Indie Rock Playlist (what’s left from August)

(YES, I know it says August and this is October. That’s the idea. I want to give the music time to sink in and make a lasting impression.)

There’s this thing called the “Indie Rock Playlist” that I’ve been downloading for a couple of years or so. Part of me wants to keep it to myself. Part of me wants everyone to hear it. The latter part won this time and I’m not sure I can keep shut up about it ever again.

This guy named .. well.. let’s leave his name out of it for now in case there’s any reason whatsoever that revealing who he is in just the wrong place and time could somehow end up making it more difficult for him to continue.

.. THIS GUY puts a playlist together every month. He most likely works in radio, because he gets a LOT of stuff early. It’s all new or very recent music. It varies in style wildly, which is wonderful because these playlists can be pretty tedious when every track sounds just like the one before it.

It typically has 120 tracks on it. And since I have a player that has only 2 gigs of storage (it’s a wonderful player, but just lacks storage space), I end up having to pare it down quite a bit before it reaches my player.

Now, I’m no expert on what’s good or what’s not. Not even close. But I do love to hear new things and I believe I can distinguish uniqueness from rehashes and sound-alikes. Not that I dislike revivals, I just like it best when it’s blended with new flavors and colors.  Since I have this blog thing here, I thought it might be a nice way to introduce a few people to music they have not heard before. Music that stands out as unique or interesting. I hear a lot of people around me complain about how there’s just no good new music anymore. Part of this is an addiction to nostalgia, part of it is resistance to change, part of it is the lack of radio play for newer, riskier artists. We all know the music “industry” is having a bad time right now, and honestly they’ve had it coming for a long time. Greed and cowardice have finally caught up to them with the karma train and the passengers are departing. It’s about time. But we are far overdue for a revolution. It’s around the corner, we just need to push it a bit.

So let’s get it on. Every month now, I’m going to post a list of “what’s left” after a couple of weeks alone with the Playlist of the month. Since it’s too soon for the current one, I’m starting with August because that’s been reduced down to the few tracks that I cannot let go of. The ones that I cannot delete. The ones that threaten to force me to buy a larger mp3 player.

If you like these tracks, I hope you’ll seek out the artists and purchase their music directly from them. In most cases, the albums are fantastic. Since direct links to mp3s could not be found (and may be frowned upon), I’m doing my best to find YouTube material directly related to the tracks on the playlist. In cases where I could not find the chosen tracks, I’ve replaced them with videos for other songs from the same or previous albums.

Hopefully these are not embed links. Just click the links to go to the youtube page for that track.

Track 07 – Lykke Li – Breaking It Up.

This is one of the cases when the video may just slightly spoil the experience of the song. Not that she’s unattractive or anything like that. It’s just that the video adds something to the song that takes it away from the visuals I created in my own head.  It “pops” it up a bit much and sucks the indie right out of it, in my humble opinion. But the song itself, it’s still got something that I can’t quite put my finger on that just works.

Track 120 – Fleet Foxes – Your Protector

Could only find a live performance of this one on youtube, but it’s pretty darned impressive. This song remained on my player because I just love the large sound of it all.  I had no clue they would look so hippie-like. This is one I must find on CD and purchase. The other tracks I’ve heard from them are just as good and I can’t wait to catch up on everything they’ve recorded.

Track 48 – Captain – Keep and Open Mind

This may be the catchiest track I’ve heard in years. Pop goodness at it’s bestest. I have seen the future of pop and it’s name is… oh forget that crap… just listen. It’s an infection. I mean… infectuous.

Track 49 – Sunny Day Sets Fire – Lack of View

This track puts me in a great mood when I hear it and makes me feel like I’m floating in pudding. Vanilla pudding with chocolate sprinkles to be exact. No idea why, it just works on that level. Sue me. But since there seems to be no video promotional material for this track, I present to you a fan made video for an old Bee Gees song…

Just kidding. Here’s one of their other great songs:

Track 61 – Biffy Clyro – Mountains

Love the way this song starts one way and then becomes something else. In a way, it kind of becomes something less. But it stuck with me and it’s not bad. But I must point out that I seriously dislike “hammy” videos.  In spite of this, great song. This is craftsmanship.

Track 78 – Mercury Rev – Snowflake in a Hot World

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Mercury Rev, if not everything on this little list. But you have the best chance of recognizing these guys more than the others. This track is, I think, one of their best in a long time. And based on the below video, I’d love to catch them live. You may feel some similarities to the Lips here, and maybe for good reason.  Dave Fridmann (their bass player) has produced the most well known and recent Flaming Lips albums. Their guitarist was in the Lips for two albums as well. Could not find a promotional video for this one and it’s just as well, because this was a great live performance that was captured.

(I suggest watching in high quality, since the video itself is of questionable quality in the first place.. but not bad for an audience video)

In a few days, I’ll get to the September one. Then it’ll be a while before I review October.

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5 reasons why you’re wrong about DIGG

My response to Drew Mckinney’s 5 reasons why digg sucks.

Here are his 5 reasons… my response in bold.

1. Despite being a “technology news website” it consistently features stories that are not technology-related in the least. Stories like, “OMG! Clay Aiken is GAY!!” or “Britney Spears to appear on Simpsons!!” are very common on the site.* GMAFB, what does any of that have to do with technology? It’s a little thing to bitch about but still, if I wanted that kind of crap I’d look up different sites that specialize in it. Just keep things to technology, that’s all I ask.

Besides being an exaggeration (no, no Britney), it’s deeply inaccurate. DIGG started that way because the users , at first, were predominantly geeks and fans of the fallen TechTV universe. Everything changes, and the technology section IS filled with tech stories, not gossip or opinion pieces on sexual preference. That’s what filters are for, and they are easy to use on the site. But heaven forbid we expect someone with the knowledge and wisdom to “monetize the web” have the extra neurons available to process the concept of simple filtering. Wouldn’t want you to strain or possibly crowd the area of your brain that keeps track of google adwords stats. 

2. Members can be elitist assholes. I rarely see anything that approaches a rational discussion in the comments, instead, you are treated to off-topic flame wars and personal attacks, most of which involve some sort of “I’m OLD SKOOL and I’m great” type of talk. I’ve seen new members of the community ask a reasonable question only to be told to “Go back to engadget where you belong because this is Digg where our mouths are even bigger than our dicks.”**

That last part is funny, but not for the reason you think it is. See, if YOU think our mouths are big and we’re exaggerating that means when we speak of our dicks, those are huge, too. I like to consider myself above average, but then again when I think of social news criticism, I’m not thinking too much about cock. You know why so many digg users seem elitist? Well, one reason is what many have suspected, widespread Aspergers. The other reason? Because we’re geeks and we tend to deal with a lot of really dumb people on a regular basis, many of whom are in positions of power. So we grab a little power where we can get it. Sad, a little, but when you’re on DIGG, you’re in our house. And didn’t you just say you missed all the tech stuff? If you REALLY missed it, you’d realize that comes with the territory. And remember, this is the Internets, everyone is more rude here. Another important thing to remember is that pointing out that you’re wrong isn’t flaming. Common misconception.

3. Webmasters are given no warning when their site is going to be “dugg.” I think it’s irresponsible of a so-called technology community to overwhelm a web server without having a system in place that would allow the webmaster to set up some mirrors or somehow prepare his site for when the traffic comes. The, for lack of a better term, digg-effect can be devastating to a site and the bandwidth bill can get into the thousands before the webmaster knows what’s going on. These “diggers” know exactly what they are doing yet they completely disregard their responsibility for bringing a site down.

Sorry, that is what we call passing the buck. When you PUBLISH, those are the risks you take. And were you aware that there are different ways of looking at success? One of them is monetary, and the other can end up being monetary but not as instantaneously as you’d prefer, obviously.  This is what makes me so sick about the whole basis of your criticism. You look at success as monetization of your content. The rest of the world could care less about your ad response rates or clickthrough ratios. You’ve missed the whole point of publishing anything. You want success, but you don’t want the attention. Kind of like those celebrities you chide above, many of them want the money and the fame and the power, but they hate the attention. Granted, most of them deserve very little of any of those things, but at least they take responsibility for most of their success.

In other words, you publish and want to generate ads. Writers, real ones, publish and want to be read. They want their words understood, absorbed. They want to inspire people, inform them, educate them. Most writers I know would LOVE to have their site go down because of TOO MUCH traffic. But no, you want it to be “just enough”and you want to pick and choose who your audience is. Guess what? The rest of us don’t get to choose, so what makes you so special? Why should you get that choice? How about you focus on being a good writer, with something unique to say and let your audience be who they are.

And don’t even get me started on hosting. You get what you pay for. And, no offense, if you’ve set up wordpress on a Pentium 2 in your bedroom, you have received EXACTLY what you deserve. Also, if you set yourself up to draw traffic and the second that traffic grows suddenly (there’s almost no other way traffic grows these days) your host shuts you down, you have again got exactly what your 9.95 a year is worth. Almost nothing. Being pissed at the rest of us because you made the wrong choices just makes you look like an ass. 

4. Digg traffic does not equal advertising dollars. Many webmasters have advertising on their sites, like Google’s Adsense or Yahoo!’s YPN and mistakenly thing that getting dugg will equal money in their pockets. This is dead wrong. The people that use digg don’t click on ads, they’re the wrong crowd for contextual advertising, and the webmaster usually ends up paying for a ton of bandwidth and lowers his click-through rate, thereby causing himself to be smart-priced out of the higher-paying ads that might have been shown on his site.***

Cry to them, not us. Again, your choices and you’re blaming us. No-one is forcing you to publish, and we owe you nothing in return for the favor of loaning you our eyes. If anything, you owe us quality for giving you our limited time for the purpose of deciding if your words are worth reading. Then, to add insult to injury (and more insult), you hate us for liking you. Besides, who told you that you were entitled to advertising dollars? If what you have is so valuable, and you’re just so sick of us reading your words without giving you anything in return, get yourself an agent and see if publishers love you as much as we do. Or charge us to read your words. Oh wait, yeah, it’s kind of hard to sell your content without anyone knowing who the hell you are, isn’t it? But… but.. how do they know who I am if I…

Kind of seems like a catch-22, huh? Well, it’s not. It’s a puzzle every writer, musician, performer, composer, filmmaker has been trying to solve since the first caveman intellectual property lawyer started hanging around campfires waiting for his client’s campfire songs to be sung so he could collect royalties. Part of the trick, at least these days, is not insulting or attacking your audience. I think there’s a lesson for you in there somewhere.

5. Apple is God and Microsoft is the Devil. I just don’t understand why everyone has to jump all over a guy just because he has Windows installed on his laptop. You want to know something jerks? Sometimes people in the world can’t afford the Apple-tax and they have to get something that’s in their price range. Yeah, everyone knows that Windows sucks, we don’t need to hear it every second.

You know what? I’m kind of with you on this one. But I feel it’s important to point out that for every person reading this that agrees with us, there is another who disagrees with us and thinks we’re both asshats. It’s how the world works. If everyone agreed with everyone else, the world would be boring (or Singapore).  You really need to accept this in order to be a remotely happy and adjusted individual. There is NO unmoderated or slightly moderated community that does not have discourse. And you should know by now that when a community is heavily moderated, the opinions tend to side with those doing the moderating. And what kind of a real conversation can occur in that environment (or Singapore)?

DIGG is like any other free place, you’re going to hate at least half of it. If you love all of what you see in such a place, it is no longer free. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Lost Spoilers revealed (do NOT read)

Ok, this is what was deleted from AICN earlier. Real? Maybe.

…………………… you have been warned……

This is the info as written by lostfan108

Episode 322 FINALE “THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS”

First, the deaths. A bunch of Others get killed when they try to raid the camp. This includes Friendly, who Sawyer shoots in cold blood — and also the other new tough guy Other (I think his name is Price) who gets run over by Hurley in the van. And Charlie dies. He unblocks the jamming signal in the underwater station but drowns when Mikhail uses a grenade to blow it up, killing them both.

Another big moment is when an old favorite of the show returns. Locke is just about to kill himself in the Dharma grave pit that he fell into after Ben shot him when he hears a voice telling him not to. He looks up to see…WALT!! Walt helps him out of the pit and then disappears. No sign of Michael, and there’s no explanation about where Walt has been or what happened to him or Michael.

Locke then makes it to the Radio Tower — and gets there in time to kill Naomi just before she makes the rescue call. He throws a knife straight into her back. Jack can’t understand what Locke is doing and tells him that he’ll have to shoot him to stop him from making the call himself. Locke threatens to kill Jack, but then backs down. Jack makes the rescue call — and someone on the other end answers.

The story on the island ends with help on the way. Or maybe not. Ben has told Jack that Naomi and her people aren’t who they say they are — and just before he dies, Charlie sees a transmission in the underwater hatch from Desmond’s Penny — who, contrary to what Naomi has said, denies that she knows Naomi at all!!

But the HUGE TWIST of the episode — in fact, probably the huge twist of the entire series — happens in the flashback. They start by showing that Jack is totally fucked up. He’s popping pills and suicidal. The first flashback shows him about to kill himself by jumping off a bridge — only a car accident nearby causes him to stop, and instead of killing himself he fins himself helping the accident victims. But he keeps spiraling. He sees his ex-wife at the hospital — she’s pregnant with another man’s child. He goes to a funeral of a person that we never discover, but whoever it is, his (or her) death rocks Jack hard. He steals drugs from the hospital and is caught by the new doctor in charge. And all the time, he’s constantly on the phone desperately trying to contact somebody.

And the last scene shows us who…he goes to meet the mystery person, and it’s the last person on earth we would think…it’s KATE! And it’s now that we realize that for the first time in Lost history, we haven’t been watching a flashback. We’ve been watching a FLASH-FORWARD! Yep, that’s right. THEY ACTUALLY SHOW THAT JACK AND KATE MAKE IT OFF THE ISLAND. For some reason, this has been the cause of Jack’s spiral. He tells Kate they have to go back to the island. She refuses and drives away. The show finishes with Jack screaming “We have to go back!!”

Posted in aicn, lost, spoilers, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Is Gliese 581c a hard planet to get to?

The story of the newly discovered, possibly habitable planet Gliese 581 c, is made far more interesting by another article I found in 2006.

Take a leap into hyperspace

From the article:

“EVERY year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented at its annual conference. Last year’s winner in the nuclear and future flight category went to a paper calling for experimental tests of an astonishing new type of engine. According to the paper, this hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could leave Earth at lunchtime and get to the moon in time for dinner.”

Forget Mars!! Let’s go check out the planet that may just be our second home someday. Besides, which takes longer, terraforming or space travel? How long would it take to get to Gliese 581c with this new type of engine?

Posted in AIAA, American Institute of Aeronautics, gliese, nasa, new planet, science, space, terraforming, travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Ten Reasons You’re a Rich A-Hole

   1. You don’t take vacations. You make a note of often reminding your co-workers (or more effectively, your underlings) that only weaklings and whiners take vacations.
Besides, who wants people to think you let your family decide what you do with your accumulated extra 4 hours a day you’d normally be spending in bed? (see #2)
2. Sleep is for the weak. Life is short. Why waste time extending it by getting a healthful number of sleep hours? Life extension is for people who don’t know how to live like syphilitic kings.
3. You Have a short attention span. Interrupting people is a good way to minimize their (more often than not) inflated self-worth and give you the upper hand. If you’ve ever seen the Jerry Springer show, it’s always the loudest one who wins by not letting the others speak full sentences. If they don’t like it, let them talk to the hand instead as an option.
4. You Don’t depend on technology. Donald Trump doesn’t even have an ATM card. Why carry such a thing when credit cards can be used instead? Cash is only good for 2 things, tipping and giving money to the needy. One of these 2 is just silly, and the other people should be happy enough to be in your presence, let alone serve you at your table.
5. Being underestimated is a good thing. But be careful, it can be hard sometimes to tell the difference between the guy that just brown-nosed you and and the guy at the board meeting with a silent-bob-like,hands-on-the-face-home-alone overly surprised look on his face.
6. You are a one-man army. If you keep thinking of yourself as just the general of your one-man army, well, your just never going to get anything done, are you? You have
to be a very smart one-man army also. And you have to be the guy who gets the no-bid contracts and the guy who doesn’t give his soldiers the equipment they need so they
don’t get “all uppity”. On top of all that, you have to be the one man army who has other people do the shooting and dodging and all that dangery stuff. As they say at the
country club, rough breeds scuff. And those are some expensive shoes, Joe.
7. Success Leads to More Success. And that success leads to even more, and so on and so on. And when that success isn’t enough, you start doing things like hiring 5 men
whose sole job is to scour third world brothels to find dark haired, blind, amputee, midget, hair-lip prostitutes who are willing to pee in shoes for your amusement and thirst
quenching. And when you grow tired of that, it’s on to the next success.  Yay!
8. You Ponder each decision carefully. The only way your going to make bucket loads of money is through a vast number of decisions throughout your career. Donald Trump
says that people should “treat each decision like a lover”. Weigh the financial costs compared to the value of the sexual encounter with said individual. If it ends up costing less than the blind midget amputee sex and it feels better, she may be worth marrying for a while.
9. You Trust your family. But keep your enemies closer. And remember to get that will written early and written well. If you want them to start fighting over you right away, make sure a draft of the will accidentally leaks to the most jealous member of your family. Then what’s really funny is when a few months later you change who gets what so that everyone who did really well in the first draft does really badly, then
leak the second draft to the same family member. Ooh, the looks you’ll get. (Note: Now may be the time to hire those food tasters.)
10. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, risk did. Never take innovative risks. Only take risks with a guaranteed payoff. You’re not in the business of charity, after all.
You’re in the charity of business.

Note: This is not a jab at rich people or even Trump. It’s a jab at a-holes.

(in response to : Ten Reasons why you’re not a Billionaire)

Posted in comedy, digg, eat the rich, humor, mockery, satire, top ten, trump | Leave a comment

Former Microsoft engineer now aboard space station

link to real story

A video linkup at Russian Mission Control in Korolyov, on Moscow’s outskirts, showed the three smiling and getting hugs and back slaps from the three-member crew already on the station.

“How did the launch look?” Simonyi asked spectators at Mission Control.

bsod

Yeah, I know, cheap shot. But someone had to do it.

Posted in bsod, humor, microsoft, nasa, space station | Leave a comment

Apple, the E.U. and Biz as usual.

The E.U. is having problems with Apple’s music business practices again. This time it’s about the pricing of identical content across Europe and the varied availability of content by country. It seems they care about consumers and preserving the consumer’s options in that part of the world. So far.

I’m aware, however, of how difficult it must be for Apple dealing with not only varying levels of consumer protection while doing business in different areas of our world, but while also juggling the wide range of mandatory, paranoid restrictions imposed upon them by the major distributors of music. It’s got to be a hard juggling act. So far, they seem to be doing fairly well.
But I’ve been puzzled by one aspect of iTunes many have overlooked. Why is it that almost any podcast can be distributed for free through apple’s lovely system but the same is not true for musical recording artists who wish to either give their music out for free or offer their profits to charity?

I know of two artists who have attempted many times to get their music on iTunes, without success. Why? Because they do not sell their music. That’s it. Apple requires that musical recording artists be on at least an indie label tracked by soundscan in order to be carried on iTunes. What about artists who wish ONLY to give their music out for free, for whatever reason?

Why would anyone want to give their music out for free? Well, some could do it for reasons of protest or activism. Others may just do it for fun and feel that what they are doing is far to experimental or odd for commercial consumption, so why try? Whatever the reason, what is Apple’s? Clearly podcasting is a-ok when it comes to free distribution. So why not music? Perhaps it’s lack of demand? One artist (who shall go un-named so as to not ruin anything for them in this “area”) has received much college and worldwide radio airplay and has had their first album downloaded over 100,000 times (that they can verify through bittorrent only) yet they are still rejected by iTunes. What’s the reason in that case? They even offered to let apple sell their music at an extremely reduced rate and let apple keep the proceeds or donate them to charity and never even received a response. So what’s the excuse then? Why must they sell physical CDs in order to be a part of iTunes?

They seem to love the idea of free or cheap content, as long as it’s a tease for an additional purchase. I’m not saying Apple should give their bandwidth out for free. But I am saying that artists should not be forced into commercialism in order to be distributed on the largest music retailer. There should be an option available. Perhaps sales could be stored in an advertising fund for the band. Imagine how many small town bands would love the chance just to be heard, to be discovered. The music business is far too sickly to be refusing such medicine, refusing the chance at finding the next genius hiding in Ohio or Sao Paulo. They should be begging for such things, not trying to block or restrict them. Then again, usually advice should be given only to the deserving.

Posted in anti-competitive, apple, bittorrent, consumer rights, creative commons, drm, fair trade, free music, itunes, riaa | 3 Comments