rfunk: (about time!)
2010-04-13 09:56 pm
Entry tags:

2009(?!) CD Swap Finally Completed

Over a year ago, [personal profile] featherynscale announced the 2009 CD Swap. The participants were divided into groups, and were to send out mix CDs to the rest of their group. The primary rule, besides being playable on a normal CD player, was that the CDs must have a theme.

I had participated in 2008, and since it took a couple months to get my CDs out that I made that my theme: It's About Time!

I had no idea that I'd be much much later with my 2009 CDs. I finally mailed them out yesterday morning. I ended up making two mixes this time:

Boys & Girls And Other Options )

Songs For The End Of The World )

(I did make a few extras, if anybody else wants one.)

rfunk: (Default)
2009-12-16 06:46 pm

Downloadable concerts

I recently discovered that NPR has quite an extensive rock/pop/folk music section on their website. This includes the weekly show All Songs Considered, which I haven't listened to much but seems sorta like a more-NPR-sounding version of Sound Opinions.

But the really cool part is that they have downloadable recordings of full concerts, including:
(The) Gossip
... among others that I'm still exploring.

Oh yeah, and NPR provides podcast links to all this music, in seemingly endless permutations.

(By the way, Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney is part of the NPR music staff, which is especially amusing when she's covering the Gossip show as a reporter/fan and Beth Ditto gives her a shout-out from stage as an inspiration.)

Oh, and just because this song came on after I listened to the Gossip show, I have to add that no matter what the haters say, Courtney Love rocks.
rfunk: (phone)
2008-12-12 11:18 pm
Entry tags:

Today's little updates

  • 09:00 Listening to Indigo Girl Amy Ray rock out solo on Sound Opinions. Sounds like Melissa Etheridge. Who knew she has 3 solo rock albums? #
  • 18:46 Eating before facing a dark snowy drive home. Hoping to avoid speeding 22-year-olds. Not to mention ice. #
  • 22:11 made it home without incident. At least I no longer live in the snowy northeast. #
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-11-23 11:51 am
Entry tags:

The River

This song has been going through my head a lot lately, mostly for the lyric "But lately there ain't been much work on account of the economy."

(Well, and also "... Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir.")

So I thought I'd share.

Hear more... )
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-11-21 02:56 pm
Entry tags:

Watershed / Dead Schembechlers (or others) tonight FREE

Wow, what a week, lots to write about.... but not right now. Right now I just want to mention that tonight is a set of free concerts in Columbus at the Promowest complex on Neil Ave (across from Nationwide Arena). It's all part of a "beat Michigan" night at the three different venues there, and The Other Paper has the full story on the controversy the led to the whole thing being FREE, and Watershed has posted their own take on it.

Anyway, the Dead Schembechlers are a Watershed side-band (which is why both bands are playing) that comes out only for the annual "Hate Michigan" rallies. I've never seen them play, but then I'm not so into the whole OSU-UofM rivalry anymore anyway. But a Watershed show is pretty rare these days, and a free one is always a good thing.

Oh yeah, if you'd prefer a different free show, you can also choose the All-American Rejects. The third show, Escape The Fate, is sold out.
rfunk: (Default)
2008-10-29 05:37 pm
Entry tags:

Podcasts - fall 2008 overview

I've been a fan of podcasts for nearly four years now. If you don't already know, those are online radio shows with subscription feeds. I add the RSS/XML feed URL to my "podcatching" program, and my computer automatically downloads MP3s of shows as they're released; then I periodically copy them over to whatever is the most convenient player. Over the past few years the medium has become more well-known (mostly thanks to support in iTunes), and the selection of shows has changed, mostly increasing but of course some of my old favorites have either stopped or severely curtailed their frequency.

At first I tried to grab the latest shows every morning, and listen to them at work. Now I have a better system, partly thanks to working at home. I first separate the podcasts into two major categories, music and talk (there are some gray areas though, as seen below). For the music podcasts, I grab up to two weeks' worth of shows at a time (depending on how far behind I am), and mix those in with random songs from my personal collection so that I never go more than about 60-90 minutes without getting a few songs I already know I like; this way I get a good mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Then with the talk podcasts, every Monday I update a CD-RW with the new shows from the past week, then listen to those in the car throughout the week. Often I'll add a few episodes of a new show, to check out in any extra time at the end of the week.

Individual Songs )
Music Shows )
Music/Talk )
Talk )
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-06-16 06:44 pm
Entry tags:

Comfest 2008 Schedule is up

The 2008 Comfest schedule is up.

Looks like the big news is Black 47 and Michelle Shocked.
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-06-12 09:47 am
Entry tags:

Gogol Bordello

[I started writing this yesterday, but a network hiccup when trying to post it made me lose most of it and I had to start over. I think it was better the first time.]

Tuesday night I went to see Gogol Bordello at the Newport. Wow, what a show. The band went on around 9:30, and played two sets, ending around 11:30. I started out near the middle of the floor, and it was the first time in years I've had to dodge a moshpit; there's no question about the "punk" in the "gypsy punk" label, especially in the first few songs. But the "gypsy" part was the star, with some additional reggae/dub elements as well.

It was also truly a show, with as many as nine performers on stage at once. I already knew going in about the showiness of bandleader Eugene Hütz, but the show also featured an Ecuadorean MC/percussionist and two dancers/singers/percussionists (the only women in the band, who spent much of the later part of the show carrying and playing cymbals and bass drum, marching band style). And the front of the stage was rarely without a pair of Russians on electric violin and accordion. More in the background were the guitarist, 5-string bassist, and drummer (the only American in the group).

The whole thing was a much more visual experience than I expected, which is good since the Newport's sound has never been all that great. But of course it was also a high-energy musical experience. Sure, I like some songs better than others, and only even knew the songs from the latest album, but that just means I need to get some of their earlier albums.

There were lots of people taking pictures and videos with their cameras and phones, but so far I haven't found anything on YouTube or Flickr that does justice to what I saw (and so far only one set of photos from the Columbus show).

Next week is Peter Murphy, which I expect to be fun in a totally different way....
rfunk: (phone)
2008-06-05 07:48 pm

iPod Touch

This week we gained possession of a pair of 8GB iPod Touches, through a surprisingly generous rebate program.

The iPod Touch is unlike any previous iPods, but is very similar to the iPhone. It's basically an iPhone without the phone, camera, or bluetooth. That doesn't sound like it leaves much, but what it leaves is high-resolution video iPod functionality, plus wi-fi networking, built on top of a miniature Mac OS X complete with web browser, email client, and other programs.

Apple's firmware doesn't allow adding apps that aren't already there, other than using web apps designed for the iPhone/iTouch platform. (A new firmware version coming soon will open this up a bit, but not by much.) However, people have figured out ways of fixing ("jailbreaking") the firmware to allow installing third-party apps, and there's even a de-facto standard packaging/installing system to make it easy to get and install programs.

A Linux guy gets started with iPod Touch )
Jailbreak for the good stuff )
Some added applications )
Music! )
Video )

So yeah, quite the fun toy here.....
rfunk: (check this out)
2008-04-30 05:02 pm
Entry tags:

Upcoming in May and June

Some fun coming up in the next couple months.....

Sat May 3 - OSU Medieval & Renaissance Faire (a.k.a. RenFest), where I'll be running sound for [livejournal.com profile] duriyah's bellydance troupe.
Tue May 13 - Eddie Izzard at the Columbus Palace Theatre (We have our tickets!)

Wed Jun 4 - i:Scintilla at High Five
Sat Jun 7 - She Wants Revenge at the Newport Music Hall
Tue Jun 10 - Gogol Bordello at the Newport Music Hall
Fri Jun 20 - Peter Murphy at the Newport Music Hall
Fri-Sun Jun 27-29 - Comfest!
rfunk: (Default)
2008-04-11 05:49 pm

Washington Beach?

I've been listening to the Pat Radio podcast, which is a weekly show focusing on the Columbus music scene. The show's theme song is called "OH/IO (Washington Beach Party)" (by Magic City). That song title is apparently a reference to a neighborhood just northeast of OSU. (Which in turn was apparently derived from Grand Theft Auto.)

Granted, this label for the neighborhood was apparently just coined five years ago, but considering I used to live near there I'm surprised I hadn't heard it before. Have you heard that neighborhood called Washington Beach?
There's a video for the song! )

(BTW, another music-oriented podcast I've just started listening to is Sound Opinions, a public radio show out of Chicago. The show with Bob Mould got me hooked.)
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-01-22 03:45 pm
Entry tags:

Richard Thompson coming back

I just learned that Richard Thompson is touring his 1000 Years of Popular Music show again!

He'll be playing in Kent on February 4, and Cincinnati on February 5. Unfortunately, those are Monday and Tuesday nights about two hours away, so I probably won't make it.

I could (and should), however, buy the CD or the DVD. I did buy two of my favorite songs of the show from Amazon MP3 though.
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-01-15 09:24 am
Entry tags:

Goodbye iTunes, Hello Amazon MP3

About three years ago, Pepsi ran a promotion with the iTunes Music Store, giving away free songs via codes in bottle caps. As someone who doesn't use a player compatible with iTunes downloads, and likes being able to play all my music on whatever player I happen to have handy, the promotion didn't do much for me, so I gave away the codes.

Of course, eMusic has been around for a while, primarily serving up independent music (which you probably know I listen to quite a bit of), but they use a subscription-based model and don't let you see their catalog before starting your limited-time free trial. (So if I do the free trial and don't like the selection, I can't do another free trial later to see if the selection has improved.)

But recently the landscape has changed quite a bit. First EMI started putting their music on iTunes without the "DRM" that prevents the music from being played on players not somehow controlled by the record labels. Then Amazon introduced their MP3 store, selling plain old MP3 files (that pretty much anything will play) for about the same price as iTunes Music Store -- sometimes a dime less, occasionally a dime more. They started with indie music, and then added some major labels.

I discovered Amazon MP3s a couple months ago, and picked up a few singles I'd heard on favorite podcasts or on Pandora. I still prefer having CDs (better quality, less prone to disk crashes, sometimes more convenient), but when there's just one song I want from an album, it's nice to be able to get it right away for cheap and have it immediately part of my collection -- and without worrying about what software or hardware will play it. I'm more excited about Amazon MP3s than a CD fan should be.

Apparently even the record labels think they have a good thing there too, or they've just relented. In the past few weeks, Warner Music and Sony BMG have both signed on to sell their music there.

And now Pepsi is doing a joint promotion with Amazon MP3 that echoes their previous iTunes promotion. I might actually be able to take advantage of this one myself.

Of course, the major record labels still aren't paying the artists properly.
rfunk: (guitar)
2008-01-06 09:43 am
Entry tags:

Watershed show(s)

Hey look, Watershed is touring again, and is playing in Columbus this Friday January 11 at the LC Pavilion. I'm pretty sure I'm going. How about you?
rfunk: (Default)
2007-12-26 09:03 am
Entry tags:

Post-pre-holiday thoughts

Not a lot of solstice happenings around here, though I am as always quite happy that the days are getting longer again. There was talk of building some sort of solar clock/calendar sort of thing on the promontory behind the barn.

We spent most of the weekend doing last-minute gift planning and shopping -- often, by necessity, completely changing the plan because things were unavailable.

Shopping tip: When looking to buy home audio/video equipment, it's fine to go to Best Buy to look -- they're quite good at leaving you alone to look -- but don't bother trying to buy from them because they'll continue to ignore you. Go down the street to H.H. Gregg, where they apparently work on commission and are quite eager to help, at least if you're not looking at the deep-deep-discount shelves at the time. (This is all assuming that a locally-owned store is not around, though they usually can't compete on price.)

Christmas music drives me crazy, but I was usually able to ignore it. The positive exception was when I heard "Greensleeves" played surf-guitar style; later, wondering who that might have been, I learned that "Greensleeves" seems to be a surf-guitar standard, done by lots of people in the genre.

Monday I made brownies (this time with chocolate chips on top too) that turned out a little too dry, and cookies both chocolate-chip and butterscotch-chip (using the classic "Toll House" recipe). At one point I considered making pizzelles, but ran out of time and energy (as well as coming close to running out of eggs). I still want to look into trying some vegan cookie/brownie recipes sometime.

Toward the end of my baking, [livejournal.com profile] duriyah came home and pointed out the big orangy moon coming up. We even managed to go out and see it without any cats messing with the cookies.
rfunk: (Default)
2007-10-24 06:31 pm
Entry tags:

Turkish Indie Music!

Lately I've been trying to catch up on the podcasts I'm most interested in, since I'd gotten about eight months behind. One of my favorites (and one of the first I ever found) is Insomnia Radio, featuring indie rock (and anything related) and focusing on the music rather than (like too many podcasts) the host. Over the past couple years he's been branching out to invite and encourage people in many different cities to start podcasts under the Insomnia Radio umbrella, primarily focusing on music of their local region. So for example there's Insomnia Radio New York, Insomnia Radio Cincinnati, and so on, as well as a few genre-based shows.

Yesterday (now up to April's podcasts) I learned that there's now Insomnia Radio Turkey!

There are only five episodes so far, with 4-5 songs each, and there were many months between episodes #4 and #5, but I enjoyed listening to them all.
rfunk: (guitar)
2007-09-28 05:21 pm

Upcoming shows - Columbus!

It's been a long time since I've posted about upcoming shows, partly because I've been so far away from them. But now I'm only half an hour away from lots of good ones.

Last.fm pointed out some of these to me, and from there I decided to see Ticketmaster's entire list of concerts for the next couple months....

Tue Oct 2 - The Donnas @ Newport Music Hall
Mon Oct 8 - Johnette Napolitano @ House of Crave (She was the singer for Concrete Blonde.)
Tue Oct 9 - Bad Religion @ Newport Music Hall
Sat Oct 13 - Loreena McKennitt @ Palace Theatre
Wed Oct 17 - Raveonettes @ The Basement
Fri Oct 26 - Oswald & the Herringbones @ House of Crave (They were big in Columbus in the late 80s and early 90s but then disappeared, so this will be a rare show.)
Mon Nov 26 - Tegan and Sara @ Newport Music Hall
rfunk: (Default)
2007-09-14 10:43 am
Entry tags:

MP3 is now reducing CD sound quality

Everyone who listens to MP3s knows (or should know) that MP3 is a lossy medium; in order to get a file that's only about 10% the size of the uncompressed music, some frequencies are thrown out based on how well the human ear hears them. You just don't get as good a sound from MP3 as from the source CD.

But wait! It turns out that the sound engineers producing those CDs are now using MP3-through-iPod-earbuds as the reference for how the music sounds. And when there are things that sound great in the original CD-quality music that they don't hear or doesn't sound as good on the iPod, they'll cut them out!

The reason is that these days the music is considered most likely to be heard on an iPod, so that's what it's optimized for. It reminds me of the cell phone catch-22 of the past 5-8 years: As more people got cell phones, fewer used pay phones, so pay phones started disappearing, forcing more people to get cell phones, perpetuating the cycle until there are hardly any pay phones left. Similarly, as more music is heard on reduced-quality MP3, more music is optimized for MP3, prompting more people to listen to that music where it sounds best, forcing even more music to be produced for that lower-quality medium.

I do *like* the convenience of MP3, but I'd still like to have the better sound of the CD available! Besides, I probably encode MP3s at a higher quality than most people.

Now I dread the day when music production is optimized for hearing as a ringtone.....
rfunk: (check this out)
2007-08-03 12:20 pm

Musical Lightning

Thanks to comments on the latest xkcd.....

Tesla Coil Music! )

Now I want one to use as an amp for my bass. Talk about nighttime fun at parties!
rfunk: (guitar)
2007-06-21 11:19 am

My Music, now more places

One thing that has kept me sane in my recent bout of working long hours is that I finally took a few minutes to set up SlimServer (which powers my Squeezebox) and my home router so that I can get access to my entire music collection (9747 songs and counting) from the office. So at work (and wherever else I decide to open it to) I'm no longer limited to just the few CDs worth of favorites that I've copied to the machine there.

(In the process I discovered that trying to stream MP3 via HTTP through an ssh tunnel just doesn't work so well. Every minute or so bits of audio would repeat a few seconds later. It's probably related to redundant congestion control happening in the TCP-over-TCP arrangement. Bypassing the ssh tunnel helped immensely.)

In addition, I now have both Amarok and SlimServer scrobbling my plays to Last.fm, so my profile there is becoming more complete. I'm up to over 7400 songs scrobbled there since I started last summer, and now rapidly increasing. If you like, you can check out the long list of songs I've listened to recently.

Because of the scrobbling, I've learned that (based on the top 15 artists I listen to) my musical taste is 9.24% mainstream. (It may be interesting to look into some things other people have done with the data there). Last.fm's Events section is also becoming useful for finding out about when bands I listen to are playing nearby -- especially since there are RSS and iCal feeds for recommended events.

My Recent Tracks My Top Tracks My Top Artists