In the neverending quest to make everyone’s day a bit more surreal, today we present morecowbell.dj.
It adds more cowbell and Christoper Walken quotes to any mp3, thereby vastly improving any song. Genius, I tell you!
I recently got myself an emusic account and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. I remember hearing about the service quite a while ago, but didn’t try it out earlier (for some reason or the other, don’t remember). Now the topic came up in an IRC conversation and I thought I might give it a go.
Basically, you pay a monthly fee and that allows you to download a set number of songs per month. Full high-quality MP3s (with intact and full tags) and no DRM crap of any sort. The montly plans start from 6 euros per month, which gives you 10 tracks (0.60e per track), up to a 300 songs per month one. I have the one which gives me the cheapest price per track: 21 euros, 75 songs, 0.28e per track. That’s very cheap compared to other downloadable music services, and there is no DRM crap here.
What’s the catch? Well, the artist selection is limited, you won’t find most of the big mainstream artists here (though some are available). Also, the monthly schedule might not be to everyone’s taste. Me, I’m happy with the thing; it gives me an excuse to get 75 new songs per month and emusic carries a lot of artists I like a lot. You can download the songs via the web if you want, but that’s kind of cumbersome… the default method is a standalone download program which allows batch download and other convenience factors; versions exist for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. I’ve been using the Linux downloader and it seems to work fine.
When you sign up you get 50 free songs, and you can cancel the thing without paying anything if you don’t like the service. In other words, even if the service doesn’t interest you as such take it as a chance to grab some totally legal high-quality songs from some great bands. To get you started here are some of my current playlist favorites available from emusic:
- Challengers from The New Pornographers. Their latest and most melodic album, check out tracks Your Rights Versus Mine and Adventures in Solitude
- Twin Cinema from The New Pornographers. Now quite as strong as Challengers, but the song Bleeding Heart Show is fantastic
- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood from Neko Case. Alt-country with Neko Case’s fantastic voice, with story inspirations from Russian folklore, what’s not to like?
- Boxer from The National. The album has really grown on me. From the hypnotic Fake Empire to the affectionate Slow Show, this album is pure gold. Very low-key, though, and needs repeated listens.
- Exile in Guyville from Liz Phair. Even though Liz’s later albums haven’t left as much an impact, this (her debut) remains an indie classic. Check out Help Me Mary.
Even though I’m still a bit pissed off about Björk’s cancelled gig, stumbling on the Black Cab Sessions did brighten up the day a bit. Cool idea, some guys in London decided they’d try to pursuade visiting bands they liked to sing a song in the back of a cab. Nobody gets any money (except the cab driver), and everyone does it for fun (or because it’s weird, or for publicity, or whatever).
Not to mention poetry in motion, in the form of Benjamin Zephaniah. Whoah.
We have arrived
too late to play
the bleeding heart show
Goddamnit, just heard that Björk has had to cancel her Helsinki gig due to voice problems. I was a bit afraid of this, she had cancelled some of her previous shows on this tour due to the same reason, but I was hoping she’d get better for Thursday’s show. No luck.
…and of course, Blondie (which was my second choice for concert for Thursday) is now sold out.
People say that your dreams
are the only things that save ya.
Come on baby in our dreams,
we can live on misbehavior.
The weekend is starting up, the sun is shining, and this song – from what’s is still one of the best albums I’ve heard during the last 5 or so years – manages to reflect my mental state perfectly. It’s a very good state, in case you’re wondering. The song itself is open to interpretation, like so many great songs are.
It’s “Rebellion (Lies)” from Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” album, in case you don’t know.
God, I want to see these guys live, someday.
More and more, companies and individuals are exploring alternatives to the traditional ways of publishing and releasing stuff. Two new examples saw the light of day just now.
First off, we have Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) releasing a whole new album, just scant months after the last double-disk instrumental set. This time around, the whole thing is absolutely free, you can download “The Slip” in various digital forms, without needing to pay Trent one dime (or having to deal with DRM or other nonsense). Trent says that he intends to also release the album in more traditional CD form later, but for now the digital download is a “free gift to the fans”. Apparently his previous “decide how much you want to pay” foray with the Ghosts set was a success – or else he just wants to thumb his nose at the big record labels. Or maybe both. Me, I’m not complaining, I’ve really liked the new NIN stuff – lots of energy and actual melody, instead of just industrial drones.
The second has to do with roleplaying books, where the guys at Pagan Publishing / Arcdream decided that they would like to publish a new Delta Green book (which is at least partly complete already), but all their cash is tied down in other book projects. The Ransom Model to the rescue! So, we now have a new Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity book ransom running; you pledge $50, and if they manage to raise the full $20,000 there will be a print run and you’ll get a copy of the book. If not, you don’t get charged anything and they’ll possibly publish it later via more traditional means, but there’s no guarantee or timeframe on that. So in effect, it’s a binding pre-order for a book, which also gauges how much interest there is for the thing. Very cool, and Greg Stolze has been doing it for a while now with his Reign supplements. Because it’s a printed, hardcover book, international customers will need to Paypal an extra $25 to cover shipping if the book goes to print.
Personally… well, a new hardcover book filled with more Delta Green goodness? Of course I’m in. Besides liking the ransom model in general, Delta Green rocks and the writers on this one are once again first-class. Here’s hoping they get enough pledges so we’ll get the book sooner instead of (much) later. It’ll cost me $75 with international shipping, but with the current $-vs-euro rate that’s about 50e which is quite a normal price for a big hardcover book.
So… if you like NIN, hop on over to their site and download the new album as a gift. If you like Delta Green, pledge your $50 and support the excellent cause of “pay great writers to create tons of cool new modern Cthulhu stuff”. Can’t really go wrong with either choice.
We just came back from the first concert of Värttinä’s 25th anniversary Finnish tour, at a concert hall in Matinkylä. It was excellent; I’ve seen them live a few times before but this was the best so far. Great use of visual imagery and choreography to add to the music, without either becoming a distraction. It was also a lot of fun, with high energy. If I have a complaint, it’s that it would have been even better at a rock club – having to sit down all the time was a bit of a downer, they played a lot of fast numbers.
As always, they combined Finnish folk music (with Russian and Hungarian tweaks) to great effect. To anyone who thinks folk music is boring: go see these guys.
In general it’s been pretty quiet over here. Lots of small things happening, but nothing too report-worthy. Tempest the cat got some sort of urinary infection and I’ve been feeding him antibiotics for some days now; I’m not sure he understands why he’s suddenly getting private meals, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s also getting over the infection, it seems, though I’ll have go have him checked again after a few weeks. As always, Felina was expensive but well worth the cost.
You thought The Doors and Blondie have nothing in common? Think again and check out this mashup. Awesome!
What do you do when Rick Astley just doesn’t cut it anymore?
Simple. You go hooga chakka ooga ooga….
I think it was Radio Paradise that initially introduced me to Imogen Heap, both through solo work and as vocalist of Frou Frou. I was immediately struck by her distinctive voice, and by how she managed to inject something very unique into what was, on the surface, bouncy electropop.
Nowadays, every time I head something by her, I wonder why I don’t already own all her work; reasons tend include such down-to-earth things like cash and availability. My favorite song so far isn’t on her “normal” albums, it’s the song Glittering Cloud from the theme compilation Plague Songs. Wonderful tune. I would have bought it via iTunes, but it’s only available as DRM’ed version so no sale (related gripe: why can’t all labels release their catalogs without DRM already?).
The latest in the long list of “my god, she’s good” moments is this live studio clip. Wow.