Blog Archive


October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Afghani rock band Kabul DreamsThis has to be taken as some kind of progress.  Afghanistan had its first rock festival in three decades and no one was blown up.  (I'm not being facetious.  The location of the show was kept secret until the last second lest any insurgents had any suicide bomber ideas.)

They calleded it Sound Central and featured local bands as well as artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Australian (the event was organized by an Australian photojournalist who invited some friends). The venue was Babur Gardens in Kabul.

The Most High-Security Recording Sessions Ever?

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Note: I've seen this ship down in the Caribbean.  It has a helicopter pad and its own submarine, fer god's sake. Blofeld would kill for this boat.]

From Business Insider:

The recording session for the first album from Mick Jagger’s new supergroup SuperHeavy had to be top secret to foil music pirates and such, and apparently no recording studio on Earth was secure enough.

So the wrinkly Rolling Stone and friends took to the high seas, and laid down some tracks aboard Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen’s megayacht Octopus.

Flaming Lips Decide That a 6-Hour Song Is Too Short. Next Project: a 24-Hour Song Inside Human Skulls.

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The last time I talked to head Lip Wayne Coyne, I asked him "Isn't it great to have a job where you get to be weird?"  He looked and me strange and asked "What's weird?"

Well, this might qualify.  After raising money from fans to record a 6-hour song, the Lips are prepping a song that will last 24 hours--a full day--which they will then release inside a real human skull.

Why Some of Us Should Never Sing. But It’s Not Our Fault.

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Florence Foster Jenkins, history's most famous bad singer.Outside of "O Canada" when we win hockey gold at the Olympics, you will never, ever hear me sing.  Not only am I too self-conscious but I don't want to offend those around me.  

I have this feeling that I sound like a kid I used to stand next to in fourth grade assembly.  He was so tone deaf that I'm pretty sure his family had their own parking space at the mall.

I just used to chalk it up to a lack of talent.  But maybe it goes deeper than that.  Perhaps people like me and that kid from elementary school have a genetic defect.

More Music from the Inbox

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I don't know about where you are, but the weather around here isn't great.  Perhaps it's best just to stay inside and explore some new tunes.  Here's what made it through the filters this round.

The Recommendation Project Part 12: Instrumentals

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm a big fan of instrumentals.  Without lyrics to fall back on, the music has to bear all the weight of the composition.  What, in your opinion, are the best alt-rock instrumentals of all time?  

Better yet, do you know of an obscure alt-rock instrumental that everyone should really know about? (See my pick involving Isa and the Filthy Tongues.)

Here are the rules:

Music Piracy Drops As People Adopt Streaming Services

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Give people what they want when they want at a reasonable price and they'll stop stealing.  From Techcrunch:

The Swedish polling company, Media Vision, has released a study (in Swedish) about downloading habits in the country where Spotify was born. Their results? 23 percent of Swedes download music illegally, down 2 to 3 percent since 2010. In short, music piracy, at least in that market, is falling rapidly and much of that decline can be attributed to the popularity of services like Spotify.

Facebook Music: Why It Should Bug You

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Because Spotify remains verboten to Canadians, this isn't an issue for us yet.  But it should raise some serious red flags about how creepy the people who run Facebook are coming.  

According to what I've heard, new Spotify users couldn't sign in unless they signed in through their Facebook account.  Why?  So Facebook and slurp up even more data about you.  No Facebook account? Well, I guess you'll need one if you want to use Spotify.

In the Tech Battle Between Walkman and iPhone, the Winner Is…

September 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

...the Walkman?

Mind you, this is just a survey of readers of the gadget website.  They take a survey of their readership, tabulate the results, issue a press release and a bunch of media sheep pick it up and report it as gospel, resulting in increased traffic and free publicity.  

It's a clever trick that feeds the media's need for new content and the public's love of lists.  (And, to be honest, this is something that I would certainly stoop to doing for this site.  I know the tricks.  But I digress...)

Some people will exclaim "What?  The Walkman is more important to tech history than the iPod? Blasphemy!"  

But they're wrong

The Wife Says: Musical Mergers

September 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[My real flesh-and-blood wife.  She has opinions on things.  Many things.  Many, MANY things.--AC]

Watched one of those home shows about his stuff and her stuff and a designer tried to come up with what “they” were all about. Tears and anger, paint colours and coffee tables all resolved in twenty-one minutes.

We’ve all gone through this. Some of us (‘fess up, sisters) even adapted what we liked, wore, listened to and believed in to fit the man of the moment.

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