Posts tagged #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.

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, 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.