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My Top 8: Annuals

Annuals2 We here at Billboard understand as well as anyone what astronomical importance of one's MySpace Top 8. Or top 12, 24, 128...

Every now and again, we'd like to present artist's perspectives on their Top 8 friends on MySpace. This week, we'll kick off with Raleigh, N.C.'s Annuals, who are preparing to release their "Wet Zoo" EP next week on April 1 via Columbia. We initially fell in love with the band listening to their "Be He Me" full-length and seeing them play a packed and happy show at Pianos in New York.

From the band, on My Top 8:

  • WKNC 88.1

We picked these guys because they were the first radio station to play our music which, in return, got us some of our first fans. We get the opportunity to pay them back each year by playing their annual double barrel benefit.

  • Schoolkids Records

Local record store where we buy all the newest jams.

  • Zach Galifianakis

This is probably the funniest guy we know. He lets us sleep over in his cabin in the mountains and open comedy shows for him.

  • Terpsikhore Collective

Our very own record label that we use to put out our favorite bands.

  • JK

Our very good friend and life partner. He is also the owner and genius behind Terpsikhore.

  • Sunfold

Formerly known as Sedona, this is one of our many side projects that include the same members of Annuals.

  • The Flaming Lips

We’ve been fortunate enough to open for these guys on more than one occasion and it is always a psychedelic experience.

  • Lonnie Walker

Look for their debut full length coming out on Terpsikhore this year.Our good good friends and pretty much the best band to ever come out of Greenville, N.C.

March 28, 2008 in My Top 8 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Idol Chatter: Chikezie, we hardly knew ye!

Well, score one for Dial Idol's methods - Chikezie got the boot last night. For JI, it's hard to say exactly why: he doesn't suck like fellow bottom dweller Kristy Lee Cook, and he doesn't default to crying like a possessed baby for a stupid human trick, like Syesha. Jason Castro? Maybe his stoned routine is wearing thin. Chikezie had a nice voice, seemed sweetly amusing in interviews, and did nothing to make us irate. But it is American Idol, not Amiable Idol, and so it goes.

"Idol" did address some viewer crankiness last night, giving a behind the scenes tour of the contestants recording their songs for the iTunes download. If you've wandered over to that iTunes section recently, you'll notice that the comments consist of two things: "I'm an ARCHangel! DAVID ARCHULETA Rulezz!!1!" and "Hey, this isn't the version he/she sang on the show last night! I liked that version better." Yeah, well, too bad. What they're selling on this show is polished version of songs, not smurfy David forgetting the words.

Next week? Dolly Parton. Which means that Kristy is rapidly going to become the Sanjaya of this season - why won't she go away? Whyyyy?

March 27, 2008 in American Idol | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Idol Chatter: Midseason Paula!

Yay, we've finally evolved to midseason Paula, where her fashion choices and commentary become even more insane. Last night we got fingerless gloves with lotsa jewelry, as well as an unhemmed beaded medieval tunic thing? And Simon has started his lounge where he holds the back of her chair with his hand, which I used to think was Simon just sprawling in a "I'm soooo above all this and soooo bored with all you wankers" kind of way, but I not realize is to prevent Paula from going ass over teakettle on the judges' platform.

Oh wait, this is about the music. Yes, yes it is.

The children - and since the vast majority of them were born in the '80s, dear God, I use that term without irony - get to pick a song from the year they were born. In some cases, the song suits the singer quite well: Syesha and "If I Were Your Woman," Brooke and "Every Breath You Take," and Michael Johns with every Queen song ever written in all of eternity.

Everybody else? Not so much with the love. I don't understand when you have a full year to choose from, why you would pick a song that isn't super, super even-the-dark-corners-of-America-like-South Dakota-has-heard-of-it famous. Jason Castro? I like Sting, and you managed to pick a Sting song I hadn't listened to in two decades.

But the biggest mystery will be why David Archuleta picked "You're The Voice," and even the judges had to suss out among themselves who sang it. (The answer? "Some Australian." Not an American. Ah, midseason Paula.) I like Simon's aside that he didn't think David actually picked this song himself, which makes me wonder if that was a snark at the "Idol" powers that be or on David's parents.

My predictions? Kristy saved her butt with her mostly in-key interpretation of Lee Greenwood, which leaves Ramiele in the tank. Critical error? Singing a song Carly would hit out of the park, causing everyone in the audience to think: "Wow, Carly could hit this out of the park. But not Ramiele."

If you're looking for a (marginally) more scientific prediction of who is going to get the boot, check out Dial Idol, which monitors the number of busy signals callers get when calling in for their favorite contestant. They think Chikezie is on the gangplank.

And the song JI would perform from the year of my birth? David Bowie's "Fame," totally.  How about you?

March 26, 2008 in American Idol | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vision Quests and Veggie Delights

John_mainJ.I. has seen many shows in unusual venues, including basements, art galleries, boats, and a recent one that involved a bridge and a naked fat man. But last night marked the first time we saw a show at a Taoist Healing Center, when we checked out John Shannon’s CD release party.

The actual healing center resembled a higher end yoga studio, with big mirrors and low lighting. Members of the small crowd mingled and drank herbal tea before sitting down to watch Shannon’s set.

We’ll be totally honest – it just wasn’t our thing. Shannon has a very nice voice and is clearly quite talented, but it was a little too mellow for our taste. We were antsy by the third song, and the intimate location made it impossible for us to fall back on our usual not-really-digging-the-show distraction (cell phone Tetris, best six bucks we ever spent).

In between songs, Shannon told the crowd about his vision quest, which was the inspiration for many of the songs on the record. Apparently, a vision quest involves sitting in a circle for four days, not eating and drinking only water. So, from here on out, models: you’re not starving yourselves the week before fashion shows. You’re on a “vision quest.”

J.I. stuck around for the dinner afterwards, and we were handsomely rewarded with some delicious vegetarian food. Compliments to the chef for making bean paste and tempeh taste better than any of the ribs we consumed at SXSW last week.

March 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Idol Chatter: Over for Overmyer

KristyOh, Kristy Lee Cook. You just can’t catch a break, can you. First you’re forced to sell your pony to get on the show. Then you blend in among the 87 Taylor Swift-lookalikes who made it through to Hollywood, failing to establish yourself as anything more than that one Taylor Swift-lookalike who sold her pony to get on the show. You barely made it out of the bottom three last week, and here you prepared for the same fate this week.

Somewhere deep down in the pit of your stomach you knew you were safe, didn’t you, and there was a look of regret in your face after you found out we'll be forced to zone out your insufferable wailing for at least one more week. You’re like Haley Scarnato, minus the greased-up legs, or Sanjaya, minus the sister with the big rack. You just won’t go away. Feels kinda like a cruel trick on your fans’ behalf, dunnit. Know that we’re not voting for you, Kristy Lee Cook. We want you reunited with your pony and reveling in your small-town fame just as much as you do. We’re just glad you’re not from our neck of the woods in Nebraska.

And Amanda. Poor, poor Amanda. Don’t you worry that poorly dyed little head of yours. This is nothing a trip on the Harley and a bottle of Jack won’t fix. Just don’t combine the two. You were already in one car accident this year. The last thing you want is to be that “Idol” knock-off who has to eat through a tube (you won’t make much money that way, either). Just know that if you’re ever in a bar, the next round is on us. And if you feel the desire to jump up and do karaoke, we’ll buy several rounds, as we’ll personally require that much liquor to watch you slur your way through “Ramble On” and attempt some pathetic mic stand trick.

Finally, Randy – next time you decide to spend a good 20 seconds checking out the backside of Kellie Pickler, please give us advanced notice so we can change the channel. The only thing that makes us more uncomfortable is when Seacrest pretends he’s not into men.

March 20, 2008 in American Idol | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

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