Archive: April 2006

Another reason to love Firefox

I just discovered the coolest Firefox extension — rikaichan. Hover your cursor over some Japanese text, and it’ll give you a definition. I installed it and went to Bounce.com, and I was impressed. Maybe this tool will finally make all that vocabulary sink into my head. I haven’t tried the lookup tool yet.

Late discoveries, early contenders

It’s really not possible to discover all 35,000 some odd music releases in a year, so I end up finding things in the first quarter of a new year that were released in the previous year. If I ran across them in the year they were made, I probably would have included them in the year-end list.

Wow. Those two sentences use the word "year" a lot.

We’re practically half way through 2006, and if it’s been any good, there should be some early entries for favorites of the year. So far, it’s been all right. In fact, it’s been better than 2005, which bored me to the point where I started listening to music from 20 years ago.

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Stunt casting

When it comes to stunt casting, Gilmore Girls has some of the best. Madeliene Albright made her way into one of Rory’s dreams, while the real Paul Anka met up with the dog Paul Anka in a rather bizarre sequence in one of Lorelai’s dreams. Norman Mailer, on the other hand, didn’t appear in a dream sequence.

What does any of this have to do with The Back Horn’s Yamada Masashi singing backing vocals on Utada Hikaru’s forthcoming album, Ultra Blue?

Probably nothing. But in terms of crossover pairings, this strikes me as stunt casting on the level of Nelly enlisting Tim McGraw for backing vocals. What’s next? Hamasaki Ayumi dueting with Chiba Yusuke from Thee Michelle Gun Elephant? Namie Amuro singing with Yoshimura Hideki of bloodthirsty butchers?

Speaking of Gilmore Girls, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Joe Pernice and Sparks show up for an episode when the town’s troubadour, played by Grant Lee Phillips, gets tapped to open for Neil Young. Did I mention Sebastian Bach of Skid Row has a regular guest star spot? I love this show.

It’s so quiet (Shhh! Shhh!)

If I don’t post here very much in the next few weeks, it’s because I’m working on a way to bring back the Musicwhore.org artists directory without making it such a backbreaking data entry time hog.

I’ve been exploring ways to integrate Musicbrainz and Amazon Webservices into the administration of the site. Amazon was already a presence on the site, but now I’ve been working on code to make handling the Musicwhore.org database easier.

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That is so gay

Both Out magazine and the Advocate have published music issues in the past month.

One of the most annoying gay stereotypes is "gay == disco". Unfortunately, it’s one stereotype with empirical evidence. Gay men love their club music, divas and musicals, and when it comes to rock music, leave that to the lesbians.

That said, both magazines have done a nice job of trying to cover a broader view of gay musicians.

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Internet killed the magazine star

Visit the ICE magazine web site, and you know something is amiss. There’s a bunch of JavaScript code that isn’t being hidden. There’s an announcement about the March issue missing its deadline, and no hint of an April issue is in sight.

Well, there isn’t going to be one.

Production on the magazine has halted, and a announcement posted in the March issue calling for investors glossed over what is evidently an alarming situation.

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I must still be dreaming, or Cocco releases another single

Cocco releases her second single of the year, titled "Hi no Terinagara Ame no Furu", on May 24, so says Bounce.com. Unlike the high energy of "Onsoku Punch", the new single is a mid-tempo ballad with a more hopeful, inspriational feel. That’s how the article reads. From that description, I’m guessing it probably sounds like "Hane ~lay down my arms~". A limited edition pressing includes a bonus 8-cm (3-inch) disc containing "blue bird", the ending theme to the film, Vital.

The track listing, according to Cocco’s label site:

  1. Hi no Terinagara Ame no Furu
  2. Te no Naru Hoo e
  3. Composition

Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

If you grew up with vinyl and cassette tapes, then you know about the favorite side bias.

It’s my description of liking a particular side of a vinyl record or cassette tape over another. I don’t know if there’s a generally-accepted term for this phenomenom, but I’m sticking with "favorite side bias".

For years, I would listen to Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) starting with side two, only because the tite track opened that side of the record. As young as I was back then, I wanted instant gratification — I didn’t pay much mind to the idea an album was actually sequenced to follow a general flow.

As such, I was always left with the impression that Sweet Dreams was a tepid, ambient album. It’s a whole different story when you listen to the album from the start.

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