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 July 18th, 2005


Monday, 18 July 2005

Music to help keep me sane and healthy VIII

It’s about time for another edition! [Previously on MTHKMSAH…]

Richard Buckner is on tour again, so check him out at a U.S. city near you.

KCRW has been touting its new (non-music show) podcasts and on-demand music programs. I haven’t tried the podcasts yet (to be honest, I haven’t tried any podcast yet) , but the on-demand feature isn’t really that new. A number of the music programs have been available in the archives; what’s new is that all of the music programs are now available on the Web as streaming RealAudio files until their next live broadcast. Yes, RealAudio. It’s not exactly crystal-clear quality, but it’s not bad if you have a high bandwidth connection. If you happen to miss a show that isn’t archived, it’s definitely better than nothing — although, for some reason, only the Saturday show of Weekend Becomes Eclectic is available on demand. I guess if I have to miss a day of WBE and I can’t tape the show for whatever reason, I’ll try to adjust my schedule and miss it on a Saturday. 😉

Speaking of WBE, Anne Litt played from Laura Cantrell‘s new album a few times recently, much to my pleasant surprise — I don’t remember hearing Cantrell on the show before. I’m still waiting for the day I hear Allison Moorer on WBE.

Speaking of Laura Cantrell, last week I tuned in to her performing live on KCRW (her debut on the west coast, apparently). She had a show at McCabe’s, which, I can imagine, was great. I first learned about Cantrell in early 2001, when I heard Bob Edwards interview her for NPR’s Morning Edition (hmm, it doesn’t appear to be available on npr.org), and bought her CD Not the Tremblin’ Kind pretty soon after that. She has a charming, honest voice that cuts right to the lyrics she sings, and she’s not a bad songwriter, either.

Cantrell’s band for the KCRW broadcast last week included Mark Spencer, a multi-instrumentalist who’s well-known for backing up Jay Farrar. (You can read a previous post, where I provide links to free and legal Jay Farrar MP3s featuring Spencer’s great lap steel work.) And I just noticed on LauraCantrell.com that J. D. Foster produced her new album. Foster produced three of Richard Buckner’s (best) albums: Devotion + Doubt, Since, and The Hill.

Well, this is fantastic…Laura Cantrell has always had free MP3s on her site, and there are a few new ones I haven’t heard yet — including a song from her McCabe’s performance! I sort of had been saving her for a future edition of "Music to help me keep me sane and healthy," but it would be a shame to wait any longer. Visit her official downloads page and download away for some folk/country music with a truly classic sound. If you’re not sure what to try first, I recommend the new single, "14th Street," "Churches off the Interstate" (written by Cantrell), and/or "When the Roses Bloom Again," which was a song (i.e. not recording) removed from the Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue album (turns out it’s not a Woody Guthrie lyric). I’m downloading "Letters" right now…


Roll

Just some random-ish tech/geek tidbits:

I’m rolling out a couple of posts that I’d previously written but had saved in the queue for last looks. In the case of "The Lehman legacy", I decided to go with the original date of composition because I made minor changes.

In other post news, I have plans to start writing about old games — not to take anything away from Wil Wheaton, of course (I highly recommend his column). I’ve wanted to do this since I played (or re-played) a few computer games over spring break last year. I wouldn’t call myself a "gamer" per se, but I do have favorites (mostly of the adventure ilk) and would like to feature them here.

BTW, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.6 are on the way. The Mozilla Suite will skip over 1.7.9 in favor of a 1.7.10 release.

Posted at 12:18 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

WP shorts

[I started writing this on 6 July 2005, but I’m posting it now.]

This is old news, but WordPress 1.2.1.3 is a recommended security upgrade. Check the change log and the related support thread for more info.

Speaking of WordPress, now that I’ve had more time behind the wheel, I’ve arrived at these conclusions:

  1. If you know what you’re doing, WP is very easy to install.
  2. Customization is the tricky part. There are scads of plug-ins, themes, and other mods. Some of the plug-ins don’t work quite as smoothly as one might hope, and working with themes — as with any creative endeavor — may consume most of the blog-tinkering time.
  3. For Movable Type migrators who want to keep MT post ID numbers: it is much easier to do this from Movable Type 2.x rather than MT 3.x. At least, this was true for MT versions 3.15 and below — I’m not sure about 3.16 and 3.17. I found this migration guide by Scott Yang extremely helpful, especially modifying the MT CMS.pm file. After learning that trick, I used it in different ways (e.g. using the MT CMS to export only the comments in the database, while associating them with their correct post IDs).
  4. Before importing any posts into WP, make sure they will validate in XHTML 1.0 (you should be checking this when you write a post anyway — especially if your blog offers RSS or Atom feeds). Valid markup helps prevent blog quirks from occurring. Currently, WP uses the XHTML 1.0 Transitional DTD.
  5. Also, WP automatically formats entries (it inserts automatic line breaks and paragraph tags), so if you used <br /> or <p></p> in your previous blog posts, they may look funky after you import them into WP. Otherwise, you’ll have to install a plug-in that negates the default auto-formatting. (Here’s one: Text Control, which incorporates such plug-ins into the "Options" menu. N.B. I haven’t tried it.)

More WordPress observations forthcoming…

Posted at 11:10 am | Filed under WordPress |