Thursday, December 20, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas: Kim & Seana & More Prizes!

*UPDATED (12/25): More posts to come.

In the meantime, this contest's iTunes winners are....

Sybil (sybilskelton)
Andrea (firepretty)
Bronwyn (pynbahl)
Joslyn (jteubner)
AND
Linda (lburanas).

And the grand prize mp3 player goes to...

Antonia (antoniarose52)

I'll be emailing you five shortly to get your shipping information. Merry Christmas!

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For Post #3 of my 12-post Christmas series, I come bearing more gifts.

In promotion of a new web series, Kim and Seana, the PR firm, M80, and Silly Pipe Dreams have teamed up to bring you FIVE $15 iTunes gift cards, and ONE grand prize of a 1GB Thumb Drive MP3 player! Just in time for Christmas! I love exclamation points!!!

What do you have to do?

First, think about how much you love me. That's going to take a while, so you should probably sit down...

Next, head over to Kim and Seana's MySpace page for more info and add them as a friend.

Then, click your way to their YouTube channel, where you can find all their webisodes and videos.

The show follows the two young ladies on the road as they perform and interview different bands. To be frank, the "reality show" aspect of the series is EXTREMELY forced, but hey, it's not as bad as the heinous MTV show, Kaya.

The webisodes do highlight a lot of cool acts, so you should definitely check it out. In their second webisode, Kim and Seana see Dan Deacon and the 1990s perform at CMJ. In other clips, they interview Andrew WK and Matt of Brighton, MA. And there are also videos of Kim performing.

Once you've checked out all of the above, enter the contest below, and I'll pick the winners soon! Good luck!

THE INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Tell me your favorite concert memory.
2. Post your answer by clicking on the 'COMMENTS' link at the bottom of this post. Those without Blogger accounts can always click 'Other' or 'Anonymous' when leaving a comment.
3. In your comment, leave your first name and your email address, so I can contact you if you win.
4. You have until 11:59 pm PT next Monday, Dec. 24 to leave a comment.
5. On Tuesday, Dec. 25, I will pick at random FIVE people for the iTunes cards and ONE person for the MP3 player from the comments who have left a proper answer, name and email.

THE PRIZES:

FIVE $15 iTunes Gift Cards


ONE 1GB Thumb Drive MP3 Player

Monday, December 17, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas: Top 20 Covers of 2007

If you're a regular reader of Silly Pipe Dreams, then you know I have a soft spot for covers. You may recall a short-lived weekly post called "Under The Covers". It will probably remain short-lived.

BUT! For Post #2 of my 12 Posts of Christmas, I do have a list of my top twenty favorite covers this year!

For a song to qualify, the cover must have either been released or first performed live in 2007. There were a lot of crappy covers to wade through to get to this list (I'm looking at you, Corinne Bailey Rae! Bringing "Sexyback"? How about you bring 2 minutes and 31 seconds of my life back? Diss!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of the tracks below. To see the list, click on the link below, and then let me know what you think in the comments!


TOP TWENTY COVERS OF 2007
A Silly Pipe Dreams List



*UPDATED (12/18): Just realized Obadiah Parker's "Hey Ya" was 2006. The list has been revised.

20. VIDEO: "Proud Mary/All Along the Watchtower/Best of You" - Prince (live)
Oh, the awesomeness that was Prince's Super Bowl performance. I didn't even mean to watch the game. I just happened to turn on the TV in time for the halftime show. Prince doing a cover medley extravaganza? Including a Foo Fighters song?? And ending with a glorious performance of "Purple Rain" IN the rain??? I would watch more sports if this could be guaranteed at every halftime. I, of course, will not be posting the song because I fear Prince's legal team more than death. But the video link is above, and it is hosted by Daily Motion (did you catch that lawyers?).

I'm kind of cheating with this one because I'm not offering you a recording, which is why this isn't much higher on the list. I originally left it off for that very reason, but added it after having to remove Obadiah Parker's "Hey Ya" cover.

19. "Umbrella (Rihanna cover)" - Tegan and Sara (live)
[myspace] [more tracks]
This one's not perfect. It's live, thus the recording's so-so. But there were so many "Umbrella" covers this year, I had to pick one for the list. I'd pretty much listen to any song these girls choose to cover. Tegan and Sara, please don't prove me wrong and cover "Cotton-Eyed Joe."

18. "You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover)" - Jens Lekman (live)
[myspace] [more tracks]
The kids on the blogosphere go absolutely nuts for Mr. Jens Lekman. I haven't been able to get into his stuff yet, but I do enjoy this much more melancholy take on Paul Simon's song. Why no chorus? Lekman said at a performance, "As a kid, I always hated the chorus of this song. And I always hated Chevy Chase's stupid grinning face in the video...but I realized how amazing the words and the verses were, this kind of abstract, weird poetry. I realized that I have to sing this song, but cut out Chevy Chase and the chorus."

17. "Pretty in Pink (Psychedelic Furs cover)" - The National (live)
[myspace] [more tracks]
Without really checking them out, I had idiotically passed this band off as another Joy Division groupie (i.e. She Wants Revenge). Thus, I waited until about two months ago to start listening to The National's 2007 effort, Boxer. And now, I'm just another National groupie. Their album is in my top five of 2007, and this cover is off their Daytrotter Sessions.

If you've never done so, do check out the uber-cool site, Daytrotter.com, for more awesome live recordings from your favorite indie bands. While you're checking out cool sites, head over to Blogothèque as well. Really well-done street performance videos by many of the bands on this list.

16. "Don't Stop Believin' (Journey cover)" - Petra Haden
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Love the original, love Petra Haden, love a cappella. Not everyone's cup of tea, but this cover was meant for me. It's off a cover compilation titled Guilty By Association, which is full of, you guessed it, guilty pleasures. Personally, this track and The Concretes' cover of "Back For Good" were the only two that stood out, but you should definitely check out Petra's many other covers. I enjoy her take on "Yellow" and "God Only Knows."

15. "I Summon You (Spoon cover)" - The Watson Twins (live)
[myspace] [more tracks]
One of my favorite Spoon songs covered by two of my favorite twins (keep trying Olsens, you'll be a fav someday). It's nice to hear this track sung by soothing female voices.

14. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan cover)" - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
I have not seen the movie yet, but the soundtrack's pretty wonderful. Of course, if you're not a Dylan fan, you might want to avoid purchasing an album comprised solely of Dylan covers. But if you're not a Dylan fan, you might want to also do some soul-searching. You may recognize the names Glen Hansard and Markete Irglova from another amazing soundtrack: Once.

14. "Hey Ya (Outkast cover)" - Obadiah Parker (live)
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
I'm not a fan of this guy's original music, but this cover sure is great. I think a million college students had the same reaction this year.


13. "Don't Get Me Wrong (Pretenders cover)" - Lily Allen
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Lily Allen recorded a few other good covers this year - The Kooks' "Naive," ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky," etc. This one is my favorite though, her voice is just so freaking cute and sexy. Male readers, I'll refrain from calling anything "so freaking cute and sexy" ever again. Sorry.

12. "Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke cover)" - Britt Daniel
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Britt Daniel's voice is just "so freaking cute and sexy!" Just kidding. This cover takes a classic song and strips it down to just clapping and egg shaker and Britt's voice. And it works. This is off a compliation album called Bridging The Distance, comprised of songs from artists with some relation to Portland, OR. Not worth buying the entire thing imho, but you can purchase choice tracks on iTunes via the "buy album" link above.

Speaking of Britt Daniel, Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga will most likely be in my top ten 2007 albums. It will definitely be in my top worst album names of 2007.

11. "Talking Old Soldiers (Elton John cover)" - Bettye LaVette
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Elton's song was meant for a voice like this. Bettye LaVette absolutely owns this. The most depressing song on the list. Not wise to listen to before or after a Friday night out.

10. "Careless Whisper (George Michael cover)" - Gossip
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Beth Ditto can sing. This song makes me want to dance. That pretty much sums up this cover.

This and the earlier Lily Allen cover are off Radio 1's compilation album, Radio 1 Established 1967, but wait! Do not purchase this album! The 38 other covers are extremely underwhelming. Definitely not worth the $63 price tag!

But that's just me. The "buy album" link is still up above to aid in your regretable decision.

9. "Ceremony (New Order cover)" - Radiohead (live)
[more tracks]
It's just nice to hear Radiohead do anything remotely normal. They recorded this along with a Smiths cover in a webcast earlier this year. While I love In Rainbows and Radiohead's progressive ways, I still love them most when they're not trying to reinvent the wheel and they stick to playing as a simple, yet amazing, rock band. They do this here.

8. "Down In A Hole (Alice in Chains cover)" - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
I never thought I'd enjoy an Alice in Chains song this much. This entire EP is great. Purchase via the link above.

7. "Sea Lion Woman (Nina Simone cover)" - Feist
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Sweet Sassy Molassey, Feist had a good year. I'm sure most of you have purchased The Reminder by now. This is just one of the many, many awesome tracks from that album.

6. "Goin' To Acapulco (Bob Dylan cover)" - Jim James & Calexico
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
My favorite off the I'm Not There soundtrack, and the second to make this list. My Morning Jacket's lead singer, Jim James, brings a sort of haunting quality to this song. It wasn't my favorite right from the get-go, but it grows on you.

5. "Love Reign O'er Me (The Who cover)" - Pearl Jam
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
While Pearl Jam's cover didn't inspire me enough to see the movie, it's still pretty awesome. And yeah, that's it. As you can see, I'm getting tired of writing these little commentaries.

4. "When You Were Mine (Prince cover)" - Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
[myspace] [more tracks]
This is an incredibly simple rendition of the Prince original. Yet, there's something about Dent May, and his magnificent ukulele, that makes this cover incredibly addicting. This was the first I had heard of Dent May, and after a bit of googling, I found that he has his EP online as a free download. Go check it out. Reminiscent of The Magnetic Fields.

3. "So Long, Marianne (Leonard Cohen cover)" - Ravens & Chimes
[myspace] [more tracks]
"So Long, Marianne" is one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs. This cover is not that song. And I'm glad it's not. Ravens & Chimes take the original and put an Arcade Fire-ish spin on it. With a driving bass drum and collective "woah-oh-oh" chanting, the finished product is its own distinctive song, and a very good one at that. Check out the band's album, Reichenbach Falls.

2. "Valerie (The Zutons cover)" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
Some online critics, like Pitchfork, did not take kindly to this one. And I'm not really sure why. The original Zutons song is indeed awesome, but a cover doesn't necessarily have to surpass its source. Ronson and Winehouse took an already great song, stamped their own doo-wop sound on it, and it remains a great song. Thumbs up from me!

1. "All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem cover)" - Franz Ferdinand
[buy album] [myspace] [more tracks]
First off, the original song is amazing. I absolutely love the lyrics and the line, "You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan, and the next five years trying to be with your friends again." I think that sums up how a lot of young adults in their mid-20's feel. I definitely do.

The lyrics seem to fit even better in the hands and guitars of Franz Ferdinand, which add a sense of urgency and drive, while still keeping its kinda depressing foundation. When I'm driving home alone after a night out, which is every night out, I find myself listening to this version more.

The original LCD Soundsystem track is in my top twenty songs of the year. Franz Ferdinand's cover is in my top ten. Thus, number one favorite cover of 2007.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12 Posts of Christmas: Free Wallace & Gromit DVD

*UPDATED (12/17): Honestly, the best part about these giveaways is reading all your responses. You guys picked some great moments from animated movie history!

Regarding "Musical Monday," I think I may have to do a "Best of TV Music" year-ender because there are just WAY too many songs to post. This will happen sometime between now and Christmas. Of 2009. Har har.

However, I finally finished my Top 20 Covers of 2007 list. Once I get everything uploaded and my little commentaries written, this post will be up later today. Keep checking back please.

So, this contest's winners are....

Amy (amymcw)
Jane (narilily)
Stephanie M (wacky_tangerine)
AND
LJ (ilovesecondhandsmoke)!!

I'll be emailing you four shortly to get your shipping information. Thanks for playing!

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"Backstreet's back - alright!!"

Hello interweb friends! Thanks for all the emails/complaints/threats telling me to get back to blogging. They've picked up quite a bit over the past week. Thus, today starts Post #1 of a 12-Post Christmas series.

I realize I overpromised and underdelivered with my "40 Days 40 Post" pledge, so I want to make sure your expectations are really, really low here. It's gonna be pretty underwhelming. The blog version of an NBC Christmas special if you will. But with less Al Roker. There will be free gifts though. And Christmas music. And year-ender lists. What more can you ask for? Well, a lot more. Like I said, it's gonna be pretty weak.

OK, disclaimer finished.

So, on the first post of Christmas, your true love gives to you...a chance to win the Wallace & Gromit: Three Amazing Adventures DVD!

[pausing for Oprah audience reaction]

Alright, I know it's no iPhone, nor even a DVD on your wish list probably, but still, it's a great collection of award-winning claymation shorts. Oh yeah, and it's free. You can always re-gift (looks like Mamma Lee's present is taken care of!).

For anyone not familiar with the Wallace & Gromit collection, they come from the genius mind of Nick Park, who also did Chicken Run (not to be confused with Chicken Little). The shorts follow the adventures of an absent-minded inventor, Wallace, and his dog, Gromit. I still need to watch the Wallace & Gromit movie, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but I did watch all the shorts in high school and purchased all of them on VHS. Each one is absolutely wonderful. The Wrong Trousers is probably my favorite of the bunch.

The DVD contains all three of the original half-hour shorts: A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, and A Close Shave. As an extra, the DVD also has Cracking Contraptions, which is a series of ten shorter shorts (1-3 minutes). Another extra is a behind-the-scenes featurette that details the incredibly pain-staking process of creating these clay worlds, where they have to shoot literally one frame at a time.

I'm giving away FOUR COPIES. Contest rules are the same as usual. See below and good luck!

THE INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Tell me your favorite moment from your favorite animated movie.
2. Post your answer by clicking on the 'COMMENTS' link at the bottom of this post. Those without Blogger accounts can always click 'Other' or 'Anonymous' when leaving a comment.
3. In your comment, leave your first name and your email address, so I can contact you if you win.
4. You have until 11:59 pm PT THIS Sunday, Dec. 16 to leave a comment.
5. On Monday, Dec. 17, I will pick at random FOUR people from the comments who have left a proper answer, name and email.

THE PRIZE:


A clip from The Wrong Trousers: