“Tony, I’m pretty sure we’re stuck in a time loop”

Here’s how Josh Justice’s “Another Long Stretch of Continuous Soft Rock,” the third-place winner of this year’s Austin Chronicle short-story writing contest (documented in full at “Full Hearts Can’t Lose,” begins:

The machine maintains a relentless cadence, disseminating paper over paper, over and over, the growing stack like a white monolith in the high-capacity finisher tray. Above, the fluorescent bulbs hum, and their light moves down and through the loosened paper particles drifting along sound waves from the radio’s stretch after stretch of continuous soft rock.

The CopyZone manager pats his shirt pocket and finds the torn paper from the opened end of a Rolaids pack. He tears the paper further away, removes an antacid, and slowly places it in his mouth. [...]

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‘Anyone could find a piece of themselves within these songs of love and loss’

Here’s how Jessica Hopper’s Pitchfork review ends:

Nevertheless, it is difficult not to buy into the mythology of Rumours both as an album and pop culture artifact: a flawless record pulled from the wreckage of real lives. As one of classic rock’s foundational albums, it holds up better than any other commercial smash of that ilk (Hotel California, certainly). We can now use it as a kind of nostalgic benchmark– that they don’t make groups like that anymore, that there is no rock band so palatable that it could be the best-selling album in the U.S. for 31 weeks. Things work differently now. Examined from that angle, Rumours was not exactly a game changer, it was merely perfect.

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Two quotes

YouTube: [...] The two things that I have talked about, this denial of structural racism and mass corporate control of the expressive forms. These two things have had a profound impact on stifling the creative center of commercial hip-hop. And so the social potential in the age of Obama has everything to do with challenging those two elements. That is to say that mass-market control of young people’s control is a formula for disaster. It doesn’t matter what the culture’s about, market ideology and market behavior is about profiting, not interrogating and challenging, they don’t say ‘hey, we should really promote anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic music’ or ‘we should just at least create diversity in here so you have a space of challenge’ which is what you would have in real life, right? [...]

Pitchfork: So if there is no difference between popular music and commercial music nowadays, does that mean that there is no space for resistance to commercialism?

TT: I think there is: Kids who have a garage band but don’t have any intention of signing with a label, or people who sing in a church choir, are a form of resistance. For another project, I’ve been interviewing indie rock musicians here in L.A., mostly associated with Burger Records. I interviewed one person who doesn’t copyright her music, has a day job, and doesn’t have an interest in trying to make a living as a musician. She told me that her goal is to try to stay in the shadows. So I think the only way to resist capitalism now is not so much to try to overthrow it– I don’t think that’s going to happen– but to do things that capitalism doesn’t care about, or is not interested in. A lot of people who don’t have any interest in making a living at music derive a lot of pleasure from playing or singing, and that pleasure matters.

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Smoothday Christmas party at Bar 355!

Smoothday Christmas Party @ Bar 355!

So, what are you doing in the evening next Tuesday, December 18? Think you might want to stop by, raise a glass of spirits, and let our smooth sounds raise your spirits in turn?

All signs point to the presence of a new song to offer our lovely listeners in honor of a certain legendary soft-rock band’s recently announced touring plans. There will also be at least one holiday standard where crowd participation will be more than welcome!

From the Smoothday! Christmas party Facebook page:

Join me for some smooth jams and a special appearance by the Oakland Soft Rock Choir at Bar 355. We are going to be taking it to the Holiday street! Come share whats on your wishlist and have a cocktail to celebrate! We would love to see YOU!

And that goes double for us! Make a note of it now, ask a friend if they’ll join you, and come on out to 355 19th Street between Webster and Franklin streets in beautiful downtown Oakland, California. We hope to see you there!

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‘That was for the children!’

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is 30 years old today, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t post a classic “Yacht Rock” episode to mark the occasion. And you’d be remiss if you didn’t watch it and then watch the man himself.

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Soft rock Sunday: Hot mix, cool clicks

  • Something Else! Reviews’ “Desert Island Discs: Guilty Pleasures Edition” and “Steely Dan Sunday, Confessions of a Side Man: Recording on Donald Fagen’s Sunken Condos, Part 3″
  • Andrew Razeghi’s Fast Company article “How To Avoid The Innovation One-Hit Wonder”
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    ‘Stand up, little girl / A broken heart can’t be that bad’

    AVC: I can’t hear it in my mind, and I won’t ask you to sing it.
    AF: You would have to have pictures of me doing obscene and unwelcome things with a series of farm animals before I would sing this song to you. If you can imagine “More Than Words” by Extreme, but played less for laughs, then you have “To Be With You” by Mr. Big.

    Here’s a tiny part of The AV Club‘s Hatesong feature “Future Of The Left’s Andrew Falkous hates on Mr. Big’s monster ballad “To Be With You” from earlier this month.

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    ‘Well, it’s been a year. It doesn’t surprise me’

    It’s almost that time of year when San Francisco’s “lite rock, less talk” readies to switch over from its regular format to an all-seasonal music lineup. If you can’t wait until noon PT this Wednesday, November 21, 2012, you can preview it here.

    Way down at the other end of the Golden State, KOST 103.5 FM changed from “SoCal’s favorite soft rock” to “Your Official Holiday-Music Station” last Thursday, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.

    Listeners weighed in right away, and around the country as other stations switched over:

    Listeners also noticed in the Central Valley of California:

    In Albuquerque, New Mexico:

    In San Antonio:

    And outside of Houston:

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    ‘I mean, there was just all this work to be done. And now there’s not.’

    “Y’know, I come from an old school,” Marx says. “I would work on a vocal, and keep working on it and punching in until it was right. I do use Auto-Tune when I work with other singers or other background singers, it’s sort of an industry standard, but I do everything I can, even on a pop record, to just keep punching in until I’m happy with it, rather than use the machine.”

    Read the rest of David Kirby’s Boulder Weekly article “The Education of Richard Marx”

    “It’s going to be 30 years in February that she passed,” Rock says in response, “and you still know who she is … It is soft rock, but there is something poignant and deeper about it that upon listening to it again, people do realize the depth and, of course, with hindsight, the sadness that was in it.”

    That’s Lisa Rock, quoted in Andrew S. Hughes’ South Bend Tribune article “Rock re-creates Carpenters music”

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    ‘I lost myself in a familiar song’

    Noticed today in a Twitter search for “soft rock”:

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