99.2 °F

Apr. 24th, 2010 10:13 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
I feel simultaneously terrible and 0.7 F° short.
packbat: Wearing a open-frame backpack, a pair of sunglasses, and a wide, triangular grin. (hiking)
This mashup is seriously the most awesome thing I've seen all week. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] tacit! (And thanks [livejournal.com profile] nationelectric, who linked tacit's essay the other day!)

EDIT: Substitute [livejournal.com profile] remix79 in the parenthetical - goes to show why you should check your sources...

packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)

What's the most-played song in your music library?

View other answers

Weirdly, not Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, R.E.M., Shawn Colvin, Dire Straits, Tom Petty, Patty Griffin, 10,000 Maniacs, Counting Crows, Spoon, Peter Gabriel, Regina Spektor, Alanis Morrissette, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, The Police, or even The Be Good Tanyas. Remarkably, the track in question is "Nowheres Nigh" by Parts and Labor, a track off the Jagjaguwar 2008/2009 Sampler Amazon.com had as a free download a while back.

It's pretty kickin' when you crank the volume, though, so that's cool.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] jfs: http://sixdegrees.hu/last.fm/

It's a map of many (all but ~17000) of the artists indexed on last.fm, spread out in two dimensions* according to the similarity data that site has between each pair of artists. One of the cooler features here is the Interactive Map - you can look up any indexed artists and they mark them with flags. I generated the following map shown by entering a comma-delineated list** of my favorite artists and taking a screenshot.

* What would happen if it were three dimensions or more? I guess it's inconvenient to render...

** Names separated by commas. Example: Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, XTC. If you enter the list of your favorite artists this way, it works - even if the names have commas, like Peter, Paul and Mary.

Packbat's last.fm music map

I assume some interpretation could be put to why my flags all fall on a line between Avril Lavinge and Muse, but I'm not going to.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (wtfcu)
Blame luve on DeviantArt for this, the Weirdest Music Video I've Seen This Year:

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
I just got back from the Janis Joplin concert at Wolftrap ... it was amazing, but when she was talking about her time in California, and said she almost fell into full-out addiction, almost ruined her life - well, it made me think. What would have happened? Would tattoos still be the provenance of outcasts? Would we ever have had the inrush of female voices into the rock-and-roll scene, people like Stevie Nicks even have played rock? A tiny change to history - if we had Joni Mitchell still playing and Janis Joplin died young - and so much would have been different.

What might Jimi Hendrix have accomplished, if he lived as long as Jim Morrison? Where would Simon & Garfunkel have gone if Paul Simon hadn't died in a car crash in 1965 - would they have just been another obscure one-hit wonder? What could R.E.M. have accomplished if it were Marc Bolan died young and Michael Stipe still alive today? Heck, would Tommy Allsup be remembered the way Ritchie Valens is, if the coin toss had gone the other way?

I guess we'll never know.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
...but it's an impressive music search engine. Thanks, Cody Cobb!

Cyrkle - Red Rubber Ball
Found at skreemr.com


Dec. 14th, 2008 05:36 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
Yeah - should be writing a paper, way behind on my flist, but this old meme [livejournal.com profile] active_apathy did looked fun.

Put your MP3 player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first is the title.

So, I present:

This flower is scorched, this film is on )

At least it's short.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
Okay, so the headphones which were first predicted to ship Monday the 1st and then (after they showed up in the warehouse in Hebron, KY) predicted to arrive Friday the 5th, arrived today.

How do they sound?

Let's say that where the packaging says "revolutionary bass bliss" - well, I wouldn't be surprised if there were an unexpected mass uprising, because the rest of it is dead on. It picks up instruments in Joni Mitchell's "All I Want" (from Blue) that I didn't even know were there six minutes ago. The legendary bass riff from The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" comes through perfectly. Even bass-light tracks like Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" benefit.

A+. Would buy again.

(Oh, man! "Omaha" from Counting Crows!)

("Mr. Jones"!)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

German has a word for everything, like ohrwurm. Translated literally as "earworm" in English, it's the word for songs that get stuck in your head and won't go away. What earworm of a song do you most dread burrowing into your head?

Submitted By [livejournal.com profile] willard41

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Most painful for me is the Beatle's "Yellow Submarine" - one, it's pretty catchy, two, it's so popular that it'll even enter my mind without prompting, and three, it drives me up the wall.

The flip side: I love it when 10,000 Maniac's "Planned Obsolescence" or Maxïmo Park's "Apply Some Pressure" gets loaded in the mental sound buffer. Actually, on the whole, songs I like earworm much more often for me, and for the joy those bring me I'll gladly take the risks.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

Some people spend their whole lives preparing the answer to this question: What albums are on your personal all-time Top 10 list?

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Don't know. Here are a few likelies, though:

  • Graceland, Paul Simon.
  • Blue, Joni Mitchell (probably #1)
  • Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissete
  • Matters of the Heart and Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
  • Recovering the Satellites, Counting Crows
  • Revolver, The Beatles
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
Man, I wish iTunes let me give songs six stars.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

In their heyday, The Beatles were the center of the pop universe. Many groups have been hailed as the next Beatles, but does pop music even have a center anymore? Who represents the core of pop music to you?

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Britney Spears.

Really, though, the nature of the modern music scene is that people are choosing to be more idiosyncratic in their tastes, now - there's a reason why people turn to classic rock songs when they want commonality. Spears may be the biggest figure in pop right now (or in the recent past), but 'big' is smaller now.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (pale blue dot)
As you may recall, I recently mentioned to the world Livejournal that my brother is the best brother ever - in that particular instance, thanks to his generosity in purchasing and letting me rip a tremendous stack of music CDs. One of the most awesome songs in a generally fantastic batch is 10,000 Maniacs, "Planned Obsolescence" from Hope Chest: The Fredonia Recordings 1982-1983. It's a great spaced-out synthy track with cleverly layered vocals in clever harmonies - a little like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" might be if it was orchestrated by Eurythmics, to grotesquely misdescribe it.

But the lyrics are about the conflict between science and religion.

Really, I kinda hate it when this happens. Sometimes, when I'm staying up too late on a school night (he-e-y-y...), I feel things like, "all those people talking about elephants in the room must be talking about religion - it's the biggest one here." You get almost everyone repeating one or another of the same dozen or so platitudes that don't make sense but at least don't offend most people, or repeating one of a different couple dozen which offend one half or the other of the population but which everyone already has a standard response for (usually involving foaming at the mouth and insults either to one's character or to one's intellect, depending on which side is being offended - and yes, the whole "condemn 'both' sides" schtick is one of the "don't make sense" class).

So when I want to talk about this song, I can't even go "is this irony like 'Shiny Happy People', serious like 'Both Sides Now', or something else altogether?" without feeling like I'm walking onto a landmine. I have to lay down a few hundred words of insulation just to mention the question.

...so, what is this song saying? Is it bemoaning the materialism (in the dual-meaning sense) of the worldview now replacing primitive animistic belief, or is it simply observing the death of outdated modes of being? ...I think it is the latter, but I'm not sure!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (music)
I have the most awesome brother ever.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

What makes you feel better when you're mad?

Submitted By [livejournal.com profile] kimmayeisblack

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Spoon, "The Way We Get By". Suzanne Vega, "Blood Makes Noise", "No Cheap Thrill", "Widow's Walk", "Rock In This Pocket (Song of David)". The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army", "The Hardest Button to Button". Counting Crows, "Have You Seen Me Lately?", "Rain King". Nancy Sinatra, "These Boots Are Made For Walking". Regina Spektor, "That Time". Tom Petty, "Love is a Long Road". Tracy Chapman, "Bang Bang Bang". Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, "Thou Shalt Always Kill". Empires, "I Want Blood", "Spit the Dark", "Modern Love". R.E.M., "Orange Crush", "Disturbance at the Heron House", "Me in Honey". The Cardigans, "My Favorite Game". Daryl Hall & John Oates, "Rich Girl". Semisonic, "Sunshine & Chocolate".

I've found no better catharsis.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
Via [livejournal.com profile] the_zaniak here and [livejournal.com profile] failegaidin before him:

Put your music player of choice on shuffle (all music, or at least your Top Rated playlist), and wrote a story for the first ten songs that played. You can only write for the duration of the song. Concept, execution, final draft - you have between 90 seconds and 10 minutes to write each story. (depending on how long your music is, of course.) If you want to fix up the writing, post it separately - this is to show quick, raw work.

For once, I'm not editing the meme text - it sounds pretty good already. Raw writing, ho!

Song 1... )

Postmortem: Oh, for another thirty seconds apiece! But I think it was a good exercise.

(Humorous: the very next song - see the current music line - is 8:08.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (chess)
It seems to me a pattern: albums begin well, and end weakly. The first track on the Beatles' Abbey Road is "Come Together", a big winner - the last tracks are "The End" and "Her Majesty", two unknowns. The Indigo Girls' eponymous album begins with "Closer to Fine" and ends with "History of Us". Phil Collins' Face Value starts with "In the Air Tonight", ends with "Tomorrow Never Knows". Tracy Chapman starts with "Talkin' Bout a Revolution", ends with "For You".

Joni Mitchell's "Clouds" is a notable exception - the big winner, "Both Sides Now", is the final track - but still. Is it that people buy based on the first N tracks? Do they?
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

If your daily life had a theme song, what would it be?

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Spoon, "The Way We Get By", from Kill the Moonlight. (Apologies for the poor audio of the embed - Spoon's webpage has better.)

Don't read too much into the literal meaning.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Listen to this track.

(If the embed fails, you can find the track here.)

Now, consider the question: if you didn't see the video or know the referents of the words, if it were a straight audio recording called "Fuval Unccl Crbcyr" and sung in a language you couldn't understand, how would you evaluate the emotional content of the track? (Yes, please, listen to it again. I'll wait.)

Would it be, perhaps, wistful? Or hopeful? Or even ... unhappy, in parts, however cheery in others?

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] jfs, this remarkable little piece:

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
I imagine many of you are unfamiliar with [livejournal.com profile] nationelectric (at least, I was until he friended [livejournal.com profile] peri_renna); this means that you may have missed his post about the "new prog" band Muse. This is a shame, as I can tell you now that this band will leave you saying, as [livejournal.com profile] nationelectric predicts, that they "rocked me so hard that I got a hernia in my brain".

But that's not even what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a music video so good that it gave me shivers down my spine before I even saw it.* I present to you: "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse!

* Okay, yeah, everyone says that's just the flu, but I disbelieve. I disbelieve with the power of my rock-induced brain hernia!

† But I'm going to wear a sweater and take my vitamins anyway.

No, I'm not a Scientologist. Good grief.


Mar. 14th, 2008 11:11 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (one-quarter view)
  • Unfortunately, the turkey pot pi was somewhat underwhelming.
  • I'm thinking an external hard drive might be handy. LaCie is good, right? I should probably shop around a little.
  • I got XTC, Tom Petty, and Alanis Morissette CDs today!
  • Naturally, I am dismayed at Livejournal reaching new, untouched levels of idiocy by deleting the Basic Account option for new users. Like certain wise people (only with more laziness), I am honestly thinking about striking out on my own and just reading/reposting here. For the less lazy pessimistic, though: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] conuly, a update with the proper RL contact info for complaining.
  • To the guy about the IF thing: it's still rattling around in my head - expect mail soon.
  • Anybody around here play Core War or interested in starting? (Bear in mind I'm still yak shaving - do you believe that OS 10.3.9 didn't come with GCC installed? - so I won't be sending any warriors up any hills yet.)
  • Looking at the stack of lab reports that need grading, it seems my panicking skills are fully intact. Also my procrastination skills.
  • It's quarter to midnight? Okay, I gotta go to bed - ciao!
  • (P.S. Does anyone know how to fix a flaky trackpad on an iBook G4? The button keeps sticking.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Listening to Blue again - this time on my brother's stereo, rather than headphones or laptop speakers.

Dear G-d but a good set of speakers make a magnificent difference. I'm near weeping.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
In the comments on my artist-QOTD post, [livejournal.com profile] jfs gave a good definition of art: art occurs whenever a person creates something whilst trying to evoke an emotional reaction. I was just thinking about the specifics of that - why "emotional" reaction, what kinds of reactions can/does art make, what kind of moral value should we ascribe to the methods and contexts of these reactions ... I don't know if this will be coherent, but it might be interesting interest.

I guess I'll start with Dan Brown and Myst. No - I'll start with Agatha Christie and Myst; it's wrong to snipe at works you haven't perused.

Wait - no, the point doesn't really work with Agatha Christie. I'd better just start somewhere, and let the chips fall as they may.

One purported property of Dan Brown's writing is that it makes the reader feel clever. Specifically, The Da Vinci Code is accused of making its readers feel clever by showing them stupid puzzles. Assuming "feeling clever" is an emotional reaction (not much of a stretch, I think), I point out the following:

  • Assuming it was on purpose, The Da Vinci Code is art.

  • In addition, The Da Vinci Code is successful art in the evocative1 sense, not merely in the financial sense.

  • It is being criticized for the way it evokes these feelings - its critics say it should not make the reader feel clever in this way, presumably because the reader does not earn feeling clever.

"Hey," my brain said. "What about Myst? It does take a little cleverness to solve those puzzles - isn't feeling clever justified there?"

I'm not going to divert to the obvious moral, here. (I was tempted, mind - any excuse to plug Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit is welcome.) Instead, I think we should consider where this idea of justification of art, in this earned-emotion sense, leads. Is the emotional climax of Terminator 2 justified? What about the excitement and satisfaction of a good game of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City? Or of a good performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor? Or, on a more abstract note: are we justified in evaluating these works and the reactions they evoke? Or, higher still: are we justified in rejecting such evaluations as unworthy, or unnecessary, or inappropriate?

Comments are open.

1. "Evocative of emotional reactions". Hey, I wanted something short and snappy. ^
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (wtfcu)
From [livejournal.com profile] ceruleanst: science brings us the most-wanted and most-unwanted songs, based on the opinions of 500 respondents to a spring-1996 web survey. If their assumptions are correct...

[Poll #1124531]

Enjoy! (Or don't enjoy!)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

Who has had a profound musical impact?

View other answers

Profound? Mom.

Okay, that was too easy. Let me elaborate.

As a performer, I never payed enough attention (or got good enough at performing, really) to style to recognize my influences. As a singer, I suppose I simply tried to perform it the way I liked it, so there the list would include Judy Collins, Simon & Garfunkel-slash-Paul Simon Graceland era, whatever mix of random stuff that you inevitably hear in a post-audio-recording society, my singing teacher (of course), and my mom (who would sing songs to us at night when we were young). As a pianist, I was pretty much a literalist, so my teacher and my mom were the ones who would have had the most effect on how I played. However, fundamentally, none of the above could really qualify as profoundly influencing my music.

As a listener, I think Joni Mitchell caused the most dramatic change to how I heard music. When I played Clouds for the first time, the only performances of her music I could remember were my mom's (of course) and Judy Collins'.1 Mitchell's voice is just completely unlike theirs - she swoops, plays the beat so freely, so unlike anyone else I had heard up to that time,2 that I couldn't even get into all of it at first. But I listened to it, again and again, and it started falling together, and I think that's what made me willing to fall in love with music, and not always love it from the start.

That really is profound, now that I think of it. I guess I should change my answer.

Profound musical impact? Well, my mother was the one who first formed my musical taste, and that's not minor. But Joni Mitchell was the one who taught it to grow.

1. Yes, I'm finally getting on board with Strunk and White on this. Collins's sounds entirely too Gollum. ^
2. And since, now that I think on it. ^
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be (and why)?

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If I were picking today, it would probably be Joni Mitchell, Blue. It's a brilliant album, deep, melodic, and witty - I can imagine listening to it for years and years.

The rest of my life? Well, you can never know. But if I had to pick today, that's what I'd go for.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Intermeme courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] active_apathy and [livejournal.com profile] goblinpaladin, edited because I have no friends for better verisimilitude:

1. Set $media_app to random.
2. For each question, press 'next' to divine the answer.
3. Write down that song, regardless of silliness. Silliness is kind of the point.

Questions and Answers! )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
All right - I spent entirely too long finally getting satisfied I had the right lyrics (one, because Britt Daniel doesn't properly enunciate, and two, because I didn't know the punk rock history), so I'm posting them here. These, I have confidence, are the correct lyrics to Spoon - "The Way We Get By":

We get high in back seats of cars... )

(Yes, these are essentially the same as on the official site. Published lyrics aren't always correct.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Zoink! Take particular note of The Vancouver Sun. Why? Because they sponsored a sampler CD ("Seriously West Coast, Vol. 1") whose track 4 is brilliant. The Weepies, "Gotta Have You", from their CD Say I Am You. [Live performance of "Gotta Have You" (not in the bookmarks) - best I could come up with on short notice, accurate but low-quality.]

You can hear stuff on their site (which might be better, actually), but my YouTubing has garnered these three gems specifically:

(Unofficial videos, all of them - I suppose the duo is too new to have professional videos.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Here, watch these two videos: Bad Day vs. Ordinary Day. Notice anything funny?

Now watch these two: Bad Day (live) vs. Ordinary Day (live). See it now?

I thought this was the twenty-first century. What is this crap doing here?

Edit: Whoa, she can dance! (Point still stands.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (pale blue dot)
Belated reply to [livejournal.com profile] alchemi's prompt: revisiting my Nuclear War Reading List.

Really, 'Nuclear War Reading List' is the wrong name. Especially as I expand it out to not-books.

Anyway, the list, expanded:

  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (Harry Hart) - a remarkably clever story of events in a small Florida town after a nuclear war.
  • Failsafe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler - a good story, exploring the possibility of an accidental nuclear attack.
  • Warday by James Kunetka and Whitley Strieber - another story about the aftermath of a nuclear war. Not so realistic as "Alas, Babylon", as it suffers from an excess of sci-fi zeal, but a worthy book on its own merits.
  • The Curve of Binding Energy by John McPhee – a good nonfiction book about nuclear issues, including judgments of how difficult it would be to build weapons.

  • From the comments:
  • [livejournal.com profile] kirabug: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. - a classic postapocalyptic science fiction story.
    Not included: Farnham's Freehold - these are stories about, not stories including, nuclear weapons; Earthwreck! by Thomas N. Scortia - I haven't read it yet.

    (Excluding adaptations of the above books.)

    • "99 Luftballoons", Nena - in the lyrics, a nuclear war is launched when the 99 red balloons are released and mistaken for an attack.

    • From the comments:
    • [livejournal.com profile] baldanders: "8 1/2 Minutes", The Dismemberment Plan - 8 1/2 minutes is implied as being the length of the 'war'.

    I'm obviously missing tons of these - any opinions?
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Who Wants to Be a Superhero, tomorrow, 9/8c!

Also, if you had a paid account during the power outage a few days ago, click here for three more days.

Oh, and I actually do have something to talk about! You know music? I've been noticing more and more that my opinions of songs tend to change when I listen to them a lot.

What do I mean? Well, let's take a few examples: Smash Mouth's "All Star", Donovan's "Mellow Yellow", Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock", Suzanne Vega's "Fat Man & Dancing Girl".

I love the movie "Mystery Men". When "All Star" played in the ending credits, I thought it rocked - clever lyrics, a distinctive style, a good beat ... a real five-star song in my own personal rating system. And when I saw my brother had a tape with the song on it, I was so enthusiastic about it that he gave me a copy of the CD (bought on the cheap, but hey, it's good!).

And the whole CD sounds like "All Star", with that 'distincive style'. And the whole CD is mediocre. And listening to "All Star" now, it seems kinda cheesy. I've gone from being excited by it to, well, liking it in small doses, sometimes, if it's played by itself.

Now that I think of it, "Mellow Yellow" is the same but more so. I've gone from loving to hating that song, simple as that.

Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock", on the other hand, I started to like. And "Fat Man & Dancing Girl". Both of them sounded flat-out weird when I first heard them, like "two-star skip-it-if-you-feel-like-it" lame, but they're interesting to me now. Songs I might choose out to listen to.

I don't know if there's a pattern to it. But it's worth noting that "Fat Man & Dancing Girl" is one of the two tracks which reviewers rave about on "99.9 F°". So maybe that means something.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
This is a twist on the Letter Meme. Instead of coming up with ten items for a certain letter, you come up with five song titles for a certain letter and explain why you picked them. If interested then leave a comment. I'll give you a letter. You post this blurb in your journal along with your list.

I got a G from [livejournal.com profile] annechen67, so let's crank up the iTunes and pull up some tunes!

5 G's, or G5, either one. )


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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