Jack Vidgen, AGT 5th Season Champion, Dares to Touch Your Soul

Australia’s Got Talent , Bah. Who would have thought I’d be watching people singing, dancing, and prancing around the stage. This is definitely not my thing. However, the girlfriend blackmailed me into watching it with her. And man! I am surprised.

I checked some info about Australia’s Got Talent. It started in February 2007 and has just   ended the 5th season. Its set of judges includes names like Red Symons, Tom Burlinson, Brian McFadden, Kyle Sandilands, and Dannii Minogue. Slightly of-topic, but I am going to say it anyway: Dannii Minogue is hot! I fancy her better than her sister Kylie. Going back, AGT’s list of winners includes Bonnie Anderson, Smokin Joe Robinson, Mark Vincent, Justice Crew, and Jack Vidgen. Speaking of Vidgen, I blame the girlfriend for my predicament.


Jack Vidgen - Australia's Got Talent Winner 2011

You all know I am more into rock music, but something about Jack Vidgen’s performance touched a nerve. Whoa! What the hell am I saying? This is scary S*&T, mate! I must be going soft. Either that or well, you have to admit… Jack Vidgen does deserve to be AGT’s fifth champion. This 14 year-old has got to have one of the most powerful soul-rendering voices I have heard in my life. My girlfriend was ooh-ing and aaah-ing all throughout this child’s performance. And mind you, this girl is pretty hard to please. Moreover, we actually gave his performance a standing ovation just like what the audience did after he was done with his rendition of I Have Nothing (Whitney Houston song).

This kid, I am assuming, will really make it big. Move over, Bieber! Jack Vidgen has released his debut single last August 3, 2011 under Sony Music Australia. The single was named Yes I Am. Lastly, his debut album will be released mid-August. Apparently, it will contain the songs that have brought him this far

Allans Music + Billy Hyde have Merged

Musical instruments like drums, pianos, and guitars are what you can see in my music room. And if you are anything like me, your musical instruments will most likely be from either Allans Music or Billy Hyde.

Yep, you got it! These two stores are my go to places when I need some stuff for my obsession. From drum sticks to the coolest drum sets, you can count on these stores to carry the products you need. Another good thing about them is that you can either shop online or visit their retail stores. Talk about convenience, right?

But wait! There’s more! Allans Music and Billy Hyde have merged. Imagine, two of the best musical instruments retailers working together to provide an even more commendable service and high-quality products to their consumers. The recently merged music products retailers also have their website up and running alread. Can’t get any better than that!

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading stuff about this merger not being a good thing. I think a few people think this is some kind of monopoly. Well, I can’t blame them for thinking that. After all, Allans and Billy Hyde are, I guess, 2 of the most successful establishments selling drums, PA systems, etc. But hey! I just can’t see this taking a toll on the music enthusiasts. Come on, Allan’s has been around since the 1850’s while Billy Hyde has been in operation from the 1960’s. They wouldn’t last this long if the people before we were ever born didn’t trust them! You have to admit, I have a point, see?

For what it’s worth, I am really looking forward to this merger. I’m pretty sure each company can learn something from the other. The way I see it, it’s the consumers who will benefit greatly from this partnership.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think it would be better if they didn’t merge? Would this have an adverse effect on the music trade in the country? Give me a holler and let us know your opinion.

Buy on-line at www.allansbillyhyde.com.au

Amy Winehouse Was One Talented Musician

I’m not much of an Amy Winehouse fan, but I must admit I was quite surprised to hear about her death. I mean come on! Her death is a loss for the music industry in general. At her age, she had bagged several awards before her untimely death.

Amy Winehouse, for those not in the know, made her debut way back in 2003. Her first album was called Frank and was quite successful. Even more successful was her second album called Back to Back. In fact, it was such a huge success that Winehouse got to be the first British female artist to get 5 Grammy Awards. And this feat she did in one night. How awesome is that, right?Some of Amy Winehouse’s awards include Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Ivor Novello, and the Brit Awards.

Another confession I have to make is that I did try to listen to some of her songs. All those awards got me curious. I’d say You Know I’m No Good is a rocking song. It’s one of her songs from  her second album. It was a great mix of various genres. It has some hip-hop beats to it. It also featured R & B and jazz, which are both reminiscent of Amy Winehouse’s previous songs.

Apparently, British Indie rock band, Arctic Monkeys, also did a cover on You Know I’m No Good. Got to see them do their version of this song when they appeared on Live Lounge. I dunno about you, but I actually liked Winehouse’s version better. I guess it’s true what they say: Nothing beats the original.

Going back to Amy Winehouse’s death, news say the multi-talented musician died of suspected drug overdose. Paramedics rushed to her house and discovered she was beyond help. Anyway, I wonder how things would have gone if the paramedics were still able to revive her.

My Portable PA System Rocks

PA Systems was my best friend during my internship. I used to intern for an events company and I was taught how to work with this equipment. Well, it’s more like I used to help carry this equipment around. On a more serious note, they did teach me how to deal with PA Systems. However, they did not trust me enough to operate it during the event proper. Not hating though.

Anyway, it was because of said internship that I decided to get PA Systems. They don’t come cheap! I saw one costing 2 grand. On my meager salary, I could just save for a portable type system. That’s what I invested on. I looked online and found the Behringer EPA40 Handheld Portable PA. It comes with a microphone. Yey for me! So, I checked reviews; liked what I saw; and decided to get it from Allan’s Music + Billy Hyde website.

Portable PA Systems are perfect for picnics, tours, and even company meetings. As for the Behringer EPA40 unit that I have, it is user-friendly. It is also really very easy to carry around as it has a shoulder strap. It also has a built in battery with an 8-hour power life. Another thing I like about this product is compartment for the strap and battery. I just wish it had a compartment for the microphone though. Other than that, I enjoy using said product.

I usually end up using this portable PA unit to belt out songs from Nine Inch Nails with my Baden Guitar. Unfortunately, not all my relatives enjoy listening to me as much as I enjoy “singing” for them. On such occasions, I just connect my mp3 player to the PA system and play all my favourite songs from NIN. By the way, the audio speaker is awesome. Even my non-rocker cousins enjoy listening to Almost Home (yes, that’s another Trent Reznor song) when it’s playing from the PA unit.

Next time, Imma save up for the costlier PA Systems. For now, I can make do with this affordable and reliable Behringer unit.

Trent Reznor for The Social Network

As mentioned in the previous post, I’d like to talk about Trent Reznor of the industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails (NIN). Later on, I’ll also try to talk about the soundtrack he made for The Social Network –  otherwise known as the Facebook film.

As I have said in the first post Trent Reznor and John Malm are co founders of Nothing Records. What I forgot to mention is that Malm also happens to be the manager of Treznor. Well, that was before they both sued each other. Anyway, let’s get into some other info  about the Nine Inch Nails leader.

Treznor was born on the 17th May 1965 (Mercer, Pennsylvania). Apparently, his love for music started at an early age. You see, he played the piano when he was 5. In his adolescent years, the NIN front person became a member of the marching band, jazz, and the theater. He knew how to play the tuba and saxophone by then. He, however, did not take music courses in college. Instead, he got computer engineering courses at Allegheny College. I think it’s surprising that he got that course. I mean, I would naturally assume that he would take music classes, right?

Later on, Reznor was employed at Right Track Studios… Not as a computer engineer, mind you. But he was working on his own music under the name Nine Inch Nails. His first release was in 1989 and was called Pretty Hate Machine. From that time on, he had several studio releases. Other than NIN, Trent Reznor is also associated with various groups like How to Destroy Angels, Exotic Birds, Tapeworm, and Option 30. By the way, Trent works with Mariqueen Maandig (his wife) and Atticus Ross for the group How to Destroy Angels.

Incidentally, it is with Atticus Ross that Trent scored The Social Network soundtrack. I read from an article that Trent Reznor originally has free time, but he decided to work on the soundtrack after he read the script about the founding of Facebook. The film score was released in 2010 and came in various formats like CD, Bru-Ray, vinyl records, and even digital download. Actually, an EP (extended play) sampler was also released for free downloading. How cool is that, huh? And what’s even better is that Ross and Reznor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for their The Social Network collaboration. They also bagged the Academy Award for Original Score for the same project.

This doesn’t come as a surprise for me since I absolutely loved it! I am not biased when I say that I felt the score they made was perfect for Fincher’s movie. I’ve got some favourite tracks from the OST. I liked In Motion because of the upbeat feel it has. That and I love listening to bass. The occasional piano accompaniment was also good to listen to. It sort of gave a calm feeling as opposed to the rush you get from listening to the bass. However, I could say that the piano and bass worked really well together. I am also feeling A Familiar Taste because it reminds me of video games—the ones like Resident Evil or Silent Hill when you need to hunt down the mutated villains. But that’s just me. Lol. The same thing can be said with It Catches Up to You since I feel that it has an ominous vibe to it. It’s like the feeling you get when you’re waiting for something to happen, but aren’t exactly sure what it is you’re waiting for. Hence, I find that the title is perfect based on the feeling it evoked from me.

All in all, the score was edgy. I’d think that listening to the scores lets you know what confusion sounds like. On the other hand, the tracks fit together really well. I find it hard to pinpoint if something really stands out from the rest. Hence, it is because of that quality that you can call this an album—not just a collection of individual or separate songs. I suggest you grab a copy if you haven’t already.

A Look Into Nothing Records

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” That, my dear friends, is from Victor Hugo. (You didn’t think I was into poetry, did you?) Incidentally, that is exactly how I feel about rock music. You see, rock for me, gives tranquility. Ironic, I know. But that’s how it is. I feel that rock offers more creativity. The lyrics, the headbanging sounds, the outrageous costumes (like the ones KISS members are donning) never fail to make my day. I like how the guitar riffs and drum beats send me to nirvana.

Of course, everyone has some favourite music to listen to. As for me, music from Nothing Records, the now defunct music label, tops my list. I also love jamming to Oasis, Rammstein, Duran Duran, and The Beatles. But for now, let me talk about my love for Nothing Records.

You see, Nothing Records was founded in 1992. Trent Reznor, lead of Nine Inch Nails (an industrial rock band), and John Malm Jr. founded the record label. They signed with Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, obviously. They also reached out to us, their fans, through Radio Nothing. I am not sure if you got to listen to it, but they featured exclusive music from Nothing Records artists. I tell you, it was a great way to get sneak peeks at upcoming projects from them. It was always awesome to get free mp3s from my favourite bands. All thanks to Radio Nothing.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. That is what happened to Nothing Records sometime in 2004. Trent Reznor had a falling out with co founder John Malm. It reached a point where Reznor sued Malm for breach of fiduciary duties and fraud. Eventually, a trial was held in 2005. Reznor won the lawsuit and was awarded complete control over the trademarks.

The conflict between Reznor and Malm didn’t stop Trent from pursuing his career. He, together with Atticus Ross, even scored the soundtrack used for “The Social Network”, that film about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerber. Said film was released in October 2010. On the other hand, the OST was released a couple of days earlier.

Anyway, enough for now. I’ll try to talk more about Trent Reznor and The Social Network soundtrack next time.