Apr 22

Stories from our Lives

Music Banner - April 22

This year is turning out to be a decent year for new music. I’ve got so many new releases in my playlist and I’m happily making my way through the material. Here’s a few tracks that I’ve been particularly enjoying in the last week.

Frightened Rabbit – Get Out

I have the last couple Frightened Rabbit releases and while I have enjoyed each, none of truly grabbed me in a big way. With the release of Painting of a Panic Attack, I’m finding myself really digging each track when it plays. This is one in particular is really good.

The Field – Pink Sun

One of the places that I buy music is bleep.com. They mainly focus on electronic music and I’m rarely disappointed by their recommendations. This was recently recommended and I started listening to it with great interest. The release is called The Follower from The Field.

Sinead O’Connor – Trouble Soon Be Over

As a 30-year fan of Sinead, I always appreciate when something comes from her. This track is from a release called God Don’t Ever Change, a compilation of artists sings songs by Blind Willie Johnson. There are a ton of great songs on it but this is one of my favorites.

Underworld – I Exhale

Not much to say about this track, and never really owned any Underworld in the past. But with the Karl Hyde and Brian Eno collaboration last year, I thought I’d give Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future a spin. I like it. And what’s not to like about breathing.

Yeasayer – I Am Chemistry

Like Frightened Rabbit, I have a couple of Yeasayer releases. I like them but don’t super-love-them. The opening track on their latest release, Amen & Goodbye, is a dead ringer for the Beatles and it sounds really awesome. This track here follows immediately after. And, like Frightened Rabbit, I’m thinking this release is pretty strong overall.

Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

I tried to keep the list to five, but needed to include Courtney Barnett. What’s not to like from someone who names their album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Leslie and I went and saw her perform last week in Pomona and it was a fun and rocking show. She writes great lyrics and definitely knows how to have fun. Enjoy this recording from her latest release but recorded a couple years ago.

Enjoy the music and maybe I’ll post another set of tracks in another month or two.
Oct 10

My Musical Tastes

I’m not surprised by actual musical tastes as recorded by last.fm since 2008. I’m into indie, folk, rock, experimental and electronic, including (artists in the order of number of plays):

David Sylvian, Radiohead, U2, Shearwater, Sufjan Stevens, Elbow, Beck, Daniel Lanois, The Flaming Lips, Spiritualized, Porcupine Tree, Joe Henry, Björk, Grizzly Bear, Andrew Bird, Bill Frisell, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Patrick Watson, Loney Dear, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Beirut, PJ Harvey, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Pat Metheny, The Decemberists, Steve Jansen, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden, The xx, The Beatles, Sonic Youth, Eddie Vedder/Michael Brook/Kaki King, The Rolling Stones, Imogen Heap, James Blake, Thich Nhat Hanh, Talking Heads, Grinderman, Sigur Rós, Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté, St. Vincent, Animal Collective, Brian Eno & David Byrne, Feist.
Feb 11

Adventures with iTunes Match

This post is about bit rate and mono files while using iTunes Match. For those of you who don’t know, for a small fee ($25/year) my entire music catalog is moved to the Apple servers and I can play it on up to five devices. The service will sync my playlists and keep track of the play count. The best part is any file that “matches” in their database that is less than 256k in my collection, is easily upgraded with just a few clicks. That’s worth the first year fee alone. The service is limited to 25,000 tracks (I have about 15k) and the audio quality music be a minimum of 96kbps.

I have hundreds of dharma talks by Thich Nhat Hanh in my collection. These will not “match” with iTunes but I am able to upload them to the cloud if they meet the 96kbps criteria. Unfortunately, many of these files are below this threshold. Fortunately, it is possible to trick iTunes into uploading the files by “converting”

them to MP3 files with a higher quality. Obviously, the files won’t actually have a higher quality but they will meet the criteria. To keep the files small, I “upgraded” them to 96kbps and then deleted the original files. In the case of mono files, the custom setting had to be adjusted to 192kbps to get the mono files to threshold because of how iTunes handles importing files. It took a few days to get everything converted and uploaded to the Apple servers, but all tracks are now in the cloud.

My next project is to get everything synchronized between the two home computers and the one work computer. I noticed some discrepancies between the track numbers on each of the computers. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Seeing a winner with iTunes Match. Are you using this service? What has been your experience?

Feb 08

Tools for a Music Obsession

I grew up in a musical household, attended church where singing was a regular activity, and learned a couple of instruments (piano and violin). Unfortunately, as I moved into adulthood, I let go of the playing of music and transitioned my passion into developing a very deep appreciation by listening and critiquing music rather than creating. Therefore, I’m always looking for the best method to consume and manage my music hunger and addiction. To complicate matters, I listen to music at home, in my office, and on my 45-minute commute. Continue reading

Sep 29

Leaves, Waves, Stars

Leaves, Waves, Stars
Download now or listen on posterous

Leaves, Waves, Stars.mp3 (2583 KB)

A lovely practice song from the International Plum Village Sangha.

We are all the leaves of one tree.
We are all the stars of one sky.
We are all the leaves of one tree.
The time has come for all to live as one.
We are all the leaves of one tree.

We are all the waves of one sea.
We are all the waves of one sea.
The time has come for all to live as one.
We are all the waves of one sea.

We are all the stars of one sky.
We are all the stars of one sky.
The time has come for all to live as one.
We are all the stars of one sky.

We are all the leaves of one tree.
We are all the waves of one sea.
The time has come for all to live as one.
We are all the stars of one sky.