Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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A Sampling of Articles, Reviews, and Essays:

Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005
 

Neverending Randomplay #1-10 (a preview)

As promised, and by popular demand, Freeway Jam is dusting off its old bread-and-butter concept, the randomly generated playlist capsule reviews. Unlike in the past, the random-playlists will not be coupled to a genre or artist essay. Rather, they'll stand alone without preamble. A minimum of 10 songs will be profiled. This feature will appear every Wednesday night, under the title "Neverending Randomplay".

Neverending Randomplay is a weekly Wednesday night feature in which I let my J-River Media Center choose what we get listen to. My collection currently stands at 17,265 titles. The lion's share are rock of all genres, with a mix of pop, blues, country, pre-rock, jazz, reggae, soul, electronic, avant-garde, hip-hop, rap, bluegrass, trance, Afrobeat, J-Pop, trip-hop, lounge, Worldbeat, commercial jingles, etc. filling it out. I don't influence the track selection in any way; whatever comes up, comes up. Jam Tags, 1-5 stars, follow each track.

Tonight:

1. Paul McCartney: Can't Buy Me Love (live) **
Paul McCartney: Back In The U.S. (2002)
With McCartney, you know exactly what you're going to get with a live album before you even open it. Faithful, almost note-for-note reproductions of a bunch of Beatles songs, plus a smattering of solo tunes. "Can't Buy Me Love" gets an energetic, professional treatment here, from the 2002 tour. Which almost inspires me to play the Beatles' version, which is a good deal fresher and more unpredictable.

2. Matthew Moore Plus Four: White Silk Glove ****
The Moon: Without Earth And The Moon (2002)
Great 60's garage band blues, sounding very much like Al Kooper, with a good fuzz guitar and an expensive-sounding horn section overdubbed. Keyboardist Moore was from Idaho; he and his band cut a few singles for regional labels White Whale and GNP Crescendo; he later cut some solo discs for Capitol, and as The Moon for Imperial. Look for their excellent version of "Codine". This reissue of The Moon's album includes several Moore solo sides, including this "White Silk Glove".

3. Aerosmith: Cryin' ***
Aerosmith: Get A Grip (1993)
Gigantic 1993 power ballad from hard rock titans, Aerosmith, who had become very formalist and humdrum by the time they recorded this horn laden number. Joe Perry still can play guitar, and Stephen Tyler fronts like a hustler. But it goes nowhere but to the bank, and takes its own sweet time getting there. This peaked at #12 on Billboard.

4. R.E.M.: Find The River ***
R.E.M.: Automatic For The People (1992)
Countrified closing number from Automatic For The People. The sweetness of the backing vocals on the approaches to the chorus almost veers this into John Denver territory, but the odd rhythms, melancholy verses and minor key rescues it. This was the best album from R.E.M.'s hitmaking years, although this cut isn't one of the better ones from the album.

5. The Supremes: You Keep me Hanging On *****
The Supremes: greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1970)
Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Motown songwriting/production team, became progressive in the late 60's. Here, they experimented with double tracking to fatten the sound; Diana Ross' vocals and the rhythm section are double-tracked here and really gain presence, particularly in the bass, giving this song that extra oomph. "You Keep Me Hanging On", from 1966, is one of the Supremes' best, urgent numbers. It was covered in a mammoth heavy metal/acid rock version by Vanilla Fudge a couple of years later and a new wave-ish pop version by Kim WIlde in the 80's.

6. Bruce Springsteen: Night ****
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run (1975)
Sax-heavy, raucous rocker displaying the E. Street Band to full effect. "Night" is one of the less remembered songs from Born To Run, sandwiched between some of the best songs of Springsteen's career. It stands on its own merits though, with good everyman lyrics, a peppy tempo, wall of sound production, thunderous drums, and Springsteen's impassioned vocals.

7. The English Beat: Mirror In The Bathroom *****
The English Beat: I Just Can't Stop It (1980)
The English Beat (just The Beat in England) was one of the leaders of the late 70's, early 80's ska revival in England. Saxophonist Saxa (who played with Desmond Dekker) lends this an atmospheric note of legitimacy. "Mirror In The Bathroom", the lead off cut from their debut album is one of the absolute high points of the genre; as good as anything their chief rivals The Specials came up with. Paranoid and edgy, yet instantly catchy.

8. Sea Ray: Stray Dog's Got It Made ****
Sea ray: Stars At Noon (2003)
Brooklyn's Sea Ray play a Yo La Tengo style dream pop, with lowkey psychedelic touches, a gentle space rock vibe, and melancholic tunefulness. This album track sounds a little like Dream Academy during the verses before erupting in a barrage of crunchy, heavy guitars at the bridge, and emerging in a textured spacerock drone. There's a nice majestic feel to this, can't wait until another of their tunes comes up.

9. The Orb: Supernova At The End Of The Universe ****
The Orb: Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
This opens a lot like the title promises. It begins with explosions, and disembodied, looped radio communications filtered through an echo chamber, before giving way to ambient electronica, with a beat that sounds almost like a muted "One Of These Days" with the radio loops snaking in and out from the vacuum of space. It meanders a lot over nearly 12 minutes; never really going supernova after all. Still, it maintains an edgy, otherworldliness to it that makes a good backdrop for late night activities. The album from which this is taken is a good one.

10. Flatt & Scruggs: Your Love Is Like A Flower ****
Flatt & Scruggs: Golden Era 1950-1955
Traditional bluegrass from the indispensable Flatt & Scruggs. This was from one of their early Columbia records, which many consider their best era. While bluegrass was starting to fade in the 50's, Flatt and Scruggs had hits, and also were discovered by the new generation of folkies who were coming of age. In the late 50's and early 60's they appeared at many folk/bluegrass showcases. They also recorded the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962.




Listen to Matthew Moore Plus Four: White Silk Glove (1966)