Musings @musicandmeaning.com

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"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for December 20th, 2004


Monday, 20 December 2004

Music and politics

Since I just posted about music, I’m going to blog this link before I forget…it’s a feature from the music magazine called Under the Radar. I only discovered the feature (and the magazine) yesterday from a link on Mojave3online.com. It looks like an interesting mag — something I’d read, judging by the artists interviewed within its pages. But the feature in particular I wanted to link is the online-only "Bonus Protest Issue Quotes & Photos."

Issue 7 of Under the Radar, The Protest Issue, features a special 33-page section that examines the intersection of music and politics. The section features three main articles that examine different aspects of politics and music: The History of Protest Music (which traces protest music from peace to punk), The American Perspective (in which we spoke to current American indie-rock musicians about politics and political music), and The International Perspective (which examines how musicians from other countries view politics and political music). We interviewed a wide range of musicians for these three articles and so there were a lot of great quotes that we simply weren’t able to fit into the issue. Below is a selection of the best quotes that didn’t make it into the issue, sorted by article and then by artist.

So take a look if you’re interested. Remember, this was published just before the presidential election.

As for my own politics and my own music: I’m not sure. None of my songs are political. At least, I don’t consciously try to infuse political messages and views into my music. The same goes for my writing (fiction, anyway…obviously this blog demonstrates otherwise). I write music for the sake of the music, not for the sake of politics. This all reminds me of what William Gibson said in his blog entry referencing Forster.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this later on.

Posted at 11:01 pm | Filed under Music |  

Music to help keep me sane and healthy VII

Continuing the list of free and legal MP3s of some of my favorite songs and artists:

  • Early Day Miners – I just discovered and am enjoying this group. I was surfing Epitonic and randomly downloaded a few songs of artists I didn’t know. So far of the Epitonic discoveries, EDM is my favorite. The band’s scenic music reminds me of the Six Parts Seven (also in this list). As luck would have it, EDM has a show at the Knitting Factory’s Alterknit Lounge on January 26th (only 7 bucks!), but I don’t think I can make it. Anyway, aside from the download recommendation below, there are more free mp3s at the official EDM site.
       » Go to the downloads from Epitonic.com. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: I like "Autumn Wake" quite a bit, thanks to the strings)
     
  • Mojave 3 – If you haven’t guessed, I’m on more of a mellow musical kick right now. This is more folk/acoustic-geared songwriting than the others on the list. Mojave3online.com has become the official Mojave 3 site and offers mp3s of unreleased material and a few shows. You do have to register to be able to access the files, though, but it’s free. Epitonic (no reg req’d) offers two excellent songs. Also check out Neil Halstead‘s solo work; he’s the lead singer/songwriter of Mo3 (there’s a free song, "Two Stones in My Pocket" from Epitonic
       » Go to the downloads from Epitonic.com. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: my personal favorite is "In Love with a View")
     
  • Sigur Rós – I try to highlight bands or artists that don’t really receive the attention they deserve, so I’m not sure I should list Sigur Rós here. Apparently many, many more people know about the group since it toured with Radiohead. Nonetheless, the music isn’t exactly top 40 platinum, so it’s included here. I’m not even sure which songs to recommend, because many of them are different, but Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise (the official Sigur Rós site) has many free mp3s. I suppose I’d recommend starting with a song from the album Àgætis Byrjun, then working your way to ( ) (yes, that’s the album title). Epitonic also has a couple of mp3s from the former.
       » Go to the downloads from Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "Olsen Olsen" or "Staràlfur")
       » Go to the downloads from Epitonic. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "Svefn-G-Englar")
     
  • Six Parts Seven – Soundscapes…that’s what comes to mind when I listen to 6p7. I first heard this group a couple of years ago. The music is like a soundtrack — not to a movie (although it could be for a movie, I suppose), but to a personal experience that winds its way through various points. It’s sort of hard to describe, and the style of music is why Early Day Miners reminds me of 6p7. AFAIK, 6p7 doesn’t have vocals (EDM does sometimes), but I could be wrong. Most of the tunes I’ve heard are instrumentals.
       » Go to the downloads from Suicide Squeeze Records. (Which one to d/l if you’re pressed for bandwidth or time: "A Blueprint of Something Never Finished" and "This One or That One?" are good introductions to the band. There’s also a free mp3 by Iron &Wine guy Sam Beam covering a 6p7 tune (Iron & Wine was featured on a previous list); and note that the song "Yearnin’" is actually a Black Keys song, not a 6p7 song)
     

As always, please support the artists and their music by buying their albums and attending their shows.

More music: Aside from Weekend Becomes Eclectic and the CDs pictured at left (if you’re reading this from the front page, that is…right now it’s Chet Baker, Richard Buckner, Vince Guaraldi, Jean-Michel Jarre, Patrick Park, and Wilco…all of whom I’ve mentioned before I think, except for Jarre).

Posted at 10:05 pm | Filed under Music to help keep me sane & healthy |  

Habits are hard to break

Re: baseball: Picture me shaking my head. Re: Dodgers: Picture me grimacing and shaking my head.

If the 10-player mega-trade happens…seriously. I don’t understand it, as a Dodger fan. But then again, after the management traded Paul LoDuca in a deal that didn’t really benefit the Dodgers last season, I guess no one on the team is safe. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the team let Eric Gagné go to another team sometime down the road. I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t be surprised — not after what’s happened and what’s happening. Shawn Green is one of my favorite players because he’s one of those quiet players who shows up to play everyday. I thought his willingness to start at first base last year — and he did an excellent job for a career outfielder who’d never played that position full-time before — demonstrated an admirable amount of team spirit. It’ll be a shame to see him go to the D’backs.

In other news, goodbye Adrian Beltre and Steve Finley, as well as Jose Hernandez, Hideo Nomo and maybe Yhency Brazoban and Kazuhisa Ishii. I know I’m leaving out a few other names. In a strange twist, welcome to Jeff Kent, who I still think of as a Giant. So that’ll be interesting. However, welcoming him poses a question mark for 2B Alex Cora, another one of my favorite Dodgers who had his best year last season.

Oh…Dave Roberts is back in the NL, after helping the Red Sox beat the Yankees and get to the World Series. He’s now with the Padres and apparently in the leadoff spot again. I’m looking forward to seeing him play the Dodgers.

It’s a habit. That’s what baseball is. I’m not sure if next season looks like a winner for L.A., what with these major changes to the cast. Especially with the absence of Beltre, who led the team offensively last season and was the NL MVP runner-up to Barry Bonds.

Speaking of Bonds and the whole steroids thing in general…is anyone really that surprised? There hasn’t been any strict, frequent testing, so gee. What a shocker! As for Bonds using creams and not knowing what they were…I join many others in chorusing, "Puh-leeaze." These are professional athletes, for goodness’ sakes. And Bonds is the most feared hitter in baseball and knows that health and physical training are at the top of the list for his career. How would he not question what he was using for/on/in his body?

Posted at 8:13 pm | Filed under Baseball, sports |