You and I


I totally love "You and I", the new power ballad from Lady Gaga. And I realized that it distills qualities of music that I've been listening to for my whole life, and that she's created a huge tribute to so many of these artists. And that these are awesome karaoke songs. (Looking forward to adding this one to the repetoire)

I made a playlist of this on Mog, otherwise - um d/l off of iTunes?
Update, 6/2/11 - I dumped Mog for Rdio and it's so. much. better. here's the embed:

You and I - Lady Gaga 
Dude, she got Brian May out of retirement to play on that track? Amazing. Every good power ballad builds to a crazy crescendo and this song has it in spades. And damn she's got a set of pipes. 

Soundtrack 2009


Looking back on the past year, there are a couple of bands and albums that stood out as my soundtrack for 2009 - they were on heavy rotation on my iPod and I couldn't get them out of my head. In no particular order:
  • Quantic and his Combo Barbaro: totally great mixture of Latin, African and Middle Eastern sounds. I wish I could be driving in a convertible down the beach on a summer evening with this on my stereo.
  • Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: I know this album is more than 20 years old, but I recently downloaded it and made me realize that I don't hate Bruce. In fact, this album is totally stark and moving and unlike anything that I had associated Bruce with. Thanks eMusic.
  • Under the Covers: A two disc covers album with Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, lead singer of the Bangles. Some of the covers are pretty straightforward, but I love Susanna Hoffs' voice and I can't get enough of it.
  • Metric: This was Metric's year. "Help I'm Alive" was an earworm for me for almost a month straight. I blame it on @djacobs.
  • Cut Copy: Poppy electro disco perfection.
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: I think this was in every hipster's playlist at some point this year. But there's a reason why! Twee, endearing vocals, with a sugary pop coating.
  • Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980: I was never a huge reggae fan but this album has made me change my mind - the music on here is deep, powerful and yes, dark.
  • Neko Case: Because she's brilliant and I always need my dose of countrified alt rock.
  • Thao: This album recently made it into heavy rotation - I constantly download female singer/songwriter type music with high expectations but often they blur together. Thao has a really unique sound that just grabs your heart and makes her stand out from the rest.
I think that Lady Gaga also deserves a mention even though I have been resisting her for months - Bad Romance has been stuck in my head for days now. Damn her wily charms!

my ipod was killed by the flaming lips


well, not really. I was on the subway and my ipod suddenly froze in the middle of "Do You Realize". So I restarted it and the sad ipod icon came up. It's like the equivalent of getting the bomb icon or the sad mac icon in system 9. So now I have to drag my sorry ass over to the apple store and probably get the hard drive replaced.

I was just thinking the other day about how my listening habits have changed over the years with technology. I was the kid who had a portable cassette player with her at all times. I would drag around at least 10 tapes with me in a giant neon pink fanny pack (i swore i never wore it, i just used it for storing my tapes and game boy). I am also embarrassed to say that I joined Columbia House in the sixth grade. (10 free cassettes?? hell yea!) I'd make mix tapes from other tapes and records and listen to them straight through, because i knew that fast-forwarding or rewinding would totally drain the batteries. Remember how you knew that your batteries were running out? The song would get slower and slower and slower.....Besides, do you know how hard it is to find the beginning of a song on a cassette? I put up with the scratchy sound and only being able to listen to the number of tapes I could carry.

Then the portable CD player became ubiquitous just as I was making the transition to CDs in middle school, so I saved up some money and bought myself one. What sucked: no more mix tapes. No one had figured out yet that you could organize music on your computer and burn it to a disc. Hell, people were just getting their first home computers and Prodigy and BBS's were the hot thing. At least you could skip a song without it draining your batteries. But another major point of suckage: the first generation CD players were HEAVY and BIG and they skipped ALL THE TIME. They also ate batteries like there was no tomorrow (although I am proud to say that I got a set of rechargeable ones). The more buffer time a CD player had, the more expensive it was. I still had to carry around discs, and again only as many as I was willing to carry. Plus that meant that the chance that a CD would get scratched and ruined was much higher. At this point I was still making mix tapes from CDs, so I was carrying around a CD player AND a tape player AND CDs AND tapes.

So this whole method of listening went on for a while, pretty much into college. Then I fell into a weird technology called minidiscs. Mainly because you could record audio through a mic that sounded way better than what you could record to a cassette - I had a radio show with a friend and that's how we ended up recording our broadcasts. Ripping CDs still wasn't quite viable yet - hard drive space was still expensive. So at least now I didn't have to lug around cassettes because I could make mixes on minidiscs, but recording everything was still in real time. Plus I had to transfer everything to minidisc - the format never caught on here so you couldn't buy albums directly on minidisc. Plus now I was carrying around 10 minidiscs at any given time, and often I'd misplace them.

Then came the era of ripping CDs. My friends and I started making mixes for each other. Which was cool. Except that you still had to carry around a CD player. Yes, they didn't skip as much, and they were lighter, but there was still something missing. Mp3 players started appearing - they were promising, but they had crappy interfaces and puny storage capacities.

Then Apple came out with the ipod. It was like nirvana. It's the way that I've been wanting to listen to music since I had my very first cassette player.

Damn you, Apple. I funnel hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year into your pocket and I've had three of your products (2 ipods plus dual G5 tower) die on me over the few months. Am I cursed? Or maybe your products are just crappy. But unfortunately I am just going to crawl back to you every time this happens because there isn't any other company out there that comes close to how you've changed the way that I listen to my music, and HOW I've wanted to listen to my music. Damn you!

neko case


OK, this is a public service announcement. Neko Case is on tour and she is coming to New York NEXT WEEK. so RUN and get your tickets. Because I missed her the last time she came around and played at Joe's Pub and damn did I regret it. So yes I bought two tickets for the April 7th show at Webster Hall.

She is an amazing singer and songwriter, her new album (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood) rocks, her new site rocks, she just all around rocks. (OK, well maybe you would categorize her more as alt-country, but still.)

Hopefully I will remember to post a report about the show.

what's on the stereo


I haven't written much about what I've been listening to lately. I think I went through a "not listening to anything" phase, and then all of a sudden I went out and bought a bunch of CDs. So here's my favorites in no particular order.

Franz Ferdinand | - self-titled
I can't get enough of this album. And yes, they are uber-hip right now, but there's a reason. I get "Take me Out" stuck in my head for days on end. Argh!
Postal Service | Give Up
Frisky 80's style synth pop with melancholy lyrics.
Bjork | Medulla
A mostly vocal album, with beats created by human beatboxes. Essential. Creepy. What did you expect from Bjork?
OK go
They were introduced to me by my sister, who dragged me to their show a few weeks ago - which was loads of fun. Infectious pop punk with an oh-so-cute hipster frontman. I think they're my remedy for Spacehog now that they've broken up.
Los Amigos Invisibles
Finally picked up their newest album, I found out about them all those years ago on WERS's Gyroscope. Dancy funky music in Spanish.