Friday, June 29, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's Monk Time again

Years ago, Kent, Dieter, and I watched a WFMU chotchke video compilation that included an animated video of the extended version of Autobahn by Kraftwerk. But I think the one video that really stuck with us was the Monks' "Monk Chant".

Here's that video:

Autobahn was cool and all, but it's kind of hard to forget guys wearing fake monk wigs, playing large tambourines, and banging on kettle drums.

The Monks seemed to have stuck in a lot of people's minds because a new cover/homage album has been released. From the Village Voice:

Silver Monk Time: A Tribute to the Monks

In 1966, five American ex-GI bar band vets, re-christened the Monks, presented Germany with Black Monk Time. "Uberbeat," they dubbed it: drums directing bass volts, organ jolts, guitar feedback, electric banjo as percussion, echoing harmonies, and pre–Slim Shady chatter, jumping in and out of the mix, right on cue. "It's Monk Time, it's Hop Time," they called, before and after ragging on "Mad Vietcong," James Bond, and "What army? Any army."

Silver Monk Time compiles 29 covers and homages as follow-up to the 2006 documentary Monks—The Transatlantic Feedback. The Fall expertly probe the ripples of "Higgle-dy Piggle-dy," Jason Forrest folds Monks demo tapes into the birthday-suit salute of "Monk Hop," and the Raincoats simultaneously croon and hammer "Monk Chant" 'round the mountain. All this while the's "Cuckoo" spins right off its peak, brushed by the smoke-ring feathers of Nista Nije Nista's "Kuchhuche."

More at the Voice.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

newspapers: Google News is your friend

Here's how newspapers can use Google News to their advantage.
Some newspapers were bellyaching about how Google News, which displays a story's headline and it's  lede, kinda steals content from them and, more importantly to the newspaper, gives readers enough information so that they don't click through to the newspaper's website and thus don't feed them ad revenue.
But Google News could be the newspaper's best friend. Readers who didn't know that a given newspaper ever existed can be exposed to it just by scanning Google News. The newspaper just has to reorganize the information in its stories. Online newspapers who want readers of Google News to click through to the their site should not put the most important information in the lede anymore. Just hint at it so readers have to click through to get the information they want.
Here's an example: The lede to a Houston Chronicle story about the hike in 30-year mortgage rates just said that there was a hike and that the hike was the sharpest its been in I can't remember how many years. But I wanted to know exactly how much the rate increased, so I had to click through to the Houston Chronicle's website. So they've made a few cents off of me when they wouldn't have before because I never think to read that paper.