Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This Week's "Moron of the Day of the Week" is......

Believe it or not, it's not some moron that thinks Obama wasn't born in the United States! Despite the White House releasing his long form birth certificate, there are still batshit crazy people that still don't believe him. To you people? I am glad you don't want healthcare. Because you need to die. Soon.

Anyhow, there's someone else even more stupid out there. And it's the man that cried racism and then called the cops and had a man arrested - for singing "Kung Fu Fighting".

"We were performing Kung Fu Fighting, as we do during all our sets," he told the newspaper. "People of all races were loving it. Chinese people have never been offended by it before."

But Ledger told The Sun an Asian man walking by with his mother hurled an expletive and made an obscene hand gesture at the performers during the Sunday afternoon performance, then took a photo with his cell phone.

"We hadn't even seen them when we started the song. He must have phoned the police," The Sun quoted him as saying.

The man claimed he was "subjected to racial abuse," police told BBC News, and complained to the police the same evening.

So this jerkoff publicly makes a crude gesture and remark, and nothing happens to him. A man covering a song made famous by a black man is then arrested? To that oversensitive "man", I also have an obscene gesture for you. It's called a middle finger, because you're a fucking tool. To the Hampshire Constabulary? I'm pretty sure you have better things to do. You know. Like help solve murders? Or send your people off to help with that ridiculous wedding that's nothing more than a middle finger to poor people across the world? No. You are doing a fine job. Idiots. All of you.

Click to Play Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Some weeks are better than others when you write about music. Sometimes the perfect album appears early on and you've finished your post in short order. On the flip side, sometimes you have to trudge through a lot of records to find the one that sparks something. Lately the latter has been true for me.

I started out with Holy Ghost! by Holy Ghost!. First of all, the punctuation included in their name pisses off the grammar lover in me. I just had to put a period after an exclamation point. While it's technically correct in this case I just feel creepy now. Anyway...

These guys are doing the 80s dance revival thing that's so popular right now. That's not really my thing, so this album wasn't so exciting for me. The music is done well and all but in the end bands like this just make me want to break out my Welcome To The Pleasuredome album. That's right, Frankie Goes To Hollywood for the win.

I did pass this along to some friends who secretly wish they were Molly Ringwald, and I know some of you may be interested in the group, so here's a track. If it's your bag go pick up a copy and tell everyone how awesome it is and how out of touch kilter is. I'll be ok. Really.

Click to play Holy Ghost! - Wait And See

Next up was Silverstein and their album Rescue . I was thinking, "they're Canadian, they're post-hardcore, they like Shel Silverstein enough to name their band after him; how bad can they be?" Well, again, they may be wonderful for some of you out there but this is what happened when I queued up the first track:

Click to play Silverstein - Medication

I'm just not that into them. It's not them, it's me. They're obviously very talented musicians (listen to the drummer) but I'm over anything that even resembles emo/screamo/whatever. My angst levels are low enough that this doesn't get my blood boiling or even intrigue me. What does intrigue me is how "post-hardcore" as a genre can include this kind of music alongside, say, Fugazi. We're painting with an extremely wide brush there, folks.

I had just about given up and gone back to Girl Talk or The Cave Singers to match my general mood, then the new Explosions In The Sky album came my way. These guys are probably my favorite post-rock band so the timing couldn't have been better.

The new album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is a 6-song instrumental journey on par with anything these guys have put out. They build lush, extended (most songs are over 7 minutes long) soundscapes that really draw you in. This is, in my humble opinion, what the post-rock movement is all about. You can sit back and let the music swirl around you or you can listen intently to the thickness of the production and catch all the little nuances. I'd love to post multiple tracks from this album but it would be practically giving the thing away. Here's one, which should be enough to convince you to buy the record.

Click to play Explosions In The Sky - Be Comfortable, Creature

So, even though I can't say it was a wonderful week overall for my musical tastes, I'm sure there's something here for everyone. Grab one (or all) of these albums this week and enjoy.

Oh, and here's the full Silverstein track, in case you're interested. I'd hate to leave you hanging.

Click to play Silverstein - Medication

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'd Have To Take A Thousand Pills To Find Out Where Their Headlights Lead

I have to rebuild a lot.
I lose things, and I have to find them again.
I forget a purpose, and I have to regroup.

But for today, I will just talk about the rebuilding and the losses I sustain via my iTunes. Yes, I have said it nine and a half times in this blog. But I am going to say it again. I was listening to the new Thursday album, and I thought, doesn't this sound like Deftones? Let's pull up some Deftones and... what? Am I spelling it right? Shit. What happened to my Deftones?

And for that matter, this is Thursday I am listening to? I thought it was some random new band I was discovering, called No Devoluciòn. Ah, shit. I'm not qualified to review Thursday, am I? I literally have no idea who they are. OK I have an idea. One idea. They're that band. That band that kid was going to see, or maybe they were opening for that band that kid was going to see, who was going to play all their albums. And I thought the name of the band Thursday was actually named November. Yep. That's all the history on this band I am giving you. I am not going to pretend to know their roots, and I am not going to reWikitate stats for you.

Mayday, ground control to no one
Empty the seats and put away the maps
You've been away past the far horizons

There is someone else they sound like, but I can't put my finger on it. In the opening track for this, the 6th studio album, No Devoluciòn, they are sounding a bit like Lovedrug. This album will travel back and forth between Lovedrug, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, and Chiodos.

Screaming from a stage or at a pay-phone in the rain
Trying to find the words I always think I need to say
Please, bring it back to the moment before you left
I never felt the sting.
The louder the ring, the less the thing.

Click to Enjoy Thursday - A Gun In The First Act

Then there are the times you think you are going to lose something, so you grasp too desperately at it. And make it wish it were lost.

You'll probably never get it right. That's all I've got for you.

Kid, you need some thicker skin,
You don't take punches well.
You're just like your old man
But you're young and scared.
You're weak in your beliefs
And you've got so much to prove
And not a lot of time
Before they get to you.

Disregard those clapping hands.
They'll turn to punches when you're down.
Disregard the critics' praise.
They'll be the first to tell the news
That you've sold your soul.
Disregard those dollar signs.
They'll buy the biggest house in hell
Where you'll live alone.
Just keep your head down,
Keep your friends close,
Hold fast to your beliefs
And, whatever else you do,
Stay True.

Click to Enjoy Thursday - Stay True

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4/20 is another day.

I may be one of the few non-potsmokers out there. The ridiculousness of a "holiday" just annoys me, though. I couldn't care less about people that smoke. It doesn't bother me. This notion of a "holiday"? Bothers me. I understand why some do it. Legalizing marijuana. Bla bla bla. Fine. Hell, I sort of agree with you. Tax that shit. Help get us out of the financial rut our country is in. Guaranteed that if it was legalized and taxed? Potheads would bitch about that, too. It's our pastime.

So just to be a complete jackass, at first I was going to post the following song.

Why? Well, Adolf Hitler was born on 4/20. Somewhere, some little stupid prude would get all huffy and up in arms over how "offensive" it was, though. That and I didn't have the song. So instead, I wanted to post something happy I was listening to to get my mind off of a whole bunch of bullshit. It really has nothing to do with 4/20. Or pot. Or much of anything. I just like the song. So go listen to it. And afterwards? Bitch me out for being "insensitive".

Click to Play Cassius - La Mouche (DJ Falcon Mix)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Music should still be tangible

Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its concept is to celebrate the art of music! The day brings together fans, artists, and the over 700 independently owned record stores in the U.S., along with hundreds of independent record stores around the world.

I was horribly hungover this morning after an amazing evening watching Mumford & Sons at the Cosmopolitan Boulevard Pool. I drank two glasses of water and dragged myself to my car and headed out to the ONLY place it makes sense to celebrate Record Store Day.

The only record store I go to in Las Vegas is Zia Records. I could go to a Best Buy or a Target to buy my media, and in a pinch I will, but if I can help it, I always try to make those purchases at Zia.

As soon as I walked into the store, I am greeted with some great deals to celebrate the special day! For $3 I could get a commemorative t-shirt to remember the day (and look uber cool) and a stack of vinyl in a secret grab bag. I couldn't pass that up so I threw the shirt over my shoulder, stuffed the grab bag under my arm, and walked further in to the store.

I then headed to the new releases wall to grab the new Thursday CD No Devolución. I'd heard that the band has moved away from its Post-Hardcore sound on this album, and I was anxious to hear what they sound like now. Luckily enough, it was on sale for $12.99!

I continued walking around the store, looking for a Record Store Day exclusive I had heard was to be available from the band Manchester Orchestra. I was looking for the "Simple Math" 7" vinyl, featuring a cover of Built To Spill's The Plan. None of the Zia employees knew what I was talking about, and it was so slammed that they could only point me in the direction of where all the special RSD releases would be.
Rhymesayers Entertainment picture disc vinyl

I checked all the RSD endcaps, but didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find something else I wanted!

In honor of Record Store Day, the hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment had released a picture disc vinyl with unreleased tracks from Atmosphere, Blueprint, Grieves, and a few others! It also came with a cool sticker and a digital download card so that I could also get the MP3's! That's a win, and you know that went under the arm as well!

I took my merch to the counter, paid, and bounced back to the ride.

Once home, my first goal was to unwrap the grab bag of vinyl and see what gems and/or garbage I had in my package.

I slowly rip open the bag, and...WTF! That's Lou Rawls!

Very sweet! That's not all though! Also in the grab bag was Jerry Riopelle's Saving Grace, David Becker Tribune's Siberian Express, Ronnie Milsap's Milsap Magic, Kenny Rogers' Love Lifted Me, and a still sealed Christmas carol album from 1969 as well as a few other random pieces.

in the "grab bag"
One, which I think is kind of interesting, is John Stewart's Bombs Away Dream Babies, which features Stevie Nicks on a few songs. One of those songs is "Gold," which you can listen to below.

Click to play John Stewart - Gold (Featuring Stevie Nicks)

Next I opened my new Thursday CD. Threw it into the Macbook and started the first track, "First To The End" and went searching the interwebs for the skinny on this new album and new sound. 

I found this summation of the album from Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly:

There's a lot of breakup records out there that only address the end of relationships, and I think the theme of devotion doesn't get explored that often. If devotion is the theme, the new record is a prism that's being used to refract all of its different aspects.
It appears to be true, the rumors? Thursday's sixth studio album, No Devolución, is not a screamo hardcore album. It's got actual singing. It's dark and mysterious and filled with reverb and atmospheric swells of sound. Rickly even overdubbed some of the vocals in the middle of a forest near the studio. That's one way of doing things differently. There is a lingering of that old Thursday on the album. "Past and Future Ruins" might be that perfect song that blends the old  Thursday with the current one. Check it out below.

Click to play Thursday - Past and Future Ruins

The best thing I grabbed today was the 12" picture disc from Rhymesayers. This record only had a pressing of 1000 copies (mine was numbered 947). The design on the record was created by Ohio artist Chris Gliebe. The highlight of the music on the record comes from rapper Grieves and produced by Budo. Budo, otherwise known as Josh Karp, is the real mastermind of this duo. He's had a formal study of Trumpet and music theory, but his love for music had Karp branching out to any instruments he could get his hands on. The track "Got's To Go" features some amazing guitar and synth work that adds some heaviness to the quick flow that Grieves lays down. Peep these lyrics from the start of the track.

Everybody's got a dark side to the force / Something violent inside em, that makes em wage a war / Picking the pieces up off the floor / the frame fell off our picture perfect amore, damn
Click to play Grieves & Budo - Got's To Go

All in all, this was a great Record Store Day! I hope you got out to a record store on Saturday, and if you didn't, please...head down now. They will be happy to see you, and be sure to mark the date of April 21 for RSD 2012!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shut Em Down. Seriously. Do it.

Seven years ago, while the DNC was here in Boston, I got to meet a childhood idol at my workplace - Chuck D. I'm not lying. I met the man. The man that, back in '89 and '90 while listening to Public Enemy, helped me learn who people like Huey P. Newton were. Who helped me understand what it was like to actually sacrifice to gain ground. I work in a restaurant and walked up to the table he was at and, as politely as I could, simply said hello and thanked him. He was very gracious and shook my hand, and it's still a source of pride for me.

Years later, I've re-learned those lessons, as I've certainly become a hell of a lot more selfless. It's something I certainly don't like to say so publicly, but for the sake of this post, I think there's a need for it so that people understand who I am.

Now, my own feelings come from not just a musician, of course. His lyrics certainly resonated within me and made a difference. It was really only that way because of my upbringing, which I understand fully. The two people that laid that foundation in me internally at such a young age are unfortunately no longer with us, any more, but it doesn't lessen the importance of the lessons they taught me. The music was simply a vessel to launch it into another area of my life - that of equality issues.

Last week, we witnessed Congress - namely Tea Party backed Republicans that strongarmed the rest of their party - nearly shut down our government within the House of Representatives. Now, when I blast Republicans, I have to say that I know that blame isn't 100% on one side or the other. It takes two to dance. In this instance, we nearly had a shutdown of our government over a distorted moral agenda led by Tea Party backed Republicans. The supposed 11th hour deal that was made is simply stripping more social programs, but the Tea Party is still not happy.

Now, Planned Parenthood is there for a reason. To help a certain cross-section of our society with what is a difficult decision, but also to help provide other resources for women that are simply not available otherwise due to what is still a more subversively sexist society. The fact that we have Senators like Jon Kyl making misinformed statements about the role of Planned Parenthood in abortions is even more disgusting. He made the claim that "over 90%" of what they handle are abortions. Don't believe me? Watch for yourself:

Disgusting. Which makes Stephen Colbert's take even better. Take a look at a small part of it:

And that, people, was the sticking point for the budget. A bunch of lying politicians distorting numbers just so they could get a little facetime and suck up to the morally twisted far-right. And yes, that group is led my many involved in the Tea Party. Now, for those saying, "Well, thank God that's over"? Nope. We have more coming. Hell, perhaps today, even.

Check out the news about how the "debt-ceiling" can affect you.

Why are we even in this mess, to begin with? The fact that a lot of Republicans - Tea Party or not - are willing to basically refuse to let our country to function normally because of a bill that passed - legally - in the Health Care reform bill should frighten all of you. Seriously. These are grown men and women. Stomping their feet and throwing a temper tantrum. One that started over lies about Planned Parenthood and abortion and is ending with people simply throwing words like "ObamaCare" around and continuing to be allergic to facts. One of those facts? Our taxes are historically low. Maybe not for you or I, but for the rich, they are. Taxes are how we pay for everything! And we're in this mess because a bunch of puppets - and they're on both the left and right - have pandered to the rich and culled their favor for far too long. Maybe they should have shut down.

Click to Play Public Enemy - Shut Em Down

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Fever Dream [3fer edition]

It's threefer time y'all!
Your three tracks are all off fantastic albums that have come out over the span of the last 5 months or so.

Tides Of Man
Tides of Man

Tides of Man is a progressive rock band from Tampa, Florida. The band came into existence when the members of the band booked a show for late 2007. Even before the band even had any material to perform. 

If you are into bands like Radiohead, Circa Survive, or Coheed and Cambria; there is no chance that you won't love the sophomore album Dreamhouse (2010)

Tilian Pearson, the vocalist, does some great work, but it's the compliment of guitarists Spencer Gill and Adam Sene that bring the work to such amazing heights.

Click to play
Tides Of Man - Sunshine

The band is currently in limbo. It seems that Pearson may be quitting the band to come on as lead singer for the band Saosin. The remaining members of the band hope to continue on, and are currently looking for a new frontman.

The Get Up Kids

The Get Up Kids
Kansas City rockers The Get Up Kids have released a new album! back in the 90's these guys were a huge deal in the Alt-Rock scene. Some might call them emo, but the band would prefer you didn't. They broke up in 2005, but after a successful reunion tour in 2009, the band went back into the studio to record new material. This new album, There Are Rules, might be the best album these five guys have done yet. This is of course my opnion, but I am sure that if you are familiar with their previous work, that you would agree. If you don't agree, feel free to flame me in the comments.

This album seems to be a bit more agressive sonically, although the track I am sharing here is less so. It leans more to the vibe of Vampire Weekend, which you should also be aware of if you aren't already,

Click to play The Get Up Kids - Shatter Your Lungs

This album was released late January of this year. It's album number 5. You like it. Go buy it.

Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst, frontman of Bright Eyes

We've talked about Bright Eyes before, but this latest album is one I have been playing since it was released on February 1, 2011. It's album number 7, and I honestly feel lucky when I get to hear such a great piece of work. Conor Oberst really delivers with The People's Key. It's more straightforward then previous releases, and yet still retains some of the lo-fi feel of previous work. 

We expect amazing when we stop to consider Conor O's discography. He has been involved in so many important bands and albums. Monsters of Folk, Norman Bailer, and the Mystic Valley Band have all had Oberst at the helm.

Click to play Bright Eyes - A Machine Spiritual (In the People's Key)

The song feels like a man's thoughts about his place in the world. How humanity and nature interact, and the delicate dance we are allowed on this earth in this galaxy. That explination doesn't make sense, I know, but it's the kind of cerebral trip Conor Oberst is known for. It's why we continue to listen. It's music for the mind and soul.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I know I stood you up last weekend. Again. I can picture your sad little face, wondering what you ever did so wrong that I would hurt you this way. Baby, it's not you, it's me. I'm not the blogger you thought I was. But I can change, baby, I can change. Or at least I can try to cover a little more ground this week to make up for it.

The last few weeks I've been paying attention to co-ed duos for some reason. It's not something I would particularly seek out but a couple of respectable albums dropped recently, so let's call it a pleasant coincidence.

First up, The Submarines, a duo from Los Angeles. They've apparently been releasing albums since 2006 but their newest, Love Notes/Letter Bombs is the first chance I've had to hear them. I'm glad I did. This is a pop album but it's full of fuzzy bass and guitar, as well as lots of little ambient flourishes that make you feel like you're in space or (who knew?) a submarine. Here's the opening track, which I like.

Click to play The Submarines - Shoelaces

My only complaint is that the vocals don't seem to need as much spacey reverb as they're treated with. That's just my opinion and it doesn't distract from a solid album in the end.

The Kills just released a new album as well. It's called Blood Pressures. Due to an unpleasant incident involving touring with a band, lack of sleep, high tensions, and a long late night drive with one song on repeat, I went into this album with a pretty solid dislike for this band. I'm happy to say I've changed my tune a bit. This is a nice little garage-rock-infused record with lots of attitude. Here's the track "Damned If She Do," a tune that recalls the swagger of T. Rex in my mind.

Click to play The Kills - Damned If She Do

And of course everyone's darlings TV On The Radio have a new album coming out this week. I've only had time to preview a few songs and, while there are some departures from what we've heard before, this is still the unique, crazy cool band we all know and love. You've probably heard the first single "Will Do" so here's another teaser track.

Click to play TV On The Radio - New Cannonball Blues

These guys are always worth the listen, so be sure to pick up the album.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Information travels faster in the modern age

The new Death Cab For Cutie album is unexpectedly melancholy.


I know. Right?

Go ahead; I will give you a minute to chuckle and/or contemplate that statement. Melancholy? Death Cab? Surely you jest. The band from the City of Subdued Excitement? The band who emphatically sported blue ribbons to protest Auto-Tune? That fun-loving band has released a melancholy album?

I know. You and me both. I love listening to their music at night, but there have been songs on past Death Cab albums that will rouse me from my sleep and force me to just go ahead and start bawling. As a matter of fact, there is a track on the new album that could cause me to wake up at night too. I swear I had to pause no less than sixteen times while previewing "Underneath the Sycamore" because I thought I heard a kid hacking to death.

Codes & Keys is Death Cab For Cutie's upcoming seventh full-length full-band album. Where Narrow Stairs was a more uptempo collection of brooding, I really think this one goes back in the opposite direction and really slows it down.

"You Are A Tourist", Track 5, is the first release from this album. By the way, the album actually doesn't come out until May 31, but you can order presale packages now.

Where most songs by DCFC are long narratives with descriptive metaphors or insights, this song is more of an opening of the pain inside and the simple, barely-formed thoughts that come out of it. What's amazing about the song is how somehow, the music is what provides the actual narrative. The sharp, stinging wit is delivered in the bridge.

Click to Enjoy Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist

From this point, the album does pick up on intensity. Ben Gibbard's earnest voice and shallow breaths just never get old. The backing music is like an orchestra of broken hearts who are serious about getting their message across to you.

Make sure you have the collection.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bringing Back Memories

I had this urge to go find a song the other day. When I start looking? I get the damn song. I mean it. Well, this is not the most exciting post. I give you that much. It is a great song, and at least there's a story behind it. You see, I think some folks here know I DJed. And I don't mean this half-assed way where guys look at a computer screen and "DJ". No. Vinyl. And it took a long while for me to even become any good at it. Granted, I was playing around at home for probably an average of five to six hours a day for the first six months, but it didn't come easy. It's something to say I'm proud I learned how to do.

Well, this song is actually one of the first I picked up on vinyl. Now, when I bought my turntables back in early 2001 - which I still have, by the way - the kid I bought them from also gave me about 20-30 pieces of wax. Some of it I never touched. This one, I used to practice with all the time. And for some reason, it gave me fits. So I would stop. Start. Try mixing again. And fuck up again. It's not a difficult track to play, in retrospect. Who knows why I had so much difficulty with it. Perhaps the other ambient sounds in the track confused me. Perhaps my sound system to use as a monitor speaker were crap - and they were. Bottom line is, I learned how to do it.

And I have to say, I don't think I ever played this song out at a gig, which is a shame, because I love it so much. I looked for this version for a couple of days. The dub version just isn't the same. Yet it was all I could find. I did find the vocal mix, and I give it to you here. The track? "South Side" by Moby, and this is the Pete Heller Park Lane Vocal mix. I don't know what it is about this mix I love so much, but maybe that's a good thing. I simply love it. Now I pass it along to you guys!

Click to Play Moby - South Side (Pete Heller Park Lane Vocal Mix)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Your music in the clouds

Have you heard about the Amazon Cloud Drive?

This is a new service provided by Amazon that they hope will make them some extra income, as well as spur additional sales in their MP3 Download Store.

Why do you want one? The main reason might be that no one buys physical CDs anymore. I mean, do you? Well, if you are anything like me, you have a few devices and computers that you play your digital music on. Maybe you only have one place where your music library is, and it's probably safe at home. Except it's not safe. It might even be little anxious thoughts that nag you about the fact that you aren't backing up all this precious music. All the CDs you ripped to MP3, all the albums you have bought on iTunes; they are all at risk. Not to mention all your photos and documents...did you just have a full on panic attack?

Amazon Cloud Drive starts off as free, but will be limited with only 5GB of space. This might be adequate for some, but if you are even here reading this, it might be likely you are a music fan and probably have a library bigger than 5GB. Plus, you might want to move all those bazillion megapixel images you have taking up space on your drive to the Amazon Cloud, which means you will need more space. The pricing plans go all the way up to a terabyte of space (1TB) and all the many sizes in between, but the price doesn't go down the bigger you go. It's a dollar a GB. 1TB is $1000 a year. That's a hefty price for most of us. I'm a music nerd, and my music library is over 180GB. so I would probably be looking to spend $200 a year to cover my entire library. I'd have to leave any other files types (photos/movies/documents) on my machine, or come up with $500 for the next plan up (500GB).

I am pretty committed to Dropbox. I've paid for the 50gig upgrade ($100), and have convinced many friends and peers to at least sign up for a free 2GB account. I suggest you sign up as well. Dropbox is the same idea as this Amazon Cloud Drive, with a few exceptions. Dropbox stores your files on their server, but also has a client that will keep folders on any of your computers in sync. Move a file into your dropbox at home and it will be synced and ready to use when you get to work. You can get to your files with any browser if you find yourself on a machine that isn't yours. There are also apps for Android and iPhones that will allow you access to your files on the go. But trying to keep an iTunes library synced this way is problematic because of the machine specfic XML files that iTunes uses to read your library contents. What this really means is that you can only have iTunes open on one computer at a time. There are ways around this, but I find it's not worth the work. I use dropbox to move albums and documents back and forth between computers and to share with friends. Also, it's important to mention that when you refer your friends to Dropbox, you get an additional 250MB per referral added to your account for free. I've earned an extra 5GB this way!

I use Audiogalaxy to have access to my library from anywhere, and that's free. But unless you have a backup plan on that library, all those files are at risk, since you are never really uploading anything to Audiogalaxy. It's just allowing you to stream music from your machine at home, for example, to your PC at work or even to your smart phone. It's a great service, especially for the price, but I've been feeling like updates for new features and bug fixes are slow to come.

Should you get an Amazon Cloud Drive? I'd sign up for the free account. 5GB of cloud storage is tough to beat, and I'm sure you will use it. Paying for it will entail checking the size of what you want to securely store in the cloud and then deciding if the price is something that matches your budget and needs.

There are some other perks though that might sway you. For example, if you purchase your digital music from Amazon, you can store those files to your cloud, and it won't count against your total. That means that you are only paying for the storage of music that you haven't purchased from Amazon. If you continued buying music from Amazon you could grow your library without having to come out of pocket for more space. They are also running a promo right now that will give you a free upgrade to the 20GB account if you buy one full album from Amazon. This freebie is only good for a year, and is only available to US customers.

There are some risks and downside with Amazon Cloud Drive. For one, it's still unsure how the music labels will react to this. Amazon doesn't have agreements with any labels as of now, because it believes there's no reason to — since the Cloud Drive is just holding onto what's already yours. The labels might not see it the same way. MP3tunes ran into this problem and is facing a pending lawsuit from from labels and publishers under the umbrella of the major label EMI. Also the Amazon Cloud Drive has an android app, it doesn't have one for the iPhone. An iPhone may happen, but Apple has many reasons to not allow this into the app store. Plus, it's very likely that Apple will be releasing a service like this in the near future, and you may not want to upload all your music to Amazon just to have to reupload it to Apple's service.

If you are still liking Amazon Cloud Drive I suggest you pick up the new Mountain Goats album All Eternals Deck. It's only $5 and will get you that free 20GB upgrade, which is a killer deal, all things considered.

Click to play The Mountain Goats - Beautiful Gas Mask

Friday, April 1, 2011

Who's the fool?

My two loves are music and technology. In my day job, I write software. I've been writing code for over 13 years professionally. Before that, I would write little scripts on a TI-99/4A for fun. My first application was a program that would take your questions and answer you with a yes/no/maybe answer. Like a virtual Magic 8-Ball. This was needed because I didn't have many friends, and talking to my computer allowed me some basic interaction skills. Honestly, I think even now I'd prefer my social interactions to be behind a computer keyboard!

I've often thought of starting a tech blog. Something along the lines of a Mashable or a Mental Compost perhaps. I may, one day, expand our inALLcaps brand to review books, movies, and gadgets. Until then, it's exclusively music.

I am going to blend the lines a bit today and mention two cool technologies that tie into music. Well, it ties in once you understand the context.

A friend of ours came into town from Seattle (or just outside Seattle... /wink) for a bit of vacation time. They ended up staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The story goes that in their room were two large framed photos on the wall. One was a montage of photos of the band Fall Out Boy. The highlight was a picture of Pete Wentz peeing.

The other picture was of a beautiful blond frontwoman, in a tight red dress. Here is the picture he took with his phone.

He showed me this picture while we were drinking at the Griffin downtown. I really wanted to know who this blonde bombshell was, as did he, but I had no clue.

The next day he posted the same picture up on his facebook wall. I was again intrigued, and thought about how I could figure out who this hottie was. I remembered an article I read somewhere about reverse image searching. It's popular in the retail sector. Someone with an app like Amazon Pricecheck could snap a photo of a product for example, and the app would try to determine what product in Amazon's inventory matched your photo. I've used the app and found it to be very hit-and-miss. This proves that the technology is out there, so I jumped on google and stumbled on to TinEye.

TinEye is essentially a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

I found this bit of marketing from their website:

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. It is free to use for non-commercial searching.
TinEye regularly crawls the web for new images, and we also accept contributions of complete online image collections. To date, TinEye has indexed 1,953,157,319 images from the web to help you find what you're looking for.
This looks EXACTLY like what I need to ID this image. I upload my friend's photo, and within a second get returned some results. With another click I verify that this is Vinila Von Bismark from the rockabilly band Vinila Von Bismark & ​​The Lucky Dice.  I'm also able to get access to a higher resolution image of the singer.

Vinila Von Bismark performing at the Hard Rock
Vinila Von Bismark appears to be from Madrid and also seems to be a popular DJ. I don't sound confident because I could find barely anything on google about Vinila that wasn't in Spanish. If I trust Google Translate, another great technology, then it appears that she is actually a he! The more google results I found and translated, the more I think it is not a language translation error.


Click to play Vinila Von Bismark & The Lucky Dados - Bad Boys

I'M A MAN from Gustavo Lopez Mañas on Vimeo.