered a connection with them, evidenced by how she playfully lists her fans’ (and friends’) birthdays within her posts. Lots of them. She talks about training for a marathon. She’s remarkably open, or at least remarkably herself.

According to her YouTube chanel, this past January she was the #3 most-subscribed-to musician on YouTube and had over 700,000 plays.

She has songs available on iTunes, but I like the sound of the versions on YouTube better.

And she seems to be getting even more savvy. She runs ads along the bottom of her videos (kind of annoying but easy enough to close), surely bringing in some income. Her more recent posts begin with a caricature drawing of her and then her stylized initials, branding each video. She also has a few videos where she shows viewers how to play her songs.

Most importantly, she has found ways to connect to people using the web—without the need of a record contract (she opted out of the Interscope deal)—and she makes it look easy.*

Maybe it is.

Here she is playing an original called "The Goldfish Song”:

And here’s her YouTube channel and website.

* And she makes me feel lazy in the songwriting department. She's prolific.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Am I the only one who missed this?

I’m not sure if this is a music video or a short film set to a song. I don’t know why that matters but the second option seems more appealing.

Director Peter Rhoads created this film back in 2007 set to “Mr. Novacaine” by Don McCloskey and employing the hand stylings of Pablo Ribba. It recently won the Grand Jury Award for Best Music Video at the 2009 Slamdance Awards.

Check it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The sad state of mass transportation in Seattle

Katie over at obsessivecompulsive posted this and noted, "The fact that Seattle has the same degree of mass transit as Las Vegas makes me so mad I wanna spit!"

Yeah, that's bad. Even worse to compare Seattle to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has three-quarters the population of the Jet City but a much more robust mass transit system.

Originally from Radial Cartography.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing at your house

Talk about connecting with your fans. David Bazan is offering to come play a show at your house. Yep, if you’ve got the space (for 30 to 100 people), he might just book a gig to play in your living room or back yard.

You just need the space and some cool neighbors; Bazan’s gang will do the rest. You’ll get up to 5 free tickets (the rest will be sold via his website). Then you’ll get a list of attendees and just check ‘em off as they arrive. No bothering with tickets at the door. Awesome!

More info here.

A cool way to prep for the release of his new album (sometime this year) from Barsuk.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better or worse?

I vote worse.

If the design brief included "make it less connected to cheese," then maybe I'd say they accomplished that feat. But I'd also argue they accomplished "make it less connected to anything the consumer currently connects to."

Worse than the Pepsi rebrand. Less devastating only because this is the corporate brand, not the product brand.

But still. What was the goal here?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrex probably won’t kill you

I saw the latest version of this Celebrex spot the other night and was amazed.

This is advertising? It’s a 2-minute warning label oration.

Among the key highlights: “Celebrex has never been taken off the market.”

Well in that case, sign me up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

If you’ve got a free ten minutes

Okay maybe 15 minutes, to include the clicking and downloading and such.

But if you’ve got a bit of time, I highly recommend you go to the This American Life site for their “Ruining It For The Rest Of Us” episode (which originally aired back in December) and listen to comedian Mike Birbiglia tell his story of the worst show he’s ever done.

It’s nothing short of fantastic.

It starts at the 35-minute mark.

“Batter up!”

Patron saint of change?

I know a lot of people seem to think he's the second coming, but this is a little much. Is this what the Republicans mean by "liberal media"?