Category Archives: Music

Nate Dogg Dead — Rap Loses a Legend

Nate Dogg

The rap game lost a legend yesterday, as Nate Dogg’s family confirmed this morning that the Long Beach rapper has passed away. The cause of his death has not yet been determined, but Nate Dogg suffered from multiple strokes in the past few years. He was 41 years old.

Most known for his collaborations with other hip hop artists, Nate Dogg got his start along with Snoop Dogg and Warren G as a member of Long Beach’s 213 group. After Dr. Dre heard their record at a party, he signed the group. The rest is history. Nate Dogg went on to sign with Death Row Records in 1993, where he collaborated on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Nate is also featured on many Tupac tracks, and recorded with Eminem, Snoop and Ludacris in recent years. Nate was nominated for 4 Grammy awards, most notably for perhaps his most recognizable song “Regulate” with Warren G.

Both Snoop and Luda were active on Twitter this morning, noting Nate’s passing and his contribution to their craft. A lesser publicized contribution, Nate served 3 years in the United States marines after dropping out of high school at age 16.

As a fan huge fan of mid 90’s and most notably west coast rap, Nate’s death represents to me another loss among the pioneers that built rap into a legitimate music form — and a reminder of how terrible rap has become since Nate’s generation.

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howiGit’s Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Songs

Katy Perry Firework

As a blogger, I feel like I can’t hide anymore — guilty pleasure songs are by nature songs that you don’t advertise your affection for. But it would be cruel of me to keep these gems to myself, and you likely can’t resist them either. So here it is, howiGit’s tell-all of my Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Songs. So what exactly is a guilty pleasure song? Ask yourself this one question — would your high school bully make fun of you for listening to it?

Don’t hate; celebrate! (I felt I needed a cheesy phrase to capture the essence of this post, I apologize) Here we go…

1. Meredith Brooks — I’m a Bitch

It feels so good to say it. Play it loud. This one only beat out #2 because I’ve been belting it out for longer.

2. Katy Perry — Firework

I’ve never wanted to be anything else. I love you Katy.

3. Alanis Morisette — Ironic

My favorite song in third grade (in contention with TLC’s Waterfalls), who can’t relate to 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife?

4. Katy Perry — Teenage Dream

Another great video. Katy is dreamy.

5. Savage Garden — Truly Madly Deeply

Pretend you didn’t read this one.

6. Coldplay — Fix You

Was I broken?

7. Miley Cyrus — Party in the USA

Gotta love the energy Miley is bringing.

8. Phil Collins — In the Air Tonight

He’s a weirdo, and I’m not sure this entirely fits “guilty pleasure,” but this song does something for me.

9. The Cranberries — Zombie

Watch the video.

10. Kelly Clarkson — Since You’ve Been Gone

Kelly had to sneak on here somehow.

That’s it — now that I’m sufficiently embarrassed I’m off to burst like a Firework and Party in the USA. I’m sure I forgot a ton of great songs, so feel free to send your favorites along.

(Sigh)

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Calling All Guilty Pleasure Song Submissions

Boys to Men

The time is here for our next music list — I’m working on compiling my own personal list of my Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Songs of All-Time. I definitely have about half of the list lined up, but I need some help remembering other guilty pleasure songs — so please send yours along. And yes — that is Boyz to Men.

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The 20 Best Rock Songs of All-Time

Derek and the Dominos

By Alan Weeks, howiGit Music Writer & Geoff Roberts, howiGit Founder, Boston, MA

Geoff’s preliminary remarks: So here it is at long last, howiGit’s 20 Best Rock Songs of All-Time. After our success with The 20 Best Rap Songs of All-Time, this list was a given — especially considering our music writer’s Rock N’ Roll leanings. To touch on our process and criteria, I can assure you that this list was completed after countless hours of listening and deliberation. There are literally thousands of other amazing songs that did not make the list, and similarly thousands of incredibly influential songs (there’s no Elvis on the list) that also did not make the list. We took a broad interpretation of rock, as many of these songs pull from genres such as blues, jazz, and pop. There’s only room for 20 songs people, so before you argue with us ask yourself, “Is this really a top 20 song ever?” As Alan and I collaborated on the list, neither of us is 100% satisfied with the results– but this is pretty damn close and a great place to start anyone listening to rock music.

Alan’s preliminary remarks: Before we get into the list to end all other non-Rolling Stone, MTV, or VH1 lists, I want to say that as a law student, this has been the hardest thing I have had to do in the past month. While standing on the subway platform every afternoon I was thinking “Little Wing” by Stevie Ray, or “Little Wing” by Hendrix? Is “Space Oddity” by Bowie a better song than “The End” from the Doors, or do I just like it because I love the movie Mr. Deeds? G and I stayed up many a night discussing and at times arguing to the point that physical threats may or may not have been thrown around. We finally agreed on a list that we felt was the best ever. Not the best, but the best ever, and if you disagree, you are wrong. If you haven’t heard of a song on the list, do me a favor Ke-mo sah-bee, take the three minutes out of your mundane Ke$ha-listening existence and plug-in.

Without further adieu, The 20 Best Rock Songs of All-Time, in order…

1) Derrick and the Dominos — Layla

Now I know that we are going to get a lot of rabble rabble and “that is so trite” for this pick, but the truth is people, like it or not, this is the best Rock and Roll song of all-time. We are not talking about the MTV “Unplugged” version here. My boy EC (Eric Clapton for you haters) wrote this song of love and everlasting longing about Pattie Boyd, the then current wife of one of Clapton’s best friend’s, none other than the Beatles’ quiet guitarist, George Harrison. The two had a long flirtation-based relationship while she was still married. Clapton was told about an old Persian love story about a princess, “Layla,” who was to be married to someone other than the man she was madly in love with. This drove the left out party to madness, and later death in the desert — EC related. One fateful week in Miami, while recording the Dominos’ album, Rock N’ Roll history was made. Duane Allman of the very same Allman Brother Band sat in on “Layla” on slide during that amazing piano/guitar solo. The power of this song is what should drive all rock songs, madness, love, and benders in Miami. When Clapton finished the album, he called Pattie, went over to her house, and sat with her while all four sides of the LP played. Yeah, pretty awkward, she was terrified and rejected him. But she must have realized how much the song rocked at some point, because the two were later married. There is your number one people.

2) The Rolling Stones — Gimme Shelter

3) Led Zeppelin — Stairway to Heaven

4) Pink Floyd — Run Like Hell

5) The Beatles — Come Together

6) Jimi Hendrix — All Along The Watchtower

7) Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone

8)Lynyrd Skynyrd — Free Bird

9) The Eagles — Hotel California

10) The Rolling Stones — You Can’t Always Get What You Want

11) The Velvet Underground — Rock N’ Roll

12) The Band — The Weight

13) Credence Clearwater Revival — Fortunate Son

14) The Who — Baba O’Reilly

15) The Allman Brothers — Midnight Rider

16) Queen — Bohemian Rhapsody

17) CREAM — Sunshine of Your Love

18) Pink Floyd — Comfortably Numb

19) Elton John — Rocketman

20) The Doors — Light My Fire

Honorable Mentions: Led Zeppelin — Over the Hills and Far Away, The Who — Emminence Front, The Mammas and the Pappas — California Dreaming

Other Songs Seriously Considered included: There were hundreds of songs considered, which we subsequently cut to a list of about 100, which was then cut to about 40 before the list was finalized. These songs included: Buffalo Springfield — For What It’s Worth, The Clash — Rock the Casbah, CCR — Born on the Bayou, Led Zeppelin — Tangerine, Pink Floyd — Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pink Floyd — Wish You Were Here, Oasis — Wonderwall, Lynyrd Skynyrd — Sweet Home Alabama, The White Stripes — 7 Nation Army, Foo Fighters — Everlong, Nirvana — Come As You Are, Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit, U2 — One, The Rolling Stones — Under My Thumb, David Bowie — Space Oddity, Rush — Tom Sawyer, The Beatles — Elinor Rigby, Bruce Springsteen — Born to Run, The Allman Brothers — Whipping Post

Now go make yourself a playlist.

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Read howiGit’s Blog in Dirty Water News!

Dirty Water News and howiGit's Blog

You can now read howiGit’s Blog in the Dirty Water News! Our articles will be featured in both the online and print edition of the paper. Check out our 20 Best Rap Songs of All-Time post in the music section. Gotta love that Dirty Water.

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Xavier Rudd — What You Aren’t Listening To, But Should Be

Xavier Rudd
By Alan Weeks, howiGit Music Writer, Boston, MA

Do you ever wish you were in the Caribbean while you are freezing and clinging to the space-heater? Have you secretly been infuriated by howiGit’s multiple beach-related postings? What you should be listening to this week is Xavier Rudd. Many of you may know him from his performances on the festival circuit. Rudd is an Australian multi-instrumental musician. He has gained himself a very devoted following for his unique sound, which is best described as a folk-reggae-rock-international hybrid. His use of the didgeridoo and aboriginal instruments and themes is unique and relaxing. Think of an Australian Jack Johnson mixed with blues and roots.

His music is best for hanging around, relaxing, and day-dreaming — when I can’t be on the beach I prefer my Eames lounge chair — perfect background music for the Caribbean soul. If you are trying to get a feel for his music, or to get hooked immediately, you should pick up his album White Moth. If you are looking for a sample of his music to see if you want to indulge further, the single “Come Let Go” will have you entranced in white sand and turquoise waves.

His stomp box and guitar make for the summer tune, even if it is mid-January in New England. Check it out, I think you will be warmed up, and pleasantly surprised.

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Umphrey’s McGee — Concert Review

Umphreys McGee

So our music writer has long been a wee bit obsessed with Umphreys McGee. The band came through Boston last night, performing at the House of Blues (a perfect venue), so I decided to tag along and see what all the fuss was about. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the band (likely most of you), after the concert I summed up their sound as a result of these influences; Pink Floyd, Weezer, Phish, Incubus, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, and 311. They are primarily a jam band, and although they do change speeds, they mostly play faster paced music.

Some reactions to the concert: This band is made up of Matt Damon as the lead singer, Heath Ledger on the bass, your drunk Irish friend on the guitar, your 40-year-old cousin of the keyboards, and a rastafarian as well as on overly intense white dude on the drums. Many of their songs begin by sounding very much like other popular songs – they aren’t sampling most of the time but the influence was pretty obvious. Regardless of this, they would then take whatever the song was and make it absolutely their own as they gradually built up the jam and the speed. The vocals and the lyrics are relatively unexcitable and unoriginal, but that made little difference as vocals are few and far between. You don’t go to an Umphrey’s concert for the vocals, you go to watch a fantastic group of musicians.

As the concert went on, I did find my interest fluctuating a a bit. They were never bad, not even close, but they weren’t always stellar. That said, when they are at their best as their jams reach their peak and during guitar solos, they are absolutely fantastic. While one of the guitarists, Jake, is absolutely incredible, both of the guitarists in the band are awesome. The best parts of the show were when they were playing at each other just completely rocking out. Very cool.

As someone who played sports with some mild success when I was younger, I feel as though I can relate to what it must feel like to be a professional athlete dominating a game. I can imagine what it would feel like to grow a few inches, add a few pounds of muscle, and gain some quickness. While that will never happen, the experience of lighting up a CYO basketball game or pitching in Little League allows me to relate. What amazes me about musicians, especially when I watch guitarists of this caliber, is that I can’t imagine how cool it must be to be able to play like that. I have absolutely no musical talent (my rapping skills aside, obviously) so I can’t imagine being able to pick up a guitar and make it do whatever I damned well pleased. That must be awesome. Damn it mom and dad, why couldn’t you pass along some musical talent?

All in all, the Umphrey’s put on a great show. They get into it, and at their best, you’d be hard pressed to find a better band to jam with.

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Best Rock Songs Ever Submissions

Jimi Hendrix

Ok, ladies and gentlemen. You might have read our post The 20 Best Rap Songs of All-Time. That article has since moved to #1 on Google if you search for anything resembling “Best Rap Songs of All-Time” and has been read over 13,000 times. As our music writer is a wannabe 70’s child, we figured we better provide our fine readers with The 20 Best Rock Songs of All-Time as well. We’ve already begun the research process, and should have a list out to you shortly. In the meantime, help us out. Send us your submissions — we promise to listen to every last one.

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Pretty Lights — What You Aren’t Listening to, But Should Be

Pretty Lights

By Alan Weeks, howiGit Music Writer, Boston, MA

This is the first installment of a column that I will be writing about music that you aren’t listening to, but should be. The column will aptly be called “What You Aren’t Listening To, But Should Be” — quite original, I know. If you are listening to whatever I’m highlighting already, good for you, I don’t really care. This column is for the unenlightened. No Lil’ John, no 50 Cent, no Dirty Diddy Money, just music, old and new that everyone who has ears should hear. So plug in and tune out.

This week, what you should be listening to is Pretty Lights. Pretty Lights is a DJ from Colorado.  His real name is Derek Vincent Smith, and he is assisted on stage by Adam Deitch. The catchy name comes from a Pink Floyd poster that says “Come and watch the pretty lights!”

Pretty Lights uses digital sampling like all DJs. For all of you tech savvy listeners, his sound is generated by synthesizing samples and organic beats using the monome and the Akai MPD32. He then uses these digital controllers with Ableton Live 8. What sets Pretty Lights apart from acts like DJ Shadow and Benny Benassis is his choice in sampling. You have classic rock, jazz, blues, funk, and classical music, all mixed up into a glitchy, hip-hop driven synth roller coaster. Most importantly, his mixing is flawless; every musical hole is filled beautifully. He truly is a master of his art. His beats are sure to get any party, and I mean ANY party moving. Pretty Lights is becoming a bigger deal everyday, so get on the bandwagon before he is so popular that it is uncool to like him. Any of his three albums or three EPs are gold, but I would suggest Filling Up The City Skies as a good starting point. Check out the tracks “Hot Like Sauce,” and “The Time Has Come,” if you are looking to get hooked immediately. Oh! I forgot the kicker — all of his music is free to download, because he is a real musician who cares about being heard and not being paid. Grab all of his albums in seconds at www.prettylightsmusic.com. Enjoy the site’s artwork, and just click “downloads.” It truly is everything you would want from a DJ, rapper, and an 80’s prog rock band, all in one.

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50 Cent (and HNHI) Tweet Their Way to $8.7 mil

50 Cent Tweets

Ah, 50 Cent. You are so fly. So powerful. So influential. The best in the rap game, the best in the money game. So you say. But with your recent Twitter onslaught, you just proved it. I can’t wait til you drop a rhyme about all the money that you just made.

Yesterday 50 Cent unleashed a series of Tweets to his 3.8 million followers hyping a penny stock, HNHI, which is the stock symbol for a company called TVG, or Television Vision Goods. The company reportedly makes infomercials and is launching 15 new products, including Fiddy’s new “sleek by50” headphones. Here’s a sampling of the brilliance Fiddy was spewing (many of which have since been deleted due to legal concerns):

HNHI is the stock symbol for TVG sleek by50 is one of the 15 products this year. If you get in technically I work for you. BIG MONEY.

HNHI is the stock symbol for TVG there launching 15 different products. they are no joke get in now.

50 would later back off, tweeting:

I own HNHI stock thoughts on it are my opinion. Talk to financial advisor about it.

I’m so happy to see that 50 is concerned about his fans’ financial well-being. HNHI’s stock rose from 10 cents per share, to about 40 cents per share yesterday, netting the rapper a cool $8.7 million dollars. Best of all, Fiddy is set to earn a $12 million bonus should the stock reach, yes, 50 cents per share. I can’t begin to tell you how amusing I find all of this to be.

In other news, this is supposed to be primarily a sports blog, so here’s another gem from the Twittersphere courtesy of Lebron James following Cleveland’s 112-57 loss to the Lakers:

Crazy. Karma is a bitch. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything.

Who says Twitter has no value. It’s priceless for the entertainment value alone.

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