Monday, June 27, 2011

While in some respects I sympathize, 25+years of musical output is not to be sneered at, the consensus seems to be that the collaboration with Marr et al represents a far more lasting contribution to the world of pop music the solo releases that followed. Something to be celebrated, surely, but perhaps I'd feel differently were I playing show after show year after year and encountering little to no interest in the new and repeated requests for 'This Charming Man'.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I am back from a week in england of which the highlight was a local music festival called Polstice which is short for the town name Polstead combined with solstice, the day it is usually held... A bunch of music nutters (much like us) rule the place and they all pretty much took me in....
Nothing but kegs after keg of local real ale and 8 or 9 hours of great live music in a farmers field followed by djs till dawn...One of the guys - Oli - is a local music scribe amongst other related skills and he has expressed an interest in swapping music tips back and forth across the ocean. His music website link is this

Kyle will he need a password to get onto metabeats?..... I note you commented about trying to expand metabeats a bit and I think this is a good opportunity... I have given him a link to the site but I am not sure if he mneeds more info to get in...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Though the twitter scroll to the right suggests a rich banquet of exciting musicians can be seen and heard throughout these fair streets over the next week, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Surely the Toronto music scene offers more than vibrant young artists approaching or at the peak of their game performing in intimate settings with fantastic acoustics. It would be nice if there were a place, preferably outdoors where the sound bounces off in different directions, where one could pay through the nose to witness musicians well past their prime slog through playlists that would have been dated over a decade ago. What's that, you say? There is such a magical venue? (Raise hands to heavens)

side note: am willing to concede my snarkiness is perhaps overdone with respect to the first name on the list but les autres....non.

UPDATE: also, while i'm not a big bootleg music/video guy [side question: any really great/famous bootlegs that should change this opinion], this type of technology is appalling.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ha! Love the intro. Find the album is slowly growing on me as well, after being a little underwhelmed on the first few listens. And who doesn't love a dove release?
One of the few bands post-grunge to really matter and one of the definitive voices of the last decade. Nice to see they also have a sense of humor.

Not to mention the extreme melancholy of the video.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Glad you brought up The Rosebuds, Mike. I quite enjoyed, 'Life Like' and had put 'Concordia Military Club' on many a mixed compilation the year of its release but haven't gone back and listened to it much since. A damn shame because their combination of Church-like mood, melody, and just sharp, clever songwriting shouldn't be overlooked. Suggest others revisit or indeed discover, if they haven't done so already. Streaming on Rdio for those on board. Unfortunately, as a Merge artist, they're no longer on emusic.

Also, thoughts/suggestions on the formatting? Background photo? Placement of elements (search, contributors, links) Elements themselves (Email notification, twitter search feed). It's not quite what I want it just yet. There are some readability concerns (text colour on background, most significantly) but heading there I hope. Don't want to go back to an all white background but if you'd prefer something simpler, please chime in. Won't be offended. Really.
One band that's been growing on me over the last couple of years is the Rosebuds. I have a couple of their albums - "Birds Make Good Neighbors" and "Life Like" and I like them a little more with each listen. I just got an email from them (I expect that it was done through Paste Magazine, as I'm still on their mailing list) telling me that they are touring with Bon Iver this summer. Sadly, Ottawa is not on their itinerary, but Toronto is. I might have considered a weekend visit around the show if that were possible, but they're playing on a Monday night. If any of you are wondering what to do on Monday August 8, I would recommend that you check out the show and then blog about it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

While I continue to screw around with this, you can vote on your best of the year thus far at NPR.
Hey Kids. Fear not the ugly colours and weird layout. Am upgrading to a new template and playing around with different formats. Rest assured, I'll soon settle on a style that each of us will hate but for different reasons.
It could very well have been one of their song titles, Marc.

Monday, June 13, 2011

there I am thinking that "died Saturday of a heart attack" was one of Seth's side projects.
I'm fairly certain the only reason this story is appearing on several news sites is so that editors can boldly string these two words together in a bold headline without fear of reprisal ("What? It's the name of the band!")
Also this.
You won't believe the lengths to which I'll go and depths to which I'm willing to plunge in order to generate content for and interest in this here blog. I'm even willing to resort to finding heavy metal themed recipes (warning to those with peanut allergies, ears).

First thought, "wow". The Tramp, yeah baby.

Second thought, also "wow", though, a different kind of wow.

Third thought, do you often surf Steve's Music site looking for in-stores by washed-up seventies "guitar gods"?
Since we talked a little about Supertramp the other night, thought you'd want to be all over this, Bri.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More cloud, touches on items discussed last week, but goes beyond the question of whether owning music will soon be quaint to idea of books as same. While I'm cool with the idea of not actually owning my own music, I find this concept a little appalling when it comes to books. Is it paranoid to think we're on a path to '1984'?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Personally don't care for the band but novel concept. Think it would be worth it for other artists to try this by offering a chance to competing 'best of' type collections, perhaps curated with an eye towards certain moods. like say, 'dylan songs that will make you politically active', or belle and sebastian 4 disc collection, each based on seasons.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

And it almost goes without saying but that shiny Apple cloudy thing that everyone is talking about? Yeah, it's not available in Canada. Though the folks at exclaim seem to think it will be imminent, I'm quite skeptical. Can't see the arcane rules around copyright and licensing in this country allowing this to proceed, at least without onerous costs, idiotic restrictions, etc.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Delayed Gratification? Were they a post-punk band out of SoCal, Mike?

Here's another article, this one mostly for the benefit of Stu, but I'm sure others might find it interesting.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The article certainly resonated with me, but less for the tactile nostalgic fondness of vinyl or CDs than for the joys of collecting. It is absolutely true that I defined myself partly by the albums that I chose to collect. I agonized over whether to get a new album by a lesser known but alluring new artist, or to get one step closer to completing the discography of an old favourite. I grew my collection as quickly as I could, but it was a slow, incremental process steeped in anticipation. So I played the music that I had relentlessly, and I knew my first 50 albums intimately. And as the collection grew, I spent countless hours sorting, cataloguing and dreaming about albums still to be added.

Wanting to stretch my music investments as far as I possibly could, I bought a lot of cassette tapes and taped a lot of my friend's vinyl. I used every inch of space on those tapes, packing loose songs in whenever there was room left after side 2. And I became quite expert at tape maintenance - after the number of cassettes in my collection grew to the hundreds, I was constantly having to take them apart to deal with various mechanical failures. I do have to say that despite the fond memories of those early days of music obsession, I don't miss the flakiness of cassettes, the scratching and skipping of vinyl or the hiss of taped music.

These days it is perfectly true that my collection is too large to enjoy in the same way. Unlike my kids, I don't simply download anything and everything that I want (they have never learned about the appeal of delayed gratification, at least where music is concerned), but through emusic, Paste and MetaBeats recommendations, I've added a lot of music that I don't know very well and I probably never will know very well. It takes a lot of effort to manually browse through and build a playlist or load my ipod. And if I just shuffle, I enjoy the surprise of stumbling across old favourites or realizing that I've discovered a new favourite, but I seem to hear some things all too often and other things never make it to the speakers. And the overall mix doesn't really feel like my music anymore - too much of it is unfamiliar. I can see that the rdio service (which I have yet to try) would further dilute the concept of a collection.

As to your questions, I don't buy physical discs anymore. On my wife's last birthday, I gave her a couple of albums, but I downloaded them from iTunes, so I had nothing to wrap. I ended up printing off pictures of the album art and inserting them into some old CD jewel cases so that I had something to wrap. I was never really one to spend a lot of time browsing in record stores, so I don't feel a sense of loss around that aspect of the transition.

You sentimental old bast....

Actually, Stuart, I think you've done a really great job of outlining (did i just type that?) the pros and cons of the rdio offering, at least in its present iteration.

I do think the rdio ipad app is the best way to use the service: lounging in a comfy chair, typing in whatever strikes my fancy, and streaming it to speakers for listening pleasure. Then I can just do a quick google search for more info on the artist or release, which is another step but not too onerous in the whole scheme of things. But the sheer size of my own collection and inability to really organize it into genres, groups, playlists, etc. renders the whole concept of a collection almost meaningless. Is it better to scroll through my own music collection or someone else's?
Seems almost petty to complain about the lack of this or that feature when this type of functionality--scrolling through Stuart's music collection and playing what I want to hear without getting off my ass--is damn impressive.

But as you point out, the inability to group and shuffle through genres or a set number of albums is a big limitation, especially since these can be done in itunes, and creating a playlist ahead of a dinner party, gathering, or just a sunday morning reading can be almost as much fun as listening to the music itself.

re: Apple iCloud...seems a different beast than rdio, in that you have to actually 'own' the music in order to stream it. With rdio, you're simply leasing/renting the music and lose access after you stop subscribing. Not sure why I would need to use the Apple service, given what I can get currently with rdio, but it's probably best not to underestimate that company.

As to your 3 questions:

1) Do you still buy hard copies of music now? 2) If you do then why?

No. All online. Really don't have the space for more 'stuff'. Refer to giveaway of cds from a few months' back. Recognize I'm sacrificing ability to go into soundscapes and pick up some cool stuff that may not be either available or readily apparent in the online world but, for the most part, I don't have tons of time to go into record stores these days anyway.

3) If you do, do you see yourself stopping this practice?

I'm answering this one to because I'm wondering whether it still makes sense to subscribe to emusic, if I can listen to whatever I want with rdio then just buy what I want afterwards. These days, I'm mostly using emusic to sample and buy classical music,which as you noted, isn't all that easy to find and then play in rdio (though Bri seems to be able to navigate those waters fairly competently).

Could go on but gotta get back to it. Enjoy your weekend everyone!
The article re collecting and how this is changing with new media is the precise topic that I have been ruminating over for the last few months since my use of rdio.... I amk very unhappy about some of the issues here and it is a big and complex issue but it is close to my heart...let me see if i can lay it out coherently. Lets use rdio as the code for all this future type of online streaming where you have access to virtually any recording.. Apple is coming out with something smilar and will likely kill rdio , but by whatever name rdio like interfaces seem inevitable so.........

Pros of "rdio" type system

  • ability to access any record from office, car, home, cottage etc

  • ability to read about a disc and then instantly play the entire disc ellimates the "I thought i would like it but its shit after a few listens I wish i hadent bought it experience"

  • ability to share discoveries with friend easily

Current problems with rdio ( but perhaps I am not using it to its full potential yet)

  • I cant organise my music into genres making it hard to find stuff on my collection or to shuffle all my jazz records which is something i do all the time

  • you cant pick 12 albums from rdio and shuffle just those 12

  • too much available material makes controlling the program difficult without committing too much time to making playlists

  • In short, the user interface is very weak but maybe can be improved upon and apple will likely have this worked out

  • Perhaps an iPAD with an Apple designed rdio system could also enably me to lie on the couch and scroll through the album artwork and information package that you get with buying a hardcopy cd, while I listen ....Kind of crucial for classical and jazz...

AS you can see its the interface which is the problem and I dont agree with the author of the article Kyle posted , that when he happens across a great song by chance that he had lost that this is good and acceptable.... Sometimes i like to do that but I also dont want to forget about great albums, and if your collection is organized well like my mp3s are, then you dont forget them ...because you can find them, something thats mnot possible with rdio systems yet...

I will also dearly dearly miss the day when i cany stumble into a record cd shop after a few too many and browse for an hour or 2.... I agree with the article in how there is something tangible and physical about hard copies of music... moreso vinyl but cds still do it to a degree...

So I end with 3 querstions;

  • do you still buy hard copies of music now

  • If you do then why?

  • If you do, do you see yourself stopping this practice?

Maybe Im just an old sentimental bastard who needs to be brought into the real world...


Hadn't made the connection to the Thirteen album song (when was the last I read the names of track listings on an album? when was the last time any of you did so?) so thanks for pointing that out.

Realize I've probably been unduly critical of Coldplay in this space in recent years so I don't want to continue to harsh on them but when you name your new single this , you're pretty much issuing an invitation to wrath. At first listen, it's not a bad song, if a little overproduced, but their constant embrace of mawkish sentimentality continues to irritate.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Indeed Kyle, re the Fannies. As you likely know they have a song in his name on their "Thirteen" record. Very beholden, though with a power pop mix (say, Big Star) that can sometimes obscure the influence. A little close to home (and sonically simpler), I've often thought the Skydiggers had a few GC records in their collection. Just listen to Andy Maize and GC back to back sometime.
Incidentally, Bri, as I listen to Gene Clark, an artist you recently added to your collection, I can't help but notice the resemblance to not only the Byrds but Teenage Fanclub, who must be fans.
Whilst you're feverishly racking your brains for examples, there's this to read. If you've no time for the rest, read the last paragraph, which resonates.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lot of time in the office these days, mostly focused on writing emails, policies, collaborating online on various projects etc. And I always want to have some music going in the background, which is why rdio seems to work least sometimes. I confess it can be a struggle at times to find something suitable for work, by which I mean, music that isnt going to distract me from the tasks at hand. First instinct was to go with chamber music, which ostensibly offers far less moments of drama than a full orchestral score. But...hasn't always been the case. Came across this post while searching for appropriate work music and thought it germane.

I know what stu and his colleagues listen to during the day, and while I enjoy their tastes and willingness to embrace variety, I confess I'm unable to work on sales strategy while JayZ waxes philosophical in the background. What about the rest of you?