The Tangled Web
The Web's most intriguing music-related destinations. This week: Request-A-Song.com and KCRW Los Angeles' "Broadband" radio show.
Keeping you up to date on the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations.
ALL REQUEST, ALL THE TIME: Music fans in love with quirky lyrics and audience participation can find their new temple at Request-A-Song.com, a site devoted to drawing new tunes out of the "global muse," aka the Internet listening public. The idea behind the site is simple; visitors submit ideas they'd like turned into songs, and site creator Benj Edwards or his brother Jeremy writes, performs, and records songs based on the best submissions.
Since its inception last October, the site has produced 54 tunes, and each is available for free download in MP3 form. Recent examples include "Evil Toucan Sam" -- a twisted ode to the cereal mascot that has been aired on the Dr. Demento radio show -- and such entertaining novelties as "Pay Off Your Debt to Me, Lindsay" and "(Nobody Owns) The Center of the Earth."
The songs, recorded by Edwards in his home studio, are generally catchy pop/rock tunes dominated by guitar and keyboards. Each song has its own pop-up window with lyrics, a link to the download, and an explanation of the song's inception. While some efforts, like "Butter Ghost," started with merely a suggested phrase that sparked Edwards' imagination, others, such as the dirge-like rap "Hide My Shoes (In the Microwave)," follow requests to such detail that they end up with improbable choruses like "If you want to hide my shoes in a place where I won't find them, I suggest you hide them in the microwave, because more than likely I will never check there."
Edwards is compiling a 24-song "Best of Request - Vol. 1" CD, which he says will be available on the site in July. And following the site's spirit, Edwards agreed to write a song inspired by this column, which is available for download now.
RADIO CAUGHT IN THE WEB: A lot of radio stations have online hubs at which listeners can get a streaming taste of what's going out on the station's airwaves, or listen to archived shows. But Los Angeles public radio station KCRW takes the Web radio offerings a step further with an Internet-only show, "Broadband," which streams on weekdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. PT and is also archived in RealAudio at the station's Web site.
"Broadband" was started in late 1999 as a way to allow new DJs to practice hosting a show. It's archived on the site along with 22 other KCRW music programs, allowing listeners well outside of the National Public Radio affiliate's terrestrial signal range to "tune in."
"It augments the station very nicely," says "Broadband" DJ Janda Baldwin of the site. "People have sent me emails from places like North Dakota that really don't have anything like [KCRW] in their radio market. It's nice to know that we're serving people and getting through to them in that way."
The music section of KCRW.com also offers visitors links to the station's weekly music charts and an extensive archive of past playlists searchable by date, with links to buy music that has been played on the station. The site also allows users to listen to exclusive music recorded in the station's studio, with streams of each of KCRW's four all-acoustic "Rare on Air" CD compilations.