Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

8/21/2008

New Music Resources

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yeah, I know this is later than normal, but I gave you two things on Tuesday, so I figure we’re even.

Well, as you know I’ve been searching for new music. At least, music that’s new to me, because, you know, I was told that Snow Patrol is, well, mainstream and old hat and whatever other cliche you want to squeeze in here. So, I put a poll up over in the sidebar and hoped for the best. Now, for those of you who don’t know me in life, you might be a little surprised by how eclectic and varied my choices in music can be. For instance, in my car right now, I have Warren Zevon’s last CD, a Frank Sinatra collection, Snow Patrol, Bowling For Soup, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Rob Zombie and Nina Simone, just to name a few. In fact, I went from listening to Rob Zombie to Sheryl Crow in an afternoon. So, my point is, I’m pretty open. I usually say I don’t listen to Rap or Country, but, honestly? If someone presents something interesting enough, I’ll try it. Seriously.

In any case, I wasn’t satisfied with the responses I was getting on my poll (vote early, vote often!), so I started doing more research. I got a book called The Pocket DJ. It’s been around a little while, but I figured it would still lead me places I hadn’t been. Also, there’s this writing exercise where you build a playlist for your various characters, to try and get inside their heads and feel how they feel through music. I sort of figured that I could go in the other direction and pick playlists from the book then build the character from that. You know, getting twice the use of the book by cranking my musical IQ up a few points and getting some writing exercises at the same time. I’ll get back to you on both.

Either way, though, there was a section in the back of the book that listed a bunch of music blogs. So, naturally, I sat down not too long ago and started chasing links. Some didn’t interest me and some had either moved or shutdown or shutdown just as I found them. At least one blogger announced that she was shutting down her blog to become a full-time music journalist not more than a week after I bookmarked it! Of the ones that survived, though, I’ve got three for you.
First, there’s Sixeyes MP3 Blog, with regular posts and free MP3s in every post! Yea! They’re mostly indy stuff, but kind of all over the place, too.
Then there’s Fluxblog! with almost daily posts and, again, free MP3s in every post, sometimes podcasts with music, too. Yea free! I mean, seriously, you can fill your entire iPod with free MP3s of popular and new music from this blog alone!
Finally, there’s Stereogum with many, many posts, at least one daily, lots of performers from overseas and many posts with videos or MP3s. Yea regularity! Oh, my middle-age is showing! Seriously, these folks love music and it shows in sheer volume of posts, if not the intensity of each review.

Also, a friend, Marc Garvin of Pulling Strings, the great Houston-based public radio show about classical guitar and similar stringed instruments (Correction!  Marc e-mailed me and said the show features “the sounds of “Picked, plucked and strummed” (sometimes “banged, bashed and hammered”) instruments.”  So, you know, it’s even better than what I said.) suggested some of these very cool and different performers when he caught wind of my search for something new to add to my rotation. Even though these links are all about the music, they’re brought to you via YouTube.
Jake Shimabukuro on the Ukulele. This is definitely worth looking at and listening to. He does things with a ukulele that have to be heard, and seen, to be believed!
Kaki King playing the guitar in such a way as to get percussion. Okay, the video is a little strange and disjointed, but I really like this sound. It’s kind of the latest version of a performer singing with their instrument. Open mike night taken to a super-high professional level, you know?
Joscho Stephan, also playing the guitar. This is a more Country, or Appalachian, sound to me than I’d have expected from Marc, seeing as he’s a Classical guy, but, I have to admit, it’s got a certain energy to it that really works!  (Update!  Marc told me that “Joscho is a “gypsy jazz” guitarist in the style of Django Reinhardt.” So, that should make it more clear to those of you who are more musically well-versed than I.  And, by that I mean, everyone in the world.)

Finally, if you want to find any of the music that’s been mentioned here, or elsewhere on my blog, I suggest trying SeeqPod, the playable search engine. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating in this context. One of the great features here is the “Discover” feature that lets you discover songs that SeeqPod thinks are close to what you’ve been searching for in style. Sometimes some really interesting stuff comes up in that.

So, there you have it. As promised, more than one new resource for new music.
Also, for those interested, yes, I did buy the newest Snow Patrol CD, but don’t let that stop you from voting in the poll because I’ll be buying more music eventually.
Oh, yeah, one more thing… Don’t forget that next week I’ll be doing a guest post on someone else’s blog. I’ll have an announcement the day it’s supposed to go live on that site.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Live truth instead of professing it."
   --Elbert Hubbard

6 Comments

  1. Hi NG
    Can you give me some quick help with my laptop? Promise it will be quick! Just about Firewalls
    dataceptionist@gmail.com

    Thanks heaps in advance!!

    Comment by Dataceptionist — 8/22/2008 @ 3:41 am

  2. Awww cmon Britney is totally Indie.
    Alright fine, but I still like her music!

    I never thought about Music, but of course you can find blogs on anything! I always forget to look LOL
    My music tastes are also quite eclectic, from Opera to Britney to Green Day to Nine Inch Nails (only a brief flirtation with Rod Zombie sorry)
    Thanks for the links!

    Do you listen to much/any Australian music?

    Comment by Dataceptionist — 8/22/2008 @ 3:51 am

  3. Well, it’s not that I have anything against her music. It’s just that I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to it.

    As far as I know, no, I don’t listen to any Australian music, but only because I don’t know any Australian musicians. So, do you have any suggestions?

    Comment by the Network Geek — 8/22/2008 @ 6:16 am

  4. Hmm, well I’m not much of an “indie” listener, so I’m not sure if these fall into Indie but Australian artists I like
    The Veronicas (ok they’re likely to be pop)
    Katie Noonan’s voice is amazing. She used to be in a band called George, which I highly recommend.
    Silverchair get lots of “acclaim”
    as do Wolfmother. *shrug* from me though.
    I like The Living End, they’re just rekindling their group again and releasing stuff.

    Comment by Dataceptionist — 8/25/2008 @ 1:19 am

  5. Pitchfork often has good stuff, as well.

    http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/page/news

    Comment by monica — 8/30/2008 @ 8:30 am

  6. Don’t know if you’re still in the market for new music sources…

    For a fabulously refreshing slap in the face by some of the best new music available, try downloading a South By Southwest Showcase. I think you can find 2008’s edition by Googling “sxsw 2008 showcase”. You will get hundreds of new songs; and you’ll find stuff to love, stuff to hate, and stuff that makes you go, “Wowwww”.

    To try some of it on for size, and discover new stuff like it, try Pandora.com.

    MySpace is just loaded with stuff. Bands don’t cut demos anymore — they post stuff to MySpace, and give their site to clubs and booking agents. Clubs will also have previews of bands on their own MySpace pages.

    Finally, get into your local music scene. It will take a little work, but before long you’ll know who’s who. Houston ain’t bad that way.

    Comment by Lynne — 9/5/2008 @ 4:01 pm

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