Monday, August 08, 2005

Catching Up With Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Brooklyn Blogs* 

Jersey City's Tris McCall is hard at work on his next album. Can't wait to hear what he'll come up with next. In the meantime, he's now offering free MP3 downloads of some of his music, putting a new tune online each week. The first offering is a great unreleased song, "Not Just Anyone," and the second one "I Know What Happens Next" is from his old band The Favorite Color. Tris is also recently published some music-related reviews for the first time in a while, which is great news because his music criticism is required reading. The new twist is that this time he's reviewing videos at Music Video Press. (*trismccall.net, of course, is a website, not a weblog.)

One of my favorite online finds of late is fellow Jersey-based music blogger Extrawack! Was nice to see his Nike Run-Hit Wonder piece got picked up by Brooklyn Vegan.

Speaking of BV, he posts so often that keeping up with him is a challenge, if a rewarding one. Recent highlights include a list of upcoming CMJ performers and a whole lotta CBGB updates.

Though Jim Testa made some pointed remarks earlier this summer about CBGB's lack of vitality in recent years, he does believe New York City just would not be the same without the club, and his Jersey Beat is a co-sponsor of this Thursday's installment of the month-long series of benefit shows there. Testa is performing along with High Speed Chase and many others. I'd be all over that if I hadn't spent about $9 million for tickets to see the greatest of all living musical legends who I have never previously seen, Stevie Wonder, that night at The Apollo.

Vegan also touched on the situation at Lookout! Records, the legendary California punk rock label that let go its entire staff this past week because of Green Day's decision to take ownership of their first two albums. The band's action will leave the cash-strapped indie label without a steady income flow. At first glance, this may seem callous of the band, especially with their renewed popularity since the release of last year's American Idiot. One could argue Lookout! put Green Day on the map, then again one could argue the reverse. Either way, the group has been owed royalties on those records for years. Lookout! has a few cool current artists on its roster, but they haven't had any breakout hits, and they relied too heavily on royalties from two early-'90s Green Day records to keep themselves afloat. Coolfer's got a good summary of the situation.

Lookout!'s very sweet radio promo person helped me out a lot with my podcast, and sadly she is among those who lost their jobs in the wake of all this. Another potential bummer of particular local concern is that Lookout! is the label of one of New Jersey's current musical treasures, Bloomfield's own Ted Leo. Wonder if there will be a place for him at the new Lookout!, which will be run by the label's three owners. Moreover, you have to question whether it would be a good idea to stay at a label that will surely have limited resources to promote him.

Shout outs to Hoboken and Jersey City bloggers who are less obsessed with music than I am...

Where Is The Remote? has done some spectacular work lately. His pieces on the surveillance cameras at The Madison, the Willow Autobahn, and the Jesus statue thing (the local story of the last two weeks, which I've managed not to mention until now) are all must-reads. Particularly impressive is the Jesus post, which contains an audio interview with Julio Dones, owner and curator of the statue over in Hoboken's fourth ward that allegedly opened its eye, obviously signifying a true blue spectacle, I mean a miracle.

Can we all chip in and lure Remote?'s Row away from his Fortune 500 job so we can have his type of thoughtful writing at The Hoboken Reporter? Surely he could come up with better front-page headlines than "Finger And All." It also bears mentioning that the Reporter needs to put at least a one-year moritorium on headlines that end in question marks. Such weak construction should make any self-respecting second-year journalism major cringe.

Hoboken video blogger Bullemhead has done some neat work, including the video where he took a camera into the voting booth during this spring's election, a piece I should have linked to ages ago. One recent post is not a piece of original work, but a handy link to the full video of Robert "Giant Douchebag" Novak's on-air meltdown last week, "bullshit" included. Hey, it's Bullemhead's nickname for Mr. Novak, not mine. We report, you decide.

Back over in Jersey City, New York's Sixth reviews J.C.'s slim supermarket pickings and continues to follow local architecture and city planning.

Dojo Mojo (Dojo is shorthand for Downtown Jersey City) is fast becoming another valuable local resource. Recent features included photos of Jersey City's Bolivian parade, an electrical explosion in town, and The Waterbug Arts Festival.

Here in the Rock City, Mister Snitch is busy as ever, both as meta-blogger and as o.p. (original pundit). The more Snitch reveals about his politics, the less I agree with him—but I can't stop reading. His blog is a fine synthesis of smart writing, quality design, useful linking, and good neighborhood vibes. One of the best local resources on the web, Snitch was the first to hip me to New York's Sixth, Where Is The Remote?, and the new NJ Weblogs.

In a densely populated area whose media saturates us with coverage of the big city we're near but neglects the smaller neighboring cities where thousands of us live, the explosion of local blogging is one of the big stories of 2005. Many compare the current blogomania with the dot-com boom of the mid-'90s, but even if this is just a fad or a stage, a lot of information and entertainment is being spread all over, and much like cornbread, ain't nothing wrong with that. We're going glocal with this thing, baby!

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