Where were you when you first discovered email? We sincerely hope that the first time you learned of the existence of this newfangled thing called “electronic mail” while watching YO! MTV Raps back in 1994. While scouring the archives for our celebration of MTV’s 30th Anniversary, we stumbled upon this clip of YO! host Fab 5 Freddy waxing poetic on the virtues of modems, the information superhighway, and “computer flavor.” Not only does he explain what email is and how to use it, but he throws props to some of the hip hop world’s early adopters of this then-futuristic technology (including A Tribe Called Quest, The Native Tongue Crew, and KRS-One). And if all else fails, we have your next catchphrase for you to impress your friends with: “I’m outta here, like computers from the ’60s.”
You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel’s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.
Despite a career that’s now crossed the 20-year plateau, Guster remains one of the most criminally underrated pop acts working in the music industry these days. Unfairly lumped into the widely maligned “college rock” genre, their last two long players, 2006’s Ganging Up On The Sun and 2010’s Easy Wonderful, are, in fact, chock full of melodic pop gems that offer insight on topics as diverse as righting the wrongs of the past, frustration with the political system, and becoming a parent. But don’t get it twisted: “Dad rock,” this most certainly isn’t.
On August 2, Guster will release a new six song EP, On The Ocean. After 14 years in the major label system, this will be the band’s first self-released album since 1994’s Parachute. As a way of introducing their new material to the world, the band has decided to take the novel approach of debuting their new material by way of the wildly popular social media listening post, Turntable.fm. Why there? “Mostly because it feels organic,” Guster lead singer Ryan Miller told VH1 exclusively earlier today. “I’ve spent time on Turntable [under the moniker DJ Mitchell Spinach] and I use it. It doesn’t feel ‘market-y’ to me if it’s something I actually interact with and understand. These sites that are popping up are incredible, it’s so f***in easy to get turned onto new and old music.”
Miller will be debuting the group’s new material —”I’m at least gonna play the ‘Mitchell Spinach Remix’ of ‘This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart,’ probably another one or two?”, he explained— in a Turntable.fm room entitled Guster’s Polka Party at 9 p.m. ET tonight, but don’t expect an all-accordion playlist. Expect to hear tracks from current Miller faves The Poison Tree, The Rosebuds, Cults and Washed Out (“Love this band”), too. And what about the folks at the Universal Music Group, the distributor that put out their last album (the sessions from which were the genesis of a few of these tracks)? Miller isn’t sweating it. “Well, this will be our first self-released record in almost 14 years, so, I don’t think they give a sh*t.”
Looking for a Pandora-style music streaming service that’s curated by your friends instead of an algorithm? Or want to help DJ your own station? That’s the idea behind turntable.fm, a startup that went viral two weeks ago. The site is open to any user who has a Facebook friend who’s a member. Join a “room” (popular ones include Coding Soundtrack and Indie While You Work), and listen to songs uploaded to the site, or selected from its database, by one of up to five “DJs,” whose songs play one at a time, consecutively by DJ.
Users hoping to play more than one song in a row, like the curated playlists of Muxtape, are out of luck, as turntable.fm is trying to position its legality in terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (as Pandora does). This is also why a user, alone in a room, can only play a thirty-second preview of a song. These measures may not be enough to protect the site from litigation, though, especially if private rooms continue to be allowed.