Chris Brown's Media Problem Isn't All About Chris Brown

Categories: Talking Shit

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By Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons
Writing about Chris Brown is likely more complicated than the man himself.

I was up all Thursday night worrying about Chris Brown. No one but Rihanna and Karrueche know what that feels like.

He'd just wrapped up the kickoff of his Between the Sheets tour with Trey Songz and Tyga at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. But what kept me awake was something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Chris Brown is only 25 years old, and already, he's the millennials' biggest villain.

He's also one of the most underrated performers today. I'm pretty sure his loyal army of dedicated fans would agree. Team Breezy, composed mostly of young black women, was out in force that night, screaming for more. The long line to buy T-shirts after the show was likely unprecedented. Yet it seemed like the only media that had touted the show was 99 Jamz, the local hip-hop radio station.

Why don't people write about Chris Brown? He's one of the few popular male singers who both sings and dances. And he can really dance. But he's an uncomfortable topic. He basically makes the internet news only when he acts like an asshole. But I'm not convinced that's entirely Chris Brown's fault.

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West Palm Beach Indie Band Rivers Goes Trap with Samlightning Remix

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Though we love it, we know, we don't give trap music enough play here at the County Grind. Lord knows, there's enough of it oozing out of every car speaker around in these parts, but not enough local beatmakers are touting the speedy, bass-heavy genre.

Danny Brunjes, frontman for the percolating, boozy indie rock group Rivers hit us up with the prospect of a new "trap beat remix" of one of its tracks. We thought: "What an unlikely pairing."

And the song, "Blistering Summer," off the group's lauded self-titled debut EP couldn't be much more on the opposite end of the trap spectrum, with its charging guitar lines and introspective lyrical content. We knew this ought to be interesting.

And truth be told, it is. Nashville-based producer Samlightning flips the frolicking tune on its freaking head, completely converting the track from something we'd expect to hear at Propoganda on a Friday night to a bombastic, dance floor-ready number that would best be served somewhere in Wynwood at 4 a.m.

See also: Rivers Debuts the Band and EP Today: "We're Shooting for the Moon"

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Wale Is Possibly the Nerdiest Cool Rapper, Seinfeld and All

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Courtesy of the Chamber Group

Rapper Wale had an unpredictable and odd 2014. The D.C. representative of Maybach Music Group punched a heckling fan while attending a WWE event in April, left Jay Z's Roc Nation management in August in favor of 77 North -- run by LeBron's buddies -- and had a one-sided "beef" with fellow MMG member Meek Mill that lasted as long as Kim Kardashian's marriage to Kris Humphries.

The dispute ended in peace, of course, after the Bawse, Rick Ross, provided his mediator services for the sake of the MMG kingdom and friendship. But it was not before Wale wrote a response to Mill's Twitter dis on Instagram about how much his presence on the label is an oxymoron, him being a nonstreet, Zelda-loving, WWE-watching sneakerhead more than capable of contributing a standout verse on those street songs and embracing it.

And Wale's nerdiness, his outsider status in the rap game, is just one -- but one very important -- thing to appreciate about him. He's been able to successfully continue rapping with the traits of a slam poet and rhymes that make Rap Genius a bookmark on your Google Chrome tab.

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Fort Lauderdale Drummer Steve Kleisath Set Mario Bros. World Record

Categories: Talking Shit

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Steve Kleisath (pictured right) is the proud owner of a world record.
Lately, one local musician, Steve Kleisath (best known for his work behind the kit for pioneering emo group Further Seems Forever), has been making national headlines -- not for his stage antics, but rather for his exploits behind a gaming console. Last September, we mentioned that this locally-celebrated drummer had emerged as the second highest ranked Mario Bros. player in the world (scoring 3,784,050 points on the original Mario Bros. game, the second highest score ever, as by video game world record-tracking website Twin Galaxies). Well he's kept that momentum going. It was announced on January 5, that he was no longer second fiddle, but, in fact, the top scoring player of the game in the world.

Yes, Kleisath sits alone atop the Mario Bros. charts. He amassed an incredibly impossible score of 5,424,920 on the classic arcade version of the game, as verified by Twin Galaxies, of course.

Between touring and gaming, Kleisath also finds time to host local old-school gaming night Retro Arcade Night, which is set to become a monthly event now at Oakland Park's arcade game mecca, Arcade Game Sales. We spoke with him last week to find out how it feels to sit atop of the Mario Bros. throne and see if he is ultimatly replacing the drum stick for the joystick.

See also: Retro Arcade Night Returns to Fort Lauderdale This Saturday with Gaming World Champs

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Graham Nash: Always Moving Forward While Embracing His Past

Categories: Talking Shit

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Eleanor Stills
Solo Nash

"Just a song before I go
A lesson to be learned
Traveling twice the speed of sound
It's easy to get burned..."

If you're Graham Nash and your pedigree includes membership in rock's first, and still most formidable supergroup, Crosby, Stills, & Nash (and, better yet, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young), it's only natural that you'd spend at least part of your time reflecting on the past.

After all, Nash's musical legacy stretches back a full five decades, dating from when he participated in the advance guard of the British Invasion with the Hollies. His credence and credibility were already elevated by contributions to hits like "Look Through Any Window," "Just One Look," and "Carrie Ann." Nash's ascent to superstardom was well underway even before he arrived on these shores and connected with David Crosby and Stephen Stills in the recesses of L.A.'s Laurel Canyon.

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Marilyn Manson Rolling Stone Article Calls Fort Lauderdale a "Post-Grunge Wasteland"

Categories: Talking Shit

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Jeffrey Delannoy
What the hell does this guy know anyway?

Rolling Stone's Erik Hedegaard's recent article on Brian Warner, AKA Marilyn Manson, poses the following nugget of geographical ignorance: "Among other feats, his new album The Pale Emperor, is almost an equal to Antichrist Superstar, the 1996 record that lifted him out of the Fort Lauderdale post-grunge wasteland and shock-rocked him straight to the top, much to the dismay of the Christian right..."

Holy fucking Jesus eating hot dogs on roller skates! "Post-grunge wasteland"?

Yes, to the rest of the contiguous United States that's what Fort Lauderdale in the early '90s was, a "wasteland" and Warner, fuck it, Manson, does very little throughout the rest of Hedegaard's article to illustrate how his Ohio/South Florida upbringing made him into what he is today.


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Ten Metal Songs That Would Make Game of Thrones Way Cooler

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Courtesy of HBO
This guy would rather be listening to Slayer.

Game of Thrones is a huge, huge deal. You know that, though. The fantasy drama is HBO's most popular series ever, and reached the event horizon where novelty craft beers are now brewed in its honor, and T-shirts emblazoned with slogans and images that only viewers understand abound.

And let's be real: The show totally deserves it. It lives up to the hype it's been saddled with in the era of over-hyped television where every show is "the best show ever omg!" and we've all really become the slaves of our own serial-addictions.

I digress. Beyond the wild ass dragons, the bloody wars, the innumerable plot twists, the show is fantastically well-written, well-acted, and well-produced. And who could leave out the Dinklage? The Dinklage is really great. That said, the soundtrack could honestly use a bit of tweakin'.

Epic, sweeping orchestral arrangements are so predictable for such a program, and the reality is that the show -- in spirit and plot -- is really the most metal thing on television right now. So, maybe some shot-caller at HBO is reading County Grind these days and understands that our wisdom is as infinite as our love is tender. Maybe they understand that these heavy metal songs could provide the new soundtrack template to put season five totally over the top.

Come now, we ride!

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A Note to Bono: We Forgive You

Categories: Talking Shit

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John Shearer
With or Without You

Bono's been on my shit list for a while.

Sure, "I Will Follow" is impossible not to bob your head to, and I have found myself humming along to "The Sweetest Thing," but the lead singer of U2 has always annoyed me with his self-importance. Presenting himself as a patron saint for every charity, placing U2's new album without our permission on everyone's iTunes, not to mention that he's inspired every annoying overly earnest arena-rock band from Coldplay to Bastille.

By the same token, it could be pointed out that he's also brought much publicity to many worthy causes, and he saved all his fans money by giving them his new record for free. But still... Coldplay. Bastille.

See also: Five Other Ways U2 Might Impose Its Music Upon Us

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Top Ten Musical Flops of 2014

Categories: Talking Shit

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Christopher Victorio

Was it just us, or did it seem like every time we turned around this year, we caught a glimpse of Miley Cyrus' nips making headlines? Don't get us wrong, we're far from prudes. The Free the Nipple movement is an important one. But, you can't deny that it must have been a lackluster year when a former teenybopper's proclivity for taking off her top was the most discussed thing in music.

Well if it wasn't for Cyrus' Instragram, 2014 would certainly have gone down as the year of the booty since twerking hit the mainstream. From Nicki Minaj's, "Anaconda," to that ridiculous bubble butt smorgasbord that was Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's "Booty," women's backsides also seemed to take center stage this year.

But music, friends, is actually about more than objectifying or worshiping the female form.

What happened to true artistry? Sure there were some bright spots in 2014. There were fantastic albums made by women like St. Vincent, FKA Twigs, and Sharon Van Etten, to name a few. There was a sweet My Bloody Valentine album released and a spirited Replacements reunion that had the band performing at 30 Rockefeller nearly 30 years after getting banned from Saturday Night Live.

But headlines still tended toward the lascivious. So in honor of this year of the butt, we'd like to take a look at the ten biggest bottoms of 2014.

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Amy Fiddler, Former Indie Record Label Entrepreneur Publishes Debut Novel About "the Ultimate Music Fan"

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Emily Shur, compliments of the author

Amy Fleisher Madden, better known to South Florida's punk scene as Amy Fiddler, began a strange journey into self-publication and independent record label operating at the tender age of 16. Her fanzine, Fiddler Jones was indicative of the pop punk '90s with a Cometbus-styled bend that balanced band interviews, reviews, and personal musings with humorous anecdotes about the scene strewn about for good measure.

From the fledgling upstart, undoubtedly fabricated during the heydays of the Office Depot "honor system," Fleisher went on to found Fiddler Records in 1996 that released records by local favorites the Vacant Andys, Milkshed, and the Agency as well as national heavy-hitters like New Found Glory, Dashboard Confessional, and Juliette Lewis & the Licks.

It's been many years since her hectic teenage years as an entrepreneur and Fleisher has reinvented herself first into the world of advertising and more recently back into the world of publication -- armed with her first novel A Million Miles. We had a chance to discuss her past and the book. And while she might no longer be a local resident, this local girl done good, is proud of her South Florida roots.

See also: The Queen of the Fiddler Records Empire Returns to the Music Biz

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