My favorite day of the week…

28 10 2008

Sure, Fridays and Saturdays have the whole “weekend vibe” going for them, and Sundays are filled with football for 6 months out of the year, but the best day of the week for me is still Tuesday.  Why, you ask?  Three words-New Music Tuesday!!!  And thanks to my Lala, I get to listen to the all the new CDs once for free before I decide if I want to buy the web download or mp3.

Snow Patrol A Hundred Million SunsSo what’s on the soundtrack for today?  For starters, we have Snow Patrol’s new album “A Hundred Million Suns”.  “Eyes Open” was pretty amazing, so they have some big shoes to fill.  So far so good though.  I’m so excited to get through this album, I just might pee.  But I’ll hold back…cause that would be really gross actually.

Bloc Party IntimacyNext on the menu is “Intimacy” from Bloc Party. I go back and forth with these guys as far as how much I love them, but I go into everything with an open mind, and they are, if nothing else, original. Plus, their album cover is way hot, and ahem, intimate, let’s hope the CD is as well.

The third one that caught my eye is “Off with their Heads” by the Kaiser Chiefs.  I tend to only like a few singles from their CDs but who knows, maybe this one will be different.  I’m still excited to see what they have in store.

The Cure 413 DreamAs if my earbuds weren’t tickled enough at the thought of all of this…The Cure came out with their long awaited “4:13 Dream”.  Now that every other band out there is starting to sound like them, it’ll be interesting to see what their new album brings.

Oooh..and did I almost forget Chiodos?  It’s technically not an entirely new album, they just revamped their last album with about 6 new tracks (two accoustic).  I haven’t heard them yet, but I’m drooling just thinking about new Chiodos music-the best screamo band out there.  “Bone Pallace Ballet – The Grand Coda” probably won’t be appropriate for work, but I don’t let work get in the way of good music.

So there’s the new music rundown for you.  Anyone else have any recommendations on new CDs that have come out lately?  I’ve been jammin’ to Jenny Lewis’ new one “Acid Tongue” and now can say that her voice has tempted me into a full on girl-crush…something about that voice of hers (she’s the lead singer of a favorite band of mine-Rilo Kiley-for those of you who are unfamiliar.  I’d highly recommend checking them out).

So stop giving weekends all the credit and let’s start celebrating Tuesday, and all the musical presents it brings to our ears!!  And let’s hope that these gifts are the ones worth keeping.





San Diego Acoustic Alliance Show

27 10 2008

My usual Sunday routine of watching football until the sheer joy of it causes me to pass out (joy, or beer perhaps) was thrown for a welcomed loop when I made plans to see an extremely talented musician and friend Erick Macek for a local all accoustic showcase of sorts at Brick by Brick.  The “Accoustic Alliance Show” as it’s named, is put on by listenlocalsd.com.

As their site states:

“The Acoustic Alliance Series gathers 12 songwriters who share the stage and trade the spotlight to perform 3 of their best songs ‘in the round’.

Presented in a candlelit ‘story teller’ format featuring 3 sets of 4 different artists, this show has run every few months since 2004 and has featured over 200 of San Diego’s finest acoustic songwriters. “

This sounds like a fabulous idea.  Why haven’t I gone until now?  Well, 12 unsigned local acts could be a recipe for disaster…luckily for me, this musical recipe was absolutely delicious.  I was amazed at the level of talent and entertainment that filled the venue, not to mention, the level of intimacy that the setting provided.  I felt like I had my own personal invitation to a private jam session of the highest ranks.  The musical diversity was also quite impressive.  Everyone really brought a different type of sound to the show and sometimes, even played together, which was like a cherry on top of my musical Sunday (get it?  I’m so witty…ha).

photo courtesy of Lauren Hillary
photo courtesy of Lauren Hillary

All of the acts were impressive in their own way, but of course I had a few favorites.  Although my opinion is somewhat biased, Erick Macek brought a great energy to the show, and by the end of his set, had everyone singing along…which was-for lack of a better word-awesome.  I was also quite impressed with Steph Johnson who has a Norah Jones meets Colbie Caillat kind of sound…one of those voices that just really stands out and leaves its musical mark (full lineup here).  I’m also becoming a big fan of Endoxi…the sax gets me every time.

Although it kept me up past my usual Sunday bedtime, a groggy Monday morning is a small price to pay for such a unique experience.  I have no doubt that many of these performers are going to make it big one day, and I’ll be able to be one of those cool people who “knew them before they got their break”.





Lala and Rhapsody and Napster, oh my(space)!

22 10 2008

If there’s one certainty in the music industry right now, it’s that no one is certain where the future of the music industry really lies.  After the explosion and subsequent downfall of Napster, it became pretty clear that the music industry needs to learn how to dominate the digital world, before it is destroyed by it.  However, exactly what kind of digital world that is, still remains unclear.

Being a leader in the technology realm, Apple initially monopolized on digital downloads.  Though from the beginning there were a lot of criticisms.  I mean, DRM protected music is just a pain in the butt and now digital distribution and sharing is easier and easier, so $.99 a song seems pretty steep.  But the music industry has been stuck in a very old model, and until the digital explosion really started hitting their bottom lines, they weren’t really interested in discussing new business models…until now.  I think it’s pretty clear that iTunes-as it stands now-is not the future.  People will not pay $.99/song for every song they want to listen to, and only be able to listen to 30 second samples. I love you Apple, but unless you have a new digital music model up your sleeve, the iTunes music store is going to sit in music history along with the tape.

So here come the next big players.  Originally there was Napster, and then soon afterwards Rhapsody, and now there’s even a re-emerging Lala (couldn’t have been that popular the first time as I’ve just heard of it.  I’m sure there are more, but they obviously aren’t doing much).  Each has their own sort of unlimited digital listening coupled with DRM free MP3 buyable downloads.  And what’s the newest one to enter into the game?  Well if you haven’t heard, it’s ever so popular MySpace with MySpace Music…like we couldn’t see that one coming.  MySpace pages to bands are like breasts to Jessica Simpson…they just wouldn’t get anywhere without them.  So it’s no wonder that they’ve decided to enter into the digital music world, and like they did with MySpace, do it in their own way.

What I’m wondering is…what the heck differentiates one site from another?  And what’s going to make MySpace different? Well, I’ve done a little researching…and here’s what I’ve picked up…

How do their libraries compare?
I think Napster, Rhapsody, and Lala are all going to be pretty much comparable on this one. Myspace Music, as it stands wins on variety of bands, but loses in full length albums and digital downloads.

What can you get for free?
Napster:  7 day trial, 30 second clips
Rhapsody:  7 day trial, or 25 full song listens/month, then 30 second clips
Lala:  25 free web songs, listen to each song once for free, then  30 second clips,
MySpace:  listen to everything for free, all the time, ad supported

Online listening charges:
Napster:  $12.95/month – unlimited online listening, build & save playlists
Rhapsody:  $12.99/month – unlimited online listening, build & save playlists
Lala:  no monthly charge for single listens, $.10/web download (to add to web library that you can listen to unlimited), which is about 130 songs at the price of the other two.  But…Lala has a feature where you can “upload” your current library to your web library which means all your music online, all the time…. I like this…I really like this, and it’s free.
Myspace Music:  Free unlimited; supported by pop up ads.

MP3 downloads (some albums vary):
Napster:  $.99/song, $9.95/album
Rhapsody:  $.99/song, $9.99/album
Lala:  $.79-$.99/song, $7.49/album…sounds like they win, but the MP3 store doesn’t seem to be complete yet so that’s a setback.
MySpace Music:  have to buy from Amazon, so in my opinion, this feature doesn’t really belong to myspace.  It’s like Rhapsody sending you to iTunes.

Portability:
Napster: $14.95 on compatible players: Windows only…that’s just terrible
Rhapsody: $14.99 on compatible players: Windows only…seriously?  Do you know how popular macs are getting?
LaLa:  None as of yet.  Have to buy the mp3s.  Guess us Mac users have to stick to our iPods & MP3s
Myspace Music:  None as of yet

Playlists:
Napster:  Build from anything in their library, or browse others, I think you can share it, but I can’t really figure much out on this site as it doesn’t seem very user-friendly
Rhapsody: Build from anything in their library, or browse others, share yours with friends and the Rhapsody community.  Has a built in Facebook app.
Lala:  Build from anything in their library that you’ve purchased as a web download, or your own that you’ve uploaded.  Share via email/facebook or embed on websites.
Myspace:  Build from anything in their library, browse others, and share via your profile, but not anywhere else online.  The good news is you can build playlists from your local unknown bands that may not be on the other sites.  The bad news is they don’t have many full albums.

Online Radio:
This is not really a feature in my mind. With so many other choices out there for online radio like iChannel, Pandora, Last.fm, Yahoo, AOL, Slacker…just to name a few, why would you ever choose based on this?

So there’s a brief list of some differences in the music subscription services.  I would still rely on iLike for concert notifications and such, but when it comes to paying for a music subscription, I think the choice is still somewhat unclear and constantly changing so it could still be anyone’s game, although I’m opting for Lala, because of my fear of commitment…and because they’ll work with my existing library.

MySpace Music has a lot of potential but it is still to early to see how it’s business plan will really pan out, I mean, the ink hasn’t even dried on the deals with the music labels.  One thing is for sure, it will be interesting for my music-nerd side to see how the site evolves. You can’t argue that they have the right idea…I mean making advertisers pay for me to listen to free music?  I’ll take it.  And you have to love their ambition and ideal of making a music world that really gives all artists a strong platform to not only network, but make money off of music, concerts sales, and merchandise all in one place (and do so with cute little bulletin notifications).  MySpace will win in the networking sense of it all (as it has already), but as far as managing my music online, MySpace Music has a long way to go before their plans come to fruition and it’s unclear to me how I’ll be able to have a consistent library online that is also on my computer, that I can also take with me in a portable player, and listen to in my car…because whoever can do that, and do it for the cheapest, will be the winner in my eyes.





Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s – Music for the Soul

14 10 2008

Normally, going out on a Wednesday is not really my thing (I like my day job and would like to keep it), but there are 2 things that keep me up past midnight, and one of them is live music…I’ll leave the other to your imagination.  The funny thing is, no matter how tired I am…and I was last night…as soon as I hear the first note to a Margot song, something inside me wakes up and all of a sudden, I’m wide awake and dreaming.  Last night was no exception, and being front and center at the Casbah – the perfect little dive venue – only made things better.

I showed up last night with 3 of my girls and when we got there, the first band- Judgement Day– had just started.  We really weren’t quite sure what to expect as there were only 3 instruments on stage, and none of them were guitars…there was a violin, a cello, and drums…and that’s it.  As the violin started to play and the hard drum beat kicked in, I started to realize that these guys were rocking out!  I mean, hard.core.rocking.out…in the strings section…hmmm, very interesting.  Needless to say, it didn’t take long before we made our way to the center of newly formed crowd and proceed to rock out…to an instrumental band. I know you may be skeptical, but have you heard of Apocalyptica?  It’s the same kind of idea, but no guest vocalists.  And I didn’t even miss the vocals, the melodies were just that intriguing.  I promise, if you saw them live, there’s no way you could walk away and not be impressed…really makes me wish I would have kept up with the violin from 4th grade.  I could be rocking out millions by now…or at least rocking the Casbah (ha ha…lame wit amuses me).

The second opening band was pretty forgettable…in fact, I don’t remember their name even. So on to the important part…the part where my roommate and I made our way to the front of the stage and stood there while the band set up. The microphone fell while they were setting up, and my reflexes wanted to reach out and save it -we were that close- but I thought maybe that’d be inappropriate.  While we were waiting, we checked out some of the stage decoration…which included some animals (appropriate, for the new album name)…though we weren’t entirely sure what kind.  There was a half owl/half ram, some kind of half pig/half rodent, and something else that my roommate said was a llama, but looked way sneakier than that.  Oh, but I digress…

So the lights went out, the crowd went crazy, and off they went…the 10 of them on stage (they picked up some extra members, including Judgement Day).  The started with a few songs from their new album…kinda slow, to ease the crowd into it.  Richard was literally an arm’s length away and I almost felt weird staring at him while he sang since we were so close, but I did anyways, because his voice is captivating, full of emotion and well, just f’n sexy.  Throughout the show they went back and forth between their old “hits” (I played them a lot at least) and their new album and my roommate and I stood there like kids who saw the real Santa Claus.  Skeleton Key came on and the crowd went crazy.  Imagine…10 musicians, jammin’ on stage…moving you like you’ve never been moved.  Violins, sound machines, bass, guitar, drums, and whatever the Casey plays.  Speaking of Casey…never before have I been so entertained by the movement of someone on stage.  You’ll have to see it to know what I’m talking about, the facepaint was a nice touch also.

As they played, I floated on Cloud 10 (which is way above cloud 9) and lost myself in the music.  Margot has a way of intoxicating you to a musical high with way more pleasure than any actual substances would give you.  When they first pretended to be done, we all knew it wasn’t happening.  They’re going to leave without playing “Quiet as a Mouse?”  I think not.  So they came back for an “encore “(like it was a question) and played “Dress me like a Clown” and of course, closed with “Quiet as a Mouse”, which is the most amazing song to be played live…ever.  Their culmination of sound remains unmatched…as does any other live music experience.

Emily:

Erik:

See all pics here





My new favorite internet radio station

2 10 2008

I swear, my Street Scene recap is coming…I just want to have the pics to go along with it, and I’m not quite there.  It will be worth it though!

Anyways, in my random search for an internet radio station to listen to through the work day, I’ve discovered something absolutely fantastic.  It’s iChannel.fm.  We all know traditional radio plays the same songs over and over, and lately, I’ve been experiencing the same with Last.fm and Pandora.  While those two sites definitely have the benefit of creating your own station, if you’re really looking to hear music from bands you’ve never heard of, iChannel.fm is your answer.  You won’t here the same Indie music here that you’ve heard on every “Indie” radio station, as these are truly undiscovered bands..even for me, and I’m pretty on it.

So check it out already! www.ichannel.fm. I’ve also had the pleasure of “meeting” their Program Director online, and that’s always cool.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll like everything, as they are pretty open with the type of music, but I can definitely say that the songs I love, far outweigh the songs I’d skip, and you don’t have to worry about hating them from hearing them every hour.

Want free music?  Of course you do.  Free good music is even better:)  iChannel’s giving away a single called “The Power Cosmic” from the band “Last Night’s Vice” and I’m pretty much in love with it.  Plus, here’s a picture from their site:

One word:  awesome. So anyways, there’s my recommendation for the day. Oh, and I have a few new artists for you to check out.  Check back soon for updates 🙂

Also, I have a new guilty pleasure…Katy Perry.  Don’t judge me, she’s awesome, I’d make out with her 😉 ha!

So there’s your hotness for the day…until we meet again.  Keep Rockin…