The a capella group Duwende has made their recent album “Collective” available for free download. I’m still working my way through the disc, but the four tracks I’ve heard are certainly worth the time if you like original a capella or pop music. (Found via Acapodcast episode #42)
Tag Archives: pop
At this point I think the inherent advantage of acquiring recorded music solely through the means of traveling to a brick and mortar storefront, perusing the incredibly over complicated system to locate likely albums that I might like to purchase, physically bringing the stack of shiny plastic to the cashier with my own hands and whatever other means I can come up with in the moment, watching as each barcode or price sticker is laboriously tallied, and finally handing over a suitable bundle of paper or small plastic card which may or may not be returned with a large bag containing the shiny plastic I took such pains to collect is that is is not an easy process. I have to have the time and energy to get the store. I have to have enough patience to be able to defeat whatever myopic intelligence designed the system to hide the items that I want from me. Most importantly I have to think about the entire process as I go through it which makes me more likely to think about things like, “Can I afford this?”.
It is that last bit that worries me the most with Amazon.com‘s new MP3 Download service. So far I’ve only purchased three albums and I wonder if that isn’t just the taste that I need to go wildly into debt if I don’t keep my wits about.
I have experimented with various music download services at various points and had highly varied experiences with the multitude of them. There is something about the simplicity of Amazon’s execution of the concept that has finally gotten through to me that this is really finally possible.
It certainly has it’s downsides. It currently only runs on Windows, not that I run anything else right now and by the same token it should not actually be too difficult for them to port their client application to just about any OS given how simple it is. Relatively small selection of “only” 1 million tracks (or there abouts) which sounds like a lot but really means that only a small number of the many songs that you might want to buy may be available. Still has a couple of quirks being fairly early in beta though there has already been one client update since release which fixed the only problem that I’ve run into personally.
About that problem: As I mentioned I have purchased three albums from the service. The Cinematic Orchestra’s “Motion”, Skalpel’s self titled album, and Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” which turned out to be my first and only cause to contact Amazon’s tech support. I initially sent an email message through their web interface but did not get any reply after 30ish hours so I used the web interface to have them call me (neat trick) and talked to someone very nice who couldn’t quite help me because the tech support for the download service wasn’t quite open for business at 7:30AM CST on a Tuesday. When I finally called them a half hour later a very nice person fairly immediately re-authorized the download links for me and I was able to finally get the album and I’ve been listening to the audio CD I burned immediately all day since. Turns out the new client was likely the reason why I could download the album this time, though neither I nor the tech support guy had any good reason why that might be so. I suspect it has something to do with the rather whimsical and extensive names given to the tracks of this particular album since they’ve been giving some of my other applications some trouble too.
Some of the people who might read this might think that having trouble with one third of my purchases so far is a good example of how new and untried the service is, but I would actually say quite the opposite. The first attempt was utterly perfect and gave me good reason to try it two more times. The client setup is relatively painless, even in Vista with UAC enabled, and the neat little touch of automatically adding the downloads to my iTunes library meant that I could start listening immediately without having to go look for what the client had done with the files. I’m a savvy enough computer user that really that isn’t actually a problem for me, especially given how difficult it can be from other services, but not having to worry about little details like that makes me really think this is ready for everyone, not just those who sometimes wander over near the bleeding edge.
Supposedly they are marking the downloaded files so that if the files show up on a P2P network later they know where they came from, but I’m not honestly worried about that since I don’t participate in any of that. Otherwise they are pure MP3 files with appropriately pre-populated tags and even embedded cover art. I can, and have, used them any of the multitude of places that I use mp3 files.
I honestly think this is finally it. Give it a try.
This weekend is the final half of the Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival, which has quite a few local and national jazz acts performing on mostly free stages in and around Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. I have been to at least some portion of each of the last four festivals and have been looking forward to this year’s event. I was a little disappointed to note that the festival is a fair bit smaller than it has been in the past, with only a single free stage on Friday night in Peavey Plaza, and two free stages Saturday and Sunday. In comparison, two years ago I remember there being five stages running all day on Saturday and Sunday.
For the most part I have been going to the parts of the festival that I have been able to get to by myself but this year I was fortunate enough to remember to invite my dad early enough that he might not have fully booked his schedule yet, and so he and I had a grand evening last night enjoying the festival and each other’s company.
The day started out somewhat mixed when I ended up having significant car trouble from what has turned out to be a bad tank of fuel. I had stopped at a new Biodiesel pump on the southeast corner of 66th St and Portland Ave in Richfield on Thursday afternoon and not driven much after filling most of the tank. Friday morning on the way into work I noticed that the car was performing very sluggishly and the exhaust was both extremely thick and smelled quite intensely of burning something and the nice people at West Side VW where quite surprised that the engine was able to do much with whatever had been sold to me as fuel. Still, emptying the entire system, clearing the lines, a new fuel filter, and at least some cleaning of the fuel pump will hopefully get things running fine sometime today.
In any case, this did change plans somewhat as I would not be able to meet my dad at my house as had been planned, but it was not a huge deal for him to pick me up at work, and from there were went to my place and took the LRT into downtown for the festival, only an hour later than we had hoped and unfortunately having missed Ginger Commodore. Neither of us had managed to have dinner yet so when we arrived were quite hungry and while it might have been interesting to stay for Dan Kusz‘s set on the main stage, the song they were performing wasn’t nearly as interesting as the possibility of food so we popped into Brit’s for a good meal.
Well sated, and having had a chance to talk, we were lucky enough to came out just in time to see the third act for the night, Grace Kelly. Being 15 she definitely lacked some of the polish and long experience that I often see on the main stage, but she made up for all of that and more with raw talent and vivacious dedication to her sax playing, as well as her singing, and even managed to surprise with a couple of tunes she had composed herself.
The last main stage set was the one that I had been looking forward to and Barbara Morrison was even more fun this year than last. Getting to hear her is such a treat with her fabulous stage presence and wicked humor between songs it makes for a great way to end the night. The dancers tend to come out of the woodwork during her set as well and getting to watch some great swing dancers bopping along to the music just made it even more fun.
While somewhat tempted to stay out for the jam session at the Dakota, we decided we had better start heading home since there was still an hour before the jam would even start and it had been a pretty full day. On the way home we did decide to take a slight detour and stopped for adult malts at the Town Talk Diner. Dad had the Mint Condition, my usual favorite, while I tried the Silly Rabbit. I don’t know that I would have it twice, but I can say that it was the living embodiment of an alcohol infused version of the bottom of a bowl of Trix cereal on a Saturday morning watching cartoons. That particularly sweet, sticky, creamy, but slightly grainy flavor and texture are iconic enough to bring back memories though I’m pretty sure it was Kix in my family instead of the extra-sugared Trix.
Looking forward to today’s line-up and I going to stay up for the jam session tonight. I’m always looking for friendly faces so give me a ring if you’re in the area.
Update: Thoughts from day 2 here.
I’ve been enjoying all sorts of stuff from Infodoodads this week but this one is probably the most interesting to a broad audience: Graphically explore the popularity of baby names over time with real census data.
Some things should be linked to because they are probably talking about you. Right this moment, that link is to Charles Stross talking about where SF books need to go to regain marketshare.
Even if you don’t care about reading SF anymore, there is a central core that is a very interesting analysis of what SF books really are.