Singing the praises of MusicBrainz

MusicBrainz


Can I tell you how much I love MusicBrainz? I have been dabbling on online radio for a few years now and the challenge is always finding interesting content. One of the most cost-effective ways to find varied content is in compilation albums or soundtracks. One-hit wonders that were one staples of radio make good radio content but buying a one-hit wonder’s shitty album just to get their only hit isn’t cost-effective. With MusicBrainz, I can look up a one-hit wonder and find out exactly what compilation albums or soundtracks it’s a part of. I can buy that compilation and not only get the song I want but most likely other good one-hit wonders along with it. Awesome!

Another good use of MusicBrainz is finding just the right mix of a song. Often, record companies will release a remixed or edited song as a single, either designed to fit on a 45 or to be more radio-friendly. For example Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride has a great break that goes on and on in the album version but is often cut short in versions played on the radio (2:55 vs. the original 4:27). This drives me nuts! MusicBrainz knows which versions are which, though! I can find the entire catalog of Steppenwolf, find their The Second album, click on Magic Carpet Ride, and see all the versions of the song that have been released. Goodbye, hacked-up, radio-edit song versions!

MusicBrainz would’ve come in handy with a recent purchase I made at the (now defunct) Ed McKay store earlier this year. I picked up what I thought was a compilation album of early 70’s hits. I expected these to be the original master recordings of the songs but that’s not what I got! The entire album was re-recordings of the hits, none of them sounding the same as the ones I know and love. I was disappointed I hadn’t noticed the small print on the CD cover, and that I hadn’t gone to MusicBrainz first!

MusicBrainz is an open source project as well as a 501c(3). It’s worthy of your time and contributions!

“My best friend, he’s the king of karaoke…”

We started off our anniversary weekend by attending the birthday party of a friend of Kelly’s Saturday night. There was a karaoke machine present and, of course, I can never resist doing some singing. I did about 6 songs to rave reviews, with some people asking if I’ve done this before. It’s all very flattering but it did get me thinking if I could find a band and maybe take my singing more seriously.

Our family’s been asked if we can rejoin the Highlanders and play some gigs this fall but it appears our ever-crazier schedules won’t allow for it. Plus there’s no singing; the Highlanders play instrumentals. I enjoy being on stage and playing guitar so adding singing would be even better.

So now I’m asking myself if I have the time it takes to rehearse with a band. It might take time but it wouldn’t seem like work if I’m doing music, so maybe this will actually happen.

(Blog post title from rank Black’s song Calistan.)

Don Felder Gives ‘History of the Eagles’ a Mixed Review – Hollywood Reporter

Just watched “History of the Eagles, Part I” today. It was an entertaining look into the life of a rock and roll band when it was on top of the world.

Don Felder, one of the long-serving members of the band, talked about what the documentary didn’t cover.

So it was with considerable trepidation that Felder, now a solo artist who recently released his second album, Road to Forever, sat down to watch Allison Ellwood’s two-part History of the Eagles documentary, commissioned by Henley, Frey and longtime manager Irving Azoff and broadcast on Showtime. Nonetheless, he found plenty to appreciate in the authorized film.

Source: Don Felder Gives ‘History of the Eagles’ a Mixed Review – Hollywood Reporter

David Bowie utterly humiliated Ricky Gervais on Extras · Great Job, Internet! · The A.V. Club

This bit David Bowie did on Ricky Gervais’s Extras is hilarious, as is his explanation for doing the show.

Fans and critics will undoubtedly spend the upcoming days debating which of David Bowie’s many memorable songs should be considered his very greatest contributions to the canon of Western Music. While titles like “Life On Mars?,” “Changes,” and “The Man Who Sold The World” will be bandied about, some consideration should also go to “The Little Fat Man With The Pug-Nosed Face,” an impromptu ditty with which the erstwhile Ziggy Stardust joyously serenaded Ricky Gervais on a memorable 2006 episode of Extras. In the episode, actually titled “David Bowie,” Gervais’ character, self-involved actor Andy Millman, is already starting to chafe from the notoriety he’s gained from starring in a hacky, catchphrase-laden BBC sitcom called When The Whistle Blows. Spotting Bowie in the supposed “VIP” section of a bar, Gervais’ character makes the spectacularly ill-considered decision to accost the musical legend. Then, with no prompting whatsoever, he proceeds to spill his guts to this unwitting stranger. A gentleman to the last, Bowie actually listens politely as Gervais whinges about his own, hopelessly trivial “problems.”

Source: David Bowie utterly humiliated Ricky Gervais on Extras · Great Job, Internet! · The A.V. Club

The Beatles Rarity » #askNat – concerning John Lennon’s contribution to David Bowie’s “Fame”:

I love this story of how John Lennon came to work on David Bowie’s first #1 song, Fame.

By late 1974, David, having moved to RCA Records, had already recorded most of his ninth studio album, Young Americans, but the record was in a holding pattern while David went through the necessary legalities to break all ties with his shady management contract with Tony Defries. Staying in a New York hotel during this period, David had a little party that John Lennon, together with his girlfriend May Pang showed up for. Record producer Tony Visconti was also in attendance and recalled later that both John and David were high on cocaine and Cognac and while sketching caricatures of each other were having a dark discussion about “what does it all mean?” – with “it” being “life.” As a side note, it was at this party where May Pang first met Tony Visconti and the two would eventually marry in 1989.

After the party, the ice was properly broken between John and David and a week or two later in early January 1975, John got a phone call from David who explained he was at New York’s Electric Lady Studios working on a cover of John’s Beatles classic “Across The Universe” for his Young Americans album. Unbeknownst to John, Young Americans didn’t need any further material. David was apparently seizing the opportunity to get a Beatle on his record and make a replacement or two of some of the tracks – if it turned out okay, that is. John obliged David and came down to the studio to sing backing vocals and play acoustic guitar on “Across The Universe” with David and his band. John was later to comment that Bowie’s version of “Across The Universe” was the best one. After jamming with the band on a 1961 hit by The Flairs called “Foot Stompin’,” they teamed up with guitarist Carlos Alomar, who had been playing with David since the previous year, and the three of them wrote “Fame” on the spot.

Source: The Beatles Rarity » #askNat – concerning John Lennon’s contribution to David Bowie’s “Fame”:

Singer David Bowie dies at 69; mesmerizing performer of many alter egos – The Washington Post

I’m sad to hear that David Bowie died yesterday from cancer. He was an amazingly-talented musician and artist.

David Bowie, the self-described “tasteful thief” who appropriated from and influenced glam rock, soul, disco, new wave, punk rock and haute couture, and whose edgy, androgynous alter egos invited fans to explore their own dark places, died Jan. 10, two days after his 69 th birthday.

The cause was cancer, his family said on official Bowie social media accounts. Relatives also confirmed the news but did not disclose where he died.

With his sylphlike body, chalk-white skin, jagged teeth and eyes that appeared to be two different colors, Mr. Bowie combined sexual energy with fluid dance moves and a theatrical charisma that mesmerized male and female admirers alike.

Source: Singer David Bowie dies at 69; mesmerizing performer of many alter egos – The Washington Post

Phone-crazed audiences and fed-up musicians? Yondr is on the case – CNET

A startup called Yondr is trying to sell concert venues on the idea of taking away their customers’ smartphones during shows. The company’s product is a bag that locks over the audience member’s phone, blocking it from being used unless taken to an “unlocking station.”

This idea is all kinds of wrong. As the reporter below describes, putting your phone into a bag will now make you obsess over the phone. Did it vibrate? If so, what was it? Guess what? Now I’m the distracted one, not the person who might have seen my phone’s display. And this happens to everyone else whose smartphone has been held hostage.

What if a desperate phone call comes in from the babysitter at home, but because my phone is kidnapped inside a Guantanamo-worthy hood I don’t hear/feel the call come in? Or what if I do but I can’t push the stoner metalheads out of the way to get to the “unlock station” in time to take the call? What if it’s a call to tell me my house is burning down? Can you say “lawsuit?”
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McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Open Letters: An Open Letter to 17-Year-Old Boys Who Just Discovered The Doors.

Dear 17-year-old Doors discoverers,

Well, this was probably unavoidable. You are about to think some very dumb stuff about poetry, women, and dead Native Americans. This is a tradition, or affliction, that has been passed down to at least three generations of 17-year-old white boys and then foisted upon 15-year-old-white girls for just as many decades— girls your own age are way past this shit, stick with the sophomores. You are going to abuse the word “shaman” in ways that will violate international torture conventions. You’re going to think that something important and meaningful is happening to you, even though you haven’t left your room for three days. You are going to sit at the feet of the master of total self-regard, one James Douglass Morrison, the “Lizard King,” and think yourself the Prince of Salamanders and heir to a throne carved from your own bullshit.

Source: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Open Letters: An Open Letter to 17-Year-Old Boys Who Just Discovered The Doors.

The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s, F2K No. 11: Darryl Worley, “Have You Forgotten?” | Village Voice

This cheesy song was playing in an Anchorage gift shop yesterday and my family and I were rolling our eyes. I count myself lucky that I managed to avoid it for ten years.

Just another schmo who hoped that 9/11 would change everything…for his career.

It’s tempting to simply quote in full the lyrics from Darryl Worley’s crass-in attempt to tie together the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the run-up to the Iraq war. After all, its lyrics, which rhymed “forgotten” with “Bin Laden” and called for daily showings of the attacks on the World Trade Center, were the linchpin of its “appeal.” But to do that would be a disservice to the fine men and women of this country who have actually had to sit through the track.

Source: The 50 Worst Songs of the ’00s, F2K No. 11: Darryl Worley, “Have You Forgotten?” | Village Voice