The resurgence of vinyl

In the age of iPods and mp3s, illegal downloading and burned CDs, you would think that vinyl would be so, like, 1960. But I've recently been feeling an odd pull to the 12 inch black discs. And I'm not the only one. New bands are starting to release their albums on vinyl and there are even blogs and websites devoted to LPs. My roomate got a turntable earlier this year and I've caught myself scouring the stacks of records instead of flipping through CDs at the local record store. 

So why is this archaic art form making a come back??
The answer might lie in something that my Intro to Rock professor, Mark Katz, talked about during the last day of class. The musical theme of this decade has been three R's: Retro, Recycling and Revivalism. 

Let's break it down. A lot of today's popular music is in some way borrowing or stealing from music decades earlier. First, take sampling. Artists -- mostly in hip-hop -- have started recycling older music by sampling it and putting new words, beats or ideas over top of it. Sure, they're creating new music, but they're taking something old and bringing it back. Prime example: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West samples Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman." An even more extreme example is my new addiction Girl Talk, where Gregg Gillis uses as many as 25 different songs to create something totally new. 

Retro and revivalism sound the same, but there are tiny differences. Retro refers to bands that are taking some of the ideas of older music but taking it to a different level. Take the lo-fi garage rock that was popular in the '60s. You're seeing that same rough and unpolished approach to music today in bands like The White Stripes or The Strokes. It may not be exactly the same style of music, but it has the same aesthetic.

Revivalism is pure copying of an earlier style of music. For this I'll use the example of disco. Bands like the Scissor Sisters have brought back that "four on the floor" drum beat and falsetto singing that the Bee Gees popularized in the '70s. 

So in light of all these musical trends, it starts to become clear why the album is making a resurgence. Popular music now is being heavily influenced by musics of the '60s and '70s. So it makes sense that how we listen to this music would be influenced in the same way. It doesn't feel right to listen to lo-fi stuff like The White Stripes on a digitized mp3. I need some crackle and pop of a record to make it feel right. 

I still love CDs and my iPod is always by my side. But there is something distinctly different in the experience of putting on some vinyl. It's an experience. Taking the record out of the sleeve, starting the turntable and lowering that needle to the groove. You can't compare to that. And the little imperfections are what make it beautiful. 

Go buy a record and put it on, see if you don't agree.


So Long, Sparks

I know a couple of people who will be very unhappy upon hearing that their favorite caffeine-injected awful tasting excuse for an alcoholic beverage is no more. I, on the the other hand, will dance upon its grave.
Apparently the Illinois Attorney General, Lisa "Candidate 2" Madigan,  claimed MillerCoors was illegally marketing the "beverage" to underaged consumers, by sponsoring an air guitar champion, or something.

“These drinks are extremely dangerous in the hands of young people,” Madigan said in a statement. “They contain substantially more caffeine than coffee or soda and are marketed as a way to ‘power’ your nights by staying awake and drinking more alcohol. This is a completely inappropriate message to send to younger audiences.”

Get the full story over at Gawker.


Nice Price Books

A review from the folks over at Vinyl Records finally convinced me to take my first trip to Nice Price Books, a little bookstore that sits right at the edge of Carrboro on Main Street. As much as I love books, what really drew me to this store was the music collection. Thousands upon thousands of CDs, tapes and records are piled up in the on the walls, on the floor and everywhere that there is space.

I have always loved sifting through stacks of music trying to find the "diamond in the rough" and this is the perfect place to do it. I was in there for an hour and didn't even notice. I could have spent another couple of hours browsing around.

But I walked out of the store three records richer and only $15 poorer. Can't beat that.

Here's what I bought:

Photo of Nice Price Books taken from Vinyl Records Blog.


Out of a job

It looks like the economic crisis/disintigration of the journalism industry has hit me sooner than expected. Much sooner.

I just found out that this will be my last week at Chapel Hill Magazine, the publication I have been interning with this whole semester. Oh, and this is after they asked me to stay on for next semester just a few short weeks ago.

According to the editor, it had nothing to do with performance, but was a decision from higher up to not have any interns next semester and instead hire a full-time employee to do all the work the interns did.

As disappointed as I am, I understand. I don't really blame anyone for what happened, I just wish I had known sooner. The economy sucks and journalism is taking a huge hit. It happens. I just didn't think it would happen before I even graduated.

So, I guess I'm back on the market. If there are any publications or journals that are looking for an intern for next semester (January to May) let me know.

Ben Folds on "Brick"

While studying for my Intro to Rock exam (for the very few hours that I did) I came across this cool video of Ben Folds explaining the meaning of his hit song "Brick." On the Ben Folds Live album he explains that it's about him and his girlfriend having an abortion, but I was never really sure that it was the truth. Apparently it is.

He also gives some great insight into how his music was changing from early Ben Folds Five to Whatever and Ever Amen and eventually Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. "Brick" was definitely a different direction for the piano-pop-rock trio, but it's an undeniably beautiful and touching song. And I just love that Darren Jessee was the one that wrote the chorus. Folds seems to be a bit arrogant and the fact that the chorus to their most popular song is not written by him is just great.

There is also a section where he talks about how touring with Neil Young influenced him to make a "stadium feel like a living room." He's done that both times that I have seen him live, making a large venue like UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall feel like a few friends hanging around a piano.

OK, enough blabbing from me. Check out the video for yourself.


Just to break up the monotony

UNC-Chapel Hill may be one of the best public universities in the nation, but that doesn't mean we don't know how to have a little bit of fun, especially when it comes to exam time.

Just hang out in the Undergraduate Library during exam week and you'll see what I mean. First, there is the tradition of the UL streakers. These brave guys and gals streak through the lobby of the library at midnight on the night of the exams, just to break up the monotony of studying. Keep things interesting.

Well it seems like this year there is a new study time tradition: the UL Rave Party.

This flash mob took over the UL lobby at midnight on December 8, right in the middle of exam week. Just to break up the monotony. I think I like this tradition more than the streakers. It's more inclusive. And I don't have to take my pants off to participate. Unless I really want to.

And let me just add that I love that our student body knows the words to our alma mater, "Hark the Sound," and the fight song and will sing it at random times. That's school spirit people.


Here, you look poor, have a Whopper!

I’m not usually one to get all crazy anti-consumerism and corporate America, but stuff like this really pisses me off.

What bothers me is that they seem to have the idea that they are doing something good for the world. Spreading the American way of life.

“You know what this desolate rural area needs? A Whopper.”

And they act so shocked when someone hasn’t had a burger before. Not everyone is as interested in clogging arteries and gaining weight as Americans are. Sorry, Burger King.

This is not a Burger King bashing party. I get fast food every so often and that’s fine. But if we’re trying to spread our culture around the world, handing out greasy burgers is not the way to go. These people have done fine without them so far, and I’d like to see you prove to me how fast food has improved our culture.


Uncharted Released!!!

Exciting news, faithful readers! The first issue of Uncharted magazine hits shelves...err...your internet browser today! If you don't remember, Uncharted is a new arts magazine that I'm writing for that reports on music, visual arts and performance art around the UNC-Chapel Hill community.

As of now the magazine is only online in PDF form, but we hope to get the funding to print future issues. Heck, you can print it out on pretty paper and staple it together if you really want to.

This is a pretty packed issue with articles about the band Cloud Cult, a look at CD Alley on Franklin Street, a beautiful photo story entitled "Quench: Eastern Africa's Search for Water," my article about open mic night at Jack Sprat Cafe, and more.

There is also some content online that wasn't put into the magazine, including an article by me about the Avett Brothers show for UNC-CH's homecoming and a profile on Caroline Robinson, a great singer-songwriter who, incidentally, I mentioned (not by name) in my open mic piece.

I think it looks pretty good, but then again I'm a little biased. Check it out, and also check out the Uncharted website where you can register to get e-mail updates, create an artist page, or even upload articles and photos.


Political Blogging Communities

I've last night and most of today working on a blog for my presentation in Professor Jones' class and I'm finally done!! At least I hope I am. Anyway, with all the hard work I put into it, I figured I would share it. It's a "study" of three different progressive political blogging sites and how they work as knowledge communities. I took a local blog (Orange Politics) a state-wide blog (BlueNC) and a national blog (Daily Kos) and compared them and looked at how the community functions. Check it out here if you're interested or really, really bored.

On a sidenote, after working with Wordpress to create that blog, I think I've decided to move this blog over to Wordpress. It's not happening now, or probably any time soon, but I have decided to start the process. It will still be at www.coreyinscoe.com, but it will just be hosted elsewhere, so if you have this blog bookmarked at noisebazaar.blogspot.com, you'll have to change it.

I like blogger, but there's so much more you can do with Wordpress as far as layout, creating pages and posting. I want to make CoreyInscoe.com more than just a simple blog and this is the easiest way to do it. I'll let you know when I get this thing moved over.

But until then, I'll keep posting on good ole blogger, and I hope to post more regularly now that school is finally winding down.


Ryan Adams is following me

This story is a little dated, but I think it's important that you know about my situation should anything happen to me.

It all started a couple of weeks ago with a conversation in my blogging class. Professor Jones was talking about how singer/songwriter Ryan Adams started "stalking" him after he wrote something negative about the former Raleigh-ite. Another kid in the class mentioned that Adams had called a writer drunk in the middle of the night and cussed him out. Now I can't vouch for the truth of these stories, but I've heard similar ones before.

The next day I was sitting at work looking for something interesting to listen to while I was editing and found this, a recording of Adams at KCRW. The music is great, no doubt.

Now for the fun part.

While listening to his performance, I sent out this message on Twitter: "i wish ryan adams wasn't a big bag of crazy because his music is so good..."

Not 10 minutes later, I get an e-mail telling me that @cardinology, aka Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, is following me.

Is he really stalking me? Or does he just follow anyone that mentions him? I guess only time will tell.... Maybe he'll respond to this.


What is wrong with the NFL?

Dear readers, I'm at a loss. I need your help. Maybe together we can figure out what the hell is wrong with the NFL.

Football on Thanksgiving day is about as American as apple pie and over eating. It's a tradition that I look forward to every year, especially this year when my Tennessee Titans were playing the Detroit Lions. The game was a blowout, and that was fine with me. But at halftime something went horribly wrong: Jesse McCartney walked out onto the stage.

Jesse-friggin'-McCartney. Are you kidding me? Then, just to add insult to injury, the halftime performance at the next game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys was the Jonas Brothers. THE JONAS BROTHERS!!

Let's break this down. On Thanksgiving, one of these situations is probably happening in every household in America: Thanksgiving lunch is over and while the women are socializing and the kids are playing, the men are watching football -- or -- The ladies are putting together the meal while the guys sit on the couch and watch football. Now before I get hate mail from all the feminists out there let me explain myself. I'm not saying this is how it should be or that this is totally universal. Guys could be (and should be) cooking and I'm sure some women are watching football. I'm just trying to make a point that most of the people watching football on Thanksgiving are men ages 18 and up.

So why in the hell are these hairless little boys parading around at halftime with a handful of screaming girls are adoring them right in front of the stage. Most of the viewing audience is probably looking around and going "Who are these guys??" Why is the NFL trying to appeal to 13-year-old girls with their halftime shows?? It makes no sense.

To give them some credit, the last few Superbowl halftime performers have been great: Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones. But I don't like this trend and where it could lead. Don't try to be something you're not, NFL. Know your core audience and stick to it.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!! I'm back home for a few days and enjoying some much needed relaxation. In a perfect world, this would mean more blog posts, but with my laptop not having the greatest internet connection, I'm not sure if this will happen or not. I'll do my best.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you something I found on one of my favorite music blogs, i guess i'm floating. A couple of days ago, they put up a list of the best TV theme songs of the past 20 years. It's a sweet list and even has free downloads (I always wanted a copy of the Daily Show theme!).

Here are my favorites out of the list:
The Office (I especially love that the name of the band is The Scrantones)
Big Bang Theory (I hate to admit it, but I have a weakness for the Barenaked Ladies)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (I love old-school Will Smith and his flashy clothes)
and, of course, The Daily Show (Stewart/Colbert 2016?)

I'm really not sure how the Friends theme made it on there. I mean, I love the show, but c'mon....

What are your favorites on the list? Any that they missed? Any you would add? Let me know in the comments.

And no Thanksgiving is complete without our favorite Alaskan talking while a turkey is being mauled. No, thank you, Mrs. Palin.

Now go eat!!


Give Pearl Jam a Chance

Eighteen years later, it's easy to lump Pearl Jam into the grunge movement and compare them to bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. Sure, they came out of Seattle, had a penchant for flannel and long hair and were banging out some dirty rock and roll, but I think they're overlooked as "just another grunge band." I'm guilty of this: Ten, Binaural, and Yield were left to collect dust on my shelf for quite a while.

Recently I've given them a second chance, and I implore you to do the same.

Now let me preface this next statement: I don't mean to belittle Nirvana. I am a huge fan of Kurt and the boys and think their influence on modern alternative rock is invaluable. But Pearl Jam is the real gem that came out of the Seattle grunge scene. Nirvana may have had the real big hit ("Smells Like Teen Spirit") and been the poster boys of the movement, but let's be honest, Kurt Cobain was a little off and some of their songs are pretty banal. Teenage angst is awesome, but there's a point when you have to move on.

Pearl Jam took grunge music in a different direction. Instead of dwelling on the problems of adolesence, lead singer Eddie Vedder commented on social and political issues that mattered to people. "Jeremy" is about the weird kid in school that everyone makes fun of who ended up killing himself in front of class (based on a real event). "Alive" is about a boy finding out that who he thought was his father is not and that his real father is dead. "Better Man" is about an abusive relationship and a woman in denial.

More recently he's gotten more political, touring with the "Vote for Change" tour in 2004 and writing songs like "World Wide Suicide" that are blatantly critical of the George W. Bush administration.

Most importantly, Pearl Jam has staying power. Ten sounds just as fresh when I listen to it now as it did when it was released 17 years ago. Vedder's haunting voice sticks with you and you feel his passion. Sure, it's easy to make fun of his vocal delivery (just watch his face in the "Jeremy" video), but you can't deny the richness of his voice.

Vedder's soundtrack for the movie "Into the Wild" is what got me listening to the band again. He wrote and performed the entire soundtrack, which was the perfect compliment to the coming of age story. I thought the acoustic songs were a deviation from his standard grunge style with Pearl Jam, but after going back and listening I realize that it is part of a natural progression. He has grown up, but he haven't lost their touch.

Maybe they were more mature than Nirvana to begin with: Vedder did write "Better Man" in high school. They understood that there was more to life than teenage angst and sought to draw attention to it. Almost 20 years later they are still trying. And succeeding.

Take a look at their episode "Storytellers." You'll see a thoughtful and intelligent side of Vedder. Then give them another listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

But this is just my opinion. You can disagree with me. That's what I love about music.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs off of the "Into the Wild" soundtrack: "Hard Sun."

Photo by Danny Clinch: Pearl Jam Official


Corey Went Down to Georgia

...and he was looking for a soul to steal. OK, maybe not, but that Charlie Daniels song has been stuck in my head since I crossed the state line. My wonderful girlfriend and I just got back from our weekend trip to Atlanta, and I will now give you a synopsis using pictures.

Georgia might put a peach on its license plate and call it's girls "Georgia peaches," but who has the balls to paint a water tower like a peach with the crack and nub facing the road?? That would be Gaffney, S.C. Take that, Georgia. I also love the well-placed "Fatz Grill" sign. Classy.

If you didn't believe that I was actually going to Atlanta for the Jeopardy! audition (and I wouldn't have believed me either, so don't worry) here's the proof!! Now that I say that, I realize that I could have totally just taken that picture without auditioning. But I got a pen! So there....

This is the ridiculous Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta where the Jeopardy Audition was held. It is massive and circular. I just found out (after I left, of course) that there is a revolving restaurant at the top. That would have been awesome.

This is the gate statue (or something like that) from France in celebration of the 1996 Olympic Games that were held in Atlanta. And that's me being dwarfed by that guy, but still trying to look regal. I'm pretty sure I fail.

As a journalism geek, I had to get pictures of the CNN Studio in Atlanta and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution building. The latter was rather empty....

And now for the fun part of the trip: The World of Coca-Cola!!! If you didn't know, Coke was invented in Atlanta and they have a little museum/attraction all about how it was made right by Centennial Olympic Park downtown. Fifteen bucks may seem like a lot to walk around a Coke museum, but just look at all that it had:

You could take pictures with the Coca-Cola polar bear (this thing was awesome).

Go to a "4-D" movie.

And, finally, go to the tasting room and sample over 60 different types of Coke products from around the world. My advice to you: stay away from the Latin America ones.

It was a great weekend and I definitely would like to go back and see what else it has to offer (UNC in the Peach Bowl, maybe?). Oh, and the Jeopardy! thing?? It went well. It was a fun interview and mock game. There was a UNC student and a dookie there. But I'm really not keeping my hopes up: they only take 15 out of 600 people that make the second round. I'll know by March, though.

I took all these pictures, so I'm not stealing from anyone for once. So glad to have a decent camera that doesn't destroy batteries.

Andy Rooney on Newspapers

Andy Rooney may consider himself a newspaper man, but I would love to be the kind of newspaper man that he is: one that writes a highly syndicated column a couple of times a week and has a recurring spot on "60 Minutes" where he just rants about whatever happens to be bothering him from his own office. As cushy as his job is, Rooney is hilarious and I love listening to his commentary.

This rant is especially interesting to me since I seem to be moving into a dying industry with a collapsing economy. Awesome.

Rooney has a great point that you can't "cut out" and save a clipping from broadcast news. This was especially noticeable in the high demand of newspapers after Barack Obama's election. I just don't know if that will be enough to save the newspaper industry as we know it.


Georgia On My Mind

So this weekend I will be missing the first Carolina basketball game and the extremely important football game against Maryland so that I can go down to Georgia.

"Why would you -- being such a huge sports fan -- miss all those games just to go to Georgia?" you might be asking.

Well, I promise I have a legitimate excuse, but I won't tell you what it is because I don't want to seem cocky. Actually, that's a lie, I'm damn proud of myself for getting this so I'm going to brag. Modesty be damned!
Congratulations We are happy to confirm your appointment to participate in the full audition for the Jeopardy! College Championship. It will consist of playing a “mock version” of Jeopardy! to assess your game-playing skills, a short personality interview, and being re-tested with a new 50-question test.

If you pass all the requirements, you will be put in our files to be considered for Jeopardy!’s Season 25, College Championship. However even though you pass the test, we cannot guarantee that you will be invited to do the show. In fact, even though you are invited to the studio, there is no guarantee that you will appear on the show. There is no charge for taking the test, but you will be responsible for all expenses such as parking and travel to and from the testing center. If you are invited to participate in our College Championship we will pay your airfare and hotel, room and tax only (College student only).
That's right, your lowly college student/blogger apparently knows enough random crap that he qualified for the second round of the College Jeopardy auditions. It must have been all those ours spent in random bars around the country playing Buzztime trivia. Thanks, Mom and Tony!

I don't really expect to go any further (I thought I bombed the first test), but I figure I should take a shot at it and if nothing else I will have a nice weekend in Atlanta, a city I haven't been to since I saw the Atlanta Braves play when I was in sixth grade.

I got a nicer hand-me-down camera from Jeremy and I hope to break it in some this weekend and get some pictures up on this site.

Until then, wish me luck!


"It's A New Day"

Will.i.am -- the real person, not CNN hologram -- put out a new song and video this week celebrating Barack Obama's victory. The song is called "It's a New Day" and mixes clips of the singer with shots of Grant Park in Chicago during the acceptance speech, and what I assume are user submitted videos of people singing the song.

I have never been the biggest fan of will.i.am, but this song and it's predecessor, "Yes We Can," are great tributes to a powerful campaign and a landmark election. Maybe he should stick to writing uplifting political songs.

"Stop and cherish this moment. Stop and cherish this time."

For the record, this isn't a political post, because that would mean that I went back on my word. It's totally a music post....



Just under a week after the historic election, I've decided it's time for me to move on to other things. That's not to say that you won't see the occasional post about politics or government, but I'm going to try to mix it up a little bit. I hope that there will be more about music (what this site was originally created for) and local issues. We'll see how long it lasts.

That said, please allow me to introduce you to Lafcadio.

This Chapel Hill trio was one of the first three artists signed on UNC's Vinyl Records after finishing tied for second in the September Showcase battle of the bands. The crazy thing is that they have only been together for a couple of months.

They have a great folksy sound and singer Liz Ross has a voice that will melt your heart, I promise. You can check out some of their music at their Myspace page, the live recordings from their September Showcase here, and a new demo recorded by Ross at their website, here.

Beautiful stuff. They're in the studio now working on their debut EP which should be out on Vinyl Records in January.



It looks like President-Elect Barack Obama prepared for this week a while back, and with good reason. A mere two days after his landslide victory over John McCain, Obama has already chosen his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and has set up his new website fittingly named Change.gov.

The website is dedicated to the transition process and includes a blog, an agenda for the new president, press information and even a place to share your story about the campaign and what it meant to you. There is even a place where you can turn in an application to get a job in the new government.

Part of the reason that Obama led such a successful campaign was his able to foster grassroots support and fundraising using the internet. This idea was pioneered by Howard Dean in 2004, but was really perfected by Obama this year. BarackObama.com allowed volunteers to mobilize from their own home and without the help of a community organizer. Phone number lists were posted online for people to use to canvass their community. There were also links to local Obama groups that organized around the country.

On top of all this, you could sign up to the Obama e-mail list, get text messages from the campaign, or even get the Barack Obama application for your fancy-shmancy iPhone. The future of politics is the internet and the Obama campaign wholeheartedly embraced it. There were Obama Facebook groups and even a way to sign up as a supporter of the Democrat on Facebook in order to get all of his updates.

Using social media in this way, Obama made each person that supported him feel like they were individually important and involved with the campaign. They would get personalized e-mails or texts and could easily log in and pick up the phone to volunteer. Or give a campaign contribution online.

Fortunately this has not stopped since the end of the election, as seen by Change.gov. This website adds transparency to an important part of the presidency and allows people to interact with the new administration. I really hope to see this continue after the inauguration.

If nothing else, we'll be seeing this a lot more over in the next elections.


It's All Over -- It's Only Just Begun

On January 3 of this year I was in some little apartment in New Rochelle, NY fresh off a hearty celebration of the new year. That night we cut on the TV to CNN to check out the results of the first Democratic primary in Iowa. At this point I couldn't tell you anything about the candidates: there was a black guy, a woman and the local guy. I was supporting John Edwards simply because he lived in Chapel Hill (and we see how that ended up).

As the returns come in, it becomes clear that Barack Obama, some senator from Illinois, had won Iowa. "Wow," I thought, "that's awesome that he won that primary. I never would have guessed."

But I didn't put any more weight on it than that. I still figured Hilary Clinton and Edwards were the real players. My thoughts were confirmed when Clinton won the next primary in New Hampshire.

Fast forward to April 28: Obama holds a rally at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. By this point Obama and Clinton were for all intents and purposes alone in this race. I was swept into the sea of change and was giddy at the thought of seeing him speak. I got there two hours early, settled into my seat and enjoyed the Liquid Pleasure band that provided entertainment before he spoke. His speech was electrifying as always. I was hooked.

But realism tugged at my brain: there is no way that the country is going to pick a black man over a white woman for the Democratic party. Why risk alienating moderate or more conservative voters with that pick? Then the country proved me wrong.

Wily old veteran John McCain stepped up on the Republican side and seemed to be a formidible opponent to the young Obama. Then after a series of mishaps and self-destructive moves from the right, it suddenly seemed like Obama was the favored candidate.

Until this point I believed in Obama's message of change and hope and love, but I just knew that it was too good to be true. I didn't think that Democrats would pick him as their candidate, why would conservatives and moderates lean toward a black man over a veteran and prisoner of war with more experience? Fortunately, the rest of the country was swept up in Obama's hopeful message. They realized that a change is exactly what we needed, and it was time to get a fresh perspective in Washington.

Even with most of the pundits predicting an Obama victory (landslide victory, according to some), I couldn't help but be nervous on Tuesday. Polls could be wrong or minds could change suddenly.

As the results started pouring in and CNN talked to holograms, I got goosebumps. Pennsylvania goes to Obama. Ohio goes to Obama. While these were not total surprises, they were two key wins that almost cemented Obama's victory. Then it got even more exciting. Traditional Republican states started to fall: Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, Florida. Even blood-red North Carolina is still split with Obama leading by less than one percentage point.

The nation spoke. Actually, it yelled. The world celebrated with us. It's a new day in America and the excitement is electric. Sure, it won't be easy. The economy is in the tank and we have to deal with Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. But I'm excited about where Obama will take this country, and I hope that we will unite behind him. McCain impressed and moved me with a beautiful concession speech about coming together as Americans.

It was a historic night with Obama being the first ever African-American to be elected to the presidency. It's something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, much less in my first 25 years on this Earth. I've never been more proud to be an American.

Unfortunately, there was a dark side to the election last night. Proposition 8 in California, a proposition banning gay marriage, was passed. For a state that was so one-sided for Obama it's unsettling to see them set homosexuals back in such a fashion.

But in the end, we have taken a large step forward in this country and this is an event that I will always remember.

As Obama said, "Change has come to America." I think it's about time.


"The Great Schlep"

Comedian Sarah Silverman has always been known for her raunchy and over-the-top comedy -- just watch one episode of her show and you'll see what I mean -- but at least she's got her head on her shoulders politically...kinda.

In what she calls "The Great Schlep" she asks young Jewish people to go down to Florida and get their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama so they don't screw the Democrats over like they did in 2000 (she uses a slightly different wording, but I'm trying to keep this sorta PC). She takes the time to show how a black man and an old Jewish woman are the same and says that she will "blame the Jews" if Barack Obama doesn't win the next election.

This video is by no means suitable for work, unless you work at Chapel Hill Magazine where we had this video playing in the conference room last week.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

And to keep with the theme of hilarious political videos on the next to last day that I'm allowing myself to be sucked into the political machine, here is a great clip of John McCain on Saturday Night Live.

This is why I really can't hate him. I can hate Karl Rove, I can think Sarah Palin is an idiot and I can hate all the "God-loving Americans" that scream "Terrorist!" and racial slurs at Republican rallies, but I just can't hate McCain. Deep down he's a good guy and would make a good president if it wasn't for the hundreds of incompetent people around him.

Anyway -- stepping down from my soapbox -- I love that he can make fun of his campaign at this point in the election. Everyone should be able to. The political game is such a joke and anyone that takes it too seriously will end up in a mental hospital before the age of 40.

Two more days and it will all be over....


Is it Tuesday yet?

If you asked me two years ago about politics, I couldn't have told you anything except that Bush is a terrible president, and that opinion would have come largely from what other people have told me. But for some reason this election season, politics has taken over my brain and my life and, sometimes, my dreams.

I'm not really sure exactly what started it. Actually, that's not true. I can blame it on two people: Barack Obama and Chris.

Obama, with his message of change and hope and love, has excited a whole generation of young people. The voter age group that is known for being apathetic and looked over is now energized and excited about politics. Obama represents the ideals and dreams of many young people around the country and I was not immune to his charm. I was already excited about getting to vote for the first time, but having a candidate who represented exactly what I thought the country needed made me even more passionate about filling out my first ballot.

Obama laid the seed, but Chris nurtured it. Before last year, I didn't even know that political blogs were that popular. The only blogs that I ever read were music blogs just to get free MP3s of new songs that were coming out. It was Chris who turned me on to DailyKos, and from there I found BlueNC, OrangePolitics, the CNN Political Ticker, Real Clear Politics and countless other political sites. Now I find myself checking each of these at least five times a day. I gobble up their polls and predictions and spit them back out at anyone that will listen. Wanna know how Obama is polling in N.C.?? I can tell you, don't worry.

I even got to the point where I stopped lurking and posted on BlueNC. I ended up getting front paged and put into the header of their website for a few days. I feel like almost every conversation I have ends up in the realm of politics somehow. Lucky for me, most of my friends are into it also so they're not quite ready to kill me yet. If you look at the list of tags on the right side of this page, you'll see how much I have politics on the brain. I even had my mom watching the last presidential debate and talking bad about McCain.

It was fun for a while, but I don't know if I can take it anymore. But I don't have to wait long. In two short days, all the speculation will be put aside and we will know who the next president will be. I remember watching the election specials four years ago and not really caring about who one. It won't be that way this year. I'm emotionally committed now and it's too late to go back. I just have to hope that things will go my way.

But I do know one thing, I'll have a lot more free time after Tuesday. Maybe I'll get back into reading my music blogs more often, or read some news that doesn't involve Republicans or Democrats. I can't just cut off politics cold turkey, but I can lower the dosage to a safer amount. I'm also going to have to find some other stuff to write about on this blog, but I don't think that will be as big of a problem.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I have a couple of great things that I would like to share with you on yet another beautiful Sunday that gave me a much needed one extra hour of sleep.

First, a great prank call on Mrs. Sarah Palin, who was in Raleigh this weekend.

From Boing Boing:
The popular Montreal comedy duo Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, aka "The Masked Avengers" ( Les Justiciers Masqués ) are notorious for prank-calling heads of state and celebrities who take themselves a little too seriously. Surely none take themselves so seriously as Sarah Palin. She was pranked by the pair today when they social-hacked their way past security and convinced her she was speaking to Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France.

Oh those crazy Canadians...

Now a couple of fun things from the local News and Observer. I loved this opening line from an article called "Parties marshal troops for E-day" about presidential campaign volunteers in N.C.
At their national convention, Republicans scoffed at an early line on Barack Obama's resume.

"He worked as a community organizer," former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani told the crowd, to rising laughter. "What?"

Now the GOP is discovering the value of that experience. In the closing hours of a national election, Republican nominee John McCain faces an Obama get-out-the-vote push that is exceptionally well organized at the community level. The Democrat's campaign is culminating in an enormous door-by-door effort. North Carolina is one of its key targets.

Oh, buuuurrnn. Then they also had a great article about the Cary High School alumni band that marched in the Cary Band Day parade this weekend. I wanted to go, Halloween and a busy Saturday kept me from joining. I love that all those alumni came out and marched again. Maybe next year...

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


MTV Music: No Way?!?

As anyone who grew up in the '90s can tell you, the "music" part of MTV has become more of a joke than reality. With the recent news of the canceling of Total Request Live (which was a joke of a music video countdown anyway), the only time that MTV can seem to squeeze in music videos is for a few hours after midnight. They wouldn't dare thinking of wasting time on music during the day when they could be showing re-runs of "Next," "The X-Effect" and the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge."

Well it seems like MTV has had a change of heart, slightly. The new MTV Music allows users to search for any music video that MTV has ever shown, from ABBA to ZZ Top. It's not quite the same as actually showing music videos on TV, but at least their recognizing their original mission. Either that or they got tired of people just putting the videos up on YouTube and decided to take some control of it. Either way, I'm just glad to see that MTV has finally done something right...there must still be some brains in that operation somewhere.

I will now leave you with one of my favorite music videos ever, starring none other than Christopher Walken.


"You Can Vote However you Like"

The awesome students at Ron Clark Academy, a middle school in Atlanta for low-income students that is run by Ron Clark, laid out the choices in the upcoming election in a slightly different way: by changing the words to T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" to create "You Can Vote However You Like."

Maybe the candidates should start having rap battles like this instead of debates. It would at least be more interesting.

Not only is this song amazing, but these kids are really intelligent and know what is going on in this election. I'm willing to be that they're more aware of the issues than a large part of the voting population. This school, those teachers and those parents are definitely doing something right down in Atlanta.

Here is an interview from CNN with some of the kids, and you can see just what I mean.

In totally unrelated news, the Athens Drive High School womens golf team, coached by my step-dad, Tony Alcon, won the North Carolina 4-A Championship yesterday!! Congrats to him! I am kind of scared to see him without a beard and mustache though...



After fighting with Google Apps for a while, I finally got the new and yet-to-be improved www.coreyinscoe.com!!! Right now it will just host this blog, but soon (OK, somewhere in the future) I'll have it set up as a semi-legitimate website with the blog as a separate page.

But until then, enjoy www.coreyinscoe.com!


Music is Awesome

Hello faithful reader.

I have three awesome musical notes for you guys on this absolutely gorgeous Sunday.

First, I just got done interviewing Tripp and Grace from Vinyl Records UNC, a student-run record label at UNC-Chapel Hill. It was an awesome conversation and I'm so excited about what they will be doing in the coming months now that they have their three bands (Lafcadio, Apollo, Lake Inferior) signed and started on recording. I'll be putting together a full article on them for Uncharted, so be on the lookout for that.

Next, iLike is streaming the new Ryan Adams and the Cardinals album, Cardinology. I'm listening to it now and I'm a fan. But of course I've always loved Ryan Adams so I might be a little biased. Head over to Facebook and take a listen.

Finally, as if Barack Obama hasn't brought enough awesome music to Chapel Hill on behalf of his campaign (Superchunk, Arcade Fire and James Taylor), there will be one final concert in support of the presidential candidate on the terrace of Graham Memorial on UNC's campus. The line-up is a mix of great local artists, new and old:
The dB's
Ivan Rosebud
I Was Totally Destroying It
Greg Humphreys
Regina Hexaphone
Billy Bragg

The show will be November 1 from 9am to 1pm. Admission is free and there are no tickets required, so get there early. Even though it's the night after Halloween, I might have to fight through the pain and check out some great music.

Enjoy the music!!

Oh, and GO VOTE!!


Opie, Andy, Richie and the Fonz endorse Obama

I usually don't pay much attention to celebrity endorsements because, frankly, I don't trust them. Like they know what is good for regular Americans living in their Beverly Hills mansions or massive Manhattan studio apartments. But child actor/director Ron Howard puts a little old-school flavor into his endorsement.

As a born and raised North Carolinian, I grew up on The Andy Griffith Show and all the guys in Mayberry. It's kind of scary how much an old Howard looks like an 8-year-old boy when he shaves and puts on a wig. And I'm glad Andy is still going strong. I love that man...

And the Fonz!! This is the best thing he's done since the music video with Say Anything.

Maybe this is just what NC needs to turn blue on November 4...I can only hope.


Ben Folds Five Video Posted

If you weren't one of the lucky few who saw the Ben Folds Five reunion show last month, here's your chance! MySpace has finally posted the video of the first part of the concert on their Front to Back page. This is only the Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner part, so there's no awesome encore.

I haven't gotten a chance to watch the whole thing yet so I'm not sure if I get any face time. Let me know if you see me. (I'm on the left side -- from the stage perspective -- and about 15 rows back.)


Ben Folds Five - MySpace Front To Back concert


Uncharted: UNC's new arts magazine!

For some crazy reason, UNC doesn't have an arts magazine or journal. For being such a rich artistic community (Ackland Art Museum, Playmakers, not to mention the great music scene), this comes as quite a surprise to me. Well fear not, young reader, help is on the way.

Uncharted is a new arts magazine that will be covering the great UNC-Chapel Hill community. There are three "sections" of the magazine -- visual arts, dramatic arts and music. I have started working for the music section (of course) and have already gotten started on a couple of stories for the first issue, which is due to come out sometime around mid or late November (if all goes as planned). At first the issue will be online in a .pdf format.

I'm really excited about getting this thing going after so many failed attempts on a music magazine over the last few years. UNC and Chapel Hill/Carrboro have needed something like this for a long time and the editors really seem dedicated to make it happen.

Check back here for more updates on the magazine, or go to the website: www.uncartmag.com.


Look at the Pretty Colors!

Enough said.

From DailyKos

UPDATE: I just realized that you can play around with this way too optimistic electoral map. Click on the states to change them from blue to red or somewhere in the middle.

And I'm back...

I hate that I didn't get to post any over the last few days, but I had a legitimate excuse.


And this:

Oh yeah, and this:

If you haven't figured it out yet, I spent this weekend at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. The only other parks I've ever been to are Carowinds in Charlotte and Disney World Magic Kingdom, so this park just blew my mind. I love roller coasters and thrill rides, but nothing compares to the coasters they have at this place. I was actually nervous getting on a couple of them, which has never happened to me before. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

One suggestion I would make: to make the Maverick even more terrifying, have Palin and McCain figures talking throughout the ride. They must say "maverick" at least 20 times during the two-minute ride.

Anyway, now I'm back to the grind in Chapel Hill which means more regular posting. Get excited.


Frank Gehry -- Architectural Awesomeness

I was talking to one of my coworkers at the Tarheel Book Store today when the Experience Music Project in Seattle that I went to during my summer road trip came up. My coworker then started talking about Frank Gehry, the architect that built the EMP and a slew of other buildings around the world. I remember the EMP looking like a crumpled ball of colored tin foil and wondering how it could stand, but I knew nothing of his other work. We did some fun Google Image searching and I couldn't believe what I saw.

His designs are so crazy that it was even rumored that he came up with his ideas by crumpling up paper and throwing it on the ground. Though this isn't true, his designs are still terribly bizarre.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.


The "Dancing House" in Prague

The Stata Center at MIT

Pritzger Pavilion in Millenium Park, Chicago (which I also visited on my road trip)


This is why he has to win

Because any person who gets support from people that hateful and ignorant should be nowhere near Washington.


Are you kidding me, Justin Crowder??

After censoring a fair article about the "UNC bubble mentality," last week, the Daily Tar Heel decided to publish this little gem of an Op-Ed piece by guest columnist Justin Crowder called "Your O.C. votes won't make real difference." Wait, seriously?

Let's go to the tapes:
"The truth is that no matter which man in sworn in as president next January, very little about our day to day lives will change. The average American will still work 40 hours a week for less than he or she deserves, people will still complain about rising prices and the sky will still be that lovely shade of Carolina blue.

"This lack of change is because our system of government is stagnant. The two-party system exists to propagate itself. Sure, Democrats would love to have a dominating presence in all three branches of government, but they most certainly don’t want to push the Republicans into oblivion. They need each other because their paired existence ensures no bothersome third party gets in the way of their shared power."
OK, fair enough, the two-party system isn't exactly my favorite either, but it's not like that is going to change any time soon. Now here's the part that really got me:
"The Young Democrats would have you believe that North Carolina is a battleground state that may swing the election in favor of Obama, but with the state’s voter demographic, Obama is fielding a college team against an All-Pro team. At UNC it becomes easy to forget that we’re in a very solid Bible Belt state that usually goes red. Some may call predicting an Obama loss here a poor judgment, but history predicts his loss.

"Harshly put, a vote for Obama here in Orange County will be nothing more than trying to empty the ocean with a single bucket. By the same token, a vote for McCain is like trying to raise the level of that same ocean with a bucket. North Carolina is not going to go any way but to McCain, just as California will inevitably go blue."

Excuse me??

Sure, he goes on to say "I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote, because voting is one of the greatest civic duties," but that doesn't make up for the fact that he basically said that it would all be in vain. That's exactly what we need, someone telling the already apathetic young voter population that they don't need to vote. Thanks, Justin.

Even if we ignore his stance on voting, his column is, for lack of a better phrase, completely full of crap. I don't know what news he's been reading -- if anything -- but North Carolina is definitely a battleground state. Obama has a six-point lead according to Public Policy Polling, a three-point lead according to Rasmussen Reports and is dead even with McCain according to Pollster.com.

Maybe he should do a little research next time instead of spewing out more of this trash from his dorm-room computer.

Here is a video of Rachel Maddow talking about the close race in NC including an interview with NC Governor Mike Easley.

Here's how the race looks in NC according to Pollster.

Where the Hell is Matt?

If you're having a bad day, I promise this will make you smile. The power of dance.

According to his website, Matt decided to leave his home in Brisbane, Australia, and travel the world after quitting his job. He started WheretheHellisMatt.com to let his family keep track of where he had been. A friend recorded him doing his "signature dance" in Hanoi and it became a YouTube hit and eventually caught the attention of Stride gum. They asked him to take another trip through 39 countries and seven continents in 2006, still doing that signature dance. Then, a couple years later, he asked Stride if he could do it again, but this time have other people dance with him. This video is the final product of that idea.

My favorite part from his website:
"Matt was a very poor student and never went to college. When he got older, he was pleased to discover that no one actually cares. Matt doesn't want to imply that college is bad or anything. He's just saying is all. There's other ways to fill your head."


Wayne Sutton and Ginny Skalski visit Blogging Class

My blogging/social networking class with Paul Jones is by far the best and most informative class that I have had in college. Besides getting me obsessed with the internet and all its wonderful powers, it's given me the chance to hear from industry professionals about what online journalism is about and how it will change the industry.

Today Wayne Sutton and Ginny Skalski from MyNC.com and 30threads.com stopped by to talk about their websites and how citizen journalism works. The talk was streamed live on 30threads.com and a copy of the video is still online. There was even a live chat going on during the class with some of the students involved as well as live tweeting from many of the students. It was an internet extravaganza!!

After talking for a bit about MyNC, the conversation quickly shifted to a topic that seems to be on the mind of every college senior: jobs. With newspapers dying and online media taking over, where is the place for traditional journalists?

According to Sutton there is still a place for traditional journlists in a different medium, i.e. a blog. If all you really do is write then you can find something you're passionate about and write on a blog about it.

The most important things for graduating journalism majors to do, according to Sutton and Skalski, is to build a "social media resume." When employers search your name, they should be able to see a blog that you have, your Facebook profile (and that it has more substantive stuff than drunken party pictures), and any other social networking you've done online. Newspapers and other forms of journalism realize that this is the future of news and your value to them increases if they see that you've been doing it for a few years.

It also helps to have a broad skill set. Just being a writer may get you a job, but you have a better chance if you can also take video and do video editing, have photography experience, or know how to use flash and create online content (which is why I'm trying to get into this multimedia class). And Sutton and Skalski also stressed the importance of owning this equipment rather than renting it from job to job.

Long story short, there is a job out there for new journalists, but it's not going to be in the traditional style.

While that makes me feel a little better, I'm still not excited about the job hunt that will be happening soon.

UPDATED: here is the video from class today. Thanks to Wayne Sutton.
Free Videos by Ustream.TV


Tina Fey for Vice President

Here is yet another spot-on mockery of VP nominee Sarah Palin by Saturday Night Live cast member Tina Fey, this time taking on the debate last Thursday. SNL lucked out with Fey being a perfect twin to Palin and they are definitely taking advantage of it. Queen Latifah plays moderator Gwen Ifill and is sure to throw in a few jabs about her upcoming book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Totally unbiased.



Born Again Floozies

Since this started as a music blog, I occasionally feel compelled to report on a new band. This is one of those times.

The Born Again Floozies are a Indianapolis-based quintet with an infectious brand of indie/experimental pop. Just look at the instruments:
Joey Welch - Guitar and Voice
Amy Andrus - Tap and Perc
Nancy Moore - Voice and Perc
Charlie Krone - Trombone and Voice
Melissa Williams - Tuba
Yeah. Tuba. That automatically gives it cred in my mind. Ironically, there's a girl in the UNC tuba section named Melissa Williams. Weird... And who uses tap dancing in a rock band? Somehow they make it work, and rock.

Anyway, check them out below, especially their song "We Got the Power (Love Letter From America)." I just love the little vocal harmonies and, of course, the tuba bass line.



Thoughts on the VP Debate

Biden looked good. Palin looked flustered at the beginning, but seemed to gain confidence as it went on.

What I can't stand is that Palin talked for a full hour and a half and I'm still not sure what the hell she was saying. It just sounded like "Gibberish gibberish gibberish TALKING POINT gibberish gibberish Maverick gibberish John McCain." She tried so hard to be cute but it just doesn't work.

It honestly terrifies me that there are people that will vote for a woman that believes humans and dinosaurs walked the Earth together, can't name the magazine or newspaper where she gets her news, can't name any Supreme Court case that she disagrees with other than Roe v. Wade and she thinks she has foreign policy experience because she can see Russia from Alaska.

I think Biden won, but really what does it matter?

This is much more entertaining:

And this is just scary. SNL doesn't even have to change her words to parody Palin.

DTH Censorship??

Earlier this week, Daily Tar Heel Op-Ed columnist Danny Randolph quit the campus paper because he felt like he was being censored. From an e-mail that he sent around:
This past weekend, I submitted a column for publication that included
indirect criticism of the Daily Tar Heel.... Essentially, the column warns against the UNC "bubble" mentality. In making my arguments, I rely partly on the kinds of
stories the DTH chose to cover last week during some of the most intense moments of the financial crisis.
Allison Nichols, the Editor-in-Chief, explained to me in an email that she was "uncomfortable" with what I was "implying" about the DTH. She thought I would "confuse" readers about the purpose of the DTH, a local paper.
Long story short, Allison Nichols ended up not running this story. Randolph believes that he was being censored because he spoke ill of the DTH.

At first I assumed that Randolph had written some off-the-wall column that didn't make any sense and unfairly blasted the newspaper. But after reading the article I thought it was fair. It talks about how as college students we have a tendency to be trapped in the college bubble and ignore what is going on in the outside world and this is shown by what the DTH chooses to cover and not to cover.

It's a relevant article and a valid opinion about how the paper should run. Yet Nichols felt that it wasn't worthy enough to be published. A columnist is given the power to write about what he/she feels is important. They are put on the opinion page for specifically that reason: what they write is their opinion and does not necessarily represent the ideas of the paper. As long as it is not false, misleading or terribly offensive, columnists should be able to publish whatever they want. Anyone remember Jillian Bandes? Sure, she was eventually fired, but at least she was not censored. She was allowed to say what she wanted and was fired when it came out that she took quotes out of context.

As a response, DTH Public Editor Eric Johnson (yes, the same Eric that gave the DTH a big pat on the back a couple of weeks ago) wrote an article Wednesday called "Editor is more hands-on: Critics say expanded role shuts out dissenting voices." Hands-on. That's one way to put it.

He spends the first 90% of his article saying how she is just more hands on and is trying to bring higher journalistic standards to the opinion page by not running things that are controversial. She nearly killed a negative editorial about the move by News & Observer to bundle "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," a controversial movie about Radical Islam with the paper. This caused Opinion Editor Aisha Saad and Associate Opinion Editor David Giancaspro to also quit the paper.

That is not being hands-on, this is trying to stifle dissenting voices. Sure, an editor for straight news gets to choose what stories should be reported and run based on space and newsworthiness, but it works a little differently on the Op-Ed page. An editor doesn't get to choose what gets to be run based on how controversial it is. What happened to journalists being watchdogs?

At the end of Johnson's article, he says:
Personally, I think Nichols should have run the column Randolph preferred and that a fully independent editorial board is preferable to one managed by the editor.

Nichols respectfully disagrees, but she still printed this column.

Sure she did. You kissed her ass for the last 400 words.