Author Archives: Alan Cross

The New Hip Hop War: Headphones

December 11th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Hip hop has always had its rivalries and wars dating back to even before the whole East Coast/West Coast thing. Today, the biggest battle is in the marketplace.  Who's got the best headphones?

Dr. Dre started it with his line of Beats 'phones, the most ubiquitous iPod accessory since the original white ear buds.  And Dre has done well; earlier this year, he and partner Jimmy Iovine (the Interscope Records boss) sold a share of the company for $350 million.  No wonder everyone else wants in on the action.

This Week on the Secret History of Rock: Episode 9

December 10th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The new show is in the can and is ready to be aired on the mightly SHoR Network (check the stations list in the left-hand column for cities and showtimes.)  

If you can't hear it on the radio, we'll have it posted for you for on-demand listening in the player in the right-hand column by earlier next week.

Here's the topic list for Episode 9:

Bon Iver’s Workout Video

December 10th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

First, he’s nominated for a bunch of Grammys.  Now Justin “Bon Iver” Vernon–one of Wisconsin’s most melancholy citizens–has put together

Trent Reznor’s How to Destroy Angels Covers Bryan Ferry

December 10th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

In addition to composing the original score of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Atticus Ross, they, along with Trent's wife, Mariqueen, have covered "Is Your Love Strong Enough" for the soundtrack.  

How to Destroy Angels--the non-NIN band consisting of the three of them--had promised an album this year, but it looks like this is all we're going to get.

 It's available now if you buy the digital download.  If you want to wait until December 27, you can get the full CD set.

Here's the link to the song.  Good luck connecting, though.  I've had all kinds of problems, but perhaps you'll do better.

I Like This: Vintage Kicks

December 10th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Love the lyrics from this Philly-via-Jersey five-piece.  Wonderfully honest.  Thanks to Shawn for the recommendation. KING GEEK by Vintage Kicks

More on the Connected Car

December 9th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

If you've been into a dealership showroom lately, you'll know that we're in the midst of a revolution in automobile electronics.  Sales people tell me that the question is moving from "What's under the hood?" to "What's in the dash?"

Vehicular gadgetry is moving inventory, which means that this revolution is only going to pick up speed. And it's leading to some very interesting innovations.  From the New York Times:

On Wednesday, Broadcom announced a series of products that will bring the same kind of communications connectivity seen in home appliances and large data centers to cars.

Time to Start Thinking About Canadian Music Week

December 9th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Yes, it's still more than a full season away, but CMW 2012 is already coming together.  

And yes, it will be stupidly huge again:  six days, 60 venues and an expected 900 acts comprising of 4,500 musicians from 40+ countries performing for more than 100,000 fans. 

That hurt just typing it.  Here are some early highlights:

Algorithmic Music

December 9th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

There are only so many ways notes can be strung together to create music that is pleasing. And anyone who

This Week’s Top 11 Playlist: 09 December 2011

December 9th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

As the year runs out, the number of new releases has slowed to a trickle.  This has given me time to go back over 2011 to see if there's anything that I missed.  Naturally, with so much music coming at us eleven months of the year, a lot of great stuff inevitably slips through the cracks.

With that in mind, this week's Top 11 playlist encompasses tracks dating back to almost the beginning of the year.  Maybe you'll find something you'll really like.  Just click on the player on the right.  Thanks, as always, to Mediazoic for the help.

And one more thing:  I'm relocating to the Caribbean Command Centre for the next seven days, so I'm going to leave this week's Recommendation Project open for suggestions on the best tracks of 2011. Please feel free to contribute, but keep it to one song per artist/album, okay?

The Coming Battle Over In-Dash Infotainment Systems

December 9th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

When I started driving, my only wheels were my mom's 1973 Ford Pinto (Yes, I got into a rear-end accident once.  And no, I didn't explode along with the car.), the only entertainment it provided was a mechanical push-button AM radio connected to an old-fashioned whip antenna.  

When I added an underdash cassette player and a couple of two-way speakers to the back shelf, my mom was most concerned that I'd become distracted while operating the cassette player and drive into the back of a truck.  It never happened--there were a few close calls, mind--but she did have a point.

The infotainment system in my current vehicle is a marvel of gadgetry:  AM/FM, CD changer, satellite radio, USB input, iPod connection, Bluetooth phone and a navigation system.  And I'd be lying if I said that I've never been distracted by all this instrumentation.

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