Category: Music (page 1 of 5)

Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry: ‘I will not accept online misogyny’

Chvrches new album is one of the best I’ve heard this year. Lauren Mayberry is their lead singer and writes in the Guardian about the daily abuse she gets from social networks. So sad.

Spotify

I’m a bit late to the party but now that I’m here I’m so glad I came. Spotify is a music service that, via a small local client, gives you access to a massive library of music. Legitimately. For free. The music is streamed but the quality is excellent and also very fast. This would be so so if the music library was small but it’s not. Having done deals with Universal Music Group, Sony, BMG, EMI Music, Warner Music Group and others means there is a massive amount of content. There are some noticeable absentees like The Beatles, latest Radiohead etc but that’s not a big surprise nor detracts from Spotify.

Spotify Artist Radio

So in the short time I’ve used it what do I like about it? Firstly the massive library. I’m looking for obscure tracks and more often than not you find them. The application itself is easy to use with a simple and clean interface. Reminds me of Pandora which you can’t get in the UK anymore unless you work around it’s blocks. The home page let’s you see new additions (how bad is the new U2 track?) and also see top tens from everywhere or by location. The link to the U2 track is a Spotify link – click on it to listen to the track in Spotify – a nice way of sending music to friends but not the only way.

Spotify Playlists

You can create playlist’s in Spotify just like you can in iTunes. Create a playlist, search for tracks and then drag them to the playlist. Nothing too ground breaking. Once created though, right clicking on a list will allow you to select an HTTP link or a Spotify URI. You can then send the link to friends or publish on the internet. Clicking on the link will load up the playlist in Spotify – really simple and a lot better than a mixtape or best off list – here’s my tracks of 2008. Another option available is Collaborative Playlists. Selecting this will turn the playlist into a shared list that any user can contribute to. So at the moment I have a Lickers playlist that our gaming community can share music in and an Ian’s Inbox playlist. Hopefully other people will use that playlist to send me music that they think I will like or should try. That idea looks to have stemmed from here originally.

Spotify Artist

Searching for an artist will quickly bring you to the artist page which shows their tops hits, discography and a biography. Searching for Chemical Brothers as above shows all the tracks available on Spotify from their albums and EP’s and also compilation albums that have their tracks – great for listening to similar types of music and finding new artists. Also available is Artist radio which plays tracks from the selected artist and also artists similar to them – Last.fm has much the same service. Speaking of Last.fm, Spotify client also scrobbles to your last.fm account which is handy. You can also use the Radio in Spotify which has some nice simple filters. Select a decade ot two, then select a few genre’s and press play. Great variety although with that there are some real stinkers that are selected for playback. Even though it’s a streaming service it’s quick to click on to the next track with little or no pausing between tracks.

Spotify Radio

I mentioned that Spotify is free but that does mean accepting adverts being displayed in the client and also audio adverts every 10 or so tracks. So far they haven’t been distracting and are far less intrusive than the commercial radio stations in the UK. There are also two pay for access options. The Day Pass costs £0.99 and gives you ad-free access to Spotify for 24 hours. Premium costs £9.99 per month and removes the ad’s and also gives you access to a lot more invites. For now free is working great for me.

While Spotify has really impressed me there’s always room for improvements? Playlist’s need folders as I can see that growing massively over time. I’d also like some more info on the collaborative playlists – highlight new tracks added, show the user who added them and how many people are subscribed to the playlist. I guess that’s the surprising miss so far – no social networking aspect. I’d have thought a friends list within the app or website would be a must – see what friends are listening too, automatically share this playlist with all friends, make a collaborative playlist friends only or public. Would become quite a powerful tool with those additions. Collaborative rating of tracks anyone?

It would be fantastic to stream Spotify music to 360’s, PS3’s or DLNA supporting boxes. I’ve created some playlists on the PS3 for Wipeout. I’ve got 3 or 4 covering the original versions of the game plus a couple for new rock and electronic music. How great would it be if I could create the playlist in Spotify, be able to play that back on the PS3 and also share that list out so others could use it too. Mmmm. I wonder if I could use Connect 360, iTunes and something like Nicecast to stream Spotify to the 360? Nicecast to create the audio stream from Spotify, subscribe to it in iTunes and listen to it via Connect 360 on the Xbox 360. Might try that later today.

I guess adding features would start to clutter up the client which I like due to its simplicity. No equalizer and minimal control set. Currently Spotify is only available on Mac and PC’s. No web streaming available and no mobile client either. I think this would be great on the iPhone and offer unique features that the other music streaming app’s don’t currently offer. No official word although the support forums hint at something may be coming soon to the iPhone. Here’s hoping.

There’s also a number of web sites springing up to help with the sharing of playlists. Spotifylists.com, Listiply, Spotylist and Spotyshare all offer much the same playlist sharing functionality. Topsify shares the current UK Top 40 as well as Swedish and US charts. I also have it on good authority from Windows users that Replay Music is a great way of saving mp3’s from Spotify. Not tried it myself so ymmv. Another app worth trying is Mixifier which let’s you easily share Spotify playlists with Facebook friends.

Highly recommended app and service. I have a few invites left at the moment so drop a comment with an e-mail address and I’ll send out invites to whom I can. If you do join, or are already using Spotify, drop off some recommendations in my inbox.

Radiohead – Glasgow Green

This was my first time seeing Radiohead live and I wasn’t disappointed – they were superb. Headed to the gig with Shakeel with two main worries. How muddy would it get and would Shakeel get in with his camera gear? Well it didn’t get muddy but it was quite wet and it was rather cool for the end of June but it didn’t detract one bit from the music. Shakeel also got his camera in even though he had it strapped to his back under a jacket. Terrorist alert surely but picking the right security guy helped.

Shazam.Bats For Lashes

Anyway, to the music. First up was Bat for Lashes. She sounded much better live than on her album. The new material sounded good and that was despite being one band member down. Kept us entertained but not entirely foot tapping. Still, a good start and if you’ve not heard of her before her last album, Fur and Gold is worth picking up. Just after 8:30 Radiohead came on to rain, gloom but not darkness. They ripped straight into 15 Steps which was a great start. With that track dispatched time for some Radiohead banter – Thom said it was a lovely day and that we should move down south. A few kid on boo’s later and it was on with the show.

Radiohead - Glasgow Green

The setlist was superb.

01 15 Step
02 Airbag
03 There There
04 All I Need
05 Nude
06 Arpeggi/Weird Fishes
07 The Gloaming
08 The National Anthem with Hunting Bears outro
09 Faust Arp
10 No Surprises
11 Jigsaw Falling Into Place
12 Reckoner
13 Just
14 Bangers and Mash
15 Everything In Its Right Place
16 Fake Plastic Trees
17 Bodysnatchers

Encore 1
18 Videotape
19 Paranoid Android
20 Myxomatosis
21 Optimistic
22 Karma Police

Encore 2
23 Like Spinning Plates
24 2 + 2 = 5
25 Idioteque

Majority of tracks were from In Rainbows but there was a couple from The Bends and OK Computer too. My highlights – Reckoner, Fake Plastic Trees, Paranoid Android and Optimistic. The two encores also delivered – as I’ve said the whole set list was great and it was 2 hours of amazing music. Maybe I’m just easily pleased.

the audience at the glasgow show last night were something to remember. they were AMAZing.
in the pissing rain with steam coming of them.
we had a wicked time – Thom Yorke

I didn’t expect much interaction from the band and apart from telling us to move down south, that a man was showing his nipples during No Surprises and shouting thanks and fucking hell at the end, that was about it for interaction. Still, the music delivered and then some.

Any -ve’s? Weather could have been better and opening doors at 4pm for a gig starting after 7pm is a nice way to make money and get people merry. A bit too merry – throwing pints of beer ain’t big or clever and just causes trouble and pisses people off. Also, cheers T-Mobile. I didn’t get any text’s or calls throughout the gig and just as we hit the Saltmarket after leaving gig, the phone vibrated – 8 texts and a lot of missed calls. Sorry to those that I hoped to meet up with. Still pretty pissed off about it to be honest. I have my pac code – just need an iPhone now.

Loved the guy in front of us though that went through 3 half bottles in an hour with his mate. His shouting and accidental punching of others was pretty funny. Also loved the guy who thought Thom was being ‘a cunt’ for not playing Idioteque and just before the last track was shouting at him for not playing it….and then they started playing Idioteque. He went wild…in a good way.

Radiohead - Glasgow Green

A great and very memorable night. Full flickr set here with a couple more video’s. Really should have taken more video’s. Next time!

Radiohead's Scotch Mist

Current TV ran a hour long broadcast of Radiohead plying all their new tracks.

It’s available until the end of January 08. Try this torrent for a better quality video.

Listen 07

A run down of some of my favourite music from 2007. Albums first, then best tracks. No ‘best of the year’ as it’s to hard to pick just one.

Radiohead Radiohead
In Rainbows

This got a lot of hype due to it’s method of release but to be honest it should have got the press for the quality of the album. Easily their best work since OK Computer it’s hard to find fault. The bonus second cd that comes with the boxset also has a couple of gems too. A must buy.

Ronson Mark Ronson
Version

They might be covers but this was one of the brightest and freshest albums I’ve heard in a long time. A couple of the tracks were pretty poor but as a whole it’s a great album.

Maximo Maximo Park
Our Earthly Pleasures

Far stronger than their first album this was a real grower throughout the year. Great lyrics and strong melodies throughout.

Biffy Biffy Clyro
Puzzle

Confident album from these Scots rockers. A stunning opening track but the best thing was the variety of styles throughout the album. Some ‘rock’ albums can sound samey but not this one.

Enemy The Enemy
We’ll Live And Die In These Towns

Before I listened to this album I had written off The Enemy as the next great indie thing, three young lad’s looking to be the next Arctic Monkeys and probably failing? How wrong was I. If I had to take one album away from the year it would be this or Radiohead. Great energy and superb lyrics.

Other albums that are well worth purchasing are…

Digitalism – Idealism
Kate Nash – Made of Bricks
Justice – Cross
Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Crash My Model Car – Ghosts & Heights
Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Arcade Fire – Neon Rainbows
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

Favourite tracks are…

Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead – In Rainbows
Is There A Ghost – Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Roc Boys – Jay-Z – American Gangster
Shooting Star – Air Traffic – Fractured Life
Do Me A Favour – Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Machines – Biffy Clyro – Puzzle
Pogo – Digitalism – Idealism
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – Editors – An End Has A Start
You’re Not Alone – The Enemy – We’ll Live And Die In These Towns
Standing In The Way Of Control – Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control
Song 4 Mutya – Groove Armada – Soundboy Rock
Pioneer To The Falls – Interpol – Our Love To Admire
Stronger – Kanye West – Graduation
Genesis – Justice – Cross
Foundations – Kate Nash – Made Of Bricks
Beauty Of Uncertainty – KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic
Oh My God – Mark Ronson – Version
Sandblasted And Set Free – Maximo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures
Hustler – Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release
Wide Awake – The Twang – Love It When I Feel Like This

Next up will be a viewing and playing review but it might be next year before they are posted.

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