Music

Relating to CDs, shows, etc.

xrayspx's picture

Two Angles on the Country Badass

Music: 

Circle Jerks - American Heavy Metal Weekend

From Mike Ness:

To The Cramps:

I remember reading a record review for a rockabilly compilation (Which we own, and which is awesome) in which the writer claims it's disingenuous for the compilers to draw a line from 50's rockabilly to punk. He said in effect that punk owed nothin' to no one. Anyway, Johnny Cash came up followed by Hasil Adkins in iTunes just now and reminded me of that obvious music hater's review of a really good compilation. The review seems to have gone down the memory hole.

A Short list:

Sid Vicious covered an Eddie Cochran song, and it was popular.

Elvis Costello covered an an entire person. That was popular too.

The Cramps are a thing which exists

The Misfits, Ramones and Clash are also things which exist.

Jim Heath has a career.

As does Hank III.

GG Allin closes some sort of loop.

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xrayspx's picture

Hmm. So that's how it is in their family

Music: 

Shriekback - Malaria

TL;DR: Here is how to restore DJ to iTunes, as much as possible

A few months ago, Apple maliciously broke iTunes in several really specific ways, one of which was to drop the DJ functionality, which is basically how I would listen to music.

Reading a thread on JWZ's site this issue, among others, I posted my somewhat-fix for the issue. And it is. A "somewhat" fix. It acts pretty much like DJ used to act, but for two problems. You can't drag things from a window with your whole collection into your "DJ" window (Cause hey, ONLY ONE WINDOW NOW), and besides, I had to create a Smart Playlist to fix it, and you can't add to a smart playlist anyway. There is "Play Next", which I guess works.

My other main gripe with this is that when I hit Next to skip a track, usually it removes it from the top of the playlist, but often enough to annoy the fuck out of me, it doesn't, and I have to go back in and clean up the top of my list a few times a day. Worse, songs I've skipped will come back up in the mix sooner than I would otherwise want them to, since iTunes doesn't know I've skipped them.

I remember reading somewhere that there was a discussion once about how to make iTunes mark something as "Skipped", or at least what the secret parameters are that cause things not to become "Skipped". So tonight it annoyed me enough to hunt around, and of course, the very first hit was back to a different JWZ post from exactly three years ago this week, complaining about this exact skipping thing.

Of course he didn't get a satisfactory answer, because he almost never gets a satisfactory answer to exactly what he asked. It looks like if you skip between 2 and 20 seconds into the song, and don't hit pause ever, it will show as Skipped. Neat.

His Herp Derp checkbox was the only thing that made any of this sane for me in this case.

To mostly restore iTunes DJ, do the following:

Click + at the bottom left of the iTunes window and create a new Smart Playlist. I named mine "DJ-ish".

Match All of the following rules:

  • Last Played not in the last 1 days -- Or however long you want to go between repeats
  • Last Skipped not in the last 2 days -- This will make iTunes clean up most songs you skip using the Next button.
  • Limit to 100 items selected by Random -- or however many upcoming tracks you want it to pull at a time
  • Match only checked items -- Unless you want iTunes to randomly play songs you've explicitly told it you don't want to hear by un-checking them
  • Live Updating

It's pretty simple to get most of that functionality back, but you know what would have been simpler? NOT REMOVING IT.

xrayspx's picture

iTunes Mass Importer

Music: 

Bauhaus - King Volcano

For my own notes, so I don't forget I did this... Big thanks to Doug from Doug's Applescripts for iTunes for convincing me that making iTunes update in this way is possible.

As with all things, I have to make my music library overly complicated. In historical times, I ripped at 128k, then 192k, but even a lot of the 192k mp3s sound like crap, so I've decided that going forward, I'm doing 320k CBR MP3s as well as FLAC.

I'm using Max to do the rip and encode on the Mac. It encodes both sets of files in parallel and saves them in a directory under ~/Music/max-rips/Artist/Title.

Here is a script to sort that and update iTunes. It'll drop the MP3s in my MP3 library directory, then drop the FLACs in a repository for them, finally making iTunes add the new files at the end. If all you want is to make iTunes rescan your library for new files from a script of bash shell, you want the osascript line toward the bottom, just substitute the path to your collection in place of mine.

I'd like to pass $directory and $albumdir to the osascript and have it live inside the inner for loop, but I've not figured out how to use my variables inside the 's that osascript -e requires to run its part. It only takes a few seconds to re-index the whole thing.

This is the utterly fugly 15-minute first draft with crappy variables and whatnot, but it does work.

(Yeah yeah, "find blah blah | while yadda yadda", 15 minutes, works, admittedly fugly, 2000 CDs and nothing has | in the artist or title)
Update #2: Nevermind all that, the script below is a lot clearer and does all that stuff I wanted.

maxmover.sh:


#! /bin/bash

find ./max-rips -depth 1 -type d | awk -F "max-rips/" '{print $2}' | while read artist
  do

    mkdir "/Volumes/Filestore/CDs/$artist"
    mkdir "flac-output/$artist"

    find "./max-rips/$artist" -depth 1 -type d | awk -F "max-rips/$artist/" '{print $2}' | while read album
      do

        mkdir "/Volumes/Filestore/CDs/$artist/$album"
        mv "max-rips/$artist/$album"/*.mp3 "/Volumes/Filestore/CDs/$artist/$album/"
        mv "max-rips/$artist/$album" "flac-output/$artist"

        `/usr/bin/osascript         tell app "iTunes"
        add POSIX file "/Volumes/Filestore/CDs/$artist/$album/"
        end tell
        EOT`

      done

    rm -f "max-rips/$artist"/.DS_Store
    rmdir "max-rips/$artist"

  done

Update:
It looks like there are several ways to skin my osascript cat. These aren't even the most fluid examples I've found.

xrayspx's picture

The Coup & People Under The Stairs at the Middle East, 12/5/2012

Music: 

DEVO - Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA

Go Here:Read an interview with Boots Riley, by old friend and excellent writer Tom Andes. -- @The Rumpus

A very happy confluence of events led me to lie to Chris Portugal at The Coup / People Under the Stairs show. The first thing that had to happen was that the original venue for People Under the Stairs had to be unprepared to open. That venue is the Sinclair in Cambridge. It's apparently still not open as they're shuffling shows to TT's and the Royale.

xrayspx's picture

Mike Watt and The Missing Men @ Brighton Music Hall, 10-17-2012

Music: 

The Pixies - U-Mass

We just walked in from seeing Mike Watt & The Missingmen at the Brighton Music Hall. The latest in our unintentional Punk Rock Legends series, so this is brief.

This blistering set was all of the album Hyphenated-man, which we do not yet own, but will tomorrow. It was pretty much beat poety, jazzy, hardcore rolled up in 2 minute songs.

Watt was looking a little worse for wear from his 2010 knee injury. I'm not surprised, because when we saw him with Iggy Pop (and The Neighborhoods!), just a few weeks after he hurt it, he was in a full immobilizer, and had to get on stage with crutches. Once on stage with a bass in his hands, he proceeded to run around and jump all over the place as if it hadn't happened. He looks like he's feeling it more now, which I know from experience really sucks.

One of the best bits was this cover of Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix during the encore. This version has better vocal audio than we heard, if I find video of tonight's show, I'll replace this Iowa footage:

Here are the photos, they're not great, because the Brighton Music Hall isn't the brightest lit place in the world, but got some good ones:

xrayspx's picture

Public Image Ltd. @ The Royale, Boston MA, 10-15-2012

Music: 

Big Black - Racer X

Here are some of my favorite photos from Public Image Ltd. PiL played a long set, with no opener, and a good mix of old to new music. John's voice was a bit worse for wear, but he actually became better over the course of the night, I feel, probably due in no small part to generous application of Courvoisier VS.

We spent most of the night being systematically mesmerized by Lu Edmonds and his Buzuq. Natalie was convinced going in that Warren Ellis was touring with them, because she saw multiple sources mis-identifying him from previous shows. That's really a shame. They're similarly masterful, equally anachronistic visions of a late 1940's bearded man thrashing some poor instrument to death, but not the same person. I did get a sense last night for what it would have looked like if Wm. S. Burroughs were a guitar player.

The crowd was strongly in favor of this show, but artists need to keep in mind that Boston Does Not Dance. It just seems to not be what we do. Sorry. We were dancing in spirit, John. We get that a lot here.

A few pictures from the 27 I put to Flickr:

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Unwoman at Outpost 186, Cambridge MA, 9-29-2012

Music: 

Soft Cell - Insecure Me

I have been waiting for half a decade to see Unwoman and finally got the perfect opportunity in Cambridge. Unwoman is Steampunk / "Corsetronica" music, a tag which I really wish would have stuck, but which it appears she and I are the only ones to have ever used.

Over the years, her music has gone from more electronica towards a more natural cello sound coupled with her powerful voice. Using loops, she'll lay down several cello tracks for a rich sound with lots of depth. The technique is not unlike Zoe Keating, however their results are very different. I may be completely wrong, and her normal live set might include laptops and drum machines, but we got the perfect show for the venue, an intimate and engaging cello and piano based set.

The show was at Outpost 186, to a capacity crowd of about 30 or so. This is why I didn't want to conspicuously take any photos, however there is good-quality video here and here. I have no idea what happened to the full video shot by the house, but if I find it, I'll update here.

Hopefully it's not another several year wait for the next show. Now that she has a good Boston foothold, we hope to see her back.

Welcome to Boston.

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xrayspx's picture

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Paradise, Boston MA 9-12-2012

Music: 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Six Strings That Drew Blood

The Jesus and Mary Chain were a somewhat disappointing and listless live show. They really, for the most part, just seemed like they wished they were somewhere else. I don't know if that means "In front of a different crowd, on a better day", or "At home not having to slog it out on the road 20 years later in front of a middle-aged crowd of people who don't choke down pills anymore".

Overall it sounded all right, though there were many false starts that I would not have expected at this point in their tour and careers. I guess there are some times bands just don't gel with their audience, and this was one. Hopefully other cities had a better experience.

These guys really are a favorite band of mine and I hope they were more together for other crowds, don't like, not go see them, it's probably worth the gamble.

We really did both enjoy The Vandelles as an opener. They were pretty much super fun, wardrobe malfunctions not withstanding :-) Their name and style aside, they really were more of an early '90s band than Another Rockabilly Band, check them out.

I did get some photos, here they are:

I really do like a good zip tie job:

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xrayspx's picture

Jane's Addiction, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA 8-11-2012

Music: 

D.R.I. - Beneath The Wheel

Jane's Addiction at Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, 8-11-2012

This was our second time seeing Jane's Addiction in the last couple of years, and neither time did we manage to get anywhere near the stage. I think they sounded much better at the NIN/JA show than here, both just in sound mixery, and the playing. It was a good show, but unfortunately not the best thing ever.

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xrayspx's picture

Streaming WFNX on Android

Music: 

Front 242 - Welcome to Paradise

UPDATED: I have verified that the process below is absolutely the right thing to do. We drove around for an hour to test and the phone only dropped in the largest of the known cellular dead zones, so buffering is a lot better. The phone also ran a /lot/ cooler than when I was using the flash player. Plus, this will work with our Nexus tablets, since they don't have Flash and Adobe stopped supporting Android

Earlier in the week, WFNX posted a quick and dirty mobile page with options for how to listen on various devices. There is an Android page there, but what happens is it loads a flash player in your Android web browser and streams that way.

This sucks on many levels. 1) It's flash and takes a ton of CPU, B) It doesn't buffer very much if at all, so it tends to drop and re-establish, and third) It's in a browser, and is limited by browsery-behavior stuff like "when the phone locks, it stops playing music", so you can't ever let your phone auto-lock. I get that FNX needs to be generic here, and can't get complicated enough to tell people to go get new software, and they probably don't want to be seen as endorsing a product, so that all makes sense. That said...

The right way to do this is to skip the Android page, and go to the iPhone/iPad page. There they have direct links to an MP3 stream. The MP3 stream is 65kb/sec, so they're not the highest quality things ever, but they'll sound better than whatever Clear Channel does to the air around 101.7.

What you need is a music player capable of playing .pls streams. Head over to the Play Store and get A Online Radio.

Choose the Live button, and scroll down and select Add Channel:

You can either type in all of http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WFNXFM.pls, or, if you're on your phone now, click and hold here and choose copy URL. Then paste it into the Add Channel dialog:

Once you do that, it should create a new entry in the Favorites tab, right at the top, click that, let it buffer, and listen:

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