All 7 entries tagged Music

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March 01, 2005

Audioscrobbler – Useful tool for music enthusiasts

Are you a music enthusiast?
Looking for new recommendations?
Fancy seeing some statistics on your listening habits?

If any of the above appeals, take a look at Audioscrobbler:

Audioscrobbler builds a profile of your musical taste using a plugin for your media player (Winamp, iTunes, XMMS etc..). Plugins send the name of every song you play to the Audioscrobbler server, which updates your musical profile with the new song. Every person with a plugin has their own page on this site which shows their listening statistics. The system automatically matches you to people with a similar music taste, and generates personalised recommendations.

I’ve been using this tool for a while now and it’s interesting and sometimes surprising to see the bands and songs that have been getting most of my attention. You're able to view your most played artists, albums and songs, as well as separate statistics for the current week. The system can point you in the direction of bands you're likely to approve of, as well as to the profiles of users with similar tastes. My profile can be found here.

As things stand, my top 10 artists are as follows:

  1. Radiohead
  2. Pixies
  3. Sebadoh
  4. Squarepusher
  5. Modest Mouse
  6. Pink Floyd
  7. Interpol
  8. The Shins
  9. Venetian Snares

Those with dubious taste may want to think twice before making a love for the likes of Celine Dion public.


January 17, 2005

Rogue Wave

Like many others, I took the opportunity as 2004 came to an end to compile my top 10 albums of the year. It appears however that one slipped though the net totally: Rogue Wave – Out of the Shadow. I first heard Rogue Wave mentioned on a review at Delusions of Adequacy. After grabbing the album, I queued it up in my media player, but it never got a proper listen.

Rogue Wave sound much like The Shins, with the singer sharing that distinctive high pitched meandering voice of James Mercer and the band as a whole manages to nail the playful indie pop vibe perfectly. That upbeat feeling runs throughout the album, albeit toned down slightly in more introspective but no less beautiful tracks like ‘Kicking The Heart Out’ and ‘Falcon Settles Me’. Rogue Wave’s Zakk Rogue has a voice which you won’t forget quickly and will run back to time and time again. Out of the Shadow is released on Sub Pop records and deserves your attention.


January 15, 2005

Brit Awards 2005 Nominations

For anyone who missed it, here are the nominees for the 2005 Brit Awards can be seen here, courtesy of the BBC.

The list holds no real surprises, with Franz Ferdinand picking up 5 nominations, Muse picking up 4 and a handful of nominations for generic artists such as Keane and Natasha Bedingfield.

Hopefully, Morrissey (British male solo artist), Dizzee Rascal (British urban act) and PJ Harvey (British female solo artist) will come away with some recognition.

Official BRIT awards site: link


January 09, 2005

Foo Fighters – New album

The Foo Fighters were my first ever ‘favourite band’ after having been introduced to the world of guitar based music with two albums: Nirvana – Nevermind & The Offspring – Ixnay on the Hombre. On their self titled debut, Dave Grohl is said to have single handedly written the material and recorded the vocals, guitar, bass and drum parts. This remains my favouite release, with simple, memorable tracks like ‘Along + Easy Target’ & ‘Exhausted’ complete with much distortion, interspersed with the dreamy songs like ‘Floaty’ and the ultra abrasive ‘Wattershed’.

We subsequently saw the release of a superb album in ‘The Colour and the Shape’, a good album in ‘There Is Nothing Left to Lose’ and the mediocre ‘One by One’.

The group are ready to release their latest offering having put their various side projects on hold for a little while. According to NME.com, “The band are marking their ten year anniversary with a two-sided LP – one disc full of rock songs and the other featuring acoustic tracks.” Hopefully, we will be blessed with a true return to form as opposed to a handful of gems amongst much filler.


December 27, 2004

Bloc Party

Allmusic.com is certainly on a roll with regards to the ‘New Artist Spotlight’ feature on its homepage. In the recent past, mentions have gone out to Joanna Newsom, Aberfeldy, and 90 Day Men with the most recent recepient being Bloc Party.

Equally inspired by Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Gang of Four and the Cure, South London art-punkers Bloc Party mix angular sonics with pop structures. Consisting of singer/guitarist Kele Okereke, guitarist Russell Lissack, bassist/singer Gordon Moakes, and drummer Matt Tong, the band was formerly known as Angel Range and Union before settling on Bloc Party.

Amazon.co.uk states that the debut album, Silent Alarm will be released on Feburary 14th 2005. The debut was looking particularly promising after their September release of the Bloc Party EP and preliminary listening via non-official channels confirms expectations.


December 23, 2004

Headphones & MP3 Players

I picked up some lovely new headphones today (Koss KSC-50s) for my ipod which has been used only a handful of times over the course of the year. The ipod, being a 3rd Generation model with a meagre 10GB is almost retro by todays standards. Armed with these tools my occasional trips to the library should be slightly more bearable. Anyone in the market for an MP3 player is definately spoilt for choice at the moment. Apple, iRiver, Sony and Creative have all released good looking highly functional models.


December 22, 2004

The top 10 albums of 2004

It's that time of year again. On television, magazines, websites and blogs worldwide, writers and presenters reflect on the best of the year's books, music, and films. It would be rude not to include my own opinions.

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
– Lush vocals and guitar playing from this multi-instrumentalist.

The Arcade Fire – Funeral
– A grandiose release from a band I’m struggling to categorise.

Interpol - Antics
– A solid second album, though not as good as TOTBL which was an incredibly hard act to follow.

Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
– Catchy pop/rock songs. One can't ask for much more.

Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse
– They continue to create great music despite their age.

The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
– Great instrumental tracks with interesting samples.

65 Days of Static - The Fall of Math
– Original fusion of post rock and IDM.

Blonde Redhead - Misery Is a Butterfly
– Haunting female vocals, dark melodies.

Aberfeldy – Young Forever
– Upbeat debut album from this highly promising Scottish indie pop ensemble.

The Dears – No Cities Left
– The Smiths reincarnated have released a brilliant albeit slightly long album.

I don't find it easy to rank albums on a scale of one to ten, nor do I think it’s a particularly useful undertaking. The appeal of a given album changes day by day, hour by hour. Don’t be put off by my less than eloquent descriptions; the above albums are essential listening for indie rock/pop and electronic music enthusiasts.


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