Dear Fellow Liberals: Let’s Talk About Comedy

Dear fellow liberals,

We need to talk about comedy and jokes. Right now a good percentage of you are giving Conservatives a hard time about their feelings being hurt over Michelle Wolf’s material at the White House Correspondence Dinner. You are calling them hypocrites for being upset at her “vulgarity” and “being offensive” when they have spent the entire Trump campaign and presidency being both of those. You are calling them out for putting up with Trump’s offensive comments and behavior while they are now throwing a fit over Michelle’s comments. They should be called out for letting Trump get away with his actual vulgar comments and behavior while getting upset at Michelle’s non-vulgar comments (her use of the word pussy was clearly a reference to Trump – she wasn’t using it in her own vulgar way).

Michelle Wolf at the WHCD. (Photo by Cheriss May via Getty Images)

Let’s be honest: most liberals are being hypocrites here as well. How many times last year alone did the so-called liberal “social justice warriors” rail against a comedian? How many times did you personally get offended by a comedian after hearing about the “public outrage” in your Facebook feed? How many times was there public backlash against a comedian who made a gay joke? Who made a joke you found racist? Who made a joke about fat people (or skinny people) and liberals hated that body shaming stuff? Who made a joke about transgendered persons? Who made a joke about his girlfriend that liberals found sexist?

Of course Conservatives are upset. They are upset for the exact same reason you get upset when a comedian makes fun of your pet issue: be that LGBQT, obesity, mental illness, sexism, body shaming, etc.

This is what I refer to as the “It’s all funny until they make fun of me or my pet issue Syndrome.” You will sit there and laugh at the fat jokes and the jokes about the special needs kid, but then the comedian made a joke about a gay person! How dare he! That’s my pet issue! Now I’m going to rant and rave and call this comedian out for being a homophobic asshole!

So here’s an idea: stop getting butthurt by comedy. You cannot laugh at all the jokes except the ones that make fun of your personal pet issue. Comedy, by its nature, is offensive. You can sit there and say, “Not all jokes are offensive,” but what you mean is, “Not all jokes are offensive to me.” Just because YOU didn’t get offended doesn’t mean the joke isn’t offensive to someone or some ideology or some mindset. So chill out and let comedians do their thing without getting upset because they made fun of your personal issue.

I can hear it already, “But those jokes are different!” No. They’re not. They are only different in your head because you need them to be different to justify your hurt feelings. Laugh or don’t laugh. Then move the fuck on with your life.

If you’ve ever been upset in the past by a comedian’s joke and are now defending Michelle Wolf against upset Conservatives, then you are just as much a hypocrite as they are.

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Top 30 Synth Albums of 2017

TOP 30 Synth-Based Albums/EPs from 2017!

This list was very hard to do. There were so many amazing albums, EP’s, and singles released in 2017. In order for an album to qualify, it had to be in my library. I get music a lot of ways. A lot of times promoters, record labels, and artists send me their music so I can play the music. A lot of times I have to buy the albums. Sometimes the artists offer the albums up for free on their web page, Bandcamp, or other sources.

All those sources resulted in having 4,396 unique album/EP/single entries from 2017 that I had to go through. That’s a daunting number and it should be noted that there’s no way I have all the new music released in 2017! There is no doubt in my mind that I missed some new music that may have ended up on this list if I had it in my library.

Narrowing the list down:

In order for an album to qualify it had to be new material from the musician/band. So the first thing I did was remove any remix albums. The second thing I did was remove any compilation/best of/greatest hits albums. The third thing I did was remove any singles where the song was part of a later or earlier album. Doing those three things dwindled the number of unique entries to 3,477. Still a daunting task.

Next step was to go through each of those almost 3,500 entries and rate them from 1 to 10. Then I deleted everything that I rated 8 or below. Entries required a 9 or 10 to make it to next round. This processes narrowed the unique entries to 76.

I then re-rated the remaining 76 entries with a much stricter ear. After the re-rating I removed anything below a 9. That left me with 47 unique entries. Then I had to do it again until I got down to 40 entries. At this point, removing anyone from the list physically hurt my heart. The amount of awesome goodness on that list of 47 and 40 was painful as I removed one after another.

Now that I had it down to 40, I had to remove 10 more, who are the honorable mentions. As hard as it was getting down to 40, removing those 10 more was even more difficult!

The Caveats:

  1. Music is subjective. There is a really good chance that your list would be completely different from mine. I did not use any criteria like record sales, listening stats, or anything that would require me to hire someone with a Master’s Degree in musicology.
  2. My criteria for the initial rating and re-rating was asking two simple questions:
    1. Do I want to listen to this album on repeat or just once and listen to a different album?
    2. Are the majority of the songs on the album listenable? The more I wanted to listen to an album on repeat and the more songs on it that were listenable, the higher the rating it got (weighted for singles and EP’s of course). Narrowing those down to just 40/30 was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be for sure.
  3. I am sure that I will get a lot of “But what about Band A and album B? How could you not list those?” See #1. Music is subjective to the listener.

There was a lot of amazing new music put out in 2017. Let’s hope 2018 is just as awesome!

2017 TOP 30 SYNTH-BASED ALBUMS (alphabetical order):

3FORCE — Resistance
3Teeth — _shutdown.exe_
AM Tierpark — Trashy Luxury
Angelspit — Black Dog Bite
Arian 1 — Signals
Blakk Glass — Trial EP
Christopher Anton — Connected
CRYSEHD — EP III
deZeption — Mature
Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
Elektrostaub — Birthday And Death
Funker Vogt — Code Of Conduct
Gary Numan — Savage: Songs From A Broken World
Grendel — Age Of The Disposable Body
Hexheart — Midnight On A Moonless Night
Lorelei Dreaming — Banshee
ManMindMachine — Point Of Departure EP
Missing in STARS — Echo Point
Night Drive — Night Drive
Priest — New Flesh
Reflection — Lumen EP
Schwarzschild — Radius
Stilz — Starcrash
T.O.Y — Pain Is Love
Telekon — Hope for Believers
Torul — Monday EP
Wiccid — By Design
William Control — Revelations: The White EP
Xenturion Prime — Humanity Plus
Zynic — Neon Oblivion

2017 SYNTH-BASED HONORABLE MENTIONS:

C-Lekktor — Out Of My Way
Crüxshadows, The — Astromythology
Dav Dralleon — Depths EP
Forces Of Light — Darklights
New Division, The — No Pride In Paradise EP
Orange Sector — Endzeit (Deluxe Edition)
Slave Republic — Songs For Sinners
Sonic Reunion — Turning Point
Vainerz — Patient
Watch Clark — First Week of Winter

Social Media Advice For Bands

I’ve been asked for advice now and then about certain social media activities for bands: sometimes from bands and sometimes from fans. I certainly don’t espouse myself to be some kind of expert. What I can say is that I have 30 years of experience running groups and doing social media outreach for organizations (majority non-profit). There are way too many things to cover and tons of nuance, so I’ve decided to do a list of ten things: things I’ve noticed pages (bands and non-bands alike) do or not do over the years. Take this for what it is: friendly advice from someone who wants you to succeed! Or ignore me completely. After all, in the long run, it is your page and your band and your decisions to make.

  1. Unless you have directly harmed someone (emotionally or physically) you should not apologize on your social media (or on stage for that matter). Having technical difficulties? Been absent a bit too long from your page? Post the wrong thing? Don’t apologize. Instead, thank people for their patience or understanding. What sounds better, “Sorry about the technical difficulties everyone” or “Hey, thanks for your patience as we get this sorted out!” Thanking your listeners/page visitors puts the ownership of being awesome on them. It let’s them know how appreciative you are for their behavior and not how apologetic you are for yours. Don’t say you’re sorry for not posting in a long time, instead thank your readers for their patience.
  2. Don’t put your personal drama on your band’s page. It sucks that your band is broke and can’t afford to pay the rent. It sucks that last night’s venue short-changed you or only let you perform for ten minutes instead of the planned thirty. We have all been there. Post that stuff on your personal page if you must, but your band page should not be where you are complaining about your personal life (even if it’s band-related). It’s not that people don’t care, per se, it’s that people have their own personal drama they are dealing with and the majority of the “that sucks” or “sorry to hear that” posts are just that: posts that are meaningless. Air that out with your friends on your personal page (or your actual real life friends) and not on your fans.
  3. Along the same lines as #2, do not talk smack about other bands on your page (or on stage). By all means call out egregious behavior like racism, homophobia, etc., but just because you don’t like a band doesn’t mean a damn thing to your fans. That only risks isolating some of your fans who do like the band your talking bad about. Music is mostly subjective and whether or not you like it does not mean others will not. For example, I would never say that a comedian is bad: I say instead (because it’s true), that the comedian is not funny to me. So I would never say that Band A sucks, just that Band A’s music doesn’t appeal to me or “it’s not my thing.”
  4. Make sure your About section is filled out as much as possible. Provide a link to your Bandcamp page or Soundcloud page or main web page. List your band members and what they do (keyboards, vocals, guitar, programming, etc). Specify your genre(s) and fill out the “bands you like” or “influences.” In the About section on Facebook, make sure you fill in a “username.” The username should cause your page to come up immediately. Have someone check for you who is not an admin. If they put in @bandabc and it comes up with six different pages, then you need to modify it. It amazes me how many bands don’t think about this. You want your fans and radio shows and DJs to tag your band and the easiest way to do that is to have an @username that definitely comes up with your band and not something else. You may have to modify it to @bandabcofficial or @bandabc.info or similar to get it to come up immediately in a tag. Play with it until someone can tag your band easily in Facebook. If you luck out and user FB “username” matches your Twitter handle: BONUS POINTS!
  5. If you’re going to use an image to bypass Facebook’s algorithm that forces you to “boost your post,” that’s fine, just don’t forget to include a direct link in the first comment. Don’t make your fans search for the event page or manually type in the web page that’s in the image.
  6. You don’t have to respond to every fan’s comment, but you should at least post in the thread where fans have commented. Something along the lines of “Thanks for all your feedback everyone” or “Keep the comments coming, we love and appreciate your input!” Even a simple “thanks” from you can make a fan’s day.
  7. If your band’s page is tagged by a radio show, DJ, magazine, or genre supportive social media group (the page itself, not readers or fans of that page), then you should at a minimum like their post. You should consider posting a “thanks” of some kind in the comments. You should definitely think about sharing their post: not just when it’s only about your band, but when your band is included among others. The scene is equally as important as your band. Without a scene, your band has no support network. Sharing this stuff introduces your fans to other bands and vice versa. It increases awareness of the scene and increases the fan base across the spectrum.
  8. Speaking of the scene, it is important that you support the scene. You are not an isolated band. If there are no other scene bands, no clubs, no scene fan groups, then there is no fan base for you. Don’t be afraid to tag other bands in the scene (especially if sharing a radio show or magazine that mentions them). Don’t be afraid to introduce your fans to other bands or share music you like that isn’t yours. Hopefully the band you tag is just as awesome as you are and will reciprocate.
  9. There is nothing wrong with posting things that aren’t “professional” if you are willing to engage your fans with fun things. Don’t post something like “What’s your favorite holiday meal” and then not interact with those who respond or not posting your favorite holiday meal as the first comment. It’s perfectly fine to have fun with your fans on your page and interact with them in ways other than sharing your videos or events. If you do, you need to actually interact with them. Don’t ask them to participate if you are not going to participate.
  10. Last, is politics/religion. There are definitely bands out there who are political in their stance and their lyrics and that’s perfectly okay. If you are not one of those bands then you need to weigh the risks of posting political or religious stuff on your band’s page. You risk isolating some of your fans. Obviously there are legitimate reasons to isolate some of your fans (like a band posting that anyone who is a racist should not be their fan), but if you’re not going after the big fish of racism, homophobia, etc., then be careful. Use your personal page for politics/religion unless you fully understand the ramifications and consequences of posting on your band’s page. I’m not saying don’t do it: what I’m saying is understand the fallout that can come from doing it.

Best of luck to all of you as your pursue your musical dreams. I want all of you to succeed. I want the scene to be stable and thriving and full of amazing talented folks! Keep making music. Keep doing what you’re doing! Keep the synth-based scenes alive!

Gun Negligence Laws Are Needed #NotTooSoon

NRA nutters telling us it’s too soon to talk about gun laws in 3… 2…

This is gonna be long and ranty and pissy… but I don’t care.

I’m a gun owner and I fully support laws that will actually help.

See here’s the thing. If you’re an NRA nutter and you use that bullshit line of, “Gosh another shooting, I guess those gun laws are helping,” then you’re 1) a fucking idiot who doesn’t understand how laws actually fucking work, and 2) you’re a brainwashed nutter and your opinion is no longer viable while the adults discuss what can actually be done. Go sit at the kid’s table.

No one in their right fucking mind thought that making laws against drunk driving would stop drunk drivers any more than they thought making laws against murder would stop murder.

So no one thinks making laws for guns will stop gun violence. No one. And if you think we do, see above about being a brainwashed gun nutter.

What drunk driving laws and murder laws and any other law do is put the power in the hands of society to provide consequences for people’s actions and to educate the public about the issue. In addition to drunk driving laws there was (and continues to be) a massive public education campaign to change the public’s views about drunk driving. Those who drove drunk and were arrested had their licenses taken away and their cars taken away. Sometimes they went to jail and if they managed to kill someone, society had the means now to lock them up for a long time with a special law that was now in place for their specific crime.

All we’re asking is for the same with guns. Leave your gun out and your kid found it and accidentally shot your neighbor’s kid? Well guess what pumpkin, you get to go to jail for felony gun neglect. We, as a society, have a law to hold you accountable for not being a “responsible gun owner.”

Cleaning your gun and shoot your wife? Well it’s no longer an “unfortunate accident,” now it’s a “felony gun negligence charge leading to manslaughter” and you’re going to prison. Oh, and you NEVER get to own a gun again for the rest of your life.

Get arrested for domestic violence? Well, now you’re a known violent dickhead, which means you NEVER get to own a gun again for the rest of your life. Oh, you had a gun after being told you can never have one again, well now you get to go to prison for a Class A Felony, just like someone who gets caught with a ton of heroine in their house.

Just like cars, you have to have gun insurance to pay for the damage your gun may do. And we start a public campaign, just like for drunk driving.

And you know what? That shit fucking worked. Drunk driving rates dropped after the laws and campaigns started. Did it stop it completely? Nope… because NO ONE ever thought it fucking would. Just like NO ONE thinks gun laws that hold people accountable will ever stop all gun violence. It’s about changing the culture surrounding guns over time: just like we did with drunk driving: just like we did with cigarettes: and just like we’re doing with domestic violence awareness.

It’s not an overnight solution, but it’s a proven method of changing minds and the culture that has led to so many “unfortunate accidents.”

Leave your gun out or let someone borrow it and they went on a killing spree? Well now you’re equally culpable and you’re going to jail as well. Maybe next time you’ll follow the Gun Negligence Laws that should be enacted right alongside laws around cars, insurance, drunk driving, murder, etc.

“But only bad guys will have guns blah blah blah blah you’re a fucking idiot.” I’m not talking about banning guns (reading comprehension folks). I’m talking about holding people accountable. We already have laws that say if you use a gun you get a worse charge: not just assault, but assault with a deadly weapon. Now we need to hold everyone accountable. And what do you have to worry about if you’re one of those “responsible gun owners?”

I’m just glad there was a “responsible gun owner” in the open carry state of Texas to stop that mass shooting earlier today. Oh wait… there wasn’t one. Because that shit is pure fucking myth. Because people with a gun in their purse or on their hip will run or get shot before they can pull their weapon. Because when someone does actually start returning fire as a “good guy with a gun,” the police won’t know the difference and will kill him.

This shit has to stop. We have to take steps and if you think now is not the time to talk about, but you think an hour after a terrorist attack is time to talk about that shit, then you’re just a hypocritical asshole and you should go sit at the kid’s table while the adults figure this shit out.

Synthentral 20171006

New episode of Synthentral is now online!

Today’s episode features music by Blinky Blinky Computerband, 6ct Humour, Paranoid, Tristesse de la Lune, Alphaville, Shiny Darkness, Sub Optimal, Equatronic, Rare Fracture, Neuroticfish, My Secret Machine, Bill & Murray, Dawnfine, Nexus-6, Ravenous, Biomekkanik, Andy Bell, Leæther Strip, Diary Of Dreams, Clicker, Essexx, The Thompson Twins, :Silizium:, Telekon, Jules Verne Theory, Pleasures Remain, NoyceTM, and The Kolour Kult!

Just click on the synthesizer below to listen!

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