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We went to NYC and got snowed on, among other things

Back in January, several of us took a trip to NYC. At the time, we intended to do some articles on the different shows that we saw there. Then, we got snowed on and...well, we forgot about it. After coming across this draft in the archives, I decided to go ahead and flesh it out for posterity. 6065

Text Me Merry Christmas – Today on the Internet

So, as I was perusing Youtube (as I do) I came across this bit of Christmas Music from the a cappella band Straight No Chaser. The first thing that caught my eye was that the track features Kristen Bell. That's right, that Kristen Bell, the one that most of us didn't realize could sing until she was in Disney's Frozen. Well, she joins the group as the female voice for this "modern" Christmas song. 1748

2 Slow Versions of Modern R&B Classics Featured in Film Trailers

When you go to the movies a lot it's impossible to completely avoid seeing trailers. When you go a lot in the same time frame, you're bound to see the same trailers over and over again. In the past month or so, two trailers have had music that has caught my attention. The first is Birdman, which uses a slow version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". The 2nd is the preview for 50 Shades of Grey, which uses a slowed down version of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love". 3196

The Sing-Off Season 4, Episode 3

So, I don't really approve of the 4 x 4 groupings. I really feel like these are 4 of the stronger groups in the competition and I could make an argument for them staying over 3 of the remaining 4 teams. That being said, here's the episode 3 rankings: 4. The Filharmonic This was a really good performance from the group and maybe the most "professional" looking thing they've done on the show. That being said, it may have been the least entertaining thing they've done in the first week of the show (so, I guess I agree with Ben Folds). The strange thing is that it's hard to say where the energy or entertainment value went. It felt like this was a really good performance from just another acapella group. This group definitely doesn't deserve to go home but this was definitely a lapse, hopefully it doesn't cost them more than just a trip to the bottom 2 in the long run. 3. Street Corner Renaissance There's something about these guys that just makes you want to hang out and sing with them. The performance is always on with this group. There was a little more personality injected into the performance with some little ad-libs and fill-ins. Ultimately, the group is still doing Doo-Wop, which is enjoyable but I'm afraid if they don't branch out soon, they may find themselves in the bottom 2 soon. 2. Ten Two distinctly different song styles in this one. I was prepared to just be okay with the first

The Sing-Off Season 4, Episode 2

For this episode, I'm going to do the performances by where I ranked them for this episode. 9. Element So, this performance didn't really give me very much to go off of. The group really took the notes about blending to heart but, as a result this really felt more like a choir singing the words to a song than a group doing a rendition of the song. The judges pleaded for some more individuality and they just barely made it out of the bottom two (which I thought they should've been in) so here's hoping they can improve in the weeks to come. 8. Street Corner Renaissnce You've gotta love the older dude's dancing. There's nothing wrong with this performance and if it wasn't being sandwiched between all these other modern and poweful performances it would've probably carried a lot more impact. It's just hard to feel the same when there's no percussion and they choose a slower song. So this is one that you have to appreciate on a more intellectual level than on an emotional one. Fortunately for them, the judges have the ability to appreciate a performance like this. I just wish that they hadn't had to perform something like this setting in the first place. 7. acoUstiKats So, this was the exact opposite of Vocal Rush tempo wise. Where the previous group pushed the original tempo and it worked, this group pushed the tempo and it felt like it never found its groove. However, the group saved its performance with some

The Sing-Off is back! Time for snap judgements

After a year long hiatus, NBC's "other singing show" returned to TV on Monday for it's 4th season. If you don't know, the Sing-Off is an acapella based singing competition that pits 10 selected groups against each other every week eliminating one per week until a winner remains. If you enjoy acapella music (which I do) this is a great show it's also great because it introduces 10 acapella groups to America, and really shows a lot of different sides to the genre. The 3rd season seemed to have the show reach it's peak with Pentatonix who seem to be on an almost unreachable level within their genre with their vocal abilities and modern/futuristic style. Even so, this season introduced 10 more groups who represent the best of the genre. So now, it's time to make snap judgements about all of them ;). I'll discuss each group in the order the performed in the opener: 1. Vocal Rush This championship group of high school students from California is the seasons high school group. Traditionally, the high school students are among the first off of  the show. However, this group should easily break that tradition with their strong performance. Actually, if I hadn't been told they were high school students, I would've assumed this was some kind of college acapella group. Well, at least until they started stepping (that just screamed high school to me). The groups opening performance showcased a strong lead singer and a bit of a surprising female vocal percussionist. They also

The Most Important Thing from the 2013 VMA's….was not Miley Cyrus

So, while the "twerk-gate" that followed the MTV VMA's seems to be making all of the national/internet news, I wanted to write down something that I thought was the biggest take away from the night: Justin Timberlake. Recently, I was doing a recording for a podcast on the Culture Conquistadors and we got to talking about how some artists are thought of as the "second coming" of another great artist and how sometimes the older artist's legacy ends up actually being carried on by someone else. Specifically, I was talking about how Usher (and artists like him) were being looked at as the next Michael Jackson. I had posited that Justin Timberlake seems to have actually taken up the mantle as this generation's "King of Pop". Appropriately, the next night Timberlake received the "Michael Jackson Video Vanguard" award on the MTV VMA's, he also delivered a 15+ minute performance of hits from his catalog. Now, I have to admit that Timberlake's music isn't always my cup of tea, especially when you include some of his boy band days. Because of that I don't think I was consciously aware of just how long he's been relevant in the pop music world. He's managed to make relevant music for over two decades which is no small feat and I can't think of another superstar during that time that's managed to stay at the forefront of the pop music scene like he has. While watching the MTV performance I started to really see some of his