Social Listening & Vinyl Media

23 08 2010

These days people who listen to vinyl records (and subsequently, hunt them down) are often placed into two categories of people: “Old people”, who enjoy the nostalgic pops and creaks associated with vinyl media – and the memories associated with them; and “hipsters”, those who listen to appear ironically cool. I guess I’d fall into the second general category as I was born in the late 80’s (after the invention of CD), but I think there’s more to vinyl than looking ‘hip’. Vinyl was one of the later eras of social music. When a record originally came out, people had listening parties. It was a big deal – and an event – to go to a friend’s and listen to a new album. Outside of money limitation, there was a great deal of space needed (you needed enough, level, space to hold a record player). Nowadays, music can be found everywhere – on mp3 players and phones. In fact the last ‘audio format’ to be introduced was slotSD – you may have seen a display here or there (I’ve seen em’ in Best Buy) where you can by a microSD card which is loaded with a whole album.

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Music: Phoenix

3 07 2010

This post will feature a few reviews:

United (2000), Phoenix

In 2000, alt-rockers Phoenix *fully* entered the music scene with ‘United’. In comparison to their newer works, this album shows it’s, young, age – it’s genre is quite varied, reaching the indifferent alternative of the 90’s to the dance-jazz-disco feel of the 70’s. While United lacks a general consensus, it’s amorphous nature is what makes it a solid entry. If you’ve seen Lost in Translation or Shallow Hal, you’ve probably heard ‘Too Young’ – the most known (early) song by Phoenix. When I first heard this song, my foot started taping and my head bobbing… well, if I was in public it was probably internally. Too Young features a great hook of a bass-line and mild lyrics to get lost in the atmosphere of the track. Their second most noted song from this album is ‘If I Ever Feel Better’, which touts a similar dance-like feel that Too Young has. I only recently paid attention to the (wealth) of lyrics contained in this song and I was amazed that these guys packed as much… deliberation?… soul?… into the song. Another notable tune is ‘Funky Squaredance (Part 1/2/3) (Medley)’, which is not only an excellent title but an amusing take on funk – they also incorporate some auto-tuned-robotized vocals into it. Yes, it’s awesome.

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Discuss! Music for the Moment

15 06 2010

Let’s get this blog talking!

As you’re reading this very sentence think about a song (or let us know what you’re listening to *right now*) that meshes with your current mood/state.

I’m listening to Jónsi’s ‘Go Do‘. He’s the lead singer of Sigur Rós – so the music style is similar to what they normally put out, albeit, incredibly uplifting. If you’re having a bad day, it’s a great tune to listen to. And if you’re having a great day, it’s an excellent soundtrack. I’m having the latter. 😀

The Direction of Media

6 06 2010

On May 18, 2010, a video game  I’ve personally been waiting since mid-2005 for came out. It’s named for it’s main character, a fiction writer named Alan Wake. While the game has been a joy for me to play, it’s represented a major shift in gaming. I began playing games over 15 years ago and the delivery method of content itself has gone through several iterations.

Alan Wake comes packaged with six ‘episodes’, all of which are around two hours long. This makes for a short game (which only touts single player, I might add) with the promise of more content – three more episodes for 2010. Alan Wake is the first game I can think of, besides music games, which will rely on consumers buying the initial product and sticking around for the add-ons. Yes, this has been done before in more vague terms; most notably, in my mind, being Borderlands, which uses a similar principle. But I feel that Alan Wake is difference because it’s not going to be ‘bonus’ material, the future downloadable content will effect the plot of the game – to a large extent. In past years (especially the 2000’s), gamers have been met with oodles of sequels, which in reality is that era’s reaction to systems and delivery method in general (now you can download updates on your console). We are getting to a point where we don’t need to add a number to the end of a game to continue the story, we just have to connect to the internet then spend some arbitrarily dedicated “points”/money on new content.

In just five years (2005-2010), the gaming industry (as well as music) has begun to change from traditional long forms to instant, short forms. Where will things be in another five?

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Music: Pomplamoose

5 06 2010

Perhaps one of the saving graces of YouTube and the independent internet music establishment is a San Francisco based instrumental duo called Pomplamoose, comprised of ultracute Nataly Dawn and her boyfriend Jack Conte, whom I hate for no other reason except that he’s dating Nataly. Bastard.

You might better know them for their cover rendition of The Cordettes’ Mr. Sandman, used in a recent commercial for the Toyota Avalon.

Sure, they have great original songs, but perhaps their best (and gimmicky) claim to fame is their deconstruction of pop music. Everyone has love-hate relationships with covers, but, very much like Marie Digby’s cover of Rhianna’s Umbrella, Nataly and her tool of a boyfriend proceed to making pop music drivel for the masses more digestible. Perhaps even redeemable. Digby did justice to a well-written song like Umbrella by playing it with the bare essentials, just her vocals and acoustic guitar, without the shite Apple GarageBand beats and cockteasing sexuality Rhianna added to the song. Pomplamoose does the same with both beloved and scorned pop songs.

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Musical Therapy

4 06 2010

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, rather – I hope I’m not alone in this, but music makes up a mosaic or even a scrapbook of my life – I can instantly be placed into the mentality of my twenty year old self when I hear ‘Ocean‘ by John Butler Trio (although this is a much shorter version) or closing my eyes to ‘Everyday‘ by Buddy Holly to feel the shag carpet against my stomach as a 10 year old. It’s in this musical recall that I find solace. I let it fill my chest with warm as it overtakes me and my memories of my current concerns fade, to bring me back to other times – be it better or worse.

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