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Live Metal is Better · Re­cent­ly I went out for a live met­al triple-bill, with En­don and SUMAC open­ing for Boris, whom I’ve cov­ered here be­fore (with groovy pix). More pix to­day, with words on the his­to­ry and mean­ing of met­al, and how to pho­to­graph it ...
 
Rock Surprise · On a re­cent Satur­day we ac­ci­den­tal­ly took in two very dif­fer­ent pop-music con­cert­s; I got one de­cent pic but end­ed the evening an­gry ...
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On Loving Rock and Roll · Put an­oth­er dime in the juke­box, baby. I like more or less all the mu­sic, at least all of it’s that writ­ten by hu­mans and per­formed by mu­si­cian­s, which ex­cludes most mod­ern in­dus­tri­al. But Rock is the mu­sic of my time and tribe, and while oth­er kinds can make me dream and weep, it’s the on­ly one where the first gui­tar chord makes me smile and be­fore long I can’t not dance ...
[2 comments]  
Music Nights · Been go­ing out a bit more than usu­al; four nights of live mu­sic in the last mon­th. The ob­ject of the game here is to con­vince a few more of you to get off the so­fa and go hear peo­ple play. The en­ter­tain­ment was Big Su­gar, Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber, Muse and a car­ol sing. Each was mag­ic ...
[2 comments]  
The Wrath of Heaven · May it af­flict in­ter­mit­tent left-channel out­ages, and an au­dio­phile neigh­bor who lives for op­eretta, on the gorm­less en­thu­si­asts who mal­ad­just the au­dio in the car-share cars so ev­ery­thing sounds like a Bad Hair Band ...
[2 comments]  
Industrial Music · I just fin­ished read­ing The Song Machine: In­side the Hit Fac­to­ry by John Seabrook, which taught me that the big hits be­ing pumped at us via the big di­vas with the great thighs are most­ly the out­put of a re­pro­ducible mech­a­nized pro­cess, and the me­chan­ics are Swedes. No, re­al­ly ...
[5 comments]  
Girls and Axes · I’m talk­ing about Rock-&-Roll as sung by charis­mat­ic young wom­en ac­com­pa­nied by pro­fi­cient elec­tric gui­tar. I dun­no if it’s a trend or any­thing, but I’m hear­ing a lot of it and I sure like it. Some of the artists are wolves ...
[5 comments]  
Google Music · I use iTunes at home, and oth­er­wise Google Play mu­sic, which re­al­ly isn’t ter­ri­ble. Since the Net is echo­ing with screams about Apple’s cloud-music prob­lem­s, now might be a good time for a few words on the sub­jec­t ...
[3 comments]  
Highlife Rocks, iTunes Sucks · I have the good for­tune to live near a good record store, where I shop of­ten. One of my best scores this year was High­life on the Move: “Selected Nige­ri­an & Ghana­ian Record­ings from Lon­don & La­gos  —  1954-66” ...
[14 comments]  
“So, …” What? · Geeks like to pre­fix sen­tences, ques­tions and an­swers both, with “So, …” The com­ma stand­s, in speech, ei­ther for a pause or for a drawing-out of the “o”. This is so com­mon that it’s ex­cep­tion­al, in my pro­fes­sion, not to do it ...
[13 comments]  
Jack White Show Notes · My fifteen-year-old and I at­tend­ed the Au­gust 28, 2014 show at Deer Lake Park in Burn­aby, a sub­urb of Van­cou­ver. It’s a ter­rif­ic venue; a big lawn with a nicely-steep slope so you can see over the mosh pit. If you’re not a Jack White fan you can stop read­ing, but if you are, this is a tour you should catch. My notes on the even­t, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, with bet­ter pic­tures than I can take: ...
 
Jack White Recordings · I’m off to see Jack White play an out­door con­cert tonight, so I re­vis­it­ed his last cou­ple of out­ings, Blun­der­buss (which is great) and Lazaret­to (which is pret­ty good). But watch your me­di­a! ...
 
Emmylou, Richard, Rodney · This tour is cur­rent­ly in progress, billed as “Em­my­lou Har­ris and Rod­ney Crow­ell with Richard Thomp­son”. If any of those names res­onate, go see it ...
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Bugg Synthesis · I was sit­ting up late; fam­i­ly asleep and work over, scan­ning around. The New York­er feed threw up Jake Bug­g: From Not­ting­ham to Mal­ibu. He sound­ed in­ter­est­ing on pa­per and, hey, the ar­ti­cle was full of YouTube links and what with the ChromeCast, I was lis­ten­ing and watch­ing right there and then. Yeah, Jake’s good, I’d go see him if he came to town. You may nev­er have heard of him but I guar­an­tee you’ve heard Light­ning Bolt. Syn­the­sis? The In­ter­net is one great big fat cul­ture pump, don’t you for­get it.
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The Kids and Miles · It was my turn to do the dish­es and I need­ed a lit­tle ex­tra en­er­gy, so I cued up Span­ish Key from Bitch­es Brew. The 7-year old was table-clearing, the 14-year-old dry­ing, and af­ter a bit they were both bop­ping along with Miles and the band ...
[2 comments]  
Hem · Cur­rent­ly lis­ten­ing to: Depar­ture and Farewell by Hem; there was a plug in the New York­er with a nice video sam­ple so I checked out the site and there was the al­bum for sale, loss­less for­mat, fair price; why wouldn’t I just buy it in­stant­ly? ...
[3 comments]  
Round Silver Things · “Compact Discs”, re­mem­ber them? I got one for Christ­mas, and you know, they’re not a ter­ri­ble idea ...
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Doe Laughs at the Rite · I ran across an ar­ti­cle by this dude Andy Doe, who used to run clas­si­cal mu­sic at iTunes, and then was at Nax­os record­s, called What Is Go­ing on with the Record In­dus­try? Worth read­ing and worth fol­low­ing links from too ...
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Why Vinyl? · As an en­gi­neer and In­ter­net guy, I feel al­most guilty about the fact that I like lis­ten­ing to LPs so much; the tech­nolo­gies used to record the mu­sic and play it back should be ob­so­lete. But I do ...
[12 comments]  
High-Fidelity Harmony · I’ve been med­i­tat­ing about au­dio fi­deli­ty re­cent­ly, un­der the in­flu­ence of The Civ­il Wars and Jeff At­wood ...
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Cirque Does MJ · The full name of Cirque du Soleil’s new show is Michael Jack­son Im­mor­tal; Google took me and some­where be­tween ten and twen­ty thou­sand oth­er em­ploy­ees off to see it last week in Oak­land. You weren’t sup­posed to have “real” cam­eras, but here’s one my point-and-shoot man­aged ...
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Photos of Wata of Boris · I can’t re­mem­ber how I first heard Boris, but I fell in love right away. They’re from Ja­pan and play very loud, very deep, very beau­ti­ful mu­sic; some of it on Tues­day evening in Van­cou­ver, and I was there ...
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Turntable.fm · All the geeks know about it, but not many civil­ian­s; in the Blues room this evening, we end­ed up talk­ing about Web-server stuff and NodeJS. The idea is pow­er­ful; one symp­tom of which is, I keep think­ing about ways to make it bet­ter.
[Up­date: It’s now US-only. Can’t play any more.]
 ...
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Archiver’s Intimations · Near­ly two years ago, I fin­ished mi­grat­ing ten thou­sand songs’ worth of CDs in­to bit­s; but the racks-full of disks have con­tin­ued to oc­cu­py living-room space. So we bought some sleeves and stor­age box­es at Sta­ples and have start­ed the pro­cess, on an oc­ca­sion­al evening, of pack­ing them away ...
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Playing Music Better · Back in 2009 I mi­grat­ed my dig­i­tal mu­sic off CDs. The mu­sic lives on a Mac Pro and I play it through iTunes, dig­i­tal out via USB to a high-end au­dio sys­tem. I’ve be­come un­hap­py with the se­tup. The biggest prob­lem is iTunes, which I’ve come to loathe; but that’s not al­l ...
[49 comments]  
Ukulele Orchestra · To be pre­cise, Children’s Ukulele Orches­tra ...
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Bacchus, Golden · On the last day of 2010 we drove 976km from Cal­gary to Van­cou­ver. Along the way we stopped in Gold­en, BC for cof­fee and muffins at Bac­chus Books & Cafe, which I to­tal­ly rec­om­mend if you’re there, and it’s got me think­ing about the fu­ture (if any) of physical-media re­tail ...
[9 comments]  
LPs For Sale · Eighty-three, to be pre­cise, most con­tain­ing su­perb mu­sic ...
[5 comments]  
Maureen Forrester, 1930—2010 · I have a tee­ny lit­tle bit of per­son­al his­to­ry with this opera icon; sad to see that Ms For­rester has left us ...
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System 9 · I own too much stuff and have be­gun to hate my pos­ses­sion­s. I love a few things stil­l, no­tably not in­clud­ing any com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy, some of which can be ad­mired for a brief pe­ri­od be­fore it is su­per­seded, and I en­joy help­ing that pro­cess along. The things I love in­clude a few pic­tures, some book­s, but most­ly hand-made ar­ti­facts that pro­duce mu­sic: chief among these would be my cel­lo (although that re­la­tion­ship has be­come com­plex), my djembé, and my record play­er. I know it’s a “record player” be­cause I bought it from the man at record­play­er.­com; please fol­low that link be­fore mov­ing on ...
[20 comments]  
Axe Generations · I rent­ed It Might Get Loud, a 2009 mu­sic doc­u­men­tary fea­tur­ing Jim­my Page (born 1944), The Edge (1961), and Jack White (1975). If you know who these peo­ple are and think you might like it, you al­most cer­tain­ly will. I have one re­al­ly im­por­tant piece of ad­vice for those who are go­ing to watch it ...
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21mm Fight Dance · I had two ten-year-old boys with me; they said “Fight dancing!” Real­ly it was Capoeira, some­where be­tween a mar­tial art and dance for­m, in­vent­ed by African slaves in Brazil. There are a cou­ple of sto­ries but let’s start with the pic­ture ...
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Music and Money · Here are some ques­tion­s: ...
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Into the Dark · I read Tuesday’s sto­ry of the joint sui­cide of Joan and Ed­ward Downes. I’m sure this sto­ry touched many heart­s, what­ev­er we think of the eth­i­cal is­sues. Ear­ly this morn­ing I was driv­ing the kids around and they played a tune I’d nev­er heard called I’ll Fol­low You In­to the Dark. It’s a love­ly song — at once melo­di­ous, wit­ty, and sad — and it comes from ex­act­ly the same place as the sto­ry of the Downes’ death. This week there’s an ex­tra chance it’ll tug at your heart as it did mine ...
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Migration About Done · This is a re­port from the tail-end of the pro­cess of bring­ing our thousand-or-so CDs on­line; pre­vi­ous in­stal­ments have in­clud­ed Mass Mu­sic Mi­gra­tion and More Mu­sic Mi­gra­tion ...
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Empty Walls · Con­sid­er three dif­fer­ent rooms you’ve nev­er vis­it­ed ...
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More Music Migration · A cou­ple of weeks ago, in Mass Mu­sic Mi­gra­tion, I wrote about the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of mov­ing my thousand-or-so CDs on­line. I’m well along on the job now; this is an up­date ...
[10 comments]  
Mass Music Migration · In the liv­ing room are just un­der a thou­sand com­pact disks, as­sem­bled lov­ing­ly over the course of twenty-five years. My CD play­er, an ex­cel­lent but 15-year-old Linn Karik, is get­ting er­rat­ic. At this point in his­to­ry, buy­ing a new CD play­er doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s time to move it all on­line ...
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The School Concert · Our son is at­tend­ing Grade Four in a spe­cial­ized pro­gram that in­cludes a com­pul­so­ry String In­stru­ments class, thus he’s been strug­gling to mas­ter a screechy lit­tle vi­o­lin since Septem­ber. It’s a pub­lic school; by some bud­getary jiggery-pokery they man­age to re­tain the ser­vices of a nearly-full-time Strings teacher. Last Thurs­day night was the Christ­mas Con­cert fea­tur­ing the fourth and fifth grader­s, and we had no idea what to ex­pec­t ...
[6 comments]  
Bye-bye A&B · Not un­ex­pect­ed­ly, A&B Sound has gone out of busi­ness. This one hits me pret­ty hard. Does music-on-disc have a fu­ture? ...
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That Parade · Of the Lost Souls I mean. It was so much fun it shouldn’t be legal. This post is here so I can post a fun­ny pic­ture of my­self and med­i­tate, once again, on the pro­fu­sion of dig­i­tal record­ings of, well, ev­ery­thing ...
 
Join the Parade · I mean Pa­rade of the Lost Souls, which hap­pens next Satur­day Oc­to­ber 25th on Com­mer­cial Drive here in Van­cou­ver. I’ve pa­rad­ed be­fore; once again I’ll be part of Rus­sell Shumsky’s West-African drum en­sem­ble, layin’ down the dance beat­s. As­sum­ing the weath­er co-operates, it’s a blast; come on out and boo­gie.
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Other Diddleys · Gosh, Bo Did­dley’s gone. Which in­stant­ly reaf­firmed one In­ter­net lesson: if you want to boost the pop­u­lar­i­ty of your YouTube videos, die. My two fa­vorites (via Twit­ter to­day): Mon­a, with Tom Pet­ty (lis­ten to Bo’s gui­tar) and then this an­cient B&W TV shoot with a young Bo and lots of scream­ing Six­ties girl­s. But man, I love that rhyth­m, and lots of oth­er peo­ple have played it well ...
[7 comments]  
Rock & Roll Dishes · The dishwasher’s on the fritz, sched­uled for a fix Tues­day. So our eight-year-old’s du­ties have ex­pand­ed from table-clearing to in­clude dish-drying. He whines, but doesn’t get much sym­pa­thy. This evening, I put on R.E.M.’s Fables of the Re­con­struc­tion, turned way up, to help. What a great record that is, even af­ter all these years. I ex­plained to the boy that rock & roll is very help­ful for get­ting dish­es done. He was doubt­ful, but bop­ping a bit on Can’t Get There From Here.
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Patricia in Chicago · I had busi­ness in Chica­go ear­ly last week, and man­aged to spend a mu­si­cal evening with Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber; this is not hard to ar­range there, and I rec­om­mend it ...
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Rock & Roll · I don’t drive around town that much, but when I do, I like to lis­ten to the ra­dio, and what I most­ly like to lis­ten to is rock & roll. Be­ing a cer­ti­fied old fart, over the years I’d spent quite a bit of time with classic-rock sta­tion, but gimme a break, there’s on­ly so much time in the world you wan­na lis­ten to Pink Floyd and AC/DC. So of late I’ve been find­ing the ra­dio parked on CFOX (“The Fox rocks!”) and you know, it’s a not-half-bad rock sta­tion. I don’t rec­og­nize ¾ of the mu­sic they play, which is per­fect­ly ap­pro­pri­ate, but I like at least ⅓, which is not bad at all for any­thing that hasn’t passed through the fil­ter of decades ...
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See The Light, Jeff · Aw, Jeff Healey died. I liked most of his mu­si­cal phas­es, and have a fun­ny sto­ry ...
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Tab Sweep — World · Wel­come to the 2008 dispatches-from-the-front flow ...
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Rock On · I was leaf­ing through the morn­ing pa­per look­ing for cov­er­age of the Led Zep con­cert, and there were sur­pris­es along the way ...
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Rental Audio · Why is it, I won­der, that in ev­ery rental car on the plan­et, both the bass and tre­ble set­tings on the ra­dio are cranked to the max. This may be op­ti­mal for Ear­ly Nineties Nor­we­gian Death Me­tal, and al­so pos­si­bly Balalai­ka and Bas­soon Ensem­ble com­pi­la­tion­s, but it makes most nor­mal mu­sic sound like a box of nails bounc­ing down a large heat­ing duc­t.
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Subscribing to Music · Like a whole lot of peo­ple who care about mu­sic and the Net, I read the re­cent Times Magazine piece The Mu­sic Man, about how Rick Ru­bin is try­ing to save a big piece of the Music-Biz-That-Was, in part by (gasp!) in­creas­ing prod­uct qual­i­ty. He al­so talks about mov­ing from away from a ship-the-disks mod­el to a subscription-based busi­ness (this starts about halfway down page 5 of the piece). John Gru­ber scoffs at the idea. I think they’re both wrong; but that sub­scrip­tions will be a big deal ...
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Who By Fire · Just sit back and let Son­ny and Leonard show you a good time. Trust me on this one. And stay till the end.
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Tab Sweep — The World · The tabs build up as fast as I cut ’em down. This sweep is half photo-stuff, but I al­so have Second-Life hu­mor, an Art-Rock co­nun­drum, and what hap­pens when you can’t write any more ...
[7 comments]  
Tab Sweep (Non-Tech) · With notes this week on hip­pies, racon­teurs, the M8 con­tro­ver­sy, and a dead Rus­sian ...
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On Selling Music · There’s been so much music-biz news to think about re­cent­ly: CD sales de­cline, Mark Cuban pre­dict­ed the death of the CD in a post that cor­rect­ly pre­fig­ured the demise of DRM; but be care­ful, as Paul Ke­drosky points out, we geeks need to do a way bet­ter job of ex­plain­ing DRM to civil­ian­s ...
[14 comments]  
The Signal · I of­ten lis­ten to the ra­dio as I sit up in the evening af­ter ev­ery­one else has gone to bed. By ra­dio I mean CBC Ra­dio 2, which used to be called CBC FM. They’re fa­mous for clas­si­cal, but for some time now have had a de­cent jazz pro­gram, After Hours, start­ing at ten. No longer. A cou­ple of nights I turned it on and now it’s The Sig­nal - With Lau­rie Brown. I was hope­less­ly smit­ten with Lau­rie Brown many years ago when she was si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly the hottest and smartest VJ on MuchMu­sic (Canada’s MTV), and this dur­ing those fif­teen Eight­ies min­utes when videos mat­tered. In any case, The Sig­nal is promis­ing; it’s do­ing con­tem­po­rary mu­sic with­out much con­cern for gen­res. But you know, it could light­en up a bit; that first night, there was some Björk and some in­ter­est­ing gui­tar noise and then some­thing called (I’m not mak­ing this up) Com­plete­ly Em­braced by the Beau­ty of Empti­ness. Even­tu­al­ly I had no choice but to turn off the ra­dio and put on some ZZ Top. But then I lis­tened again Thurs­day and they played Dhar­ma at Big Sur, a 2003 work by John Adams that I’d nev­er heard, and hey, it’s great, go­ing to have to get it. Check out Ra­dio 2, they’re on­line, al­though I can’t get it to play on Camino, grumph.
[2 comments]  
Music and DRM · While I was tied up, Mr. Jobs stirred the intellectual-property busi­ness pot. Even af­ter three days of dis­cus­sion, there are things worth say­ing ...
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The iPod shuffle · I’d nev­er owned an iPod, but re­cent­ly picked up one of the new shuf­fles (the lower-case ver­sion of the name seems to be of­fi­cial). It’s an aw­ful­ly ap­peal­ing lit­tle pro­duc­t ...
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Radio Delíro · I’m hav­ing trou­ble, this dingy Fri­day af­ter­noon, with episod­ic ran­dom de­fo­cus­ing. I don’t lis­ten to mu­sic when there’s a chance of se­ri­ous work hap­pen­ing; right now I’m tuned in­to Ra­dio Delíro, whose front page says Ra­dio Déliro, basée sur les préférences mu­si­cales de Roland Moreno, est animée et programmée par Syl­vain Robert. I’ve nev­er heard of ei­ther of M. Moreno or M. Robert, but I sure like the mu­sic they pick. It’s de­li­cious­ly eclec­tic, which in prac­tice means ridicu­lous­ly corny some­times; but in a good way. Just now they were play­ing the Don Fried­man Trio per­form­ing You Must Believe in Spring, which is ap­pro­pri­ate giv­en what’s go­ing on out­side.
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Portobello West Colours · What hap­pened was, I was lis­ten­ing to the pod­cast from CBC ra­dio 3 and there was this great track from some­thing called Lo­la Dutron­ic (@ MyS­pace); I emailed the dis­trib­u­tor and all the record stores they sent me to were sold out, but he said they’d have a stand at Vancouver’s new-ish Por­to­bel­lo West mar­ket, so I dropped by and they were sold out there too, but I to­tal­ly rec­om­mend the mar­ket. There were some deeply cool clothes and oth­er odd­ments; I bought some can­dles and just avoid­ed a cou­ple of shirt­s. And al­so cap­tured some se­ri­ous colour with the cam­er­a ...
 
Who? · The con­cert cal­en­dar this fall fea­tures Paul Si­mon, the Rolling Stones, and the Who; is it 1968 again? I’ve seen ’em all and don’t feel much of an urge to go back. But then I thought of our seven-year old son, and about Roger An­gel­l, who writes beau­ti­ful­ly for The New York­er, of­ten about base­bal­l; he was born in 1920 and has told about be­ing tak­en, as a boy, by his dad to see Babe Ruth play. This feels like a di­rect liv­ing bridge to an­oth­er epoch. So I’m won­der­ing if maybe I should scalp a cou­ple of tick­ets so that when my lit­tle guy is an old man he can wow ’em with sto­ries of hav­ing seen the Who or who­ev­er. On which sub­jec­t, I was driv­ing around the oth­er day and they played a cou­ple of songs from Who’s Next. Any­one of my age has that mu­sic per­ma­nent­ly im­print­ed of course, but it’d been quite a while, and all these decades lat­er, what stands out for me on those cuts is the as­tound­ing, vol­canic drum­ming. No­body has ev­er sound­ed like Kei­th Moon be­fore or since; he played like two men with three heads and six arm­s. In re­views of the lat­est Who tour, they say that Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son) is chan­nel­ing Kei­th re­mark­ably, and that Townsend seems to be in­ter­est­ed in his gui­tar again. Many years ago, last time I saw the Who, when they were singing Lis­ten­ing to you, I get the mu­sic the stage went dark and the lights all turned on the au­di­ence. Im­pos­si­ble not to be moved.
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Went Camping · In Cana­da and the US, the first Mon­day in Septem­ber is a hol­i­day (“Labour Day”) and then the kids start school on Tues­day. This year, we spent the long week­end at cam­p. It was en­tire­ly tra­di­tion­al and very good. Here­with na­ture shots and camp­fire tales, some mu­si­cal ...
 
Boundaries · “This town was named af­ter a mi­nor Dos­toyevsky character...” is the be­gin­ning. The Land­scape — Mar­fa, Texas Pt. 1 is by David Byrne and it’s re­al­ly a must-read, rang­ing through land­scape and mu­sic and bound­aries of var­i­ous kind­s. By the way, Mr. Byrne needs an Atom feed; re­cent­ly some­thing changed and in my news­read­er, his pieces are full of raw HTML markup and sans im­ages.
 
Southern Lord · David Byrne post­ed Heavy Theater in his (ex­cel­len­t) blog, which led me to Heady Me­tal in the New York Times, which led me to South­ern Lord. Look: ei­ther you like an end­less twist­ing tor­rent of un­com­pro­mis­ing gui­tar roar for its own sake, or you don’t. I do. When I feel like this kind of thing, his­tor­i­cal­ly I’ve turned to Wash­ing Ma­chine by Son­ic Youth, or Arc by Neil Young. But there are peo­ple who love and live and breathe this stuff all the time. I end­ed up buy­ing two al­bums by Boris; check out In­tro, from Aku­ma No Uta on South­ern Lord’s “Listen” page. And I think to my­self: What a won­der­ful world...
 
Sun Radio Omniversity · Not so long ago I wrote here about the ec­cen­tric and ex­cel­lent mu­sic of Sun Ra. Paul Beard sent a point­er to WCKR’s Sun Ra­dio Om­niver­si­ty, a 24-hour “Sun Ra Ar­rival Day” live broad­cast; here’s a sched­ule and a His­to­ry of Sun Ra. Don’t miss it.
 
A Good Anger · I was driv­ing the kid to work this morn­ing, mut­ter­ing the usu­al im­pre­ca­tions as I switched from one rock-music sta­tion to the next look­ing for ac­tu­al mu­sic in­stead of yap­ping morning-show mo­ron­s, and Yow! Here was a howl­ing gui­tar and a keen­ing voice singing about the stink­ing war and vow­ing to nev­er kill again and the false faces on TV and that was just per­fec­t, if ra­dio doesn’t have a place for anger-with-a-backbeat well it’s not worth lis­ten­ing to. And you can lis­ten to Neil Young’s Liv­ing With War to­day for free (although it seems like the serv­er is kind of dog­ging it).
 
Sanity up North · I’m talk­ing about the Cana­di­an Mu­sic Creators Coali­tion, which in­cludes quite a few of our better-known pop mu­si­cians (dis­ap­point­ing­ly, quite a few of them are miss­ing, too), and whose man­i­festo in­cludes refreshingly-sane state­ments like “Suing Our Fans is Destruc­tive and Hypocritical” and “Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive”. Ex­act­ly. Let’s see some more names on that list.
 
NBA Playoffs · Been too busy, hard­ly watched any regular-season games, so all the teams are more or less new to me. I’m re­al­ly en­joy­ing the TNT cov­er­age of the Lak­ers and Sun­s; can’t see the Lak­ers get­ting out of this se­ries even though they’re (just) hold­ing on to a Game 2 lead. Of the teams I’ve seen, my mon­ey would be on the Sun­s. Any­how, TNT is be­ing fair­ly free with their cam­era an­gles, us­ing the floor-level shot to par­tic­u­lar­ly good ef­fec­t. And—goodness gra­cious me—is that a Phil Glass sound­track on the Tylenol ad?!? The mind bog­gles. What nex­t... John Cage for Nyquil? Ce­cil Tay­lor for Pep­si?
 
Sebastian and Fred · That would be J. Se­bas­tian Bach and Fred­er­ick II Ho­hen­zollern (AKA the Great) of Prus­si­a, who fa­mous­ly met in 1747. The King pro­posed a Roy­al Theme and asked Bach to ex­tem­po­rize fu­gal­ly; Bach did so on the spot, some­what, and a few weeks lat­er sent Fred­er­ick The Mu­si­cal Of­fer­ing. This episode ap­peared at the be­gin­ning of Gödel, Escher, Bach, and now finds it­self at the cen­ter of an­oth­er book: Even­ing in the Palace of Rea­son by James R. Gaines, of whom I’d nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly heard. It’s pret­ty good; read on for some re­marks on the book, Fred­er­ick, Se­bas­tian, and the Of­fer­ing ...
 
Rain and Silence and Reggaetón · If it lasts through Sun­day, Van­cou­ver (and Seat­tle just down the road) will break a 1953 record for con­tin­u­ous rainy days. Re­cent­ly there’s not much rat­tling around in­side ask­ing to be writ­ten and I part­ly blame all those clouds and, weird­ly, the fact that it’s been weeks since I saw any­thing that I want­ed to take a pic­ture of. I have this great big queue of in­ter­est­ing Web stuff to write about, but you know, if I don’t some­one else will and if they don’t it prob­a­bly didn’t need writ­ing. The Web’s like that. But to­day I was driv­ing up 101 head­ing for SFO and didn’t like what KFOG was play­ing and hit Seek and lis­tened to half an hour of La Kalle which plays Reggaetón, and the DJs veer back and forth be­tween Span­ish and English three times in the av­er­age hy­per­en­thu­si­as­tic sen­tence. The music’s com­pli­cat­ed­ly try­ing to be Latino-sentimental and hip-hop-tough and reggae-happy all at on­ce, which leaves gaps it oc­ca­sion­al­ly falls in­to, but more of it is good than bad, and a cou­ple of times it had me hoppin’ back and forth on my butt in the driver’s seat. When I stopped to gas up the rental the song they were play­ing was too good to turn off so I cranked that suck­er and en­ter­tained the whole gas sta­tion while I did my bit for the Sau­di econ­o­my. A young dude in a good blue suit and hair­cut gassing his rental raised an eye­brow at the grey-bearded gringo hon­key gettin’ down. As if I cared.
 
HBR1 · I cou­ple of years back I wrote about the ad­van­tages of us­ing iTunes or XMMS to soak up Am­bi­ent In­ter­net Brain Goo. Th­ese last cou­ple of days I’ve been learn­ing how to par­ti­tion the disks and in­stall mul­ti­ple op­er­at­ing sys­tem­s, some of ’em pret­ty bleeding-edge, on my Ul­tra 20, which in­volves quite a bit of wait­ing and ir­ri­ta­tion. I owe my con­tin­ued san­i­ty to HBR1; as far as I’m con­cerned they’ve got the best brain goo go­ing.
 
Northern Tunes · Since I don’t com­mute, I’m not re­al­ly in the tar­get mar­ket for pod­cast­ing. In fac­t, I on­ly lis­ten to one con­sis­tent­ly: CBC Ra­dio 3. It’s an hour a week of Cana­di­an pop mu­sic from peo­ple I’ve usu­al­ly nev­er heard of, and most of it’s re­al­ly good, and hey, it’s my tax dol­lars pay­ing for this; but that’s OK, the rest of the world can lis­ten too.
 
Minor-League Epiphany · On Satur­day night, Septem­ber 10, 2005, the Van­cou­ver Cana­di­ans played the Spokane In­di­ans in Game 3 of the North­west League cham­pi­onship se­ries, tied 1-1. That’s Single-A bal­l, near the bot­tom of the pro-baseball heap, but it was quite an evening ...
 
Podcasting and Patricia · I got a nice email this af­ter­noon from Pa­tri­ci­aBar­ber.­com, let­ting me know that there’s a new con­cert DVD for sale, and invit­ing me to drop by the A/V sec­tion for a sam­pler. So I did, and you might want to al­so, the video’s good and there are some pret­ty nice au­dio tracks there for down­load. I’ve writ­ten about Ms Bar­ber be­fore, I’m a re­al ad­mir­er. So, here’s a gift­ed artist out there in the Long Tail with a mod­er­ate but de­vot­ed fan base, here’s this hot new pod­cast­ing thing run­ning up head­lines ev­ery­where... am I the on­ly one want­ing to con­nect the dot­s? Right now I buy all of Ms Barber’s disks, which I think is less than one a year on av­er­age; so giv­en record-company eco­nomic­s, she’s mak­ing maybe $10/year net from me. Would I sign up for a bi-weekly pod­cast for a cou­ple bucks a mon­th, re­cent live per­for­mances and so on? In a flash! She could dou­ble or triple her tak­ings from this typ­i­cal fan, and the costs of stag­ing the stuff wouldn’t be that much. Yeah, there’d be pira­cy, but a Long Tail per­former like this might even wel­come it, be­cause a cer­tain num­ber of illicit-recording re­cip­i­ents are go­ing to be­come de­vot­ed fans and want to sign up; what I be­lieve they call “marketing”. What am I miss­ing?
 
Cream · I’m so sad ♪ I’m so sad ♪ I’m sad, I’m sad, I’m sad; that I missed the Cream re­union con­certs in the Roy­al Al­bert Hal­l; a 37-year hia­tus is noth­ing to sneeze at. Ac­tu­al­ly, if I’d known about it, I might have gone nuts and bought a plane tick­et and fig­ured out a way to get in. Here­with some re­marks on Rock & Roll Im­por­tance, and my Dad ...
 
Cuban on Music Retailing · Mark Cuban is al­ways worth read­ing, but when he’s right, as in this piece on the ex­tinc­tion of the CD, he’s re­al­ly right.
 
LimeWire & Chansonniers Perdus · For the Français-challenged, the last words sort of mean “missing singers” but a chan­son­nier isn’t just a singer, it’s a French male pop singer in a par­tic­u­lar ro­man­tic kind of old-fashioned style. Any­how, they’re still miss­ing, de­spite the best ef­forts of some re­al­ly re­mark­able soft­ware; oh, and there’s a P2P vs. RIAA an­gle too. [Up­dat­ed: found one out of two.] ...
 
On the Badness of Classic-Rock Radio · Most classic-rock sta­tions are pret­ty lame; for­mu­laic, trashy, yap­py, dum­b. I have de­vel­oped a de­ter­min­is­tic method for mea­sur­ing this bad­ness, and it has to do with Pink Floyd’s ex­e­crable The Wall. Ra­dio sta­tions that nev­er play it are al­most al­ways quite good; ones that play it a lot are the scrap­ings from the bot­tom of the bar­rel. The cor­re­la­tion is, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, pret­ty well in­fal­li­ble.
 
Magnatune · I was pok­ing around the iTunes ra­dio sta­tions look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle more stim­u­lat­ing than the usu­al brain goo, and gave “Magnatune Re­nais­sance and Baroque” a try. It’s aw­ful­ly good mu­sic, with the reg­u­lar in­ter­rup­tions by the mu­si­cians plug­ging their record­ings on­ly mild­ly ir­ri­tat­ing. And the in­ter­rup­tions worked, con­vinc­ing me to vis­it Mag­natune on­line, whose mot­to is: We’re a record la­bel. But we’re not evil. It looks like a pret­ty com­pelling idea, and their mu­sic (the Re­nais­sance/Baroque sub­set any­how) is pret­ty sweet. Check it out.
 
Guru Neil · Wired is run­ning a short in­ter­view with Neil Young which I read be­cause I’m fond of his mu­sic; and if you’ve nev­er seen Neil per­form live you ought to make the ef­fort, there are ups and downs but the ups are way up. Any­how, I think this is a must-read for any­one who cares about Me­dia and Ra­dio and Mu­sic and The Net and all those oth­er cap­i­tal­ized word­s. Mr. Young ob­vi­ous­ly Gets It, big time. I’m now off to spend some time at his new mul­ti­me­dia pro­jec­t, Green­dale.
 
Two Hours of Pure Pleasure · I know I’ve done this be­fore, but last night I sat up and lis­tened once again to Lit­tle Steven’s Un­der­ground Garage and you know, it’s just so un­rea­son­ably good that I can’t re­sist an­oth­er plug. It is eru­dite, schol­ar­ly, fun­ny and it ROCKS; what’s not to like? Last night’s show was en­i­tled Soupy, Elvis, and May­nard (Elvis’ birth­day on the 8th) and it was an end-to-end blast. You can lis­ten to ’em on the web­site, but to get a fla­vor, check out last night’s set list; in par­tic­u­lar the Elvis’-birthday sec­tion. Lit­tle Steven made a spe­cial re­quest last night; that ev­ery­one who cares go out and buy Ig­gy Pop’s lat­est, Skull Ring. I’m go­ing to.
 
Normative Backbeat · I had a cou­ple of fine Rock & roll ex­pe­ri­ences in the last cou­ple of days. Here­with a point­er to a good ra­dio show by Lit­tle Steven and record­ing by Jim­mie Vaugh­an; plus an at­tempt to for­mal­ize this back­beat thang ...
 
Ambient Internet Brain Goo · Any­one who isn’t run­ning Apple’s iTunes is miss­ing a chance to im­prove their qual­i­ty of life (or is on Lin­ux). Although I feel an­oth­er flame over iTunes’ egre­gious­ly bro­ken Web ad­dress­ing com­ing on, this post is just an ex­pres­sion of won­der. I had iTunes quite a while be­fore I opened up the “Radio” part of the menu, and here’s all these ra­dio sta­tions broad­cast­ing nice no-charge mu­sic, many of them ad-free and in fact narrative-free. I am to­tal­ly baf­fled by the busi­ness mod­el, set­ting up one of these things must in­volve some non­triv­ial in­vest­men­t. For dur­ing din­ner and when company’s over, I tend to se­lect one of the “ambient” sta­tions and let the sweet-sounding slow-moving au­dio cot­ton can­dy fill in the son­ic gap­s. Go back a few years and sur­vey the prog­nos­ti­ca­tors; I can’t re­mem­ber any­one ev­er hav­ing pre­dict­ed free end­less am­bi­ent brain goo be­ing a plau­si­ble use of the Glob­al In­for­ma­tion Su­per­high­way. There you go. [Up­date: Ki­ran Jon­nala­gad­da writes to tell me that the iTunes ra­dio sta­tions are the same as those you get at shout­cast.­com, so WinAm­putees and pen­guin­istas us­ing XMMS can al­ready get ’em.]
 
Radio · Doc Searls’ The Con­tin­u­ing Death of Ra­dio as Usu­al is def­i­nite­ly worth read­ing. I’ll buy most of what he says, but I still think there is plen­ty of beau­ti­ful mu­sic on the ra­dio. That plus some ad­vice on how best to en­joy it ...
 
Sam, Elvis, Memphis, Hard Work · Sam Phillips died this week. The wa­ter of pop cul­ture we all swim in would taste no­tice­ably dif­fer­ent were it not for Sam’s work. But he’s most re­mem­bered, ob­vi­ous­ly, for the tracks he cut with Elvis Pres­ley in 1954-55. Here­with a few re­marks on Elvis’ mu­sic, Mem­phis touris­m, and the sweaty end of the busi­ness ...
 
On Apple's Music Store · Business-wise, it seems pret­ty sound. I'll pay 99¢ a pop for tunes if they stay out of my face about how I use them. This has to be seen as good news, and ev­i­dence that Ap­ple is a lit­tle smarter than your av­er­age com­put­er com­pa­ny. Here­with some pros and cons of this (I think) im­por­tant new of­fer­ing. (Up­dat­ed 4/29 with com­ments on pric­ing and Web Ar­chi­tec­ture.) ...
 
Emma Kirkby · At this mo­ment in his­to­ry, the most beau­ti­ful fe­male voice in the world is prob­a­bly that of Em­ma Kirk­by, an English­wom­an who spe­cial­izes in ear­ly mu­sic. Here­in some fan­nish re­marks and a stolen pic­ture ...
 
Unsuspected Parallels, Part 79 · I was think­ing J.S. Bach's Fifth Bran­den­berg Con­cer­to has a lot in com­mon with Neil Young's Change Your Mind, in their shame­less (and very en­joy­able) dis­plays of vir­tu­os­i­ty for its own sake ...
 
Johnny Cash - American IV · All the re­view­ers have been hot on John­ny Cash's apparently-still-in-progress set of "American" record­ings, which if a jazz singer did them would be called "standards". So I picked up up #IV in the se­ries at Christ­mas 2002 and it's got its hooks in­to me pret­ty deep ...
 
Cold Tea Blues · I was lis­ten­ing the oth­er day in the car to the Cow­boy Junkies' Pale Sun, Cres­cent Moon, which is a re­al­ly un­der­ap­pre­ci­at­ed clas­sic. Un­der­ap­pre­ci­at­ed enough that I hadn't put it on in years ...
 
Where to Listen to Music? · I am a cer­ti­fied (per­haps even cer­ti­fi­able) au­dio­phile, one end of our big liv­ing room is full of au­dio gear with names most peo­ple won't rec­og­nize but oth­er cer­ti­fi­ables will: Linn, SimAu­dio, Totem, Mag­num Dy­nal­ab, and Si­mon Yorke De­signs (dig the URL on that last one). Some night­s, the qual­i­ty of the sound is al­most fright­en­ing­ly good. But I think I of­ten en­joy mu­sic more in the car ...
 
Nick Hornby on Riffs for the Aged · Nick Horn­by wrote High Fideli­ty, an aw­ful­ly good and amus­ing (and very male-viewpoint) nov­el from which they made a movie that I've not seen. The peo­ple in the book have lives cen­tred around rock&roll, and Horn­by was re­vealed as an eru­dite and thought­ful writ­er on the sub­jec­t. Frank Zap­pa opined that rock crit­ics were peo­ple who can't write writ­ing for peo­ple who can't read about peo­ple who can't play, but he was wrong. Now Horn­by has ven­tured out again ...
 
Slava ... and Keef · This evening I caught a per­for­mance by Mst­slav Rostropovich ("Slava") with the Van­cou­ver Sym­pho­ny. Rostropovich is cel­e­brat­ing his 75th birth­day with a big world tour. He is def­i­nite­ly one of the ma­jor liv­ing leg­ends and it's a priv­i­lege to sit in a room and have him play mu­sic for you. I was re­mind­ed of noth­ing so much as go­ing to a Stones con­cert a few years ago ...
 
Listening to Stax-Volt · Re­cent­ly I've been lis­ten­ing quite a bit to The Com­plete Stax/Volt Sin­gles (re­leased in 1991 as At­lantic 7 82218-2), a 10-CD set from the the la­bel that billed it­self in the six­ties as "Soulsville USA" and made a lot of mon­ey and a lot of good mu­sic. The mu­sic is won­der­ful but maybe just a bit too thin ...
 
Hendrix Lives · (From a let­ter to a friend who at­tend­ed the fa­mous Hen­drix "Band of Gypsies" New Years' Eve con­cert.) ...
 
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