Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Jeff (of Charlotte and jeff) had said that if you connected the ipod by the usb like data port instead of the headphone jack to the home sterio or car sterio that the sound would be much better, but I have seen no other refernece to this online ( and I searched) and the sales people at the source say that that is bunk there is no difference to music, and that that type of connection only benefits you by the fact it now doubles as a power recharge station . At apple they only seem to have the headphone adapter kits as well. In short to improve sound you are left with tweaking the encoding format (like I describe earlier) which helps a lot or using as encoding format that leaves the music files too big to be practical. You can also buy a sterio audio receiver (like the one i refer to earlier) which can store limitless cds in a onboard computer, but they are extremely expensive...I think that will change soon though.....
In my mind, three albums stand above all others in the grunge world. They are:
Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
Pearl Jam, Ten
These albums have what it takes to be classics; they’re strong from start to finish, flow from cut to cut, contain no filler and where, incidentally, all commercially successful and had a big impact on the public. Earlier I noted Disarm as being my favourite track off of Siamese Dream, because, as it is viewed in context of the album, it is the pivot point in the sequence of the whole. After all, Grunge was big on the turning point. It was all about the contrast, the crispness of acoustic guitar chords juxtaposed against layers of distortion, tender poetic moments contrasted with occasionally truly misogynistic anger, and all wrapped in a tidy package of plaid, angst and on occasions, volume. Most importantly it had to emote the depravity of a disenfranchised generation of youth.
From the top 3 grunge albums
Nevermind, 1) Smells Like Teen Spirit (interesting story about where that song came from), 2)Lithium
Ten, 3)Black & 4)Jeremy (having said what I said about solid albums, I would have cut the tenth of the eleven tracks on the album (Deep) to make it a solid “Ten”)
Siamese Dream, 5)Cherub Rock, 6)Disarm
I think though, that one of the main things that bonds Grunge together into a cohesive style is association. The reason that I bring this up is that when I sit down to listen to various albums and try to decide if they musically fit into the “grunge” slot it becomes difficult. Art Bergman’s Sexual roulette from 1990, for example, fits the mould in many respects but would never have been thought of as grunge.
6) Art Bergmann – Bound for Vegas
One of my favourite grunge tunes is Nirvana’s 7)The Man who sold the World, that is in fact a song that was written twenty years earlier when Cobain was only three. When you go back and listen to Bowie’s recording the performance is intrinsically very similar, but by association we think of it as Grunge when Nirvana performs it. Hmmm, we all know that Bowie was ahead of his time, but 20 years?
Enough wanking from me about what is or is not grunge. Damned if I can put my finger on it, but am indeed interested in digging a little deeper into some of the roots of the scene.
From the top of the grunge charts comes Stone Temple Pilots’ 8) Big Empty, from, in retrospect, a pretty crappy album and Pearl Jam’s 9Better Man.
Brian, I applaud you for your eloquent acronym “GLFWEOOOB” to define the limits of your list. I think that Beck’s 10) Looser might fall in to one of the o’s. I remember working with Stuart when that was first released and we both drove in to the job site and had heard it on the radio and said “WHAT WAS THAT!”
Lemonheads, definitely. 11) Bit Part, ‘cause I luv Juliana Hatfields voice in it.
I took a re-listen to Moist’s Silver and, in retrospect, could not believe how derivative it was. Parts of it almost sound like it where lifted. I had never really thought of it as Grunge for some reason… maybe because it was Canadian and I had a very narrow geographical idea of where Grunge came from. Vancouver is after all a good 20 km from Washington State. In any case, I was so big into Moist at the time that I have to give them the nod with 12) Push.
…and here is where things start to go awry and veer off into various obtuse directions.
Lou Reed’s Magic and Loss is another one of my favourite albums from the era. Deep and moving it is at times shocking and 13) Power and The Glory makes the cut for bringing our life full circle and setting us up for the Magic and Loss.
Next comes the Irish Segment of the listification
James: 14) Sometimes. It’s interesting to listen for the influence of the Waterboys in their music, or maybe it’s just the passion of the Irish!
Irish nod number two goes to U2 for coming back and re-defining themselves in 1991 with the release of Achtung Baby, their first full studio release since Joshua Tree. U2 found a new sound, and a new direction for the band that reflected the world that was changing around them. No it ain’t “GLFWEOOOB”, but you can definitely hear the influence and a lot more on 15) Zoo Station
The Waterboys were granted well on their way down hill when they recorded Dream Harder, however, 16) The return of Jimi Hendrix manages so beautifully to capture the energy the artist’s life. The lyrics are pure poetry …stunningly Irish, although I think the album should have be seriously paired down to an ep!
…brings us back full circle to Seattle, the birth place of lord Jimi …now if I could only be clever and somehow tie it all together! I think there is a thread there somewhere though.
And getting progressively further from GLFWEOOOB
The Lowest of the Low – 17) Bleed a Little While Tonight
R.E.M – 18) Texarcana
Counting Crows – 19) Mr. Jones
Tragically Hip – 20) Little Bones
And lastly, and in part because I don’t know how to count or play games by rules, the start of something completely new, but really not that new at all, sort of; US3 – 20) Cantaloop
This list does not reflect, in whole or in part, the views or opinions of the author!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Marc, I'm guessing that the issues your client is experiencing stems from the encoding of the music file, but you can explore a little more at the Sonos forum site. I've never used another file format for my ipod but my ears aren't as keen as yours, and have arguably been damaged by years of high volume headphone use. I do like the concept of streaming the music from a central harddrive to different speakers in different rooms of the house, though. I suspect this is how we'll all listen to our music at home very soon.
As for book club tonight, I'll bring my ipod and put together an hour's playlist of music that I think will go well with a Michael Crummey novel. Might be a little tricky, given that I have yet to start the novel, but there many hours left in the day, and I'm planning on leaving work a little early.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
To make a long story short, i had a stack of disks on the job site and Lisa loaded them onto the Sonos via iTunes on her pc an i was astounded at how different the sound quality was when listed against the original cd it was burned from. Dynamic range was down and the soundstage and imaging were very flat compared to the wav. file. ...and i don't even have a very good set of ears!
Was the difference in the mp3's or the Sonos? ...or is there an installation problem with this particular unit? Eager to hear any thoughts you might have on mp3's.
I know, i know; i am supposed to be listening to the music and not the sound, but i feel as if i am only getting 90% of the music.
Stuart, I am curious about what file formats you are using on your iPod? ... have any of you other iPloders experimented with file formats other than the mp3 ...care to comment on your findings?
Still working on the list, honestly.
Looks like we're good for Friday February 16th at my place. Still waiting on Marc's list re 1991-1994 but once that's in perhaps I can rip some compilation discs that cover the period.
Lads please do comment on my new metabeats blogger question that I asked previously, you may have missed it...Has it worked for you well?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I'm into bringing some of the classical pieces and Prokofiev is fine with me.
Good to hear about the Courthouse as I muchly dig east-end venues. As much as I enjoy traipsing through the Queen West West and College St. environs, the $20 cab rides seem like so much waste of beer money. I couldn't help but laugh at one of the quotes in the article, specifically,
“The opening week of The Courthouse is a tribute to the Montreal Bistro and Top O' The Senator” states Taylor. “Following in their footsteps, we hope this will become another great home for local and touring artists alike”.
He might have added, "Except we'll try to avoid those footsteps which led to suddenly closing up shop".
Okay, a little long since suggesting that we come up with lists and actually posting my own. Some will say that I've just waited until others have posted their lists so that I can agree with some of their choices but split hairs on some choices and come up with tracks that they've missed so that I look especially clever but....really, it's just laziness, and a busy bit of business travel in the last week and a half. If you're looking for examples of the above, look no further than this week's (last week's?) eye magazine, which boldy compiles its critics picks for best music of 2006 in late January. Can't imagine there were that may releases in December that would have prevented a much earlier listing but whatever.
Onto my list, which does include many of the tracks previously listed....
1991-1994 kyliep faves, limited to 20, but no doubt missing some key songs that i'll curse myself for forgetting:
- Rave Down - Swervedriver
- Grey Cell Green - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
- Only Shallow - My Bloody Valentine
- Vapour Trail - Ride
- Mesmerize - Chapterhouse
- Creep - Radiohead
- Obscurity Knocks - Trash Can Sinatras (though I'm more than happy with Brian and Derek's picks here)
- Deluxe - Lush
- Lazy Day/Rodney King - Boo Radleys
- Today - Smashing Pumpkins
- Cannonball - Breeders
- Trigger Cut - Pavement
- Start Choppin' - Dinosaur Jr.
- Animal Nitrite - Suede
- Weirdo - Charlatons UK
- Big Time Sensuality - Bjork
- Whatcha Want - Beastie Boys
- Laid - James
- Sunshine Smile - Adorable
Honourable Mentions: Confetti - Lemonheads, Fait Accompli - Curve, We Are Each Other-The Beautiful South, Sliver-Nirvanna, Interstate Love Song-Stone Temple Pilots, Backwater-Meat Puppets, Loaded-Primal Scream, Connected-Stereo MCs, Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe-Whale, Call Me-Sons of Freedom, Can You Dig It-Mock Turtles, Slide Away-The Verve, Helpless - Sugar, Homeboy-Adorable,Big - New Fast Automatic Daffodils, Mockingbird-Grant Lee Buffalo, Velvet Roof - Buffalo Tom
February 16th looks good for me re: cd club meeting. Where we having it? Could possibly do it at my place...
On my early morning drive in to work this morning Andy Barrie was talking to a Toronto jazz drummer who mentioned the opening of a new live jazz venue in the city. Check it out.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
And just because it's your birthday on Feb 9 Kyle doesn't mean you can't attend a CD club that night.
Might I suggest also that we start up again the selection of one classical piece to be discussed on the night in question. Please say yea or nay to this suggestion. If the yeas win out I would put forward Prokofiev's "Sinfonia Concertante for cello & orchestra" as a good starting point.
And for those of you who like your music African style might I suggest Salif Keita's 2005 CD M'Bemba. I've listened to many of his records but this is a standout disc.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I'll loosely group them into "grunge, lo-fi, or with elements of one or both" versus "not". Multiple tracks only when it would be a crime not to.
Pavement - Gold Soundz, Summer Babe, Grounded ('95)
11th Dream Day - Motherland
The Breeders - Cannonball
Len - Stray (95)
Weezer - My Name is Jonas (not Jonah, strangely)
Sunny Day Real Estate - Seven
Squirrel - My Friend Sally (95)
Sloan - 500 Up
Superchunk - Driveway to Driveway
American Music Club - I've Been a Mess
The Posies - Solar Sister (or anyhting from that record)
Sebadoh - Not too Amused, Think
Juliana Hatfield - Feelin' Massachusetts
Cracker - Low
Buffalo Tom - Treehouse
Cranberries - Zombie
Liz Phair - Divorce Song (or Fuck and Run)
Doughboys - Crush
Flaming Lips - Turn it On
Matthew Sweet - Divine Intervention
Guided By Voices - Echoes Myron
Gandharvas - First Day of Spring
Soundgarden - Fell on Black Days
Rusty - Misogyny
Treble Charger - Red
Seaweed - New Tools
Hazel - Ascension
Lemonheads - My Drug Buddy
Radiohead - Creep
Nirvana - In Bloom, Teen Spirit, Rape Me
Hole - Violet
Teenage Fanclub - What You Do To Me
Superfriendz - Karate Man (95)
Velvet Crush - Hold Me Up
Swell - Song Seven
Belly - Super Connected (early 95)
Veruca Salt - Seether
Offspring - Come Out and Play
Afghan Whigs - What Jail is Like
Moist - Silver (that one's for Stuart)
Pearl Jam - Alive
James - Laid
Trash Can Sinatras - Hay Fever
Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy
Jayhawks - Waiting for the Sun
Walkabouts - Whereabouts Unknown
Red House Painters - Grace Cathedral Park
Frank Black - Old Black Dawning
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Adorable - Sunshine Smile
Beck - Loser
Frank Black - Los Angeles
Beastie Boys - Sure Shot
Blur - Chemical World
Boo Radleys - Rodney King
Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute
Bjork - Big Time Sensuality
Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic
Chapterhouse - Pearl
The Charlatans - can't Even Be Bothered
Lloyd Cole - So You'd Like to Save the World
The Cranberries - Dreams
The Cure - Friday I'm in Love
Drop Nineteens - Winona
808 State - San Francisco
Frank and Walters - Fashion Crisis Hits New York
Gandharvas - First Day of Spring
Inspiral Carpets - This is How it Feels
James - Laid
Morrissey - Glamorous Glue
My Bloody Valentine - Only Shallow
Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Grey Cell Green
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
Nirvana - In Bloom
Oasis - Live Forever
Pixies - Head On
Pop Will Eat Itself - Dance of the Mad
Posies - Definite Door
Primal Scream - Higher Than the Sun
Pure - Anna
REM - Man on the Moon
Ride - Mousetrap / OX4
Sloan - Bells On
Smashing Pumpkins - Today
Soundgarden - Jesus Christ Pose
Spiritualized - Run
Suede - Animal Nitrate
Superchunk - Driveway to Driveway
Matthew Sweet - Divine Intervention
Swervedriver - Rave Down
Teenage Fanclub - Star Sign
Trash Can Sinatras - Easy Read
Weezer - My Name is Jonah
Thanks for all the input on the grunge scene. Plenty to think about should another CD be required.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
In the spirit of reliving the great music of that period (91-94), perhaps we could each come up with a playlist of 20 odd 'quintessential' tracks that define the period for each of us, regardless of whether these tracks are 'classic grunge', 'grunge pop', 'brit pop', 'shoegazer', or 'egregiously bad frat-boy dance music', though I doubt anybody here would stoop to include offerings from the likes of C+C Music Factory or Snap. We could then possibly vote on which tracks we'd like to include in a 2-disc collective, which could then be produced for the group.
I'm thinking this would address Stuart's plea for a schoolin' in all things grunge and would allow us all to relish another list making exercise, with all the preening, pontificating and tough decision making entailed therein. Plus, we haven't put together a box-set in awhile and this seems like a worthy theme.
Whadda you tink?
Friday, January 12, 2007
So when I think of grunge I think, yes, of the growly-voiced chunky-guitared half speed minor chord music from the NorthWest, but also much of the rock and pop music that veered off its natural evolutionary path (for a little while anyway) to pay homage to the honesty and emotional punch that (initially) were fundamentally what made grunge compelling - both sonically, posturally, lyrically. In my mind, grunge "breaking" left enough room for bands like Pavement and Sebadoh to stay true to themselves and suddenly, perplexingly, get enough radio play to become mini pop stars...again, for a little while anyway.
Nevertheless, I was a good boy and didn't list Pavement as a favourite grunge band, because I don't think they have enough of the sonic elements. All of the ones I suggested, in my view, heard grunge and said "ah, that's cool, let's sound a bit like that" (I was guilty of this with my own band).
And I chose that particular Catherine Wheel record because I remember it sounding different, not shoegazer-esque like Chrome, but more poppy, more loud-quiet etc. I may be wrong...it's happened before...
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I'd put Catherine Wheel and Swervedriver into the 'Shoegazer' camp (along with Spirtualized, Ride, Slowdive, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, and perhaps Curve), which may be of the grunge era, but seems to be more about creating walls of harmonic distortion than about angst-filled, quiet-loud-quiet, a little more straightforward guitar music, which is how I'd characterize grunge.
Agree with most of you that a Pumpkins track is much needed on the grunge compilation. My suggestion would be for 'Today', 'Cherub Rock', 'Mayonaise' or 'Drown'. Derek, if you chose 'Today', tell your nephew that you expect him to replicate the layered guitars that kick in 10 seconds into the song. And hey, why no Glueleg? I recall you cherishing them so...maybe a post-grunge-avoid list is in order....
I remember when the first Sloan single, "Underwhelmed", was released, they were considered Canada's contribution to grunge but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't include them in that group. You might want to add 'Happy' by hHead, which is a crap song in my opinion but at least gives you some CanCon.
Reading the words, "I Mother Earth" put a smile on my face. Never liked them either but thinking about how I never liked them makes me laugh.
In terms of the Brits, admittedly there aren't many, I think of Catherine Wheel's "Happy Days" record as having a foot deeply in grunge pop.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
On the Canadian scene, how about Treble Charger (Red or Even Grable), Ghandarvas (First Day of Spring or Downtime), Rusty, (California, Groovy Dead, Wake Me), Pure (Blast...though it's really grunge pop), Change of Heart (there are a few from there early 90's releases Tummycukle is one album but there's another, though the names escape me), there are other local bands if I think about it....
And on the big stage, bands like Helmet and Tool were huge on the dark nasty side of grunge, whereas on the pop side The Posies Frosting on the Beater is maybe the best record of all (I would suggest Flavour of the Month or Solar Sister, though Dream All Day was a fine single), and you can't dismiss Hole (Miss World or Violet), plus what about the Breeders (Cannonball is a great grunge rock single, or Saints)...I'll scour my collection for more.
(OK, I think I probably was more into grunge then the rest of you)
What was interesting about the grunge phenomenon was it influenced bands who had never rocked out before to plug in their guitars and make big noises - Andrew Cash, for example, make a great loud rocking record called "Hi" in 1993...then retreated back into his shell of country folk when grunge "died" (literally and figuratively). There are numeorus other examples. If you made a guitar record in 1993-1994 it had to rock. Sigh.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Well my nephew, who is big into playing his guitar, just turned 14 (born in early 1993) and he scored an IPod from his mum for his birthday and as a result I picked up a handy little 400 page book for him titled "The Pocket DJ" which gives you (him) some guidance with respect to cool music lists. There are recommended playlists for the likes of The Smiths, Fela Kuti, Bjork and Neil Diamond for example. And then there are playlists by genre, one of which is grunge. So I figured I would cut him a CD with the IPod friendly grunge playlist and here is the 18 track list:
Nirvana - Lithium
Hole - Miss World
Pearl Jam - Jeremy
Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
Pearl Jam - Evenflow
Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You (my personal fave)
Stone Temple Pilots - Plush
Nirvana - Come as You Are
L7 - Pretend We're Dead
Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick
Stone Temple Pilots - Big Empty
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Bush - Everything Zen
Alice in Chains - Rooster
Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box
Everclear - Santa Monica
Bush - Glycerine
3 tracks that were listed in the book didn't make the cut due to CD space limitations but I don't think he's missing much leaving out Temple of the Dog, Candlebox and Babes in Toyland.
So here's the thing are there any primo grunge tracks that they've missed out on here? The list is solely US based with the exception of Bush. Were there no other UK grunge bands (Swervedriver??) or even Canadian standouts? What I'm thinking is if he likes this CD I may be required to come up with a second one in a similar vein.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
so exclaim is a good reference point, as is pitchfork, and other online review sites. i'll usually have a few browser windows open and will go back and forth, searching emusic for artists i've read about at allmusic or elsehwere. if you want to download some free individual tracks, try sites like betterpropaganda.com , salon , or insound which usually offer a hit or two per band and have a good selection of artists. at some point, though, it's a leap of faith and i either end up with treasure (the submarines) or trash (herbert) but at $3.00 or less a cd, it's not going to be too much of a hit in the pocketbook.
not sure if you're using emusic but for those who are and haven't done so already, they have a two-track sinead o'conner disc for free. i like both tracks quite a bit.
I'm not sure which service your using but I find with e-music that Exclaim magazine is a really good reference point for many of the albums that I download and end up enjoying. What I'm finding these days is that my trips to Soundscapes have dwindled to maybe once every 3 or 4 months as I can get all the obscure pop/rock/electronic CDs on-line. Pretty much the only things I shop for in a brick and mortar store now are jazz and classical which to my mind are still fairly weakly represented in the on-line format.