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Nov 17 2014

Some quick thoughts on Band Aid 30

Band Aid 30

So there’s a new, reworked version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” that’s been recorded to help in the fight to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa–and it just happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first version of the song, which was the work of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (one of my personal musical heroes).

 


Buy the song. Stop the virus. #BandAid30
Download now on iTunes – http://po.st/DoTheyKnow
Google Play – http://po.st/DoTheyKnowGp
Please donate: http://www.bandaid30.com/donate
CD single pre-order here: http://po.st/CDsingle
Pre-order it on Amazon here: http://po.st/DoTheyKnowAm

Overall, I really like the new version, which I didn’t really expect. I know it’s not the greatest song in the world–and both Geldof and Ure are its harshest critics at times–but it was groundbreaking for its time in 1984, when the goal was to help fight hunger in Ethiopia.

The Independent | Band Aid 30 lyrics: Reworked Ebola-themed ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ revealed

Upon repeat listenings of the new version, I’d have to say the two weakest links are Sam Smith and Chris Martin. Smith has an interesting vocal quality, but needs to hone the actual skill of singing. In his first line, his ”Christmas time” sounds more like “Christmas dime.” I have no freakin’ clue what he’s slurring in his second part during the bridge–that’s a mess and I can only assume that was the best take they could get in the limited time they had to record the song (which happened this past Saturday in London). I know Smith is one of the hottest artists on the planet right now, but I just don’t get it. The blandness of his songs doesn’t do anything to cover up the many flaws in his vocal style either.

And Chris Martin’s voice is just grating as usual–like nails on a chalkboard. Of course, I’m one of the biggest anti-Coldplay folks in the world so I’ll admit to bias on that one. Sinead O’Connor’s vocals are kind of weak, too, but there’s a hint of desperation in them that kind of fits the song so I’ve become accepting of them.

Everyone else does a real nice job. I’m a huge fan of Elbow and frontman Guy Garvey’s part (at the 1:26 mark of the video above) is fantastic…wish he got more to do, actually.

In my opinion, though, the real star of this latest version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is Rita Ora, who amazingly only had 90 minutes to record her parts so she could get back to her filming commitments on UK’s version of The Voice. I’m not sure if it was planned going into the recording or if Ure and Paul Epworth picked up on it while producing the track, but she got some prime spots to shine here. Ora sings the first line as the beat kicks in after the One Direction/Ed Sheeran introduction, and then she gets the soaring vocal that leads wonderfully into the ”feel the world/heal the world” chorus (as opposed to the original’s “feed the world”). Plus, she gets a little lead part during the chorus. It’s subtle in the mix, but once you see it in the video, you can pick it up with your ears.

BuzzFeed has a post identifying who sings what in the 2014 version.


This post originally appeared on Tandem With The Random host Brian Kelley’s personal blog.

Jul 29 2014

Curtain rises on New Jersey Stage online magazine

New Jersey Stage logoA new, online magazine covering the arts throughout New Jersey was recently launched by former Tandem With The Random podcast guest Gary Wien (Ep. 11 | Show Notes).

New Jersey Stage contains features on and interviews with artists from the Garden State as well as with national artists performing in the area.

“Two things make the magazine unique,” said Wien, who publishes the magazine through Wine Time Media, in a press release announcing the launch. “One is the way articles come alive with the help of audio and video clips. The other is the way the magazine can be read on any computer, tablet, or even a smart phone. In fact, it’s actually designed to look great for mobile users.”

The debut issue, available now for free at http://www.newjerseystage.com/magazine, includes interviews with:

  • New Jersey musician Jack Skuller who recently was awarded the Holly Prize by the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • Comedian Dom Irrera, who is performing at the Tropicana in Atlantic City
  • Filmmaker Daniel Goodman, who is currently shooting the film “I’m From New Jersey”
  • Playwright Robert Caisley whose latest work, “Lucky Me,” is being presented at NJ Rep
  • Comedian Colin Quinn who is performing at the Newton Theatre
  • Music industry professional Andrew Curry, who is producing “Here Comes The Reign Again,” a new compilation of classic ‘80s British artists covered by musicians of today

In addition, the issue contains artwork by Rob Tanico, poetry by J. Sales, reviews of the films “Boyhood” and “Grand Central,” an exclusive music video by Bruce Tunkel, a music industry column by Rosemary Conte, and an original comic strip by Gene Pompilio.

“I believe digital magazines are the best way to promote arts-related events,” said Wien, who previously published the popular Upstage Magazine. “Film reviews with actual movie trailers, record reviews with MP3s or music videos, and theatrical productions with scenes from rehearsals or opening night—all enhance the reader’s experience.“

In addition to the monthly publication, the main New Jersey Stage Web site includes news and features on a daily basis at http://www.NewJerseyStage.com.

May 07 2014

Tandem With The Random 033 – Johnsville Centrifuge (05.07.2014)

Tandem With The Random 033 – Johnsville Centrifuge (05.07.2014)

This episode of the podcast features the story of Naval Air Development Center, Johnsville, and the Johnsville Centrifuge, which was used to train nearly all of the United States’ early astronauts. Mike Maguire, president of the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum, and Sam Cravero, current owner of the centrifuge building, are interviewed…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 6.5 MB. Time: 28 min., 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 033

May 07 2014

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 033 – Johnsville Centrifuge (05.07.2014)

Original Gondola (1952-1964) - Johnsville Centrifuge

Original Gondola (1952-1964) – Johnsville Centrifuge

Tandem With The Random podcast No. 33 (05/07/2014): Johnsville Centrifuge - This episode of the podcast features the story of Naval Air Development Center, Johnsville, and the Johnsville Centrifuge, which was used to train all of the United States’ early astronauts. Mike Maguire, president of the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum, and Sam Cravero, current owner of the centrifuge building, are interviewed…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 6.5 MB. Time: 28 min., 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

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Apr 07 2014

Tandem With The Random 032 – Natalie Diener/Make Music Philly (04.07.2014)

Tandem With The Random 032 – Natalie Diener/Make Music Philly (04.07.2014)

This episode of the podcast features an interview with Natalie Diener, coordinator of Make Music Philly, an effort to stage 300 free live music events throughout Philadelphia on June 21, 2014…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 12.2 MB. Time: 13 min, 25 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 032

Apr 06 2014

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 032 – Natalie Diener/Make Music Philly (04.07.2014)

Make Music PhillyTandem With The Random podcast No. 32 (04/07/2014): Natalie Diener (Make Music Philly) - This episode of the podcast features an interview with Natalie Diener, coordinator of Make Music Philly, an effort to stage 300 free live music events throughout Philadelphia on June 21, 2014…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 12.2 MB. Time: 13 min, 25 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

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Mar 17 2014

Tandem With The Random 031 – Steven DiMartino/NYNJPA Weather (03.17.2014)

Tandem With The Random 031 – Steven DiMartino/NYNJPA Weather (03.17.2014)

Tandem With The Random podcast No. 31 (03/17/2014): Steven DiMartino (NYNJPA Weather) - This episode of the podcast features an interview with Steven DiMartino, meteorologist and owner of NYNJPA Weather…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 7.9 MB. Time: 32 min, 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 031

Mar 17 2014

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 031 – Steven DiMartino/NYNJPA Weather (03.17.2014)

Steven_DiMartino

Steven DiMartino / NYNJPA Weather

Tandem With The Random podcast No. 31 (03/17/2014): Steven DiMartino (NYNJPA Weather) - This episode of the podcast features an interview with Steven DiMartino, meteorologist and owner of NYNJPA Weather…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 7.9 MB. Time: 32 min, 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

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Mar 03 2014

Tandem With The Random 030 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03.03.2014)

Tandem With The Random 030 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03.03.2014)

Tandem With The Random podcast No. 30 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03/03/2014): This episode of the podcast features an interview with Dr. Allen Katz, professor of electrical and computer engineering at The College of New Jersey and co-founder/chair of the long-running Trenton Computer Festival…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 6.0 MB. Time: 25 min, 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 030

Mar 03 2014

Show Notes for TWTR Podcast 030 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03.03.2014)

Dr. Allen Katz (TCNJ)

Dr. Allen Katz (TCNJ)

Tandem With The Random podcast No. 30 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03/03/2014): This episode of the podcast features an interview with Dr. Allen Katz, professor of electrical and computer engineering at The College of New Jersey and co-founder/chair of the long-running Trenton Computer Festival…plus a few random thoughts. File size: 6.0 MB. Time: 25 min, 00 sec. Host: Brian Kelley.

Links related to Tandem With The Random 030 – Dr. Allen Katz/Trenton Computer Festival (03.03.2014):

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