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T**e *h* S**n****s B***i**G, **k* ***m b****n*.

Music: 

Xebox - Bunker Buster

This week David Lowery grumpled many of the Interbutts as he published a list of 50 "undesirable" (read: "un-licensed") music lyrics sites to target for legal action by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA). With some major exceptions (RapGenius!), many of these sites do, in fact, suck. They're undesirable from an Internet user standpoint as well what with pop-unders and malware.

The fact is, they are worried about lost revenue from the licensing fees these guys should be paying, and the fact that lyrics sites have tons of ads, and that it follows that their owners are sitting on massive piles of cash in the Caymans. So let's go sue 'em all and get that Scrooge McDuck money silo each of them has to have. Here's a better idea, why doesn't the industry run its own goddamn lyrics sites? Well hell, I bet since we live in The Future and all, you could even track how many times someone searches for a song and give Dave Lowry his quarter of a cent per 100 impressions for Euro-Trash Girl lyrics.

The claim that it's "ripping us off as artists" is unconvincing though. If someone's reading the lyrics, you must assume they're listening or have just listened to that song, which they either own or they don't (Keep going after those pirates, I can at least see the point kind of, best of luck). Very very few songs have lyrics that merit reading on their own without music surrounding them. No one is reading the lyrics to Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive who isn't also listening to that song right now.

The Musician as modern Shelley is in all but the most exceptional cases disingenuous at best (Fun fact: Search for Percy Shelley on Google, and the #3 hit after Wikipedia and Poets.org is poemhunter.com, one of the NMPA's targeted sites of IP thieves). Off the top of my head, I can think of four musicians whose lyrics I could just sit and read, and even that is only a handful of songs per artist. Also off the top of my head, I can think of zero musicians whose lyrics I have just sat and read as art for its own sake.

It certainly didn't take Tennyson to write Take The Skinheads Bowling.

"Industry Sues Morons, film at eleven". Fine. "Fragile snowflake genius loses livelihood when someone can search for their lyrics for /free(!)/". Well you lost me there pal.

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.

Fixed Tags:
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

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

Long Tall OCD

Music: 

Wanda Jackson - Long Tall Sally

I have four artists' versions of Long Tall Sally, and am listening to them all in order.

Does anyone else do this when you have three or four versions of a song? I'm driven to, especially when they're really different, like covers of or by Tom Jones, or Shirley Bassey.

xrayspx's picture

Updated Music Collection Browser

Music: 

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - The Weeping Song

I've made some much needed updates to my Music Collection Browser, and thought I'd mention it. It now does a case-insensitive sort of artist names, while ignoring leading special characters ( "'",":","(", etc), as well as throwing away leading "The"s for sorting. This was a big deal to me since it annoyed me every time I had to scroll through 50 The Whoevers to get the band I want.

I also fixed the compilations piece, so linked that back in. I just settled for big ugly links for soundtracks/compilations and individual artists at the top of whichever page is loaded. It sucks but there's really not much of a better way to go.

Now I just have to re-tag a few albums and artists to make things consistent, since some artists have both a "The" and "non-The" variant in the list, but at least now they're right next to each other.

Also, I want to vent about Gracenote. Fucking Gracenote. That is all. ... For many artists who have lots of featured guests, it appends all the "feat. whoever"s to the Artist tag. That is wrong. It should be appended, preferably in parentheses, to the song title itself. It's the only way to maintain a reasonable collection.

Of course, iTunes is stupid enough to create different artist folders based on this idiocy, so now I have 15 Bootsy Collins directories on the FS.

The goal list for this project, after 24 hours, now stands at:

  • iTunes XML files
  • Case Insensitivity for sorting
  • Throw away non-alpha/num leading characters to build the list ('Til Tuesday, :wumpscut:, (Cevin) Key, though it would break !!! if we owned any, or else it would just show up first, where 'Til Tuesday is now, which is fine)
  • Throw away leading "The"s for sorting, but only one, so as not to break The The, or Thes One
  • Better handling of compilations
  • Searching
  • Port to PHP?
  • Here's where I justify not crossing the rest of the items off my list:

    (1) I've barely bothered to look at iTunes XML files because every time I open one and try to make sense of it, I end up weeping to myself. I think what it's going to end up being is me taking my iTunes DB and munging into either sqlite3 (probably) or MySQL (unlikely), in a stripped down version of the same form that Amarok built its sqlite3 databases. I can't help but think that all the searches I run against the DB would be slow as hell if I was searching an unindexed XML file every time I do anything. So now I just need to write a perl script to parse the iTunes XML database file and puke out SQLite3 in a schema my site already handles.

    (2) I don't personally care much about searching. The point of this tool is so that when I'm in a record store or otherwise away from my computers I have quick access to an accurate copy of my CD collection, so I don't purchase dupe CDs or whatever. Or if someone asks me if I've heard of some band I can pull it up. Also, helpful links to YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon searches for each artist. That's pretty useful really. Searching is irrelevant. The only place it would really be handy is if I send the page to someone else and they want to quickly find an artist or song, to which I say "Suck it up and scroll".

    (3) I was thinking of porting it to PHP just because I've written like, 6 lines of PHP and figured I should know it. This thing could stay Perl until Unix time rolls over and I wouldn't care at all.

    xrayspx's picture

    Parental musical advice

    Music: 

    I'm pretty much unqualified to give anyone advice on any topic, but this is the best parental advice I can give:

    Don't let people insult your kids and drive you insane with crappy childrens music.

    A friend posted that she felt bad because she may have waited too long to buy tickets to The Wiggles. As a non-child-owner, I of course had to interject with my option:

    It's OK, you can get these instead, with the benefit of it being Real Music: http://www.danzanes.com/tour

    Fixed Tags:
    xrayspx's picture

    Imelda May @ Brighton Music Hall, 7-30-2011

    Music: 

    Misfits - Hollywood Babylon

    [music | Misfits - Hollywood Babylon]

    [Also-music | Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes]

    xrayspx's picture

    Joe Buck Yourself - 4/14/2010

    Tonight we got to see Joe Buck Yourself at the Brick House in Dover, NH. This show was the biggest coincidence ever. We first saw Joe Buck playing bass with Hank III at the Roxy, and it killed us, and cost me a toenail. I have been waiting to see him solo ever since.

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