My new player arrived yesterday. I went from a Creative Zen to a Zune. It took almost two hours to load the frickin’ software onto my computer and check for updates. By the time I got around to actually loading songs, I was tired and ready for bed. Then I wake up this morning to discover that it didn’t load everything. Oh, I’d expected it to miss some albums from my old player (pretty much everything I’d loaded onto it since…May, I think, which is when I backed it up on my laptop.) But it overlooked my entire U2 collection. I have all their albums, and most of them were loaded onto my old player. How Zune managed to miss every single U2 song in my collection is beyond me. I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time this weekend trying not to smash my new Zune to pieces.
Hi, how are you today? Ashley MacIsaac – I happened to have this CD in my desk, and it’s a good thing I did, because otherwise I may have gone a little nuts this week at work, not having anything to listen to. MacIsaac, before he scandalized himself by making outrageous comments and engaging in questionable behavior, put out this most excellent disc back in 1995. From foot-stompers to slow, traditional weepy fiddle songs, the album doesn’t have a sour note on it. You may have heard “Sleepy Maggie” (one of the best tracks on the album), but be sure to check out “Devil in the Kitchen” and “Wing-stock”.
Ghostbird Zee Avi – Zee Avi is like the female version of Jack Johnson. Her voice has gotten stronger since her debut album, and Ghostbird floats along and makes you think of her native land, the island of Bali. Sultry and rich, her lyrics don’t cover any new ground, but she’s not afraid to play around with her sound. She taps into the dance-pop music craze that’s currently taking over the airwaves on “The Book of Morris Johnson”, but I love what she did on “Concrete Wall”, sending the notes and beats echoing off each other.
Velociraptor! Kasabian – I loved Kasabian’s self-titled debut album. I was less impressed with Empire and West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. So I approached Velociraptor! with trepidation, thinking I’d have wasted the $10 I forked over for it. Not quite. There are a few tracks that were not to my liking, but mostly, they got back to their techno-heavy beats from their first album, and it works. It works really well. The title track, though, sounds too much like The Ting Tings, who never should have gotten a record deal in the first place. Avoid it in favor of “Days are Forgotten” and “Switchblade Smiles”.
These Hopeful Machines BT – The follow up to Movement in Still Life, Machines is more what you’d expect in the realm of electronica. While Still Life was chock-full of radio friendly tracks, Machines is not. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good album. It is. It’s a great zone-out album, the tracks flowing one into the other. BT is quite the musician, and actually plays several instruments on most of the album, then overlays them with the trippy beats, augmenting the sound with samples. The album was split into a double album. Track 2 from disc 1, “The Emergency” stood out right away, as did “Always” (featuring Rob Dickinson, formerly of Catherine Wheel) from disc 2.
Death by Stereo Umphrey’s McGee – I’m not much for jam bands. These guys may be the exception. The BF and I stumbled over them when he was channel surfing and landed on one of those music shows on PBS (it was either The Artist’s Den or Austin City Limits). So I picked up Mantis and thoroughly enjoyed it. Death by Stereo…eh. It’s good. It really is. Musically, it’s tight, interesting, and complicated. But sometimes it reminds me why I don’t like jam bands (the songs are too long, which is odd, because I like electronica. And MONO.) Still, it’s worth a listen, especially “The Floor” and “Hajimemashite”.