Steve’s Media Blog

Archive for the ‘streaming music’ Category

I’m still listening through podcast #200, but so far I’ve been quite pleased with it.  The podcast is always put together very well, but #200 is quite amazing (probably because they put a lot of time in it).  I haven’t gotten to this part yet but apparently they’re giving away an ipod – so go have a listen for your chance!

On a side note, I’ve been really getting into some of the online capabilities of the ipod touch.  Unfortunately, I can really only play with them while I’m at home, where I have a wifi network.  There are some things that I’d really like to be able to do on the go.  So I’m thinking of switching to the iphone – I’m in the process of finding a way to make it happen.

Alternatively if anyone has one they’d like to donate I’d return the favour and donate an ipod touch! ;) (I know, not a fair trade but I have to try)

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Metric

Metric

Metric has a special place in my heart.  Not for any particular reason, I just like the band.  I’ve got both of their first two albums (2003’s Old World Underground, Where are you now? and 2005’s Live It Out), and I love them.  I had a chance to see them play on my birthday a few years ago but I decided to pass on it and celebrate somewhere else – big mistake, I assure you.  I still haven’t seen them live.

They’ve got a new album out April 14 called Fantasies, on the Last Gang label in Canada.  I’ve only heard one track from the album, Help, I’m Alive I thought it was a great track and really lives up to their previous work.  I’m really glad that it’s not coming out until April, because it means I can set aside money to pick it up.  There are a lot of albums I’ve skipped over but I will do my best not to skip this one.

I learned of a pre-order incentive from Chart Attack: pre-order Fantasies by March 2nd on Metric’s website and you’ll get a free mp3 copy of Help, I’m Alive.  Until then, check out their MySpace page to hear it now (it’s really great I promise).

Also check out their website for a cool, free acoustic version of Help, I’m Alive.

Here’s the track list (which is unfortunately a little on the short side but I’ll deal with it)

“Help I’m Alive”
“Sick Muse”
“Satellite Mind”
“Twilight Galaxy”
“Gold Guns Girls”
“Gimme Sympathy”
“Collect Call”
“Front Row”
“Blindness”
“Stadium Love”

I decided to review Britney Spears’ latest album, Circus, because I was genuinely curious about what it sounded like.  Plus, it’s streamed for free over at ArtistDirect.  To spell out what it is I’m saying, I’m reviewing it because I didn’t have to spend a dime to hear a Britney Spears album.

I should have expected it to be what it is: heavily-produced pop.  That’s basically what Britney is all about, and has been all about, since day one; I’m not intimately familiar with her earlier albums, but from the songs my girlfriend has on her ipod, it is all the same sort of stuff.  I mean, the music itself is different but it’s all heavily-produced.

That said, she is able to crank out some decent-quality stuff.  This album definitely isn’t a top album of 2008 material CD, but put it in the “heavily-produced pop” category and it shoots right up there.  All of the tracks on here, or at least the majority of them, are engineered to be hits.  Not all of them will be, but I guess it would be rather silly for someone to produce an album with the hopes that none of the songs will be in the top of the top 40.

Womanizer is obviously the “flagship” single for the album, and it’s probably the best track on there.  The only other song that’s jumped out at me at being listenable and enjoyable is Radar but you don’t get to that one until the end of the album.  I’m going to go ahead and guess that Radar will be the next single off the album; I’m usually able to pick them out before I read/hear about it, but I am also occasionally wrong.  Though it could be slotted at #3 behind Circus.

I will rate this album an arbitrary 3 out of 5.  It’s decent enough if you’re looking for some light pop.

** Side Note ** I wanted to include a copy of the album art, but google images can’t find one!  Weird.

I remember about a year and a half ago (or longer – I am not positive on this one) I downloaded Paul McCartney’s latest album.  It was nice, it was okay…it wasn’t anything special though.  Not like I was expecting anothe Beatles album – I’m not stupid.  But it wasn’t really my style of music.  A little too light and poppy for me (even though I do like pop music, but usually not the light stuff).  So of course my ears were pleasantly surprised to hear Paul’s latest work in his collaboration with producer Youth: The Firemen‘s third album, Electric Arguments.  You can listen to it the same place I did: on myspace.

The first track, Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight is a little misleading for the album as a whole – and it actually reminded me of later Beatles music.  But overall the album does have a sort of pop sound but I don’t find it nearly as off-putting as I did Paul’s solo album I’m talking about (I don’t even know the name of it, to be honest).  It sounds though like a mix of U2 and something else that I’m not sure of; but thankfully the U2 elements aren’t prominent, or else I would probably have stopped listening (there’s some U2 news after the review, actually…does that make me slightly hypocritical?).

The album has a good mix – as mentioned it does get a little slow after the first track, but picks up at Highway.  I am very happy that Paul McCartney teamed up with a producer because otherwise I could see some of these tracks as being a lot less interesting.  The production is definitely noticeable on this album, and it adds to the enjoyment of it.  My enjoyment, at least.

I like to rate albums based on what situation I would listen to it.  Unfortunately that rating system depends highly on the type of music.  Most of the time though, I use the car as a good measure.  Could I listen to this in the car?  I think so, but not on a road trip.  This would be something I’d listen to while puttering around the city.  That’s still pretty good, though, because there’s some music that just won’t set foot outside the house – and that’s bad (sometimes).

After listening to the album on myspace, I can say with 100% certainty that I will acquire this album – either purchasing it at a later date or getting it for Christmas, whichever comes first.  Either/or would work for me.

***

I mentioned there is some U2 news.  We know that Via Rail is busy staring at its navel deciding whether they want to launch their own music downloading service, but Bono has announced the launch of a DRM-free music service of his own.  It’s called (RED) WIRE, and will cost $5/month, launching in December.  The proceeds of this service will go toward “the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.”  Quite a list!

And to clarify, it’s not going to be exactly the same as something like itunes or napster or whatever.  The service will offer an exclusive song from a major artist every week, as well as a smaller artist and “other content”.  And according to exclaim.ca, U2 is on track to releasing their album No Line On The Horizon in February.

Now that I’m feeling dirty enough I should mention something that excites me a little bit more than Bono and U2: No Doubt announced touring and a new album in 2009!  I’ve been waiting for this for a while since I heard the rumours a couple years ago.  Great stuff!  There is also word of Guns N Roses laying down a lawsuit on Dr. Pepper, but I’ll have more on that tomorrow after Friday Morning Free Music.


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