When TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi get on stage they introduce themselves, work the crowd a bit … and then, the lights go off. And when the lights come back on, they’re just standing there, staring at each other. The audience is waiting, wondering what’s going to happen. And so are TJ and Dave.
Do you have a podcast? Then you should really be using the free audio utility The Levelator. I spent many years trying to get my podcast audio to sound uniform and this utility does automatically.
I have been using Google Play a lot more recently now that they have music matching and a free 20,000 song upload capacity. It is especially great when I’m at work and want to listen to a few of my tunes. However, I always forget I have the player open in my web browser and close it by mistake, thus ending my epic music party. To counteract this, I created a Fluid app for my Mac which will keep the music going even if I close the window.
But every app needs a great Icon, so I created this transparent PNG Google Play icon for my application. Feel free to use it for your Fluid app.
Audirvana Free is the counterpart to the more full-featured Audirvana Plus mac application. While the interface may be a little hokey, it is the best sounding audio player I have ever found. Seriously, everything I listen to just sounds better with this player. The Gapless track RAM pre-caching, FLAC support, and system integrated volume means you are always listening at your system’s full potential. My biggest gripe is that there is no Last.fm scrobbling, but that is a fairly small issue.
In light of this I have switched over to Vox another lightweight mac audio player. Although I find its appearance a little stark, it stays out of your way and plays just about any audio file. Best of all it has menubar control and IT SCROBLES TO LASTFM!
Sonora is a tiny and elegant little replacement for iTunes that plays just about any music file you throw at it.
When Apple purchased LaLa last year, my favorite music streaming service ever, I have to say I was upset. LaLa had a wonderful model which put their users and the music they liked into a wonderfully social system. Unfortunately for LaLa, that system didn’t make much sense from a money-making standpoint and Apple bought them for the technology and the experience they had with streaming media.
I figured with such an accomplished head start, Apple could flip a music streaming service in no time. They had the people who created the ideal, just do more of that? Not so fast mister, this is Apple we are talking about and nothing at Apple gets released without being perfect.
Cut-to more than a year later
Last week Amazon released 2 free products, Amazon Cloud Player & Amazon Cloud Drive. The basic gist of both is storage online for all your media — in the cloud. Cloud Player is all about audio (at the moment) and Cloud Drive is all about all other files. Confused? Maybe this video will help.
Sounds pretty incredible right? So how does it stack up against all the other cloud based storage systems out there? For files it is pretty good, it is definitely not as easy to use as DropBox, but that may change rapidly as Amazon figures out what they have. The major advantage of DropBox over Cloud Drive is finder integration on both Mac & Win computers. Not having to keep a web browser window open or download some strange “uploader” is a real advantage.
For music, the service is basically unmatched at the time of this writing. Being able to upload mp3s and have them instantly available for playing online or to be downloaded on another computer is wonderful. The Amazon Cloud Player itself is relatively simple in its design. It has a big yellow play button and does a fantastic job at streaming audio files smoothly. The sound quality is the same as you would expect from a desktop application.
But what about all us people who have bought lots of songs from iTunes? We’re out in the cold, right? Amazon Cloud Player uploads and plays those flawlessly too! What?! You heard me. As long as the AAC track isn’t copy protected (ie – not a 128kbps .m4a file you downloaded from iTunes 2 years ago or earlier) it will upload, play, and have all its tags. This is wonderful functionality for all the folks like me who drift from one music service to another. Amazon has smartly not excluded its competitors users.
Unfortunately if you rip your music into FLAC, APE, Apple Lossless, OGG, or any other formats; you are going to have to convert them to MP3 or M4A if you want to listen to them online. If you just want to upload them, they can be uploaded and accessed through Cloud Drive, but Amazon Cloud Player will not recognize them as audio.
Time to give up on Apple?
So is Apple so late to the party that it will be impossible to catch up? Far from it. Apple will release their cloud music service soon and it will be a game changer, of that I have no doubt. For all of us iPhone and iPod users, the service will also be compatible with our devices (Amazon’s Mobile Cloud Player is not yet available for Apple products). But what Amazon’s service does do, is offer a glimpse in to the future of cloud based services. It may not be perfect yet, but it does change how we store and consume media. Best of all this gives Apple a high bar to jump over — competition is never a bad thing.
When I first heard True Blue from Dirty Beaches’ Sweet 16 EP, I have to say I was impressed. The romantic tone and undulating guitars made me want to sit by a fire on a beach at dusk, wrapped in a musty blanket with my best-girl, listening to the waves crash. It was just this over-romanticized vision of 1950s sound that got me hooked. As a sound, it was fresh and really got me interested.
The Badlands album, however, suffers from too much of a good thing. While an EP of fuzzed out rockabilly guitars is fun, a full albums worth of difficult to decipher eclectic low-fi is a little hard on the ears. Sure there are some interesting moments on Badlands, but after about 4 songs — you get it. You get the whole thing. You think, I hope this changes a little from the predictability of the “dadada-dada-dadada-dada” and it doesn’t. It holds tight — to a fault.
Even wonderful songs like Lord Knows Best begin to grate on your nerves after the repetition of the 5 songs before it. I want to like this album, because I really have been looking forward to it, but as an album it doesn’t hold up. It stubbornly marches to the end without the love or joy you might have expected from the standouts like True Blue or Lord Know Best. By the end, Black Nylon and Hotel gave me distinct impression I was being asked to leave the beach I had so enjoyed hearing snapshots of before.
Released: March 28, 2011
Nero by Little Tybee
Needed a pick-me-up after the events of last week. Really looking forward to their new album out April 5th on Paper Garden Records.