Friday, November 28, 2008

What to do when I haven't posted in awhile, and when others are frequently contributing poignant reflections? Link to (and thus leverage) another person's thesis in an attempt to drum up an interesting discussion? You bet!

The question: Are there too many positive music reviews? (As interesting as the initial post is, the comments below offer some thoughtful responses).

Several of us in the past have expressed our distaste for the manner in which some local music wags seem to delight in criticizing music, either to deliberately provoke or to project their indie credibility/sophistication/cultural know-it-all-ness. But has the pendulum swung too much in the opposite direction? Are we all too willing to embrace the mediocre?

In recent conversations with some of you, I've itemized some of my biggest disappointments of the year (to be posted here in coming weeks as part of year-end list making exercises, to which i look forward annually), like the Portishead and Stephen Malkmus discs, both of which appear--inexplicably to me--on Exclaim's Top 20 of 2008. I'm not sure the last time I read a negative review that wasn't also apologetic in tone, as if the author was embarassed by his/her reactions. I'm thinking some reviewers are becoming more sympathetic to their subject matter because 1) they know how little contemporary musicians are likely to make and 2) the reviewers probably have their own band as well and don't want to put themselves into a bad karmic position.


Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm not sure why or how I never bothered listening to the Internet Radio despite the multiple lauds, but I finally did this week, and am pretty impressed. I found a pretty great jazz station called "DMT - Coltrane, Monk, etc" or something like that which I would also recommend. Great simple programming for an evening.

Also, not sure how many of you guys are using ITunes as your major source of music at home (connected to your stereo etc) but if you are, the relatively new Genius is pretty cool - makes great playlists automatically, lots of good info about the music etc.

Mike, sorry to hear about Randy. I liked the music, really soulful acoustic tunes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My email address is

I completely agree about Radio Paradise. I discovered that station years ago and have listened to regularly since then. The owner/DJ programs sets of music that are generally cohesive in some way - the songs are connected musically, lyrically, thematicly or in some other way. He covers a broad range of styles (not all of which I enjoy) and there is very little talking. The web site has lots of nice features including discussion boards about the playlist, a database of songs and artists, a gift shop and lots of help for those who have difficulty listening because of firewalls or whatnot. I have often used Radio Paradise as an example of the huge potential of Internet Radio.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mike can i have your email as I will need to email you my address should you wish to join us in january at the next cdclub session....some interesting selections in the tribute , I will check them out further tonight...
apologies, my blogg comment was being written, while you were putting the tribute on the site...
I meant no disrespect in disregarding the tribute....
My condolences.....
I dont know if I raved about this on metabeats before but I have to reopeat myself if I did...
You should check out paradise radio.....its on itunes radio under eclectic ...we play it all day at the office somedays and it is most incredible...They do what good radio should , which is mix music from many, rock , folk, alt rock, electronic and from the 60's to today. They also dont play just the hits, they pick the good but obscure album tracks that you never hear on commercial radio , mixed it with more well known tracks. For example last hour they played tracks off U2 unforgettable fire, Bob Dylan, blood on the tracks, Neil young , after the goldrush, the new , new pornographers, Elliott smith, some Beck off sea changes , ray charles , patsy cline, etc.....and a bunch of new bands I didnt know...generally they dont rock out hard, which makes it good for the office....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OK – I’ve got something for the blog. Late last week my friend Randy passed away. He’s been battling cancer for 9 years – 2 years ago, he was told he had 2 months left. I met Randy when our sons played on the same soccer team, and initially it was soccer and hockey that formed the basis of our relationship. Eventually, though, we discovered that we had some common ground musically. Randy came from Newfoundland, and he had a strong love of Celtic, folk and bluegrass music, but he also was into blues, jazz and world music. He was a pretty accomplished guitar player, but he shied away from performing, so I only heard him play when the two of us were playing alone. Whenever it was a larger group, he’d just listen. I had heard that he had taken a turn for the worse a few weeks ago, and I went to visit him. He looked much older and weaker, but after we talked about this and that, he said that he wanted to do some recording, and he asked me to come back with my guitar to help him. I did that a few days later, and we spent a couple of hours going over the material that he wanted to record. We were supposed to get together to do the actual recording a couple of days later, but he died before we could do that.

Over the years, Randy sent me a bunch of links to You Tube videos of performers that he liked. I had never heard of most of them, but most of it was very good. I believe I’ve mentioned him in a past entry in this blog, and included at least one of the links that he had sent me. I thought a fitting tribute to Randy would be to share a few more of them with you today. Enjoy!

The Subdudes - Standing Tall

HEM - Redwing

Martin Tallstrom - Freight Train

Griffin House – The Guy that Says Goodbye to You

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good God! What is up Metabeats? It's crazy quiet out there.

As the most recent blogger, I felt immune from the (dare I admit it) pressure to blog. Plus, I naturally assumed that, to a degree, the quietness stemmed from the reverence due such a bitching blog as my last one (and thanks).

But ignoring for a moment my crystalline brilliance in analyzing the music of the mid-90's, there is a genuine fear on my part that I won't be able to make it through another work week without a blog thread to amuse me. So I would ask that we each offer up what we are listening to on our IPods these days. Pop/rock? Jazz? Classical?