Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Introducing the Taser MP3 player"


Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of a convenient way to electrocute people while listening to some of your favourite tunes? Well, the answer to your prayers is here.

Taser, the world's leaders in delivering high-voltage shocks to the target of your choice, are releasing a handy all-in-one stun-gun and mp3 player carry case.

The product was unveiled at the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Music Player Holster's mp3 player can hold up to 1GB of music – enough for 150 or so songs – and the C2 stun gun can deliver 50,000 volts into your desired shockee, via a pair of darts. The wires that connect the darts give it a range of up to 15 feet, so you can shock to your heart's content.

for more info visit

"St Louis may ban swearing, table dancing, profane music in bars/clubs"

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - What the ...? A St. Louis-area town is considering a bill that would ban swearing in bars, along with table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music.

City officials contend the bill is needed to keep rowdy crowds under control because the historic downtown area gets a little too lively on some nights.

City Councilman Richard Veit said he was prompted to propose the bill after complaints about bad bar behavior. He says it will give police some rules to enforce when things get too rowdy.

But some bar owners worry the bill is too vague and restrictive, saying it may be a violation of their civil rights.

Marc Rousseau, who owns the bar R.T. Weilers, said he thinks the bill needs revision.

"We're dealing with adults here once again and I don't think it's the city's job or the government's job to determine what we can and cannot play in our restaurant," Rousseau said.

The proposal would ban indecent, profane or obscene language, songs, entertainment and literature at bars.

A meeting to discuss the proposal is set for Jan. 14.

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Snoop Dogg plans Rock Collaborations"

from World Entertainment News Network

Rapper Snoop Dogg is eager to collaborate with rock icons Bono and Sir Mick Jagger - because his Hip-Hop peers no longer inspire him.

Snoop admits his next album could be influenced by Rock 'n' Roll - and he plans to call on classic some musical legends to help him achieve an edgier sound.

The 36-year-old tells, "I want to work with Madonna, Bono or Mick Jagger. I'm on some Rock sh!t, man. Snoop Dogg, man! "Rappers don't really move me too much. They can't do what I did. I'm trying to get down with something that's outta the box and bigger than me."

"Photo of the day: 1/11/08"

Vintage photo of Norma Jeane Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe. - Ace:)

"American Idol's Katharine McPhee dropped by record label"

from via AP

"American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee has parted ways with her record label, RCA, reports.

A label source confirmed McPhee's departure for Billboard, after the story was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.

McPhee did one album for RCA, "Katharine McPhee," which debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200.

McPhee struggled to connect with a wide audience with her debut, which was led by the single "Over It," Billboard reports. That song topped out at No. 22 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart and No. 29 on the Hot 100. The album has sold just 366,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

McPhee joins fellow "American Idol" contestants Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard as former members of the Sony BMG family.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Hicks, who beat McPhee on the show in 2006, has apparently been dropped by J Records, a label within Sony-BMG, which signs the show's singers.

"Taylor is going to record on his own for the next album," said J Records publicist Liz Morentin, who did not give further details regarding Hicks.

Another "Idol" winner — Ruben Studdard of season two — left his contract with J Records late last year, but continues his contract with 19 Entertainment, the company managed by "Idol" creator Simon Fuller.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

"The Evolution of Dollar Bill Y'all"

I stumbled onto the following little bunch of information over @ while surfing around the www.

It's the evolution of the meme "Dollar Bill Y'all", the chorus to one of my favorite old school Rap jams by Jimmy Spicer.

meme: definition:
n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

While I am sure that this cannot be a complete chronicling of it's use, it is interesting. - Ace:)

  • 1983Jimmy Spicer, "Money (Dollar Bill Y'All)" - The single that started it all. It's extremely simple and repetitive, but infectious, with a synthesizer making beeps and a voice saying "Dollar bill y'all, Dollar bill y'all, Dollar-dollar-dollar-dollar Dollar bill y'all." Who would have expected the phrase to have such resonance?

  • 1993 — Wu-Tang Clan, "C.R.E.A.M." - From Wu-Tang Clan's seminal debut LP, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The chorus goes, "Cash rules everything around me/ C.R.E.A.M./ Get the money/ Dollar dollar bill y'all." Wu-Tang Clan have always been critical darlings and are hugely influential. I believe all subsequent iterations of the "dollar bill y'all" meme to be spawned by 1993's C.R.E.A.M., not the 1983 Jimmy Spicer single.

  • 1997 — Nu-metal artists Limp Bizkit release an LP entitled Three Dollar Bill Yall$.

  • 1997Coolio performs a cover version of Jimmy Spicer's "Money (Dollar Bill Y'All)" on a compilation album called In Tha Beginning… There Was Rap (a collection of old-school rap standards covered by current rap artists).

  • 1998 — R&B artist R. Kelly releases a double-LP entitled R., on which Disc Two, Track Four is "Dollar Bill," which contains the lyrics "The dollar bill/ Dollar bill y'all, dollar bill y'all, dollar bill y'all."

  • 2001Ice Cube releases a "Greatest Hits" album, which contains a song called "$100 Bill Y'All."

  • 2007Swizz Beatz releases "It's Me B!tches", which contains a direct reference to Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." — "Ring the alarm, man/ Call me the sandman/ When I drop beats I'm the one-man band, man/ Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M., Get the money, dollar dollar bills y'all/ F_ck it."

  • 2007Wyclef Jean's album Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant has a hit single (featuring guest appearances by Akon, Lil Wayne, and Niia), entitled "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)." The song contains a direct reference to Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." — "See, I'm-a tell ya/ Like Wu told me/ Cash rules everything/ Around me/ Singin' dollar, dollar bill y'all/ Dollar dollar bill y'all."


    "Vinyl Gets Its Groove Back"

    from - by Kristina Bell

    From college dorm rooms to high school sleepovers, an all-but-extinct music medium has been showing up lately. And we don't mean CDs. Vinyl records, especially the full-length LPs that helped define the golden era of rock in the 1960s and '70s, are suddenly cool again. Some of the new fans are baby boomers nostalgic for their youth. But to the surprise and delight of music executives, increasing numbers of the iPod generation are also purchasing turntables (or dusting off Dad's), buying long-playing vinyl records and giving them a spin.

    Like the comeback of Puma sneakers or vintage T shirts, vinyl's resurgence has benefited from its retro-rock aura. Many young listeners discovered LPs after they rifled through their parents' collections looking for oldies and found that they liked the warmer sound quality of records, the more elaborate album covers and liner notes that come with them, and the experience of putting one on and sharing it with friends, as opposed to plugging in some earbuds and listening alone. "Bad sound on an iPod has had an impact on a lot of people going back to vinyl," says David MacRunnel, a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Creve Coeur, Mo., who owns more than 1,000 records.

    The music industry, hoping to find another revenue source that doesn't easily lend itself to illegal downloads, has happily jumped on the bandwagon. Contemporary artists like the Killers and Ryan Adams have begun issuing their new releases on vinyl in addition to the CD and MP3 formats. As an extra lure, many labels are including coupons for free audio downloads with their vinyl albums so that Generation Y music fans can get the best of both worlds: high-quality sound at home and iPod portability for the road. Also, vinyl's different shapes (hearts, triangles) and eye-catching designs (bright colors, sparkles) are created to appeal to a younger audience. While new records sell for about $14, used LPs go for as little as a penny--perfect for a teenager's budget--or as much as $2,400 for a collectible, autographed copy of Beck's Steve Threw Up.

    Vinyl records are just a small scratch on the surface when it comes to total album sales--only about 0.2%, compared to 10% for digital downloads and 89.7% for CDs, according to Nielsen SoundScan--but these numbers may underrepresent the vinyl trend since they don't always include sales at smaller indie shops where vinyl does best. Still, 990,000 vinyl albums were sold in 2007, up 15.4% from the 858,000 units bought in 2006. Mike Dreese, CEO of Newbury Comics, a New England chain of independent music retailers that sells LPs and CDs, says his vinyl sales were up 37% last year, and Patrick Amory, general manager of indie label Matador Records, whose artists include Cat Power and the New Pornographers, claims, "We can't keep up with the demand."

    Big players are starting to take notice too. "It's not a significant part of our business, but there is enough there for me to take someone and have half their time devoted to making vinyl a real business," says John Esposito, president and CEO of WEA Corp., the U.S. distribution company of Warner Music Group, which posted a 30% increase in LP sales last year. In October, introduced a vinyl-only store and increased its selection to 150,000 titles across 20 genres. Its biggest sellers? Alternative rock, followed by classic rock albums. "I'm not saying vinyl will become a mainstream format, just like gourmet eating is not going to take over from McDonald's," says Michael Fremer, senior contributing editor at Stereophile. "But there is a growing group of people who are going back to a high-resolution format." Here are some of the reasons they're doing it and why you might want to consider it:

    Sound quality LPs generally exhibit a warmer, more nuanced sound than CDs and digital downloads. MP3 files tend to produce tinnier notes, especially if compressed into a lower-resolution format that pares down the sonic information. "Most things sound better on vinyl, even with the crackles and pops and hisses," says MacRunnel, the young Missouri record collector.

    Album extras Large album covers with imaginative graphics, pullout photos (some even have full-size posters tucked in the sleeve) and liner notes are a big draw for young fans. "Alternative rock used to have 16-page booklets and album sleeves, but with iTunes there isn't anything collectible to show I own a piece of this artist," says Dreese of Newbury Comics. In a nod to modern technology, albums known as picture discs come with an image of the band or artist printed on the vinyl. "People who are used to CDs see the artwork and the colored vinyl, and they think it's really cool," says Jordan Yates, 15, a Nashville-based vinyl enthusiast. Some LP releases even come with bonus tracks not on the CD version, giving customers added value.

    Social experience Crowding around a record player to listen to a new album with friends, discussing the foldout photos, even getting up to flip over a record makes vinyl a more socially interactive way to enjoy music. "As far as a communal experience, like with family and friends, it feels better to listen to vinyl," says Jason Bini, 24, a recent graduate of Fordham University. "It's definitely more social."

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    "Chicago lap dancer's story leads to jail "

    from US World News

    AURORA, Ill., Jan. 10 A Chicago-area woman has been jailed for allegedly lying about being sexually assaulted by a man who couldn't immediately pay for a lap dance.

    The incident began Tuesday when a 60-year-old man who lives in the same motel apartment complex as 23-year-old Kavina Phillips reportedly offered to pay her $100 for a lap dance in his room, police in Aurora, Ill., said.

    However, Phillips ended up calling police the man had tried to sexually assault her, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    During separate interrogations, investigators found inconsistencies in Phillips' story and eventually determined she called police out of anger the man wouldn't have the money until Friday, the report said.

    The man was released, and Phillips was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing what police said was a false report.

    "Barack Obama : "I Love Hip-Hop"

    from - by Houston Williams

    Senator Barack Obama is interested in utilizing rappers to educate youth with Hip-Hop, should he make it to the White House.

    "I've met with Jay-Z; I've met with Kanye. And I've talked to other artists about how potentially to bridge that gap. I think the potential for them to deliver a message of extraordinary power that gets people thinking [is strong]," the presidential hopeful told Jeff Johnson on BET special What's In It For Us?

    While the possibilities are endless, Obama said that he still remains disturbed at some of the harsh images represented in Hip-Hop music.

    "There are times, even on the artists I've named, the artists that I love, that there is a message that's, sometimes degrading to women, uses the N-word a lil' too frequently," he said on the show, which was played on Monday. "But also something that I'm really concerned about is [they are] always talking about material things about how I can get something-more money, more cars."

    Obama admitted to being an "old school guy" that likes 60's and 70's soul music.

    "I gotta admit – lately I've been listening to a lot of Jay-Z. This new American Gangster album is [good]. Kanye, I like. I enjoy some of the newer stuff. Honestly, I love the art of Hip-Hop. I don't always love the message of Hip-Hop."

    After being asked if he liked Hip-Hop, the Illinois Senator replied, "Of course."

    Last year, Russell Simmons criticized Obama for calling on some rappers to amend their vulgar lyrics.

    "What we need to reform is the conditions that create these lyrics. Obama needs to reform the conditions of poverty. I wish he really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently."

    Simmons later rescinded some of his claims and apologized to the Senator.

    Throughout his campaign, Obama has preached under the mantra of change and he said he would like rappers to envision change through their music.

    "Hip-Hop is not just a mirror of what is it should be a mirror of what can be. A lot of people say, 'I want to be real. I want to be down. Then we're just trapped in 'What is.' Imagine something different. Imagine communities that aren't torn up by violence.

    "Imagine that we're respecting our women," Obama continued. "Imagine communities where knowledge and reading and academic excellence are valued, communities where fathers are doing right by their kids. Art can't just be a rearview mirror. It should have a headlight on there pointing to where we need to go."

    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    "NYC's First Annual Hip-Hop Karaoke Championships"

    from - by MetroGnome

    In honor of all the Hip-Hop artists that have graced the public with timeless music, fans with a penchant for performance now have the opportunity to watch twelve finalists compete for Karaoke supremacy.

    It all began at a club on NYC's Lower East Side, but drew enough attention and following where an upgrade to the Knitting Factory ensued. Now, after a year of tense rhyme competition, only the most serious and talented fans will be on board to show and prove come January 25th at the Highline Ballroom.

    The twelve contestants are Axiom, Camille, Chef, Dashaun, Doni D, Elizabeth, K-Dot, Pancho, RDJ, Robin, Scooter and Shawn J.


    Started in December 2004, Hip Hop Karaoke has given thousands of people the opportunity to witness, and participate in, this unique celebration of hip-hop. The event, held monthly at New York's Knitting Factory, has been visited by such luminaries as Jeru the Damaja, Rhymefest and Big Daddy Kane and has performed internationally in such esteemed spots as The Paradiso in Amsterdam. Garnering praise from everyone from Village Voice to XXL Magazine, the event is one-of-a-kind in New York and has quickly become one of the city's most popular nights!

    for more info check their site @ or their myspace page @

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    "Connecticut Cops accused of sex with Prostitutes while on duty"

    MADISON, Conn. (AP) — Madison's police commission has heard allegations that several town officers have had encounters with prostitutes while working the overnight shift.

    The allegations came up Monday during a Police Commission disciplinary hearing for the midnight shift supervisor, Sgt. Timothy Heiden.

    No criminal charges have been filed in the case involving prostitutes. However, officials say arrests are expected in the coming weeks. Heiden is not expected to face criminal charges.

    There are administrative charges that Heiden did not properly supervise subordinate officers.

    The officers allegedly met with the prostitutes at several locations including the commuter parking lot off of Interstate 95 as well as behind a school and a shopping center.

    "Annie Lennox on Amy Winehouse"

    from World Entertainment News Network
    Annie Lennox is urging music fans to ignore Amy Winehouse's erratic personal life and concentrate on her incredible voice instead. The ex-Eurythmics star is amazed by the 23-year-old's singing, and wishes the press and public would spend more time focusing on her talent.
    Lennox tells, "Everybody loves Amy Winehouse's music. I love Amy Winehouse's music. I think she's a genius. "I went to see her perform when she was 18, and I heard her first album when it was in demo form... and I was like, 'This child, she is like whoa! How does an 18-year-old sound like she's 60 in the best possible way, i.e. a seasoned jazz singer like something you've never heard before?' "So, to me, she's profound. Forget about all the rest, about all the troubles and all that. There's something about her that resonates with everybody."

    "Retro video : Captain Sensible - WOT!"

    He said CAP-TAIN, I said WOT!?

    One of my favorite tracks growing up back in the dark ages...

    It's The Damned's Guitarist, Captain Sensible with "WOT!" - released in 1982 on A&M Records.

    This track came out when Hip-Hop was still an underground phenomenon. Safe to say that this was one of the first 'Rap' songs to break through into the Suburban neighborhoods. Blondie's "Rapture" came out just a year earlier.

    This is quite possibly the first-ever 'diss' track by a white 'rapper'. The 'Adam' he's speaking of is 80's icon Adam from Adam & The Ants.

    Anyways, check it out! - Ace:)


    When I woke up this morning I was feelin' fine
    But this cat starts banging man what a swine.
    So I called reception but to no avail
    That's why I'm telling you this sorry tale.
    It went bang - I said shut up

    It went bang - I said rap up.
    Well I'm aware that the guy must do his work
    But the piledriver man drove me berserk.
    He said captain
    I said wot

    He said captain
    I said wot
    He said captain
    I said wot
    He said captain
    I said wot d'ya want

    Once a lifetime
    twice a day
    If you don't work you get no pay.

    I been to the east
    I been to the west

    But the girls I like best are the ones undressed.

    Well hello Adam
    where you been?
    I said a'stand aside 'cause I'm feelin' mean

    I've had a gutful of you and I'm feelin' bad'
    Cause you're an ugly old pirate and ain't I glad.
    He said captain
    I said wot. . .

    He said captain
    I said wot

    "Photo of the day: 1/8/08"


    "Washington Post says it 'incorrectly' reported RIAA story"

    from by Greg Sandoval

    The Washington Post has backed off a story that erroneously accused the recording industry of trying to criminalize ripping CDs to a computer.

    The Post issued a correction Saturday, more than a week after the paper triggered a wave of media coverage by claiming that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was trying to outlaw the very common practice of copying music from a CD onto a computer or iPod.

    "A Dec. 30 Style and Arts column incorrectly said that the recording industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer," the Post's correction reads. "In a copyright infringement lawsuit the industry's lawyer argued that the actions of an Arizona man, the defendant were illegal because the songs were located in a shared folder on his computer for distribution on a peer-to-peer network."

    The reference to "shared folder" was key. In the Post's story, the writer quoted from a legal brief filed by the RIAA in the case of Jeffrey Howell, an Arizona man accused by recording companies of illegal file sharing. The author of the Post's story said that the RIAA maintained "that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer."

    But anyone reading the brief will see that in all such references, the RIAA was arguing that it was illegal for someone to make copies and then distribute those copies over file-sharing networks.

    Soon after the story appeared, several high-profile blogs, including Techdirt, Gizmodo, and Engadget, wrote that something was amiss.

    Mike Masnick at Techdirt noted that other previous stories about the RIAA's legal brief had been debunked.

    "Unfortunately (and for reasons unclear to me), the Washington Post has revived the story," Masnick wrote on Jan. 2. "That's simply not true."

    Nonetheless, dozens of other media sites repeated the Post's claims. The Web was filled with headlines like "RIAA Goes After 'Personal Use' Doctrine," "We're All Thieves to the RIAA," and "RIAA Equates Ripping With Stealing."

    In response to the Post's decision to correct the story, the RIAA issued a brief statement on Monday: "We appreciate that the Washington Post cleared the record."

    Editor's note: Greg Sandoval is a former Washington Post staff writer.

    "Salma Hayek busts out, slims down for Stripper role"

    from - by Debra Beste

    Salma Hayek is working hard for a new role where she will show off her new and improved post baby body. Star Magazine is reporting that Salma is finally back in fighting shape after giving birth to her daughter, Valentina, three months ago.

    The magazine cites insiders that say that the actress, who gave birth to her first child with businessman fiancé Francois-Henri Pinault on Sept. 20, stayed locked up in her house until she felt that she looked svelte enough to be seen in public!

    "Salma felt unattractive and huge after having Valentina," a source tells Star. "She wouldn't leave the house until she had lost most of the weight." What is she doing go shed the unwanted pounds? The source says the Mexican stunner whittled down her frame by breast-feeding and working out nonstop with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson!

    Salma will have to get serious about counting calories – in February, the new mom is scheduled to start shooting Keep Coming Back, in which she play a stripper!

    "Roller Skating Rink planned for Coney Island"

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A Coney Island entrepreneur said she is planning to open a new roller skating rink in the area.

    Lola Staar Souvenir Boutique owner Dianna Carlin tells the New York Post that she is close to completing a deal to build a rink on what is now a seashore parking lot. She says she hopes to open in the summer.

    The addition of a roller skating rink to the neighborhood would be a boost to a well-worn collection of amusements.

    Brooklyn has been without a roller skating rink since Empire Roller Skating Center in the Crown Heights neighborhood closed down in April.

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    "Meet the new Bond Girls, James Bond Girls : 007"

    from - by Sarah Hall

    There are a couple of new Bond girls in town.

    British actress Gemma Arterton (seen left) and Ukranian model-thesp Olga Kurylenko (seen right) have been cast opposite Daniel Craig in the forthcoming installment of the 007 franchise, which is currently shooting in London, the film's producer confirmed.

    Rumors that Arterton would be suiting up for the role have been circulating in the British tabloids and on Bond fan sites for several weeks.

    Arterton and Kurylenko join the ranks of notable Bond girls of films past, including Halle Berry, Carey Lowell, Famke Janssen and Diana Rigg.

    A virtual unknown, Arterton's pre-Bond credits include the British comedy St. Trinian's, in which she plays a naughty schoolgirl.

    Few details about her character, known as M16 Agent Fields, have emerged; however, a representative for the film's Los Angeles-based producer told the Hollywood Reporter, "it's a nice-sized role."

    Kurylenko, whose role is described as Bond's "leading lady," recently starred opposite Timothy Olyphant in Hitman and opposite Elijah Wood in Paris, je t'aime.

    The film, which currently goes by the working title Bond 22, marks Craig's second go-round as the superspy, following his turn in 2006's Casino Royale. Marc Forster is directing.

    Craig is the sixth actor to portray Bond, following in the martini-swilling footsteps of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

    "Yazoo album reissues coming... Possible reunion?"

    While there hasn't been an 'official' announcement as of yet, several sources are reporting that Mute Records will be releasing remastered editions of both Yazoo albums some time this year:

    1982's "Upstairs at Eric's"


    1983's "You and Me Both"

    Rumours of a companion DVD with rare footage of the group are just that at this point - rumours.

    What's quite exciting to me is that Yazoo is planning a live gig to promote the re-releases. Whether this will be a one-off performance, a mini-tour, or more, is yet unknown.

    I'm a massive fan of Yazoo, and this is very exciting news indeed. Especially if these things take place!

    But in the meantime, and in between time - make sure to check out their official website @ and also have a look @ their myspace page - - Ace:)

    * Video for my personal favourite Yazoo track below - "Nobody's Diary"

    "Brooklyn pair profits from Vinyl comeback"

    from - BY Lore Croghan - Daily News business writer

    Are you kicking yourself because you threw away all those records you listened to decades ago? Do you miss the sound and feel of vinyl?

    You are not alone.

    Growing numbers of audio fans are listening to records at home and using digital music players for when they're on the go. Increasingly, indie bands are skipping the CDs and releasing their music on records as well as on digital MP3 files.

    Vinyl was largely phased out in the late '80s by the rise of CDs, though it remained the darling of club deejays. But now, it's making a modest comeback with nostalgic baby boomers and the under-35 crowd alike. And a Sunset Park, Brooklyn, plant is profiting from the trend.

    At Brooklynphono, where two rebuilt '70s- and '80s-vintage presses make hot vinyl into records, sales have grown every year since 2003.

    The work load is so heavy that, until company co-owner Thomas Bernich, 36, finishes rebuilding three more pressing machines, he and his wife aren't seeking out new clients.

    "We have to be careful not to bite off more than we can chew," said Fern Vernon-Bernich, 35.

    As she spoke, workers on the factory floor below their office slid new copies of '60s and '70s Motown singer Bettye LaVette's album "Do Your Duty" into record jackets.

    Half of Brooklynphono's work is for reissue labels that offer older music like LaVette's. The rest is new releases from indie labels.

    Reissue label Sundazed Music in upstate Coxsackie is a repeat customer.

    "They speak my language," said owner Bob Irwin, whose vinyl releases run the gamut from '60s garage band the Remains to music giants Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

    Bernich grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and studied to be a sculptor at Pratt Institute. While he was in college, he interned at Island Records. "I was already in love with vinyl, but that really sealed the deal."

    Before starting the company in 2001, Bernich did construction work and designed modular furniture (which he never produced).

    His mother, Erika Handler-Bernich, who runs an importing business, helped finance Brooklynphono's launch, and she and her daughter-in-law jointly handle the books.

    The company got off to a slow start. Bernich had to find machinery, rent a factory on 42nd St. — which he later bought for $1.4 million — and set up a production system. He didn't start pressing records until 2002.

    Bernich hired John Aiello, who supervised 80 vinyl presses at Specialty Records in Lackawanna, Pa., to teach him how to operate the equipment and trouble-shoot the glitches.

    Early on, Bernich paid Aiello a couple hundred dollars a day for his Saturday visits to Sunset Park.

    Sales picked up in 2003 after Vernon-Bernich — who grew up in North Miami Beach, Fla., and worked as a knitwear designer for Liz Claiborne — became Brooklynphono's production manager.

    Sales doubled in 2004 and again in 2005, then tripled to $290,000 in 2006. They were almost $400,000 last year.

    Vernon-Bernich, whose musical tastes range from '70s house music to early Aerosmith, loves listening to records.

    " 'Sweet Emotion' sounds best on vinyl," she insisted.

    At first, she freelanced part-time for Liz Claiborne, then decided there was too much to do at the record factory.

    "It was all-consuming," she said.

    On sweltering summer days when they couldn't bear to operate the presses, the couple would wait till night to finish jobs and avoid missing deadlines — even when she was pregnant.

    A year ago, Vernon-Bernich cut her hours to part time following the birth of their daughter, Hazel. But Vernon-Bernich plans to return full time and focus on winning new accounts next year, when Hazel will start day care.

    By that time, they hope, the three presses Bernich is rebuilding — he bought seven old machines to scavenge for parts — are expected to be finished.

    Once those presses are operating, the couple plans to add at least three new staffers, which besides them includes three full-time employees, one part-timer and an intern.

    Brooklynphono handles orders as small as 100 records and charges $1 for each record they press. While out-of-state competitors charge 86 to 91 cents, local indie music producers say they can save hundreds of dollars in shipping charges by picking up their records from the plant.

    Also, some choose Brooklynphono because they can stop in and check on the work being done for them.

    "They're so meticulous," said Nico DeSimone, who owns Park Slope, Brooklyn, indie label Wonderwheel Recordings, which produces his own and other artists' Latin, funk and Afrobeat dance music.

    "A lot of errors can happen in the vinyl-making process," said the deejay, aka DJ Nickodemus. "They nip mistakes in the bud."

    - Be sure to visit Brooklyn Phono's site @

    photos from Rosier/News ©

    "Napster moves to MP3-only music download format"

    Napster Inc, one of the largest digital music retailers, said on Monday it would start selling downloads in the MP3 format from the second quarter of this year in the latest blow to copy protection for songs bought online.

    Napster had sold songs protected with Microsoft Corp's Windows-based digital rights management (DRM) to prevent buyers from illegally making multiple copies or distributing songs to other users.

    But the use of DRM, originally mandated by the world's largest music companies, has proved unpopular with consumers. Many have been frustrated to find that songs they buy can only be played on certain compatible digital players or could not be moved from one computer to another.

    Napster made its name in the 1990s as the first major free marketplace for DRM-free songs in the MP3 format. But it did so as an illegal service for users to share their music files, eventually being sued and closed by the music industry in 2001.

    Today's incarnation of Napster operates legally after buying rights to the name in 2003. It has 750,000 subscribers who use both its music subscription and download services.

    "We projected a year ago that there would be a critical mass of support for MP3, and we're pleased to see the music industry is beginning to support it," said Chief Executive Chris Gorog. "There's now enough top-tier content out there."

    Major music companies including EMI Group, Vivendi's Universal Music Group and, more recently, Warner Music Group, have begun selling songs in the MP3 format.

    MP3 is the most widely available digital audio format and plays on the widest range of devices, including the dominant digital music player, Apple Inc's iPod.

    "There's little question that the broad adoption of MP3s will provide an uplift for the industry," said Gorog.

    from Reuters - By Yinka Adegoke (Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

    Sunday, January 6, 2008

    "Dr Dre & Jimmy Iovine team up with Monster : Beats by Dre"

    from reuters

    Legendary Music Producer/Artist Dr. Dre's First-Ever Foray Into Consumer Products.

    LAS VEGAS--(Business Wire)--Monster, well known for working with legendary musicians on countless productions recorded with Monster Cable and Monster Power products, is proud to announce the introduction of the first-ever product to be endorsed by legendary music producer and artist Dr. Dre.

    The new "Beats by Dr. Dre" high-performance headphones were conceived by Dr. Dre and mutually designed, with groundbreaking and inventive engineering by Monster. The headphones feature both a unique and futuristic style as well as newly developed sonic technologies for unprecedented state-of-the-art performance.

    When world-class producers like Dr. Dre record their music, they utilize large high performance studio loudspeakers and high-powered amplifiers to craft richly detailed musical soundscapes. Until now, however, consumers listening back to the music using conventional headphones have never had the opportunity to experience the full sonic palette of these recordings, with the full dynamic range, low bass, punch and clarity intended by the producers. To provide consumers with a brand new level of headphone audio performance, Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, and Monster, three of the most powerful forces in music and technology, teamed up to create "Beats by Dr. Dre." Monster's innovative sound and design engineers implemented the team's vision.

    Engineered to Meet the Demanding Sonic Requirements of Today's Music.

    In order to re-create the rich, full sonic experience of today's best recordings, "Beats" powered isolation headphones utilize technologies never before used in headphones, including a newly developed driver technology. The result is unequalled performance, with remarkably natural sound, incredible transient response and rich, deep bass - a Dr. Dre trademark. In development for two years, "Beats by Dr. Dre" are tuned personally by Dr. Dre and The Head Monster

    "When I'm making a track I'm trying to capture the sound that makes me go 'now THAT's the sh!t! And I want that reaction from everybody who hears it," said Dr. Dre. "I spend a lot of time in the studio listening to my music through headphones...with Beats, people are finally going to hear it the way they should: the way I do."

    "Dre and I have been developing these headphones for a while and in Monster we found a partner that could work with us to crystallize his vision and develop them to the quality level he expects," said Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. "'Beats by Dr. Dre' is yet another example of Interscope's commitment to working together with its artists in developing new avenues to experience

    Noel Lee, Head Monster, noted: "Dr. Dre is widely-known as the most critical ear in music today. This rare partnership with such an iconic artist is a testament to the both the need for high-performance headphones and the singular quality of 'Beats.' Listening to music with Beats headphones is a true 'ear opening' experience; users will enjoy not only their comfort and style, but their sonic performance that is unequalled in any other headphone."

    Unique Design

    "Beats by Dr. Dre" have a unique and avant-garde new look and that will revolutionize the headphone world. Everything about the sleek Beats headphones, from their glossy extra-wide headband and hip carrying case to the high-impact attention-getting packaging reflects impeccable style. The wide adjustable headband, hinged ear cups and high-quality Monster cable makes the Beats listening experience unmatched for comfort and function. A push-to-listen Mute button adds to the flexibility and convenience.

    "Beats by Dr. Dre" headphones will come in a beautifully designed carrying case with anti-microbial cleaning cloths, a special Monster headphone cable, a mini-stereo to 1/4-inch stereo cable adapter, as well as Monster's iSonitalk, a microphone/headphone adapter for iPhones. Beats will be available in spring 2008 for a suggested retail
    price of $399.95.

    About Dr. Dre

    In addition to being a multiple Grammy award winning producer, Dr. Dre is an artist who helped create groundbreaking records with the group N.W.A. and landmark multi-platinum solo albums The Chronic and Dr. Dre 2001. He is currently working on his third and final album, Detox. Dre has also shaped the careers of numerous artists including Snoop Dogg and Eminem, who is signed to Dre's record company, Aftermath Entertainment. Dre has been associated in producing countless hits for a range of artists including 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige and Eve with a combined worldwide sales total of more than 80 million records sold over the past two decades. In early 2007, he announced a joint venture with his newly-formed Crucial Films production company and movie studio New Line Cinema.

    About Jimmy Iovine

    Jimmy Iovine is the Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records whose artists include U2, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Fergie, Mary J. Blige, Nelly Furtado and The Black Eyed Peas. Prior to founding Interscope in 1990, Iovine was an acclaimed record producer and engineer and was twice voted Producer of the Year by Rolling Stone Magazine. He produced chart-topping albums for artists including U2, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Dire Straits, Bob Seger, Patti Smith and Stevie Nicks and engineered albums for John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.

    About Monster

    Monster, under its Monster Cable brand, is the world's leading manufacturer of connectivity solutions for high performance audio, video, car audio, computer, console and computer gaming, professional audio and sound reinforcement. Monster, under its Monster Power(R) brand, is also the leading manufacturer of high performance AC power line conditioning and protection products for audio/video systems.

    for more info visit -

    "Massive vinyl record / CD collection stolen from Jamaican Archives"

    JAMAICA (AP) - A massive collection of 1970s music including original recordings by reggae greats Bob Marley and Peter Tosh has disappeared from the archives of the former Jamaica Broadcasting Corp., authorities said Saturday.

    The possible theft of thousands of vinyl records and compact discs is a blow to the island's history, said Olivia Grange, Jamaica's information minister.

    Musicians and former JBC employees criticized the government for not properly maintaining the archives.

    "The latest development is a national disgrace," said Gladstone Wilson, former program manager for JBC radio.

    Workers at the newly formed Public Broadcasting Corp. of Jamaica noticed the disappearances earlier this week while touring the old JBC building. They had planned to use the archived material for their first programs, Grange said.

    The archives also contain such iconic videos as the 1977 visit of Fidel Castro and the 1978 "One Love Peace Concert," in which Marley famously called two bitter Jamaican political rivals onstage to join hands.

    "Disney World restaurant bans children"

    ORLANDO, FLORIDA (AP) - The home of Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Tinkerbell has banned kids from its fanciest restaurant.

    Beginning this week, children under 10 are no longer welcome at Victoria & Albert's in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Victoria & Albert's is Walt Disney World's only restaurant with an AAA five-diamond rating.

    "We want to be the restaurant that's available for that adult experience," said general manager Israel Perez.

    Only about three families a month ever brought young children to Victoria & Albert's, said Rosemary Rose, Disney's vice president for food, beverage and merchandise operations.

    Men are required to wear jackets, and women must wear dresses or pantsuits. The hushed atmosphere features live harp music, and the menu, which changes daily, offers seven-course dinners that can last as long as three hours. Prices start at $125 a person.

    Rose noted that there are plenty of dining options for families at Disney, which World has 97 other full-service restaurants.

    "French President Sarkozy to marry model / Pop star Carla Bruni"

    PARIS (AFP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to marry his new girlfriend, the former model turned pop singer Carla Bruni, a French newspaper reported Sunday, claiming a wedding was "imminent."

    Citing several anonymous sources, the Journal du Dimanche said the couple, currently on a private visit to Jordan at the invitation of King Abdullah II, are believed to have set a wedding date for either February 8 or 9.

    Presidential spokesman David Martinon declined to comment on the front-page report, which was widely relayed on French radio and television.

    Sarkozy, 52, and Bruni, 39 -- a rich heiress whose past conquests include rock stars Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton -- have been trailed by a swarm of paparazzi since their romance was first publicised in mid-December.

    During a Christmas trip to Egypt, where their presence sparked a media stampede, the president reportedly gave Bruni an engagement ring -- a pink diamond heart -- while Bruni gave him a luxury Swiss watch in grey steel.

    Newly divorced from his second wife Cecilia, Sarkozy has yet to comment publicly on his relationship with Bruni, but is expected to answer the media's questions at a New Year's press conference on Tuesday.

    The report of marriage came as a poll showed Sarkozy's confidence rating slipping seven points -- a drop blamed in part on voter concerns about his highly-publicised new romance.

    The couple were photographed on Saturday as they toured the rose-red city of Petra in southern Jordan, the president carrying Bruni's young son Aurelien on his shoulders.

    Bruni may also accompany Sarkozy on an official trip to India late this month, according to local media, which said the government of the morally conservative country was struggling to find the right protocol to greet her.

    Sarkozy became the first French president to divorce while in office when he ended his stormy 11-year marriage to Cecilia, with whom he has a 10-year-old son. He also has two sons, Pierre, 22, and Jean, 21, from a previous marriage.

    An elegant brunette and heiress to a tyre fortune, with a reputation as a "man-eater," the former supermodel had a surprise hit with the release of her first pop album "Quelqu'un M'a Dit" (Someone Told Me) in 2004.

    Politically she has placed herself on the left, telling a British newspaper last year that she would vote for Sarkozy's rival Segolene Royal in the May presidential election.

    Bruni's mother Marisa Tedeschi Bruni -- who accompanied Sarkozy on a trip to the Vatican last month -- has been quoted in the Italian press saying the president had asked for her daughter's hand, and that she had gladly agreed.

    While polls initially suggested a majority of voters saw Sarkozy's romance as a strictly private affair, there were growing signs the paparazzi fuelled coverage of his love life could be harming his confidence rating.

    According to a CSA poll published Sunday in Le Parisien, 48 percent of voters say they trust the president to tackle France's problems, compared to 55 percent last month. Forty-five percent said they did not trust him, compared to 38 a month before.

    CSA director Stephane Rozes said the slip chiefly reflected fears about the economy and falling disposable incomes, but probably also unease among older voters -- he fell 15 percent among the over-60s -- about his new romance.

    "The intense media coverage of the president's private life, touching on the image of the presidential function, appears to bother (his) traditional supporters," Rozes told Le Parisien.

    The left-wing opposition meanwhile accuses Sarkozy of putting his love life on display to deflect attention from France's economic troubles.