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Jay Dreyer

Thank you, YouTube.

I haven’t posted in forever, and this doesn’t really count, either, but, thanks to YouTube, here is one of my all time favorite tunes/videos, Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo. (That sentence should also win some type of award for most commas…)

I think I’ll spend the next month or so just posting favorite YouTube clips. What do you think? Kind of my own VH1 80’s flashback show or something.

“I’m on a Mexican, whoa, radio. Radio. Radio. Radio. What does he say?”

Also, Stan Ridgeway’s head coming out of the pot of beans at the end of the clip has always stuck in my brain for some reason.


Comment [1] | posted 12/15/2006 02:13 AM

Emusic Picks (August)

If you’re looking for something new to listen to on your fancy-schmancy Ipod, here are a few suggestions for you that I’ve downloaded from eMusic recently…

(Let me add in here that, in general, I suck at music reviews…I either like it or I don’t. When I try to explain why I like or dislike something, I end up sounding like an obnoxious music critic/music snob…and by all means I consider myself a music snob. That’s why I like eMusic so much.)

Brendan Benson

If you’re into smart-pop music, you’ve come to the right place. From what I understand, Brendan is from Detroit, which is both cool and upsetting because why did it take me moving to Minneapolis from Detroit to find out about him? Most of the reviews you’ll find compare him to Matthew Sweet, minus the crunchy guitars. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I like Matthew Sweet and I really like this album. Lots of catchy songs that stick in your brain long after you take the headphones off. As a side note, Brendan is a member of the Raconteurs along with Jack White from the White Stripes. So he’s got that going for him.

How We Operate

I’ve been a big Gomez fan since Bring it On came out in 1998. They’ve switched labels and are now indie (great for me as it’s available on emusic) but the music is still great. They’re an interesting band in that you never know what you’re going to get from song to song. I think there are three different people that take turns as lead singer. Overall, this is probably their most consistent album from beginning to end.

Gimmie Fiction

This is the third Spoon album I’ve purchased and it’s far and away my favorite (although I really enjoyed Girls Can Tell...) This is where I need my inner rock critic to come out and describe the album because I have a hard time describing them to people. They don’t really rock, per se, but it’s not a bunch of slow, moody tunes, either. You can listen to samples on emusic to get a better understanding. There are a lot of great songs on this disc and the production is really interesting. I usually hear something new with each listen.

The New Pornographers
Twin Cinema

I’ll wrap things up with what is probably my favorite album of the last couple years. Again, if you’re into the rock-pop thing, if you don’t have this one already I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. My friend Pete says Electric Version is better than this one. I can’t say because although I own all of their albums, I like Twin Cinema so much I rarely play the others. (Note to self, listen to the other albums sometime.) The New Pornographers is dubbed a “super group” from Canada consisting of members of various Vancouver based bands. They’re led by A.C. Newman (who also has an excellent CD available from emusic – The Slow Wonder) but there are three people that take turns with lead vocals. When I first downloaded it I think I listened to it every day for about two months. I just couldn’t stop playing it. AllMusic describes it as: “Jubilant hooks and roaring choruses make Twin Cinema a perfect panacea for us pop fans.” I think that sums it up fairly well.


Comment | posted 08/16/2006 09:55 PM

Pandora - Music Discovery Service

Pandora logo

If you’re into music but you’re having a hard time finding something new to listen to, I’ve got the perfect solution: Pandora.

It’s a pretty neat system. You type in an artist or a song that you like, then Pandora goes to work and plays songs that are similar to what you typed in. How do they know what songs to play? Well, Pandora is based on something called the Music Genome Project. From what I understand, this group has spent countless hours breaking down music into very discrete categories. To give you an example, I created a station based on A.C. Newman (the lead singer for the New Pornographers). Pandora started playing music from Yo La Tengo, Sugar, Spitalfield and many others. One artist they played was Buffalo Tom. There is a link you can click that basically explains why they are playing a song. When I click it, it tells me “Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features electric rock instrumentation, a subtle use of vocal harmony, major key tonality, heavy electric rhythm guitars and many other similarities identified in the music genome project.” Who knew? I don’t know what half of that means but it does a pretty good job of playing things that I like.

As songs play, you can give them the thumbs up or thumbs down. The system will then modify future songs to be played based on your input. You can create multiple “stations” based on the type of music you want to listen to. Because you create an account (which is free, btw), all of your stations are saved and can be used on any computer.

The really cool thing for me is that you can use Pandora in conjunction with a Squeezebox player. So, I can create a station and access it through my Squeezebox, thus creating my own personal radio station. Pretty neat.

As I said earlier, you can use it for free, but it sounds like advertising is coming soon. Not a big deal, really. You can also subscribe to it for a pretty low price – I think $36/year or something like that. It’s worth checking out.


Comment | posted 03/08/2006 01:49 PM

I Love emusic

I found a great way to add tunes to my music collection that doesn’t include the possibility of jail time. The solution? emusic!

emusic is a digital music service that is similar to iTunes/rhapsody/musicmatch, but in a way, it’s fundamentally different, as well. I’ll try to explain.

Like iTunes and other music services, emusic lets you purchase songs/albums over the internet so they can be played on your PC/iPod/mp3 player. And that’s where the similarities pretty much end. Here are the big differences:

  • emusic lets you download music in good ol’ mp3 format, not some proprietary format like AAC or protected WMA. The benefit here is that I can do whatever I want with the music – burn it to a cd, play it on my Squeezebox, stream it over Jinzora, play it on my imaginary mp3 player, etc. No limitations. In addition, the quality is very high – VBR, usually at least 192 kbps.
  • emusic is way cheaper. The plan I’m on is $10/mo and that gets me 40 downloads. $20/mo gets you 90 tracks. So, compare roughly .25/track to the 99 cents you pay on iTunes. It’s a month-to-month deal so I can quit whenever I want. Sweet!

So, this sounds pretty good, right? Well, there’s a big caveat that will turn most folks off. If you’re looking for the latest music from recent American Idol winners, 50 cent (or is it fiddycent?), or [insert latest pop-sensation here], you’re outta luck. In fact, if you listen to music that is commonly played on FM radio, you probably won’t like emusic’s selection. That’s because it’s almost entirely indie.

For me, emusic is heaven. For others, it’s a joke and there’s not much middle ground. I think it’s fantastic, however, and I highly recommend it if the indie scene is what you’re in to. It’s recharged my musical interests and exposed me to tons of new stuff.

As a quick example, here are some bands that I’ve downloaded from emusic or will download when my credits recharge: New Pornographers, Matthew Sweet, Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, Sufjan Stevens, Grandaddy, Quasi, Paul Westerberg, Interpol, Mitch Hedberg, Ambulance LTD, and Teenage Fanclub. There is also a lot of jazz, classical, rap, you name it. Even Johnny Cash!

If you’re interested, you can click the link in this article and that will give you a free trial that will let you download 50 songs. Whether you sign up after the trial or not, you get to keep the tracks so you don’t have anything to lose. Enjoy!

[Disclaimer: I get $$$ if you do the trial, whether or not you stay with emusic. Even if I didn’t get paid, I’d still recommend it. And no, I won’t get rich promoting emusic…unless 1,000,000 people click that link and sign up…that would be sweet! If my 6 readers sign up, I’ll get enough for a free month at emusic! ;-)]


Comment | posted 01/18/2006 12:21 AM