All posts by chris

John Peels secret singles box

To say John Peel had a lot of records is rather like saying Kate Moss is photographed quite often. His collection of vinyl albums alone exceeded 25,000 ‘ which doesn’t include CDs. Then there are the 12in and 7in singles, as well as the countless demo tapes sent in by young hopefuls. One tiny corner of this audio empire, however, remained under strict martial law: his ‘record box’. At his feet in his home studio lay a sturdy wooden box in which he stored the 7in singles that meant the most to him. At the time of his death last year, this immensely personal collection numbered just 142 three-minute slices of pop. It was the thing he would carry with him if his house burnt down ‘ records he clearly felt he couldn’t live without.”

Read the rest of the article and see the list of 142 singles here:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14932-1833023,00.html

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The National – Alligator

album cover
On their third recording, the National strikes a delicate balance between light and dark, fast and slow, American and British. While their sound is undeniably tinged with darkness, it isn’t gloomy or depressing. This impression is mostly due to Matt Berninger’s deep baritone, which brings to mind such sensitive, but manly Brit vocalists as Scott Walker and Stuart Staples of the Tindersticks. The National, however, are American. Formed in Brooklyn in 1999, the quintet hails from Cincinatti and doesn’t sound much like a New York Band (Interpol, the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc.). Instead, they could be Midwestern or even Canadian in the way they combine alt-country, chamber-pop, and post-punk angst, like Toronto’s Royal City or Montreal’s Arcade Fire. Often compared to Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits, the National’s music is actually faster-paced and has a lighter, almost jaunty touch. In other words: they rock.
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CoverFlow

http://www.steelskies.com/coverflow/HomePage.html

“Don’t know about you, but I find browsing a list of album names somewhat uninspiring, to say the least. One of the big appeals of a physical album is the beautiful packaging and aesthetic appeal, something that’s sorely missed with the digital equivalent.

CoverFlow aims to bring that aesthetic appeal to your mp3 collection. It allows you to browse your albums complete with beautiful artwork pulled from any sources it can find, whether that’s buried in your song tags, collected via Synergy, or looked up on Amazon.”

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Tune your tv correctly for the best picture

Picture perfect: HDTV tune-up tips

The average American spends hours in front of the TV each week, but the picture on an average American TV looks like Times Square on steroids: too bright and garish to seem anything like real life. That’s because default settings for TVs are configured to make an impact on the sales floor of your local electronics superstore, not necessarily in your living room. With the emergence of higher-quality wide-screen and high-definition TVs, not to mention the DVD movies and HD programs that fill their big screens, living-room images can look better than ever before–as long as you don’t settle for the manufacturers’ default settings.

Our guide includes three steps you can take to help make your television picture look its best. For starters, we’ll tell you how to properly set the basic picture controls available on most TVs. Next, we’ll take a look at various home-theater setup DVDs that provide expert advice for both video and audio fine-tuning. And lastly, we’ll give you the lowdown on professional calibration and whether it’s worth the investment for your high-end set.

Basic
Find out how to set your TV’s picture controls to optimal levels.
http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108543-2.html?tag=dir

Intermediate
Use a calibration DVD to achieve even better image quality. We give you the skinny on the four most popular packages.
http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108543-3.html?tag=dir

Advanced
Does it pay to bring in a TV doctor? Here are the ins and outs of professional calibration.
http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108543-4.html?tag=dir

http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5108543-1.html?tag=nav

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Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver and Ride on the same bill this August! (sort of)

San Diego CA
at M-Theory Music (a record store) www.mtheorymusic.com
Saturday, August 13th, 7:00 pm. Admission FREE

3 solo acoustic performances by:

Mark Gardener of Ride
Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel
Adam Franklin of Swervedriver

Sat. Aug. 13th @ 7pm: 2nd Annual Sonic Summer Bash! Last year we brought you Louis XIV and David J (Bauhaus). This year, we’ve risen to the occasion again with a shoegazer’s dream bill. Drum roll please’..

The All-Headliner Line-Up will be:

9pm: Mark Gardener (Ride)

8pm: Rob Dickinson (Catherine Wheel)

7pm: Adam Franklin (Swervedriver)
Editor’s note: There’s a reason why we named our store puppy Swervie and it’s not because she walks funny.

This is a not to be missed in-store party. Mark is coming from the UK and Adam is coming from New York City specifically for this show. They are not playing elsewhere. If for some reason you’re not familiar with these bands, do yourself a favor and do a search on google for their websites. These artists have an amazing history with their former bands and their solo work is continuing in that tradition of quality. We cannot wait for this show!

After party at the Whistle Stop Bar for One Nation Under A Groove w/DJ Bart Blackstone.

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iTunes Registry

http://www.itunesregistry.com/register.php

This site allows its users to upload their iTunes playlists and run them through a (growing) series of reporting tools in an effort to help you, the listener, better understand your musical collection.

Some of the interesting things available (once you make an account) include a Browse-By-Letter tool for your iPod, rankings of entire songs and albums, an estimate of how diverse your music collection is and a handy little report that sits in your iPod’s ‘Notes’ folder, and gives you some interesting statistics on each of your genres.

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Stars – Set Yourself On Fire

album cover
Sure they look pretty and sound pretty and all, but is this Montreal-based quartet ever going to amount to much, you know in the course of “rock history”? Very likely, if their captivating third album, Set Yourself on Fire, is any indication. Vocalists Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell have never harmonized better together, and the whole keyboard-heavy band is at that delectable place where they transcend their influences. Great pop music is not about “originality” (nor has it ever much been); it’s a passionate marriage of idea and conviction. Sure, you can still hear the mark of Beulah, the Smiths, New Order, Broken Social Scene and Super Furry Animals in their songs. But the group has never been as confident with their marriage of lush, exuberant dreampop and dark, clever lyrics as they are here. –Mike McGonigal

Album Description
The third LP for this Canadian band, following their amazing sophomore set, “Heart;” a critical smash. “Set Yourself on Fire” is a self-proclaimed Sex, Death, & Robots record, with rich and ornate depths. Produced by TONY HOFFER (Beck, Air, Grandaddy, Phoenix).

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Amusement Parks On Fire

album cover
About a month ago I picked this up. Listened to it a bit for a couple weeks and really started to like it. Shortly after, I learned that my girlfriend was going to Paris the next week for work. I tagged along for the long 3 day weekend.

I kept searching online trying to find a cool show to see while in Paris. The only thing that kept coming up, of which I was familiar, was U2 with Snow Patrol at Stade De France. I was convinced that something just as interesting, much cheaper and being held in a much smaller venue was happening. I kept searching.

Finally, the Friday I was in Paris I saw online that a guy named Sebastien Schuller was playing at a free, outdoor music festival called Feed Back. The review compared Sebastien Schuller’s sound to Radiohead and Air. I listened to a couple streaming clips and liked what I heard. I then checked the artist lineup for Feed Back and BAM!, playing on Sunday was Amusement Parks On Fire. (Sorry Sebastien, we could only dedicate one afternoon to this. You all should check out his stuff. http://www.sebastienschuller.com )

I’m a member of www.pollstar.com and yet this didn’t show up. What’s with that? Really makes me question the worth of that site. I’m a paying member and I get the email updates but the emails are so generic that you still have to go to the site to see the updates. A HUGE hassle for multiple venues. Why can’t they just tell me what bands have been added to the venue’s schedule WITHIN the email???

We scoped out the bus route and arrived about 5:15pm for the 5:45pm show. We managed to score some front row seats, sitting comfortably close while drinking a nice cold draft.

The album is rather good. Very similar to early 90’s shoegazer guitar rock. My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel.

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Tiger shortcut for word definitions (hidden feature)

If you have Tiger installed, hold your cursor over any word, anywhere. Then hold down [control]+[Apple]+[d]. After pressing those 3 keys, you’ll see a nifty little definition window pop up. You then can let up on those 3 keys and hold the cursor of any other word and the definition will change to the word that is under the cursor. (I am told that it doesn’t work in Firefox) I’d take and post a screenshot of what it looks like but I’m too lazy right now.

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Do you hate the new look of OS X Tiger’s Mail.app?

Apple’s Mail.app version 2.0 is a drastic change from the previous version. I’m not totally sold on the new look. Here are some free applications that will hack the resources of mail.app so that it looks different.

Cagefighter:

http://otierney.net/cagefighter/

Mail Fixer, looks like it’ll work with themes so users can create their own theme and share them with other users of the app.

http://www.buyicons.com/

if you come across other hacks for mail.app then post in the comments.

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Bloc Party – Silent Alarms

album coverI wasn’t really very into this at first. Typical take-it-or-leave-it attitude I had with a lot of music. I give it some more spins a couple weeks later and two songs stood out. “Like Eating Glass”, great drums, and “This Modern Love”, which starts out sounding a lot like Interpol. After getting into these songs a bit the rest of the album started to sound better.

Similar feel to Franz Ferdinand… sounding heavily 80’s.

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Interpol at the Warfield

So I went to see Interpol at the Warfield on Tuesday night. Great show! I was happy and a bit surprised to see them play “The Specialist” and “Roland”. I think they put on a great live show. Interesting to watch for the most part. Carlos and Daniel are about as active as you could expect anyone to be and still play well.

The lighting, while interesting, reminds me of the Apple iPod commercials. Everything in silhouette. I’d personally prefer a little more frontal lighting, at least at times, to see the band easier.

Sound-wise, to me, the guitars in the first couple of songs sounded muted… possibly lacking highend or “bite”. Whether it’s the mix, the sound they like or just me being weird I don’t know… but after seeing them 5 times I think I’ve always thought this.

One thing I must mention… What’s with the guys with moppy hair wearing sunglasses indoors??? Celebrities look like fools doing this and so do you. Who are these ‘Johnny Knuckleheads’? There is a story here about how our culture almost encourages this. Normal, everyday people, attempting to bring that image of importance on themselves, simply by wearing sunglasses when you aren’t outside in the sun.

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