Category Archives: music

Curl Up IN The Fire – Compilation 2009

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you’ll know that I have a tradition of making a compilation of tracks I’ve been listening to (new-ish and old – so it’s not a ‘songs of the year’ CD, necessarily).

This year is no exception and so, without ado, here’s this year’s track listing.  I’ve also added a Spotify playlist for those of you who have it and am also going to try to turn it into a podcast.

1) Talk Like That – The Presets

2) The Bachelor – Patrick Wolf

3) Too Young to Love – The Big Pink

4) Poison Arrow – Sonic Youth

5) Signs – Bloc Party

6) Who Can Say? – The Horrors

7) By The Time – MIKA and Imogen Heap

8 ) Slaughter Killing Carnage (The Meaning of Words) – A Sunny Day in Glasgow

9) Forever Young – Youth Group

10) Better Off as 2 (acoustic) – FrankMusik

11) The Flood – Simon Bookish

12) Box n Locks – Mpho

13) Danger Makers (demo) – H Bird *

14) Feel The Love – Cut Copy

15) Half Asleep – School of Seven Bells

16) Let Go of the Fear – Maps

17) I Am Not a Robot – Marina and the Diamonds

18) Pink and Glitter – Tori Amos

* H Bird aren’t on Spotify (yet!) so I’ve put another treat on the Spotify version: L’Amour et la Violence (Floating Points mix) – Sebastien Tellier

If anyone can suggest some free software that I can use to easily turn an iTunes or Spotify playlist into a podcast on a Mac, I’ll put up a podcast version too.  (I’m sure I should know how to do this…)

download: curl up IN the fire

Enjoy – and Happy 2010 to everyone!

BBC Electric Proms Dizzee Rascal Player

BBC Mobile has announced that it will be providing exclusive content to audiences as part of BBC Electric Proms 2009.  You can check it out in the promo video below: 

To do this, our Audio & Music team worked with Dizzee Rascal to provide his fans with the chance to play his samples and mash up his songs using a mobile soundboard. The application can be downloaded from the BBC Mobile site, or accessed by texting ‘player’ to 88111, and includes samples from some of his signature tunes.

The soundboard is live now to the majority of mobile phone owners, although not every handset can be supported. This application will join elements on the mobile site introduced especially for BBC Electric Proms including exclusive interview audio, photo galleries, wallpapers, set lists and Twitter updates during the gig.

These new features, in addition to the recently introduced radio network pages and the increased personalisation aspects to the BBC mobile homepage, are all intended to enable audiences to stay connected to the BBC wherever they are.

Download your Dizzee soundboard at http://www.bbc.co.uk/electricproms/2009/mobile/

Patrick Wolf private gig for Bandstocks investors

Last week, I wrote about how excited I was that I’d been invited to a see a private gig by Patrick Wolf after investing some money in his forthcoming album Battle on Bandstocks.

Little did I know what a treat I was in for.  The gig was last night and held at the 1901 Club in Waterloo, London and was like being in someone’s living room/lounge listening to Patrick give a recital for a tiny crowd.

I won’t gush here about how good the gig was (amaaaaazzzzzzzing) but wanted to post to share some of the videos and pictures I took and because it made me think more about what a good idea Bandstocks is.  No, I’m not being paid by their PR company! 

One of the things that came across last night was that Patrick really likes talking to and creating music for his fans.  The whole time he was incredibly gratious and humble and genuinely thanking his investors for their support.  Not something you normally get in such a heartfelt way when you go to a gig.

Direct relationships between artists and fans can only be a good thing and hopefully the way forward.  Cameras were welcomed and so alot of people were snapping/recording away – just another sign that Patrick is exploring a new relationship between fans and music where he (or they) own it and not a big major record label (which generally prevents either the artist or fan from fully enjoying it so that the company can profit) – and knows that letting fans do this is good free publicity and not stealing.

Anyway, the lighting in the venue was very dim so please forgive the quality of the photos and videos, but here goes.  I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did as it really was a special night.

“Paris” is my favourite of his songs… glad he played it even if I messed up the camera:

Photos on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/j-sin

Bandstocks: Cool site, cool business and a free Patrick Wolf gig

A few weeks ago, I discovered Bandstocks via an article about Patrick Wolf releasing his new album, Battle, by using the site.  The basic premise is this: you invest £10 (per share) in a specific artist’s forthcoming album and when it comes out you get a high quality download of the album and share 30% of the receipts shared amongst all of the other investors.  Bottom line – no ‘record company’ to speak of and a much better deal for fans and artists.  I’d have bought the album anyway so figured that for £10 I’d happily pay in advance for the chance to turn a tiny profit if the album does well.bandstocks_web

Betting or investing?  They’re kinda the same, really, so this was mainly fun for me.  (And it’s FSA regulated so couldn’t be a total scam.)

THEN… yesterday, I got an email inviting me to a private gig that that Patrick would be playing for his investors next week.  How cool is that?  I’m really excited and definitely feel like I’ve had more than my tenners worth already and I’m very excited about this.  If Bandstocks can forge closer relationships between artists and audiences, it’s going to be a great thing.

Here’s Patrick talking about Bandstocks on YouTube:

Last.fm is Rude – and so is their Customer Service

This morning I got really, really annoyed with Last.fm.

I know its not their fault but, I really really wanted to listen to a particular song over and over while I had my coffee (as I’m occassionally known to do – this morning it was Human by The Killers).  Obsessive yes, but darn it, it’s a catchy tune.  I don’t actually own the song so just thought I’d listen on Last.fm.

Annoyingly, after listening 3 times, Last.fm told me I couldn’t listen anymore because I’d reached my limit!  Now, if Last.fm was a free service, I might understand this but, I’m one of their paying customers.  I’ve been subscribing for years to get access to all of their functionality – I thought.

Now, I know the real reason underlying this is music rights agreements – record labels just hate the idea of us listening to their music without buying a CD – but, common, I’ve already PAID for a subscription to this site (and have done for years).  Why can’t I just use all the features?  So I emailed them hoping to get an answer and provide them with ‘valueable user feedback.’

I can see no reason why I can’t listen to a streamed song over and over – even in the restrictive world of music rights.  I can watch the video over and over (via legit and illegit copies) on YouTube and other services, so I suspect this is mainly Last.fm reserving the right to commercialise on this at some point and not completely rights related.

All I can say is that Karen Groenink’s point that ‘Digital Products are Rude‘ applies here as much to the product as to Last.fm’s customer service.  Their response to me didn’t appolgise for my unhappiness or potential misunderstanding but gave me a snippy, legalistic response.  When I replied saying I was annoyed becuase it just appeared that they changed the terms of what their subscription was AFTER I’d subscribed, they just suggested I cancel.  Nice customer service.

Shoot the Summer

Last night I (also) attended a screening of Shoot the Summer (or http://www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/shootthesummer on your mobile) – a film made by some of my colleagues (Hugh Garry and Jo Bellingham) in BBC Audio & Music.

What a blast it was – and a great example of how mobiles can be used to capture stories from users that we’d never get to see or cover otherwise.  The basic premise was that Hugh and Jo provided loads of punters, radio talent and bands at summer festivals with mobiles to film whatever they wanted and then pieced it together to document last summer’s festival scene.

Afterwards I was asked if I thought my colleagues in BBC Vision (the telly-and-video-making bit) or BBC Journalism (the news, sport, weather bit) should be doing this.  And, while of course they could, I left Shoot the Summer feeling like this was the perfect thing to be coming out of one of our radio-based areas.  The texture of it just felt like radio to me.  Audiences voices mixed with radio talent and bands, first hand experiences and – of course – music.  Sure it didn’t have all the polish that a TV production on summer festivals would have had – but it had something more intimate than what you’d capture otherwise.  Having been to ALOT of the festivals in my day, I definitely felt like it capture the feel of festival going far better than the professionally-produced Glastonbury: the Movie did.

Watching it also backed up another hunch I’ve always had – that while musicians are great on stage, they’re not nearly as interesting as crowd members when you meet them.  The only parts of the film that left me fidgiting and not laughing or enjoying myself were the ones where the bands were on as opposed to the punters.

I really hope I see more of this type of work coming out of the BBC in the future.

Swedish Music Highlights

After a week in Sweden, I thought I should post about two Swedish music acts that I’m loving at the moment.

The first is The Shout Out Louds:

You can’t help but think of The Cure (one of my all time favourites) when you hear the vocals but they’ve got a fresh indie sound that I’m loving.

The second is Anna Ternheim, a great female vocalist:

I’m always amazed by how much great music Sweden produces and how much I enjoy it.  Bands like these are great treats that prove its not all Shlager (which I also love, but admit is pure cheese).

I’m in Korea now… I wonder what type of musical treats I’ll find.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.