Browsing all posts tagged music

Here's a terrific video from Rick Beato on why music is getting worse. He's a music producer (and has a terrific channel), so if anyone knows the ins and outs, it's him. Check it out.

Arctic Outpost AM 1270

Jun 13, 2024

I found a terrific radio station today on Radio Garden: Arctic Outpost AM 1270, "broadcasting from the top of the world." Based out of Longyearbyen, Norway, the radio station is truly way up North. They play 78's from 1902 to 1958, including this truly hilarious ditty I hadn't heard before:

Be sure to check out this station. It's commercial free and definitely worth a listen!

Classical Meets Rock

Oct 26, 2023

Alice Cooper's My God, a track from the Lace and Whiskey album, is unlike any rock and roll track you've heard. I stumbled upon it while listening to the album for the first time this week, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. Its lyrics are intriguing, especially given that this was recorded during an increasingly troubling time in Cooper's life. Good stuff.

Until recently, I knew next to nothing about Alice Cooper's music. I'd heard School's Out and No More Mister Nice Guy on the radio, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Alice is back in the news with a forthcoming album, so I figured I'd check out some of his music. I'm glad I did! Lots of his albums are particularly good, including Killer (I can't embed the videos here on this site, stupidly, so the link to the album playlist will have to suffice). There are some great tracks on this album: Halo of Flies (my favorite), Under My Wheels, and Dead Babies.

Billion Dollar Babies is an equally as good (if not better) album, as is his first solo effort Welcome to My Nightmare. I recommend checking them all out if you're not familiar.

Radio Garden

Oct 20, 2022

Radio Garden is a particularly interesting website that allows you to browse live radio around the globe. Functioning a little like Google Earth, you're given a satellite view of the planet. Littered across the globe are little green dots, each of which represents one (or more) radio stations based in that location. Move the crosshair over a specific dot, and you'll hear the live stream of that radio station.

This is a really neat way to "travel" around the world. I've heard local news reports from Alaska, ethnic music in various African countries, and content in all imaginable languages. I've found it humorous how many stations outside of the United States play American or British bands (Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and similar acts can be heard all over). This is a neat way to spend some time, and it makes for a great way to listen to music while working.

Particularly interesting are all of the stations in really out of the way places. Hear what folks are listening to in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

I've only recently discovered the music of Rush, a band which I've previously overlooked. Geddy Lee's voice takes some getting used to, but the musicianship of this band is astounding. I'm really enjoying hearing their albums for the first time.

Hemispheres is my favorite album of theirs that I've heard so far. The highlight track is La Villa Strangiato, an instrumental piece that clocks in at over nine and a half minutes.

The entire album can be heard on YouTube, and is included below. Check it out!

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were a progressive rock band comprising 4 of the 5 members of Yes. They only released a single, self-titled studio album, and it might as well be considered a "lost" Yes album. Released in 1989, well after the 90125 album that redefined their sound, this particular album is really nice. It has a number of great melodies, terrific musicianship, and varied musical themes. Give it a listen here on YouTube (I apparently can't embed the video, so the link will have to suffice).

The second installment of my Good Old Music series is The Snow Goose by Camel. An entirely instrumental album from 1975, the music here is phenomenal. I particularly like the instrumentation throughout this album; flutes, electric guitars, organs, woodwinds, The Snow Goose has it all. This is an album I listen to often while working. Check it out!

I stumbled upon a really interesting article last night on the history of Mahavishnu Orchestra, one of the greatest jazz-fusion bands of all time. The article points out some of the influences they had on other groups, and reveals some interesting history I didn't know (like lead guitarist John McLaughlin being asked to join Weather Report, a band that would go on to make some terrific jazz-fusion of their own). It's definitely worth a read if you're familiar with the group, or even if you aren't!

I primarily listen to music from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. There's a ton of great music from those eras, some of which goes under the radar. This is the first in a new occasional series where I share some of the gems I've found that others may overlook.

My first entry is an album I only recently stumbled upon from a band I never paid much attention to (much to my regret!). The album, from 1977, is Even in the Quietest Moments... by Supertramp. This album is terrific, wall to wall, which is a recurring theme for this group (their more popular albums Breakfast in America and Crime of the Century are also consistently excellent, and I recommend both).

The opening track from this album (Give a Little Bit) is a well known radio hit, but my favorites are the title track, as well as the epic closer Fool's Overture, which clocks in at nearly 11 minutes. Give it a listen!

Way back in February of this year, I started a Musical Voyage: listening to my music in order, sorted by album title. Today, I finally finished the journey with Van Halen's "5150" (an album I consider mediocre at best; I never was a Sammy Hagar fan). I found this to be an interesting way to enjoy my music. Sometimes the jump from one album to the next was very pleasant (e.g. Relayer by Yes to Revolver by The Beatles); other times, it was jarring and unexpected (e.g. from Best of Schubert to Best of The Doors). I heard a ton of stuff I rarely listen to, reintroducing myself to some terrific music. Occasionally, I even heard something I didn't like (and which I've subsequently purged from my iPod). At least I can buy some new music for myself now; upon starting this goal, I set a rule that no new music could be added. There's several things I've been eager to get, and now I finally can. Mission accomplished!

Musical Voyage

Feb 9, 2011

Over the course of the next few months, I am going to try something my dad did last year: listening to my entire music library in order, sorted alphabetically by album title. This sort order should provide a fairly diverse musical experience. iTunes tells me that I currently have 4174 songs in my library, which comes out to 12.4 days of non-stop music. I'll be going from The Beatles' Abbey Road to Van Halen's 5150 (iTunes places numerically titled albums at the end for some reason). As I make progress, I will occasionally tweet my location in the library. My current plan is to use the #musicstream hash-tag on twitter to demarcate my progress. I'm looking forward to hearing the music that I don't listen to often; there's plenty that I frequently overlook.

One Bad Mutha

Aug 12, 2008

I was saddened to hear that music legend Isaac Hayes died on Sunday. He was an incredible composer and performer, and his additions to the music world will be greatly missed. Of his many works, my personal favorite (and, in my opinion, his best) is the soundtrack to the classic 1971 film Shaft. I highly recommend picking it up; it's top quality stuff, especially if you're a jazz and soul fan. While you're at it, pick up the film too; I consider it one of my top ten favorite movies.

Do You Still Use CDs?

Jun 21, 2008

How do you purchase your music? Does anyone still buy CDs, or has everyone moved to digital music? And where do you purchase your music from?

Call me old school, but I still purchase CDs through my favorite retailer Amazon.com (I gave up buying music from brick and mortar stores long ago). Seeing as my musical tastes are outside of the mainstream, it's not surprising that many of the albums on my radar are difficult to find. For example, I recently picked up a few albums from 1970's progressive rock band Camel, and both were imports (and therefore more expensive than the domestic albums might be). But the imports were the only thing available. One other album I'm seeking is currently marked as shipping in '4 to 6 weeks' which, in Amazon speak, means that it's unlikely to ever be available again. This isn't an isolated case; I'm finding that it's increasingly difficult to find certain albums on CD.

As a result, I'm wondering whether it's worth buying CDs anymore. I primarily listen to CDs on my way to and from work, though I listen to my iPod exclusively at work and on the occasional trip somewhere. When I'm at home, I listen to my music through either iTunes or WinAmp. Having a CD gives me something tangible as well as a backup (in case the digital rip gets destroyed or corrupted). But CDs have their own problems. The jewel cases are bulky (they way a ton en mass), and they're always a bother to open up after purchasing them (what's with all those stickers and cellophane wrap?).

The Amazon MP3 Store seems very appealing, in that all the offered music is DRM free. But, not surprisingly, not every album is available. So what do you do?

Ever have the experience where something that you were sure was right turned out to be wrong? Last night, while browsing the web for some new jazz fusion albums, I happened to read the Mahavishnu Orchestra article over at Wikipedia (MO is one of my favorite jazz fusion groups). I have always assumed that Jean-Luc Ponty was the violin player in the classic line-up of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (the line-up that I prefer; the later incarnation of MO isn't nearly as good, in my opinion). This assumption led me to buy a number of Mr. Ponty's albums, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.

It turns out, however, that Jerry Goodman was the violinist in the original line-up! Jean-Luc was the violinist in the later line-up (ironically, the one that I dislike). All this time I've been mistakenly attributing the awesome musicianship in the group's first albums to Jean-Luc Ponty (that being said, Jean-Luc is an awesome musician). Needless to say, my mind was blown at how wrong I was. I'm really surprised that I have lived under this illusion for so long.

Several videos of the band are on YouTube, strangely enough (the original line-up was only together for a few years in the 1970s). The audio in the videos isn't the greatest, but it's definitely cool to see the guys in action (Billy Cobham on drums is phenomenal). Here are a few links for your enjoyment:

Quite Progressive

Feb 24, 2006

Over the past year or two (or three) I've become quite a fan of progressive rock. My journey into this genre of music began with Yes, thanks to my mother who became a Yes fan in the 1970's (she even saw them in concert during that time!). The first studio album I got into was Close to the Edge, one of the band's finest works. Other albums followed that: Relayer (my personal favorite), Fragile, Time and a Word, and others. Two other groups have since followed: Genesis and Rick Wakeman (the keyboardist from Yes). Both are incredible.

But just yesterday, I received two albums from Amazon.com that are too incredible for words: King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King and Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's self-titled album. Oh. My. Goodness. Both albums are mind-bogglingly good. I absolutely cannot wait to get more from both of these artists. You may see such items appearing on my wish list in the very near future. It's that good.

Jessie went away last summer, a couple of months ago. After all our time together, it was hard to see her go. She called me right up when she arrived, asked me one more time to come. A living on an L.A. freeway ain’t my kind of having fun.

I think I’d rather be a cowboy. I think I’d rather ride the range. I think I’d rather be a cowboy than to lay me down in love and lady’s chains.

We were just beginning, it was such an easy way. Laying back up in the mountains making songs for sunny days. She got tired of picking daisies and cooking my meals for me. She can live the life she wants to, yes, it’s all right with me.

I think I’d rather be a cowboy. I think I’d rather ride the range. I think I’d rather be a cowboy than to lay me down in love and lady’s chains.

I’d rather live on the side of a mountain than wander through canyons of concrete and steel. I’d rather laugh with the rain and sunshine and lay down my sundown in some starry field.

Oh, but I miss her in the morning when I awake alone. The absence of her laughter is a cold and empty sound. But her memory always makes me smile and I want you to know, I love her, yes I love her; just enough to let her go.

I think I’d rather be a cowboy. I think I’d rather ride the range. I think I’d rather be a cowboy than to lay me down in love and lady’s chains. I think I’d rather be a cowboy. I think I’d rather ride the range. I think I’d rather be a cowboy than to lay me down in love and lady’s chains.