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Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2016: Music
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Holiday Music Gift Guide 2016

Just like that, it’s that time again, where the holiday season is upon us and the mad scrambles down store aisles to find just the right gifts for friends and loved ones commences. It’s a yearly ritual that always seems to come sooner than later. It’s also a sign that the year is coming to a close, and of course there’s no question that 2016 will remain in memory and history as one of the most turbulent, challenging, and painful times ever seen. It is for that reason that the holiday time should hold even extra special positive emotional weight, as community and solidarity run high among people during this time, acting as sort of metaphoric concrete that fills in the gaps that division among many created. And music too, is an eternal, external, and ultimately internal healing agent for the soul, regardless if times are happy or sad, joyous or maudlin. Music also reflects those aforementioned emotions and more. Here’s some of the best released this past year that will for sure excite even the most hardened by the whirlwind of the times and warm someone’s soul like kindling a hearth on the coldest December nights.

Check out our 2016 Holiday Geek Gift Guide for Music

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2015 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees: Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Green Day & more
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

It’s that annual time again for either Cause Celebre or teeth-gritting derision depending on one’s taste, as the latest roster of inductees into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been announced. And as par for its course, the list spans the semantics and even transcends it, of the rock and roll idiom. For 2015, the inductees include Joan Jett, Green Day, Lou Reed, and Ringo Starr, amongst others.

The true backbeat to The Beatles, with his nasal-inflected voice, puckish charm, and one of the most underrated drummers of all time, Ringo Starr leads the pack of the Class of 2015 with the Award For Musical Excellence. Having drummed on the entire Beatles catalog (save for a few tracks where Paul McCartney took the drum seat) and sporting a solo career that was varied at best, but chock full of top ten and even number one hits during the early 1970s (“Photograph,” “You’re Sixteen,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” etc.), Starr, who still feverishly tours and keeps active well into his 70s, rounds out the last of the solo Beatles to be inducted, and while some may cry default that he got in as a solo artist just because of his prior pedigree, there’s no way one Richard Starkey (his real name) could have been left out, standing near the cold harbor outside the hall. Favoritism seems to be the order of the day in terms of the Hall’s voting committee and their strangely stringent tenets of what garners inclusion to its walls of fame, Ringo Starr notwithstanding.

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Dick Wagner, Guitarist For Alice Cooper, Lou Reed Among Others, Dies At 71
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dick-wagner-1976

Dick Wagner, a guitarist who was a key figure in the early pre-punk and American glam movements, utilizing his talents for such luminaries in the music world as Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and KISS, has died at the age of 71 of respiratory failure. Wagner had been battling ill health for many years prior to his death.

Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Wagner rubbed elbows later on after the first wave of hard rock music that came from that state’s seminal city Detroit, when Wagner was recruited to play on Alice Cooper’s seminal solo release, Welcome to My Nightmare, a record in which Wagner was heavily involved (with producer Ezrin) with Cooper, eventually sharing songwriting credits. (A highlight is the ambiguous and haunting “Only Women Bleed.”) The 1975 release became a benchmark in Cooper’s career and also showed the embryonic strains of a solo career that would stretch currently into its fourth decade. The muscle and confidence of Wagner’s playing (he had huge shoes to follow after Cooper had been in a band with Glen Buxton earlier, whose playing was signature up and down all over the band) put him as one of the mid-70s post Detroit-rock/pre-first wave of punk music’s heavyweights. In fact, for the next few decades following his successful debut foray with Cooper on record, Wagner became involved heavily with the shock rock singer thereafter, appearing on various subsequent albums and tours.

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$5 MP3 Album Deal: Lou Reed ‘Transformer’
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Lou Reed

Transformer, one of the most popular and adventurous records by Lou Reed the oft-titled “Godfather of Punk,” is now available on MP3 format from Amazon this month for only $5. (The CD is currently $5.99 and is an AutoRip, which means with the CD purchase you’ll also get a FREE MP3 download of the entire album.)

Released in November 1972, Transformer surprised everyone by actually bringing Lou Reed into the mainstream of sorts. The album hit the Top 40 and almost made the sounds and styles on this record, homosexuality, androgyny, fucked up relationships, decadence and early gothy art, household words. Produced by David Bowie and the late, great Mick Ronson, who sizzles on guitar on Transformer, Reed takes his best playbook from his Velvet Underground days and spills a wild musical ride all over his canvas here. From the catty “Vicious” to the waxing about Andy Warhol on “Andy’s Chest,” the sneering and sarcastically droning yet dripped in a kind of Christopher Isherwood Berlin style “New York Telephone Conversation,” to the well known and powerful dare one say ballad “Satellite of Love” and of course, the top 20 hit road map for the aforementioned styles and lifestyles, “Walk on the Wild Side,” Transformer is a fun ride of many musical sounds and sonic metaphors for that early glam/punk/attitudinal styles that were such a part of living in a certain kind of Max’s Kansas City-esque New York City in the early 1970s.

Browse all 100 albums on sale this month for only $5 each.

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Lou Reed, Seminal Figure in Rock Music, Leader Of Velvet Underground, Dies At 71 [Updated]
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Lou Reed

Lou Reed, the so-called godfather of punk, whose embryonic sounds of that genre and combinations of avant-garde dirty rock and roll helped propel him to become a legendary artist by way of The Velvet Underground and his own solo projects, has died at the age of 71, according to Rolling Stone. The cause of death is unknown at this time, but Reed had undergone a liver transplant back in May [see Update below].

For the Brooklyn-born Reed, it ends a life that was labyrinthine, filled with color and mayhem, sadness, poetry, tender regret, and razor sharp aggression. Reed took early rock and roll and doo wop, and mixed it with the sounds and styles of the mid 1960s, the Andy Warhol New York City which was crystallized by way of illicit drugs, adventurous sexuality and exploring themes, and going to places unknown; not even The Beatles tread to some of the naked, raw narratives that Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground went to in their songwriting.

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$5 MP3 Album Deal: Lou Reed ‘Transformer’
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Stoogeypedia   |  
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Lou Reed

Transformer, one of the most popular and adventurous records by Lou Reed the oft-titled “Godfather of Punk,” is now available on MP3 format from Amazon this month for only $5.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in November of this year, Transformer surprised everyone by actually bringing Lou Reed into the mainstream of sorts when released. The album hit the Top 40 and almost made the sounds and styles on this record, homosexuality, androgyny, fucked up relationships, decadence and early gothy art, household words. Produced by David Bowie and the late, great Mick Ronson, who sizzles on guitar on Transformer, Lou takes his best playbook from his Velvet Underground days and spills a wild musical ride all over his canvas here. From the catty “Vicious” to the waxing about Andy Warhol on “Andy’s Chest,” the sneering and sarcastically droning yet dripped in a kind of Christopher Isherwood Berlin style “New York Telephone Conversation,” to the well known and powerful dare one say ballad “Satellite of Love” and of course, the top 20 hit road map for the aforementioned styles and lifestyles, “Walk on the Wild Side,” Transformer is a fun ride of many musical sounds and sonic metaphors for that early glam/punk/attitudinal styles that were such a part of living in a certain kind of Max’s Kansas City-esque New York City in the early 1970s.

Browse all 1,000 albums on sale this month for only $5 each.

...continue reading »
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Listen Now: ‘The Best of Social Blend 2011’
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Social Blend Podcast

Social BlendThe Social Blend podcast has released its regular year-end special, The Best of 2011. The episode is a collection of some of the memorable and funniest moments from shows through the year.

2011 was a bit of a challenging year for Social Blend. We’d traditionally followed content at Mixx.com for our show nucleus; but the beginning of the year saw the announcement they were closing down their classic site as they’d been acquired by UberMedia. From there, we created our own social news site, MixxingBowl.com; while the Mixx guys moved on to establish Chime.in.

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FREE Listen: Lou Reed & Metallica’s ‘Lulu’
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Lou Reed Metallica Lulu

Last month, the song “The View” from Lulu, the upcoming Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration album, was released.

Now, you can listen to the entire album online for free, as it’s currently streaming at the official site.

The View is already available for purchase through online music retailers, while the full album Lulu comes out on November 1, 2011 in North America (on October 31, 2011 worldwide).

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MP3 Album Deal: Woody Guthrie Tribute ‘Note Of Hope’
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Note of Hope - A Celebration of Woody Guthrie

The MP3 album deal of the day over at Amazon today is Note of Hope – A Celebration of Woody Guthrie, a brand-new, all-star tribute to the folk singer, for only $3.99.

This is an Amazon exclusive version being released one day early and includes two extra tracks (14 songs in all) as well as the digital booklet. Songs performed by Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco, and many more.

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Check Out This Preview From The Lou Reed & Metallica Project ‘Lulu’
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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Lou Reed Metallica Lulu

Lou Reed and Metallica have released a 30-second preview of the song “The View” from their upcoming collaboration album Lulu.

Check out the preview here below, along with full track listing and album cover art.

The full song The View will be available at online music retailers on September 27, 2011, while the full album Lulu comes out on November 1, 2011 in North America (on October 31, 2011 worldwide).

...continue reading »
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