The .14 Cent Solution

New royalties proposed by the music industry threaten to kill independent Internet radio




*Life is a porno; here's your soundtrack. Wah-wah guitars preen to orchestral swoons and excited snake rattles. Ancient Bollywood funk riffs brush up against DJ beats. Disco Stu meets the Ladies Man. And if Love TKO's "Love Thong" doesn't juice your caboose, Puccio Roelent's "The Taste of Repeat" just might. Played 24/7 on a monster loop and updated once or twice a week, is the baby of John Dial, an Austin, Texas-based pop maniac who has collected porn soundtracks for a decade. "Over the past few years, it's gotten easier to find the music," he reports via e-mail. Hence his giant, firm body of exotic sounds should surprise even connoisseurs who might know the theme from Deep Throat and have a fond memory to go with it. --Peter S. Scholtes




*Thanks to my own ongoing software problems, I don't hear heavy-metal site Hard Radio anywhere near as often as I see it. Bummer, because the music is a well-sequenced blend of hard-rock obscurities, AOR staples, and new tunes spiced with a little hair-metal flash and aggro extremism. Also on offer are thousands of content pages--reviews, interviews, and the like--which will remain online after May 22, should the worst happen. Especially good are the contributions of two of the finest writers in the genre, record reviewer Martin Popoff, and news columnist Tim Henderson (also the editor of Canadian metal mag Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles). Hard Radio is a vital site for those who must know when Rob Halford returns to the studio, or how many units Iced Earth moved in Greece. Especially fun are the dates pages, where no event seems to escape Henderson's watchful historical eye ("2001: former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach is nominated for a Audience Award for his role in the Broadway show Jekyll & Hyde"). Here's hoping that "Hard Radio Goes Off the Air" doesn't get added to that timeline anytime soon. --Cecile Cloutier




*Five streaming broadcasts out of New Jersey brew up a rich stew of the blues, showcasing the earthy vibrancy of the genre in all its joy and glory. It's a tall order to even scratch the surface of a form that's been on record more than 80 years. But site creator DJ Ron, who's been collecting blues records since the 1950s, is more than up to the job. He selects his tunes with exquisite taste, capturing the sweep of the genre across the decades and continents. There are more than 1,100 songs in the rotation, which is often especially heavy on the electric sizzle of guys like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Otis Rush, with side trips into the sophisticated style of Billie Holiday or the unearthly voice of Skip James. The three main streams follow the blues' main evolutionary path from 1920s Delta to the amplified sound of 1950s Chicago. Two others focus on British blues and jazz. Appropriate to an art form of subtle, gradual changes, each playlist is a little different. --Bahn




*Finally, a radio station that plays everything you want to hear! Of course, you might not know yet that listening to sound diaries culled from car-trunk sales, a "day in the life" portrait of Japanese noise-rock outfit the Boredoms, and a slew of records played backward is everything you want to hear. But after tuning in to this U.K. broadcast station--which is run by the London Musicians' Collective--for a few hours, it will be. With no playlists, scant DJ breaks, and no corporate sponsorship, Resonance asks luminaries like comic artist Savage Pencil and experimental saxophonist Caroline Kraabel to create their own programs, drawing from what Resonance terms "an archive of the new, the undiscovered, the forgotten, the impossible." And so listeners have access to radio's orphans: the sound-poetry clips of Dadaist Tristan Tzara, the plunderphonics of People Like Us, the industrial noise of Chinese sound architects Xpr Xr. If lost music is a newly found art, then Resonance is the great museum of sound. --Melissa Maerz




*You can find plenty of music online--all kinds of it. You can also find plenty of news. But how many sites, pray tell, provide detailed information about the city's abandoned subway stations, complete with a disclaimer that pleads, in a manner that's just a wee bit tongue-in-cheek, "Please don't wander into non-public parts of railroad tunnels. It is against the law, and it is dangerous." That's just a minuscule smear of the mustard on the corn dog when it comes to Screw Music Forever, the online arm of celebrated Brooklyn microstation Free 103.9. Sure, the site offers some of the most enlightened, adventurous, and ultimately entertaining programming in cyberspace. Music runs the gamut from Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra to DJ Scud. News is refreshingly lef t of center. But it's the extras--poetry, fiction, journal entries, visual art, and, rarest of all, bulletin boards--that truly make this site the global-community hub it is. There's also merchandise, including cheap-ass CDs ($7.99!), with sounds frequently gathered from the many live shows this microconglomerate presents. Ladies and gentlemen, the AntiClearChannel is before us! --Rod Smith

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