Video: The Trons, All-Robot, Self-Playing Band

Perhaps fueled by YouTube comepetition, robotic instruments are looking more and more impressive. What I’d most like to see: a robotic battle of the bands. The latest creation comes to us from the all-robot band The Trons, based in New Zealand. They have cute names, and I bet the ‘bots are more fun to date than some, ahem, real drummers my friends have gotten involved with… The crew: Ham (vox and rhythm guitar), Wiggy (single string lead guitar), Swamp (drums), Fifi (keyboards, one hand working!) Hmmm, basically true of my keyboard playing, as well. And here’s their blurb: The Trons …

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Off-Topic: Flight of the Conchords Video Asks, Do You Like Ladies?

In fairness, this isn’t really off-topic. The connection of ladies to music is clear here. There are, too, the fantastic Ladies of CDM — few in number, yes, but mind-bogglingly awesome in quality. (Ladies, feel free to roar here.) And, of course, for those of you who are not ladies yourselves but an aficionado of ladies, it’s clear that, like roller skates, synths and music are part of the essential lady-attracting formula. The bad news I have to break for Flight of the Conchords fans:you’ll be waiting until well into 2009 for a new season. Side note: CDM loves New …

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Great Musical Mysteries: Van Halen Mishap Remains Unsolved

What exactly went wrong at this botched Van Halen performance of Jump? The discussion continues, though the current running consensus is that a guitar tuning was screwed up, not the sample rate on a performance. (It’s not clear why Van Halen transposed the track from the album version, but that’s near-certainty.) Even the creator of a video supporting the sample rate theory has backed down. Christopher shares his explanation below. Pray that one day your onstage train wrecks will get this much analysis. Mine tend to involve only free produce — not always fresh, sadly.

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Tuesday Nerdster Music Vids: Viva Electro, CMJ, and True Computer Camp Love

Hey, nerdsters! It’s CMJ Music Marathon time here in New York, which generally means lots of roadies, music biz people, crowds, and bands with guitars. Ewww. Guitars — with no software effects? No vocoding granulizer? No trio of laptops nearby? Not even so much as a keytar? What’s a computer music-loving nerdster to do? Happily, synths are back, and electro is making a strong showing this year. In fact, my problem is that all the bands I care about seem to be scheduled at exactly the same time, which I hear is a typical CMJ problem. But with fun music …

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DeVotchKa Rocks the Theremin, Does Not Play Star Trek Theme

Photo: Chad Johnson If you want a look at the future of music, DeVotchKa might be a glimpse. On first hearing, you say, “hmmm, they sound sort of Eastern European … punk.” And then you realize they’re singing in Spanish. In fact, this band, which got an extra injection of popularity from the movie Little Miss Sunshine, is a hybrid Romani – Greek – Slavic – Spanish – Latin – Punk – Folk – Rock indie band that got its start playing burlesque. What does this have to do with digital music creation? Because if technology is every going to …

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Recording on Planes and in Bubbles; Battery-Powered In-Flight Recording

Jamiroquai sound engineer Rick Pope joins the mile-high recording club. Funny, when I try to set up this way on a plane, my neighbors get annoyed. When you hear the repeated stories about how traditional recording studios are dead, I suspect your first thought is not, “Finally! The dream of in-flight recording has its day!” or “Ah-hah! Now all the bands will move into inflatable plastic bubbles as a marketing stunt!” Yet, such things have come to pass. One involves a band you may care about and actually yields some practical tips. The other involves a band I’m almost sure …

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The New Standards: Metal Covers of Nintendo’s Metroid

The old standards: the Tin Pan Alley showtunes, reinterpreted by vocalists and bebop jazzers, followed more recently by reworkings of modern pop and rock tunes. The new standards: video game tunes, apparently. Especially if they’re from Nintendo games. The latest in the trend is MetroidMetal, with elaborate, sprawling metal covers of the moody themes from Nintendo’s legendary sci-fi side-scroller. For anyone keeping score, you can add that to acoustic covers of Mario and, as reviewed by our own W. Brent Latta, live, full orchestras playing game soundtracks old and new. Thanks, Patrick Murphy!

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Silly Ideas Dept.: Lighter Cellphone Wallpaper

Kids today. They’re at a concert, but they’re too busy texting and chatting on AIM on their cellphones. For Generation Why?!, we now have lighter images for your cellphones, so you don’t have to be bothered to take your cellphone and a lighter to the next Pussycat Dolls show. Available for US$1.99 (US customers only?) from Modtones. Better idea from Modtones: mistletoe wallpaper for your phone. I’m sure that will get you some love at your office holiday party. Then again, I’m one to talk. I’ve been scaring the hell out of people with the Doctor Who-esque, frightening (but free) …

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Sexohol Releases First-Ever Widget Album

First vinyl, then 8-track, then tape, then CD, then MP3, now . . . Dashboard widget? Yes, you heard that right. Sexohol is releasing its album Enjoy as a Dashboard Widget for Mac OS X. It’s free, and includes pictures of the lovely couple in the band plus lyrics. Only downside is you have to be connected to the Internet to listen to the music streaming. “But, Peter!”, you say, “I need to feel the hot loving of Enjoy even when I’m not connected to the Internet!” Sexohol hears you; US$9.99 buys you a Widget you can listen to anywhere. …

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