Archive for December, 2010

Where oh where has Audioshards gone?

Posted in Music on December 28, 2010 by Niveous

Hey there.

If you are someone who has stumbled across this blog in the past and now are wondering…did Niveous quit blogging? The answer is no. I’ve taken a little sabbatical. The thing about audioshards has been that I started writing it to chronicle the music I was making. And then I stopped making music. I kept blogging because I do enjoy talking about music. But for a while there, it was all about finding a topic that would bring up my site stats and as you can se, I just lost focus. I want to do bigger and better things musically in 2011, so I’m regrouping. That means taking some time off of Audioshards until 2011 where I will begin anew and spend a lot more time talking about making music.

Happy New Year.



Shard Awards 2010: Biggest Disappointment

Posted in Shard Awards on December 8, 2010 by Niveous

Ugh. There’s always something in music that you look forward to and it ends up being way below your expectations. Sometimes your expectations were just too high. Other times, it just wasn’t what you were expecting or hoped for. I think it the case of my biggest musical disappointment of the year, it’s the latter. This album was not was I expected or hoped for. The band went in a different direction for their previous album and I just didn’t connect with it.

The album I’m talking about and winner of the Biggest Disappointment of 2010 is My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. MCR’s previous album “Welcome to the Black Parade” was great. It was a brilliantly made concept album. It looked like they would do more of the same with Danger Days. There was definitely a concept there- the story of a gang called the Killjoys. All the band members had given themselves new names as part of the band. The album would be released with special Killjoys guns and masks. They released their first video for the song “Na Na Na” and it had crazy desert shootouts with Grant Morrison. Then the album came out…

What seemed like a concept album was more of just a style choice. Sure, there were two tracks with “DJ Death” talking about the exploits of the Killjoys but there was nothing really tying it together. My biggest problem was the musical choices. One thing about MCR is that they are at their best when their songs have some bite to them. Songs like “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, “Teenagers” and “Helena” all had some jagged edges and that made them resonate better. This album is the one where the band is just having fun. I’m all for enjoying what you do but it all made for a forgettable listen as one song blended into the next. Only on the catchy lead off single “Na Na Na” and the incredible “Vampire Money” (where they skewer the idea of having a song on the Twilight soundtrack) does the band find that fire that made me enjoy them in the first place. It’s not a horrible album by any stretch but it’s a disappointing one because it had potential to be great.

Shard Awards 2010- Guilty Pleasure

Posted in Music, Shard Awards with tags , , , on December 7, 2010 by Niveous

It’s December. 2010 is coming to a close and it’s time to start all those year end lists. Here at Audioshards, I figure I’d do a little looking back at the year that was. I present the first annual Shard Awards. Throughout the month, I’ll give out awards in various categories. Let’s start off with…

Guilty Pleasure of the Year

There were a lot of contenders this year thanks to my Billboard Chart watching. The big winner is my kids fault. There are many songs that I started listening to because my sons watch Nickelodeon & the Disney Channel. Miranda Cosgrove, Selena Gomez and Big Time Rush all ended up with songs in my jukebox. Hell, I even started liking a Miley Cyrus song that wasn’t “Party in the USA” (but I blame that on Toby Gad)

This + 3 animated chipmunks= guilty pleasure

The song that wins this award is from the soundtrack to the Alvin & the Chipmunks Squeakquel movie. My youngest son is slightly obsessed with the Chipmunks and so I heard a lot of things from the soundtrack including this odd song by Queensberry. Queensberry is a British girl group born from a reality music competition. They gave them a duet with the Chipettes about a song that gets stuck in your head. The thing that hooked me about this song is that it essentially equates the Chipettes to insanity. Everytime they sing “You think I’m crazy, baby/ I just may be, baby”, it’s in the Chipette voice. I’ve heard this song without the Chipettes and it doesn’t work the same. You need the high pitched craziness.

It’s ridiculously catchy and incredibly strange. Most people wouldn’t admit to listening to a song with Chipettes on it, but I seem to lack a decent amount of shame. The 2010 Shard Award for Guilty Pleasure of the Year goes to “The Song”  by Queensberry & the Chippettes.

A Step in the Right Direction

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 2, 2010 by Niveous

I do a lot of talking about the Billboard charts and I am a person who questions their current formula for determining what is a hit song. Times are changing so rapidly. The current formula still puts a large focus on radio, because according to Nielsen research 91% of people are still listening to the radio (though mostly in the car). I don’t know how accurate that is but satellite radio has been big business for quite some time.  How much does XM and Sirius and webradio like Pandora factor into the current formula? I have no clue because Billboard doesn’t really make their sources easily available & they don’t show their numbers either. So, I still have a lot of criticisms when it comes to how Billboard figures out what a #1 is.

Today, Billboard has added a new chart to their listings and I must say that it’s a step in the right direction. The chart is called the Social 50. It ranks artists (not songs) by their web presence. The formula measures new followers to their social media pages; weekly song plays and page views. And the best part is that it uses Next Big Sound. NBS is very clear about where it gets its info. I can go to the NBS website and clearly see they use, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and iLike. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s clearly a great step to really figuring out what a hit record is in this day and age.

For instance, who is Christina Grimmie? The Social 50 ranks her right alongside Usher, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. She doesn’t have any “hit records” but she has a huge internet fan base (and a pretty good voice, I have to say). People are listening to this girl on YouTube. If she has a song that gets thousands of views in a week, that fits the definition of a popular song. But it’s not a conventional release….but we are in an unconventional time. The Social 50 is going to make things interesting in the land of Billboard.

The Social 50:

Next Big Sound:

Once Upon A Website

Posted in Music, Songfight on December 1, 2010 by Niveous

Once upon a time there was a website called somesongs (no, not the Elliott Smith one). It was bore from the mind of a mad genius out in Colorado and it was a sibling of SongFight. There were no titles that you had to use for inspiration. What was there was some songs and a small devoted community ready to review them. People could put any song into the queue and they would be judged and reviewed. Simple as that. There were leaderboards and other goodies but the best parts were a clean interface and a place to get heard. Pretty much no matter what you threw up there, you can be guaranteed that 5 people heard it. You could experiment and see how it goes without the confines of a competition.

Somesongs lived a quiet wonderful existence but it would find an odd and untimely demise (I don’t know the whole story but it was complicated). But Songfighters can’t let a good thing die. Lunkhead (of Merisan and Berkeley Social Scene) has resurrected the site as and now it’s on the slow road to recovery. This site is a great resource to have around. So, let’s make this site alive again. Try out the site. Post songs. Post reviews. Help it live up to its potential. What do you get in return? Another place in the world to get your music heard. I think that’s pretty worthwhile.