Posts filed under Tunes

Mixmas 2008

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone. It has become a bit of my annual tradition to post a playlist of my favourite new music of the year, and this year shall be no exception. I still can't shake the feeling that this year wasn't quite as good as the year before, or the year before that, but maybe its just that this music is still too fresh to have fully penetrated into my consciousness. I'm also feeling more and more that the hipster music 'blogosphere' is almost as narrow in its scope as the major labels, top 40 radio, and MTV. Hopefully, my music tastes haven't entirely been shaped by the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Elbo.ws. Thus, I give you Mixmas 2008, my own 'Top 40' of 2008, in something resembling a particular order. A few things I discovered is that MGMT are better when remixed, Stereolab can still release music as good as anything they've done before, and that the best indie tunes evoke misty windswept seascapes (see Shearwater and Okkervil River). An additional note, for those of you prone to misheard lyrics, is that the screeching falsetto chorus in Jaguar Love's "My Organ Sounds Like..." is actually "and everything it hurts" not "and I've got fingerholes" (although it would be so much better that way).

The whole list can be found at FIQL.

Posted on December 21, 2008 and filed under Tunes.

Yacht Rock

Perusing the info on the new Pitchfork 500 book, I noticed a reference to sidebars that included 'Yacht Rock'. Whatever could the musical genre of 'Yacht Rock' be, and how had I missed this seemingly essential cult reference. Peeling off the layers of the Yacht Rock oevre (the smoooooothest sounds of late 70s soft rock) revealed the golden nugget of the Yacht Rock series on Channel101. The homemade show is features a 'bad on purpose' style, but its lowbrow humour reveals some amazing interweaved connections between Yacht Rockers like Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Hall & Oates. Truly inspired. Now excuse me, while I get back to my smooth tunes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMTI8vg7A5U&w=425&h=355]
Posted on December 3, 2008 and filed under Tunes, Web Weirdness.

Cooking with Coolio

It looks like I'm not the only one combining an interest in music and cooking. I give you... Cooking With Coolio on My Damn Channel. Featuring mood music, disco balls, dancers/ho's and recipes such as Soul Rolls and Swashbucklin' Shrimp, how has this priceless piece of entertainment passed me by until now? My favourite touch is Coolio's eschewing standard cooking measures in favour of 'half a dime bag of Seasoning Salt'.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j648V4K2Vj0&w=425&h=355]

Cookin' With Coolio #10: Soul Rolls

Posted on October 18, 2008 and filed under Food, Site Design, Tunes, Web Weirdness.

How to Discover New Music, pt 3: eMusic

There may be an imaginary division between the personalities of Mac people and PC people in this world. There may be a similar division between iTunes people and eMusic people. I'm an eMusic person. iTunes of course is the dominant online music download store, and though I haven't checked numbers, I'm sure it handily beats eMusic's total downloads several times over. While iTunes has a slick interface, big marketing bucks, the big artists and the big labels, eMusic has so much more for the true music collector. While it doesn't have the major labels, or many of the mainstream big artists (though there are some exceptions like The White Stripes), it does feature a very wide variety of indie labels and emerging artists. The monthtly subscription model (I get 65 downloads for about €15 a month) also encourages sampling and exploration. While it may not have the latest top-40 MTV stars, eMusic has a surprisingly diverse back catalogue, with huge vaults of old jazz, blues, reggae, funk, rock, experimental electro to be discovered. This is why eMusic is an important part of my music discovery habits. Its so easy to start reading about a long-ignored, genius-before-his-time disco producer from the New York underground of the 70's and 80s (see Arthur Russell) and begin sampling your way through his amazing oeuvre.

A great place to start (although one not prominently featured on eMusic's website) is the Magazine which features a selection of spotlights and 'dozens' featuring editorial glimpses into various corners of the eMusic catalogue. We're talking a really broad scope of musical journeys here. Witness, "The Psychedelic Ranger: Adventures in Peyote". While the 'dozens' feature favourite albums of a particular style, genre or other theme (like the great overview of lost disco classics from West End Records), or the favourites of a get artist (like from the late great Isaac Hayes).

Best way to see whether or not you are an eMusic person is to check it out for yourself with 50 free downloads. Leave a message or email me and I'll send you an invite, so that I get a few extra for the recommendation. :)

Posted on September 30, 2008 and filed under Tunes.

How to Discover New Music, pt2: MusicIP

Since Jessica from MusicIP already made a nice comment on yesterday's blog entry, why not start with the MusicIP Mixer as the first in my arsenal of music discovery tools. A piece of software that creates mixes from music in your mp3 collection might not seem that useful for 'music discovery' at first. In all honesty though, I simply love MusicIP - it is really the central nervous system of my music collection (and obsession). And in many ways it is vital for the discovery of new music. I really don't know where to begin with the MusicIP Mixer, it's so very flexible. At its core, it does an audio analysis of the songs in your collection and 'fingerprints' them based on unique audio properties. Once your collection is indexed, you can simply click on a track and create a playlist from your collection of other stuff that sounds similar. This departure point is really what sets MusicIP apart from social networking tools that create indexes of your similarities with other peoples' music collections (of course these have considerably different uses). Its not picking tracks because Joe Blow, who also really likes Joy Division, has a lot of Smiths in his collection. Its picking tracks because they actually share common acoustic properties. That's just the tip of the iceberg. You have a truly awesome amount of control over tweaking various properties of your mix, such the influence the artist's overall style versus just the properties of the 'seed' song. Mixes can also take into account the era of the song (or artist), make connections not just by acoustic similarity but by connections between artists, and my new favourite, popularity.

In recent beta releases, MusicIP has made more and more use of data that is not just collected from your computer, but that has been anonymously aggregated on their servers from MusicIP users across the globe. This sharing of data allows MusicIP to create an index value of how 'popular' a particular track is based on how many users have it in their collection. So I can create mixes of anything from 'hits' to 'fringe' selections from the catalogue. These matches are very accurate since their based on the song's fingerprint, not mp3 tag data. So tag discrepancies don't matter in correctly identifying the track. This same data aggregation allows the MusicIP server to also create index values for things like 'Song Begin', which is the first year when the track was available. Since most compilation alblums are indexed with the year of their release, this lets me get a much more accurate collection of 'seventies' music for example, even if they are from greatest hits albums released in the 2000s.

You may wonder what this all has to do with music discovery. First of all, with a collection as large as mine (going on 35,000 tracks), sometimes the best discoveries you make are from within your own collection. Nowadays, we're no longer sitting in record store listening booths for hours before carefully making our selections. I have streams of music coming into my collection pretty much daily, between music blogs and eMusic downloads, etc. Even though I try to give all the new stuff a decent listen, stuff just gets by me. I can't tell you the number of times that I have 'discovered' a track that has been in my collection for weeks or months down, after it pops into a MusicIP mix of other stuff I like. Brilliant.

MusicIP also facilitates importing xspf playlists from FIQL, and tag-based lists from Last.fm (which I will get into more when I cover those sites). Importing them wil pull all the songs from your collection that are in the playlist into the mix, and can either 'replace' the missing ones with similar sounding songs or just ignore them. Grabbing other peoples playlists and then discovering that your collection has 80% of the contents has been a great incentive for me to go and check out the other 20%.

The MusicIP Mixer also has a discovery window, which has links to free mp3 files recommended based on the contents of your current mix. To be honest, I haven't found a lot of great new music through this function, but it has some good potential.

There's still a lot more that MusicIP can do, but I can't possibly describe it all. You simply need to head over to their site and download the free version. When you discover how wonderful it is, upgrade to the full version like I did. It's well worth it.

Posted on September 25, 2008 and filed under Software, Tunes.

How to Discover New Music, pt. 1

As something of a music geek, my friends often ask how I find out about new music in this largely post-radio world (and I would argue, post-MTV since they don't play music videos anymore anyway). The simple answer is of course the web, but the full answer is naturally more complex than that. Since the topic is a bit to much for me to handle in one post, I'll share a resource in each post for as long as it takes me to cover all the web sites, RSS feeds, podcasts, blogs, and software I use to help me discover new music. This won't be an exhaustive list, or a 'perfect' solution. There's a tonne of music out there, the Internet and mp3s have simply made it too easy to make and distribute new music. This is generally a good thing, as it breaks the creativity-crushing stranglehold that top 40 radio and the major labels held over music promotion and distribution in the past. But now things are arguably too open. How can one find something valuable among the seemingly infinite masses of new music "out there" on the web. What we need are some helpful filters and guides. A word of warning: let your own taste and instincts continue to be your own guide. Don't be too swayed by the influence of music reviews or aggregated 'popularity' charts.

To start, I'll simply list the main resources I use in a list format and go into them in more detail (and likely add to them) in future posts.Music news and reviews

Music Blogs

Mp3 Blog Aggregators

Recommendation Services

Online Music Stores

Playlists

Podcasts

Music Software

Posted on September 24, 2008 and filed under Tunes.

Recipe & Playlist: Jamaican Jerk Chicken

We're heading out to Arto and Hannele's now for a bbq, and decided to bring Jamaican Jerk Chicken to grill. We've done it only once before and absolutely loved it. The only reason we haven't done it more often is that the combination of habanero chilis, onions, and other spices creates an almost painful eye-scorching, nose-running, choking, coughing vapour in the kitchen. So to the great outdoors it goes! I've basically taken the recipe exactly as it appears here. For real jerk-iness make sure to poke some holes in the chicken (we used pointy Japanese chopsticks to pierce the breasts). * 1 tablespoon Ground allspice * 1 tablespoon Dried thyme * 1 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper * 1 1/2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper * 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground sage * 3/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg * 3/4 teaspoon Ground cinnamon * 2 tablespoons Garlic powder or fresh * 1 tablespoon Sugar * 1/4 cup Olive oil * 1/4 cup Soy sauce * 3/4 cup White Vinegar * 1/2 cup Orange juice * 1 Lime juice * 1 Scotch bonnet pepper (habanero) * 3 Green onions -- finely chopped * 1 cup Onion -- finely chopped * 4 to 6 chicken breasts

Since many of the most popular posts on the site are either recipes or playlists, I've decided to combine it into a 'Recipe and Playlist' feature. These songs go along with the Jamaican vibe (including the islands other more famous 'herb'), and some about the main ingredient. So cook up some spicy hot chicken, put on the grooves and enjoy!

Posted on July 26, 2008 and filed under Food, Tunes.

Mixmas 2007

I've been away from the whole virtual mixtape for too long, but there's nothing like the end of the year mad rush of "best of the year" charts to get the creative juices flowing. This year's seasonal songfest is very much a year in progress, as the year seemed to pass without clear standout/breakthrough acts. Clearly, there was some very good music, but nothing quite like the impossible-not-to-tap-your-fingers of 2006's Peter, Bjorn & John, The Knife, or I'm From Barcelona (ok, that's it... not enough new Swedish indie acts in 2007!). Indeed, much of this year's best crop is subdued, brooding, and a wee bit quirky. Also, where the heck was all the listenable top40 pop songs in 2007. Last year Gnarls Barkly, Nelly F, and Justin T all made some pretty sweet tunes even us indie geeks weren't too embarrassed to admit to liking. This year? Nada. Also, much of the highly anticipated follow-ups from big bands like Björk, Interpol, Editors, etc were solid, but nothing special. White Stripes and Radiohead still deliver.

This list is still "in editing mode"... I'm busily looking over the other end of the year lists, like my fellow mix-master jboardley's for inspiration and great artists/tracks/albums that I've overlooked.

Posted on December 15, 2007 and filed under Tunes.

Summer 2007 Playlist

Where else this summer are you going to find Tracey Ulman and environmentally-conscious rap from Edmonton (Cadence Weapon) in the same playlist? Because I've been so lazy putting out a new playlist, you now get a double-dose of tunes perfect for summer fun. But with fifty whole tracks, where are you supposed to start? Well, as I'm going to see the legendary Lee "Scratch" Perry this Saturday why not start his fine dub work on The Upsetter's Mouth Murderer Dub (and Pussy Man from his 2004 album), which shares a 'riddim' with Augustus Pablo, and The Gatherer's Words of My Mouth.

Should exclamatory band names be banned? Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Panic! at the Disco, Ok Go! and now You Say Party, We Say Die!

The National are definitely one of my favourite new discoveries. While the latest album Boxer is superb, my current fave is actually from the previous album Alligators, "Daughters of the Soho Riots".

Of course we need some strange covers, and the always melancholy Camera Obscura go against the grain of the ABBA original with "Super Trouper", 50 Cent is in a party mood with "In Da Club" and Chris Cornell turns in a brooding acoustic version of "Billie Jean" live in Sweden. While I'm a bit weary of mashups, there's something about Dsico's mix of Freak Me and Love Will Tear Us Apart that just... works.

Thanks to catching Spies Like Us on TV, I'm now hooked on The Bar-Kays "Soul Finger" and there is some great funky followups from The Highlighters Band and my the unbelievable Betty Davis. Better known as Miles Davis' third wife, she is way raunchier than Kelis, Amy Winehouse and all her followers combined. And my guilty pleasure this time is definitely Girls Aloud's "Something Kinda Ooooh". Get off your alt-indie pretensions and dance.

Speaking of alt-indie pretensions, definite highlights here include Blonde Redhead "The Dress", Day For Night "Silver Beach", and some Berlin electro from Ellen Allien, "Need a planet without wars and cars. I wish it could be true." Indeed.

All the other stuff is great too. Enjoy!

Posted on July 10, 2007 and filed under Tunes.

Back in Vancouver

I know I'm awful for barely blogging about my current whereabouts, let alone all the variety of interesting things happening in the world. Well, trust me, there's just not that much interesting been going on. As a matter of alleviating some guilt, here is what I'm doing currently. I flew to Toronto on Sunday (Canada Day!) and spent some quality time hanging out with my cousin and my friend Paul. Then "home" to Vancouver on Tuesday, to spent some time relaxing with the family here (you can check out the photo left of the 'big dig' that is their new backyard, complete with babbling brook and pond). Added bonus to coming home at this time was the FIFA U-20 World Cup. My dad and I caught a double header of Uruguay-Jordan and Spain-Zambia. It's great that Canada is hosting an event of this magnitude, and cool that I got to see players like Gerard Pique live at Swangard Stadium, where I saw most of my first soccer/football matches. And extremely cool added bonus is that we just got tickets to the legendary reggae producer and artist Lee "Scratch" Perry next Saturday at the fabulous Commodore.

Posted on July 8, 2007 and filed under Canada, Football, Travel, Tunes.

March/April Mixtape

I've been irregularly posting new (and old) 'virtual mixtapes' over at FIQL for the past few months. Since my Christmas mix CD, I've started posting (bi)monthly mixtapes of new music and some new discoveries of older stuff. Here's the latest...

A victim of my own ambitions, I suppose. Maybe a fresh playlist every two months is as much as I can hope for. Let's just hope it doesn't slip to quarterly or worse from now on.

Anyway, we again have some of the hottest new tracks, exposed to me from Pitchfork and other music blogs (I know, Pitchfork isn't really a music blog) and my eMusic account. Arizona' The Format was a nice surprise, and there song Time Bomb is most catchy. There are also tracks from the new albums from de rigeur indie artists The Ponys, Apples in Stereo, Andrew Bird, Panda Bear, Menomena, The Rakes, and Blonde Redhead. And in honour of my recent trip to Barcelona and Caqaques, we have Ted Leo & Pharmacists lovely La Costa Brava. To round things out, we have a collection of brilliantly original funk/rock/pop/soul crossover covers from Patti Smith (Gimme Shelter), CCR (I Heard It Through the Grapevine), Isaac Hayes (Walk on By), and Marvin Gaye (I Wish It Would Rain).

Posted on April 27, 2007 and filed under Tunes.

AudioScrobbler for Roku Soundbridge

It seems someone has finally come up with a way to submit tracks played on a Roku SoundBridge to Last.fm. This means that my musical habits can be tracked in almost all my listening environments, since I installed my new 'closet stereo' in the bedroom featuring the Roku SoundBridge (actually branded as the Pinnacle SoundBridge HomeMusic) and sweet JBL Spot Speakers. The sbPopper (terrible name) is now in beta (which strangely expires in June- will I have to pay after that?). I'll have to wait until I get home to try it out, but I'll let you know how it works.

Posted on April 5, 2007 and filed under Software, Tunes.

Pitchfork Forkcast

It seems that renowned (and occasionally reviled) music über-website Pitchfork has changed things around by launching the Forkcast. It looks like this replaces their track reviews, free downloads, and the Infinite Mixtape (my favourite innovation of 2006). As they say, "Forkcast exists purely to deliver our favorite new tracks, videos, and advance music." First up are new tracks by Black Lips, Samuel L. Jackson (?), and Ted Leo (!).

Alas, Pitchfork aren't known for their savvy with RSS, and there doesn't seem to be a dedicated feed for the Forkcast. The URL appears to be http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/rss/downloads, which works ok in my RSS reader but not in my podcast software. I'm hoping this will really work as a podcast, so I can grab whatever Pitchfork is grooving to for safekeeping. I'll let you know if I get this to work with my favourite podcasting client, Juice.

UPDATEThanks to FeedBurner, I was able to generate a feed that Juice could actually extract mp3s from: http://feeds.feedburner.com/PitchforkDownloads. You're welcome!

Posted on January 15, 2007 and filed under Tunes.

HÃ¥kan Hardenberger & Rovaniemi Chamber Orchestra

Just came back from the Christmas concert in the Rovaniemi Church, led by Swedish trumpet maestro HÃ¥kan Hardenberger. Quite an impressive artist, and some nice wintery-mood tunes (mostly 20thC. classical composers, with some Bach thrown in for Christmas' sake). HÃ¥kan is considered one of the top classical trumpet players around. He's even got his stuff available on eMusic. :-)

Posted on December 20, 2006 and filed under Finland, Tunes.

Best Albums of 2006

This year may go down for me as the year that the Internet substantially changed my music listening habits. I'm not ready to call it a 'revolution' yet, but the combination of Pitchfork's Infinite Mixtape, Last.fm's indexing of my listening habits, Predixis' MusicIP software, FIQL's playlist sharing community, and my new subscription to eMusic.com have really changed the way I 'consume' music- both in the purchasing and listening sense. Pitchfork recently suggested that we have traded the Age of the Album for the Age of the Playlist and Peter Jenner claims that "Big labels are f*cked, and DRM is dead". My top twenty albums of 2006 list certainly reflects these trends. Very few major label releases, and about as many downloaded through eMusic rather as bought on CD.

On to the list (eMusic links where available):20. M. Ward - Post-War
19. Guillemots  - Through the Windowpane
18. Various Artists - DJ Spooky presents 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records
17. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
16. Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
15. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
14. The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
13. Placebo - Meds
12. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
11. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
10. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
 9. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear Is On Our Side
 8. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
 7. TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
 6. The Knife - Silent Shout
 5. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
 4. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Ballad of the Broken Seas
 3. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of this Country
 2. Cat Power - The Greatest
 1. El Perro del Mar - El Perro del Mar

Posted on December 18, 2006 and filed under Tunes.

When Two Sevens Clash: Reggae Meets Punk

The punk movement has its roots in Detroit and Cleveland before exploding in New York and then London. But the influence of Jamaican and on (The Clash, in particular) is perhaps less well known. In 1977 ("when the two sevens clash"), both reggae and punk were both feeding into massive social upheavals in the UK and the two scenes formed a strange alliance. That year saw Bob Marley visit England and see The Clash, which led to the recording of "Bob Marley – Punky Reggae Party" with legendary producer Lee "Scratch" Perry at the helm.
Don Letts worked as a DJ at the in Brixton, where Sex Pistols and The Clash regularly played sets. In between sets of the newest punk sounds, Letts would spin equally groundbreaking tracks of dub reggae. This tremendous influence on the punk scene is chronicled in Letts' compilation Various Artists - Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown.

The Clash, like John Lydon of the Sex Pistols, became huge fans of the Jamaican music scene. They would go on to cover many reggae hits, like Junior Murvin's "Junior Murvin – Police and Thieves" and The Maytal's The Maytals – Pressure Drop. In addition to covering reggae songs, The Clash's bass player Paul Simonon drew on the reggae sound and the '' culture portrayed in the classic 1972 film The Harder They Come in writing "The Clash – The Guns of Brixton".

It's perhaps a bit too simplistic to talk about "cover songs" and being influenced by reggae rhythms. Jamaican music was far ahead of hip hop and electronica in terms of sampling. Jamaican DJs created new songs and sounds out by mixing and 'toasting' over other records, referencing and extending the originals at the same time. The punk movement merely tapped into this musical narrative.

As an example of the evolution of a sound (or 'riddim'), listen closely as "Sound Dimension – Real Rock" (1968) by the Sound Dimension, gets the dub treatment by Augustus Pablo as "Augustus Pablo – Rockers Rock", which itself becomes the basis for a Willie Williams to lay vocals on top of as "Willie Williams – Armagideon Time" (1978). The Clash do their own version of the same, and created their own dub version ("The Clash – Justice Tonight/Kick It Over") available on Black Market Clash, and Super Black Market Clash.

A quite different evolution can be heard from a very early Jamaican hit "The Folkes Brothers – Oh Carolina" (an early ancestor of the reggae sound) through to The Clash's cover of The Ruler's "The Rulers – Wrong 'em Boyo". A great source of these early influential Jamaican tracks can be found on the compilation Various - One Original Step Beyond.

The Clash weren't alone in the punk scene of borrowing from Jamaican roots. The female punk band The Slits had a clear heavy dub reggae influence, as were the The Ruts. Already leaving punk behind to explore more diverse sounds, Blondie covered another early Jamaican hit "The Paragons – The Tide Is High", echoing Patti Smith's early use of reggae sounds on "Patti Smith – Redondo Beach" from Patti Smith - Horses (1975).

The fusion of reggae and punk emerged in the post-punk '/' movement represented by bands like The Specials, Madness, The Selecter, and to an extent, The Stranglers. Adopting a more mod fashion sensibility and a more polished sound, these bands would take the essence of punk and the spirit and horns of ska and develop it into what eventually became .

Get the whole playlist here:
http://www.fiql.com/playlists/when_two_sevens_clash_reggae_meets_punk/

For further background, check out:
http://www.punk77.co.uk/punkhistory/reggae.htm

Posted on November 20, 2006 and filed under Tunes.

Virtual Mixtapes

A mixtape for the iPod generation- and beyond! A recent post from Wendell over on the official MusicIP blog, Hear Here, introduced me to a technology to swap virtual mixes (playlists) online using MusicIP and the FIQL website. FIQL is a pretty interesting idea by itself, but when combined with MusicIP, it becomes quite powerful. As Wendell explains, MusicIP can import any FIQL playlist by finding matches from your own music library. If it doesn't find exact matches, it looks for something similar in musical style. These replacements are usually quite smart. For example, I was playing around with some 80s new wave playlists, and nearly all of the replacement songs were also 80s new wave (Mano Negra somehow snuck in). Impressive. You can see from my comments on the original post that there are still some problems with the text pattern and music fingerpring recognition, because the import misses about 10-20% of songs that should match tracks in my collection. Some of these seem to be discrepancies between exact spellings of song titles or artist names, but some others I can't explain. Even if the track names don't produce a match, Wendell claims that the acoustic fingerprint should match if the songs are the same, but this doesn't seem to be happening for me. Let's take a smallish (25) but varied playlist as an example:

01   Huddle Formation   The Go! Team
02   Rocks Off   The Rolling Stones
03   Tangled Up inBlue   Bob Dylan
04   That's Entertainment   The Jam
05   I Feel It   Urban Myth Club
06   Kinky Afro   Happy Mondays
07   Interzone   Joy Division
08   Astro   White Stripes
09   Helicopter   Bloc Party
10   Hounds Of Love   Futureheads
11   Unfinished Synphony   Massive Attack
12   Pass It On   The Coral
13   Hard To Explain   The Strokes
14   See You Soon   Coldplay
15   Good Old Days   Libertines
16   Should I Stay Or Should I Go   The Clash
17   Big Exit   Pj Harvey
18   Do You Remember The First Time?   Pulp
19   Note To Self: Dont Die   Ryan Adams
20   Big Mouth Strikes Again   The Smiths
21   Slide Away   Oasis
22   Country Feedback   R.E.M.
23   Spectacular   Graham Coxon
24   All Along The Watch Tower   Jimi Hendrix
25   History   Verve

MusicIP recognized that I had 12 of the 25 tracks, and could replace a further 11 (meaning it couldn't match 2). Replacing caught a further 2 in my library (The Go! Team, Jimi Hendrix), but missed Massive Attack (typo: Unfinished Sympathy, not Synphony) and Pulp (punctuation seems to confuse the text filter). While the replacements were again "interesting", I would have preferred that the missing tracks from the White Stripes, Coral, and Coldplay would have been replaced by other tracks that I have from the same artist (maybe this can be added as a preference?). Overall, not bad, but an improved text filter should be able to catch the typos, punctuation, and alternate spellings. Same goes for the the acoustic pattern recognition.

It's still a really cool system. If you want to try it yourself, make sure you have the latest version of MusicIP (1.7.1) and a beefy music library. While I might use FIQL to share some interesting playlists that I create, I don't see it replacing mix CDs for friends. The whole point of making mixes for me is to introduce someone to new music, not music that's already in their collection.

Posted on November 11, 2006 and filed under Software, Tunes.

Best Albums of 1972

After writing my previous post, I started looking through some of the best albums released in 1972, the year of my birth. Quite a nice selection, although there were a lot of 'big' albums in the prog, stadium-rock and MoR variety (Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Eagles, Randy Newman, Steely Dan) that aren't really to my taste. That said, I've decided to compile a list of my favourites, and buy the albums I don't have yet (many I have only on best-of collections). Roxy MusicRoxy Music - Roxy Music For Your Pleasure is probably my favourite, but this is what started it all and has all the same sexy weirdness. Plus it has Ladytron, which inspired one of my current faves.

TransformerTransformer - Lou Reed I knew Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day, but I was blown away with the quality of this when I picked it up in the bargain bin a couple years back. The crossdressing and general sexual kinkiness theme continues.

HarvestHarvest - Neil Young Beautifully simple and personal songs. Maybe the best album by a Canadian artist ever (but not really a Canadian album). And proves not all my 1972 faves are glam.

Ziggy StardustThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie Ok, maybe they are all glam. Haven't heard this yet start to finish, but planning to bliss out with the headphones when it arrives.

Talking BookTalking Book - Stevie Wonder Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter-day sins? By this token, hell yes.

Exile on Main St.Exile on Main St. - The Rolling Stones The 1970s Stones were wildly uneven, with many unsuccessful musical experiments. Although it seemed like one at the time, this actually proved to be one of the band's standouts.

Pink MoonPink Moon - Nick Drake Somehow captures the magic of the heady 70s groove thang with soulful personal introspection.

The SliderThe Slider - T.Rex Maybe not quite the breakthrough as Electric Warrior, this still rocks to the limt and has a few surprises in store.

Honky ChateauHonky Chateau - Elton John It seems 1972 was a year for my second favourite albums from particlar artists, as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road certainly pips this. Along the same lines as Stevie Wonder, I defend my admiration of 1970s Elton John.

I just missed Led Zeppelin IV by a year (1971), but I should definitely pick that one up as well.

Posted on August 16, 2006 and filed under Tunes.