Archive for the ‘Geeknology’ Category

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Another off-the-beaten-path choice for the feature this week.

Up front, I have to say – I love the Pixies. They were my favorite band in college, and they still hold up today. Black Francis is a guitar god, Kim Deal is his perfect alter-ego, and Joey Santiago and Dave Lovering are crucial to that fantastic mixture of genres that nobody has ever attempted aside from this band.

I added two clips here, to show the different ways that Kim Deal added the perfect touch to a tune:

Where is My Mind?

Without that high-pitched keening sound in the background, this is still a good song, but that backing vocal makes it impossible to ignore – the aggression is cut by that lost wail. Fan-damn-tastic song.


This one turns the tables, as Kim sings lead and BF adds his voice to the chorus. Not really a great moment in backup singing, I guess, but Kim sure was cute in it, eh?

There are so many examples of interesting backing vocals in Pixies tunes. Build yer own.

Happy Thanksgiving. I don’t know how to carve a turkey properly, so “Gouge Away” is sort of my theme song on the 22nd.

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Obviously, there is no point in actually watching the video here. But the song is there, so let’s hear it.

What I love about this song is the juxtaposition between Harold and the Blue Notes. The backup singers are steady and on-point throughout the whole song, gently reminding Harold’s woman that she should know better than to question his fidelity (so a man comes home a little late at night with no explanation, then gets defensive when confronted, so what?). Harold’s voice gets more and more raw throughout the performance, until he’s basically begging the nameless paramour to just give him a break, already. All the while his own personal greek chorus pleads the heart of his case in the background.

Awesome stuff.

Top of my list for next week are The Pixies, with the wonderful Kim Deal doing her thang, or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – that most reciprocal of relationships in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Confession time – I’ve never been a very big fan of heavy metal vocals. They too often sound strained and screechy to me. But Heart is another story entirely. Ann Wilson has a big voice, and it never sounds like she’s forcing out a high note. It’s just full and natural, and it always hits me in a vital spot. You know what I’m talkin’ about, fellas.

Since I’m using YouTube to illustrate my choices, I often have little to pick from. In this case, I had fuzzy late-70’s video where Ann is singing completely without backup, or pouffy 80’s videos with way too much synth in them.

I finally settled on this nice clip, in which Nancy is still mostly just shredding, but adds her voice at strategic moments to sweeten an already impressive note. I imagine hearing it live, the whole place would vibrate like a tuning fork. Amazing stuff.

We’ll probably go back to the soul arena next week, but until then, rock on, and be excellent to each other.

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It may be a little bit unfair to characterize John Oates as a backup singer, but to my way of thinking, he was definitely the wing man in the Hall & Oates partnership. The fact that Darryl Hall gave him equal billing in the act is a testament to his appreciation for Oates’ steady musicianship.

But let’s be honest – Darryl was the face man. He had the better voice, and the frontman looks and charisma, and those qualities made him the leader. Oates happily put the Philly-soul oooohs and aaaaahs in there, and sometimes sang near-duets, as in “She’s Gone” and other classics. But mostly, he was a complementary voice.

I had requests for some sweet Hall & Oates tunes when I announced this post last week, including nolachick’s wish to hear the ultra-smooth “Sara Smiles”, but I wanted something that really showed what Oates brought to the table during the duo’s heyday. So, in honor of Halloween, here’s “Maneater”.

See – classic wingman there. Hall is a pretty boy, and he’s used to dealing with rough trade. He’s almost cocky. But Oates has his back, shouting “Watch Out!” and “She’s a man-EATER!” when Hall starts to drop his guard.

Oates, for your dedicated service as the Defensive Coordinator of the group, we salute you.

(sharp-eyed viewers will also notice smirking Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith adding his voice to the mix)

I’ll tell you the suggestions for next week, but I haven’t decided which to use yet. I’ve had suggestions for Heart, The Pixies, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and a few others, and I think I’ve discovered a gem of an example from Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.

Any others?

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birthdaycakefeast0017.jpgNo, it doesn’t say “Anus Bloggus”. Settle down, Beavis.

What that means, is that I have completed one full year of blogging, which is like seven years in the mainstream media. This blog has been, at best, mildly popular during that time, so I’m not rolling out the cake with strippers inside, exactly. But I did want to reflect just the tiniest bit on where this blog came from and where it’s been. Where it’s going would involve foresight, and I have none.

I actually started this blog as a challenge from a classmate at Old Dominion. We were supposed to be setting out a plan that would help us envision what it would take to become successful writers, and I said “the main thing I need to do is get used to writing every day.” So my partner in the exercise says “You should start a blog”. So you have her to thank, genius that she is. I know I need to track her down and say thanks, for certain.

I started out to just write satire, but my first post happened to be tangentially sports-related:

Can You TiVo This and Save My Leg, Doc?

At the time, though, I tried to be topical with the news as well:

Club Fed

A couple weeks later, I had my first national attention, again for a sports satire, but the link was on College Humor instead of Deadspin.  This one related to the big scandal from last year’s world series.

A Smudge of Fudge from Pudge?

Then, just before the end of my inaugural month, I discovered the joys of Deadspin with this gem, which I’m still kind of proud of:

Open Letter to a Pedantic Killjoy

Tell me that doesn’t stand up today.  I also used to make a cottage industry out of joking Peyton Manning’s OCD, until he had to ruin it all by winning the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning Complicates Everything!

And, the post that by far wins the longevity championship is this one:

Rugby vs. Football = Apples vs. Oranges

No single day of this post’s existence has much exceeded fifty views, but it averages double-digit views every day since I wrote it a couple of months ago.  Maybe it was the coincidental timing of the Rugby World Cup, but I still can’t figure out where the views are coming from – no referrer shows up in my stats bar.  What I do know, is that I have been chastised for not knowing the rules of rugby (the premise of the piece, I must say), and it has been suggested that perhaps I should get off my skirt and get in the game if I want to know how it works.  Whatever – just keep reading and commenting, and we’ll come to an understanding some day.

birthdaycakeface0023.jpgSince then, there have been a great many posts, and over 200,000 hits, mostly by way of outside sources who were kind enough to loan me their readers for a day.  The best thing about that whole time is the collaboration aspect of it all.  I’ve been a part of the Awful Announcing Channel Four News Team since it was formed, just before the NCAA tournament.  And while that might sound gimmicky, it hasn’t been – our styles really mesh, and we work really well together when such an effort is required.

Shorty and Ted Bauer have both provided me with guest posts from time to time, and I’ve suckered invited sympatico bloggers like TC, Jack Cobra, and Sooze to help me overcome my lack of true baseball knowledge by helping me write Voodoo Sabermetrics and some of the Smells Like Pujols posts.  I’ve been quite pleased to make the acquaintance of great sports writers like Jay Busbee and Michael Litos, as well.

I’ve also met some great (as yet) unknown blog writers, and I am loath to name them for fear that my mental sieve will leak at the wrong moment.  Suffice to say – if I love your writing, I have tried to work with you at any opportunity, which is my way of saying “you rock”. 

Wow, this is far more pedantic than I intended to be.  I’ll just conclude by saying thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week, at the beginning of year two.

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catfight.jpgSome of you may have been wondering, saying “Self? Why is Extra P. pumping up this Burly Sports Video business?” And here’s why. When I was approached about becoming affiliated with Burly, they mentioned a setup where sports fans could reply to one another via video. That sounded like exactly the sort of thing my friend MCBias has been lobbying for all year long. So here it is:

Burly Sports Hotbox

The first video-rant target is, predictably, Charlie Weis. But you can take on any subject you want, including the guy who made this video, right? At least in theory. So I say go test that theory. The more dialogue we have, the better. And the graphics are way snazzier than YouTube.

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I’m just a caveman. Your telecommunications devices frighten and confuse me. But I will still play in Awful Announcing’s football league just for the everlasting glory attendant upon getting down in the muck to wrassle with you fine folks.

Join AA’s Leeg

While the joy of competition is enough for me, AA is also offering a top prize of an iPhone to the winner of the league. If you’re reluctant to drop cash on something new, this is the perfect way to try it out at no cost to you. But you have to win first, beeeeyotch.

While we’re here, I have a few more links for you:

You know how I love a good sports name. Here is Jay Busbee’s account of his childhood meeting with old-school Brave Brian Asselstine.

Great. Just great. Now if I want to watch bikini beach volleyball, I have to deal with a bunch of angry Samoan dudes.

My friend Walker has started reviewing for The Hot Sauce Blog. His first assignment was Duck Butter sauce. This is tangentially related to sports because of…. nachos.

Sometimes I think athletes know they will get in big trouble, but they shoot their mouths off anyway. It just feels too good not to. Well, Big Z is now eating the poo that comes after a blowup.

Over at Strike Zones & End Zones, Sarah is calling Virginia Tech/LSU the Tragedy Bowl.  Her suggestions for ways the media and schools can overplay the angle are great, but I started laughing out loud around #3:   Instead of the teams ceremoniously running into the stadium before the game, the players will start inside and run out, evacuation style.

JP interviews Liston. I remember when I was a hot young blogger once. Ah the good old days of three months ago…

Joe Montana’s not walking through that door.

When the Diamondbacks face the Padres, there’s always potential for Chris Young-on-Chris Young crime.

In case you need just one more Fantasy Football League, here’s a joint that lets you join up just 30 minutes before the final draft of the season.

Finally, OMDQ is running a great game. He’s going to do a reverse-survivor deal where he keeps track of which teams in 1-A are winless. Until we get down to the most winless of them all. And then we will pelt them with garbage.

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