Oinker of the Day 4.24

Posted April 24, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Porkopolis

Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person or a religious person? What’s the difference?

— Margo Pierce

Hip Hop Supporters Now Recommending Censorship?

Posted April 24, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Arts & Music

Billboard.com is reporting that Russell Simmons, the founder of the Def Jam Rap/Hip Hop label, is on the “Rap is ruining society” bandwagon officially. Simmons and others from the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network released a statement about their recommendations for record companies and broadcasters. In part, the statement said, “HSAN is concerned about the growing public outrage concerning the use of the words ‘bitch,’ ‘ho,’ and ‘nigger.’ We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and the racially offensive word ‘nigger.'”

The HSAN’s full statement is reprinted below the fold.

Though the word “voluntarily” is cleverly worked into the statement, do you think this is advocating censorship? Regardless, do you think it’s proper for a man who has made his fortune from Hip Hop, including the more “offensive” artists, to call for such action?

By targeting the companies they work for, the group avoids looking like they are trying to censor what artists are saying. Companies have the right to produce whatever they want and expect employees to behave by the standards they set. But with the prominence of independent labels in Hip Hop, and the rise of indies overall in the face of the restrictive major-label system, it seems like this is merely pushing the problem away from companies with stockholders to appease.

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Local Boys Done Good (Again)

Posted April 24, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Arts & Music

How about a little music this morning? Die-hard Indie fans worldwide likely already know about The National, a group of friends from Cincinnati who moved to Brooklyn to start the band in 1999. If the past few albums are any indication, the May 22 release of their new one, The Boxer (again on Beggars Banquet Records), should up their ever-growing profile even more (their last album, Alligator, was on many critic’s Top 10 lists for 2005). The band’s guitarist Bryce Dessner was recently in town curating the MusicNOW festival at Memorial Hall; he’ll be back in the area with his Nationalmates on June 15, performing at Oakley’s 20th Century Theater.

The following track is “Fake Empire,” the lead-off cut from The Boxer. It starts in trademark smoky, Leonard Cohen territory, but expands into a weird, slanted Art Rock freak-out as it progresses. Great stuff.

— Mike Breen

Local CD of the Week: The Sheds’ You’ve Got A Light

Posted April 23, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Arts & Music

Cincinnati Indie Folk duo The Sheds have released other albums before their brand new You’ve Got a Light, but don’t look for them in your favorite CD store. The band simply put the releases (and this one) up on their Web site for free download. While that can be seen as smart promotional acumen, with The Sheds, it almost feels like an anti-materialistic statement against the music industry’s increasingly apparent greed. Still, if you simply download You’ve Got a Light without paying for it, you are most certainly getting way more than you paid for.

The Sheds — who have been earning a lot of praise from various music blogs — are singer/songwriters Paul Bunyan and Chris Haubner and their close camaraderie is apparent in their musical output. Speaking of friends, the twosome invited many of theirs to lend a hand on the new disc, adding to the communal, we’re-all-in-this-together spirit. There’s something loose and warm about this record, like it was recorded during a studio party. The Sheds are multidimensional, meaning you get a little acoustic modern Folk, a little quirky ElectroPop, some driving Indie Rock and, often, a mix of all three. All these elements combine on Light for something impossibly infectious.

Sample the track “Reflection of the Sun” from The Sheds’ You’ve Got A Light:

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New Streetcar Route

Posted April 23, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Porkopolis


(Photo: Adam J. Benjamin)

City leaders have settled on a preferred route for a proposed streetcar system through downtown and Over-the-Rhine. To ensure the system generates the most redevelopment spin-off on surrounding blocks, the chosen route is longer than initially discussed and covers a larger area.

Although three different routes — each about four miles long — originally were mulled, city planners have chosen a slightly altered version that is 4.6 miles in length. Cincinnati City Architect Michael Moore said HDR Engineering Inc. complete an economic feasibility study of the route in mid-May.

The preferred route has three segments. To view the route, click here.

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Oinker of the Day 4.23

Posted April 23, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Porkopolis

Earth Day has come and gone. What have you done — or continued to do — to show your appreciation for this big blue marble we call Mom?

— Margo Pierce

Oprah’s Street Cred Continues to Plummet

Posted April 23, 2007 by citybeat
Categories: Arts & Music

Mainstream rappers can sometimes be less than ideal spokespeople for Rap music. Exhibit A, Snoop Dogg’s reaction to the Don Imus controversy: “(Unlike Imus, rappers are) talking about hos that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money.”Although, conversely, Snoop did recently come up with this brilliant bit of wisdom about Bill O’Reilly: “Fuck Bill O’Reilly.”

Rappers have been up in arms about Oprah Winfrey’s dismissal of most Hip Hop (many artists have complained that she never allows rappers on her show), but few have been as thorough and eloquent as Saul Williams, actor, poet and brilliant spoken-word artist with a Hip Hop slant. After a decidedly critical Oprah show about Hip Hop’s damaging role in culture (featuring good comments from Common and Russell Simmons), Williams wrote an open letter to the mega-rich talk show host. Many music blogs posted the letter in full (here’s Stereogum’s posting).

Williams echoes the critiques of “gangsterism,” but offers more than just finger-pointing. Williams says, “We cannot address the root of what plagues Hip Hop without addressing the root of what plagues today’s society and the world,” comparing the no-vulnerability front of MCs to the cowboy image of George Bush. “There is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves.”

— Mike Breen