Monthly Archives: December 2006

Listen: In Tua Nua – All I Wanted

I’m not sure what about In Tua Nua’s "All I Wanted" telegraphed to me one very late night listening to the classic rock station in Honolulu back in the late ’80s.

I was getting into college rock at the time, and the college station in the area could only broadcast within a 3-mile radius of campus. I lived 10 miles away. The classic rock station would sometimes include a dribble of modern rock in its playlist — an occasional R.E.M. or Midnight Oil song thrown in among hours of Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones. I couldn’t stand it.

So it was probably that dribble of In Tua Nua, played in the wasteland of late night, that whetted my appetite. I heard the song maybe once, but it was enough to get me curious. I would eventually scrape enough lunch money to get The Long Acre from the record store, and it would be one of my favorite albums for a long time.

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iTunes Japan music cards — worth the effort?

My friend Ryan pointed me to an article about getting iTunes Japan music cards from online retailer jbox. I’d be tempted if only I weren’t so turned off by iTunes itself.

It’s the digital rights management — iTunes-purchased music can be played only on iTunes, and I’m not fond of the iTunes interface. Winamp has spoiled me rotten by taking so little real estate on the view port of my monitor that iTunes just feels bulky by comparison. Winamp also takes up less memory. The fact iTunes files can’t play on Winamp — not without some intervening conversion — is an inconvenience I’m not willing to accommodate.

When JHymn stopped working, that pretty much killed my patronage to iTunes. Now when I fire up the application, it’s to listen to the 30-second previews.

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Oh! That’s where you went

I was wondering why I hadn’t seen an update from ArtsJournal in my feed reader, so I visited the site itself and discovered it had redesigned. And the feed? No longer RSS but Atom. The RSS feed just listed headlines. The Atom feed now includes article descriptions. Good job!

Mind you, I’m only pointing out the music section of the site — it’s got a number of others. What did I miss in this past week?

  • Roberto Alagna evidently having acid reflux. (Ashlee Simpson? Work with me, folks …)
  • A research report claiming iTunes sales have fallen 65 percent. Yeah, fuck you and the DRM you rode in on.
  • CBS not realizing the music industry is the last place you want to expand.
  • In Berlin, a lack of controversy where it was expected.
  • A fairly interesting article about buzz vertigo published on a site that doesn’t realize 10-point Arial font is so 1997. Hello, LA Times? Web 2.0? Part of me wonders why I don’t get solicited till I looked at my contact page and remembered — huh, I don’t like SPAM. I guess my crankiness preserves my integrity.

She’s on a roll …

Utada Hikaru is really being productive. She’s set to release a new single in February, so says I wish I knew that before I placed my order for Shiina Ringo’s Heisei Fuuzoku — I could have killed two birds with one pre-order. No details have been published about the single.

I wonder when she’ll start working on another English-language album. I was definitely critical of her US debut, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t welcome another English album from her. If anything, it would be terrific if she could parlay the maturity of Ultra Blue into it.

Cocco publishes another picture book … of sorts

Cocco is set to publish a new book titled 8.15 OKINAWA Cocco on Dec. 21, so says Unlike Cocco’s first forays into publishing, this picture book is a photo album of her Aug. 15, 2006 concert in Okinawa. The performance was the fourth installment of her Okinawa GOMI ZERO Taisaku Ikusa campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the litter problem plaguing the island’s beaches.

Photographer nanaco took photos the performance, a preview of which can be found on her website. Cocco provides poetry to accompany the images.

Cocco and nanaco collaborated previously on a CD/book combination titled The Bird. Cocco wrote lyrics for nanaco, who worked with Dr.StrangeLove’s Takamune Negishi and Osada Susumu on the musical portion for the book.

Listen: Pebbles – Giving You the Benefit

Aside from my brother, my family isn’t much to collect music. They consume it, certainly, but they don’t possess my level of … compulsion.

My sister would sometimes buy CDs, but when the allure of a particular album wore off, it would eventually find its way onto my shelf. One such inheritance was Always by Pebbles.

This album was a big R&B hit back in the early ’90s, right around the time ’80s college rock began its transformation into alternative music. I viewed Always with a fair degree of condescension back then, and I kept hold of the album as an inspiration of what not to do with songwriting. I’m so glad I’m over that phase of my life.

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What a weird tangent

I’ve collected and lost a lot of music in the last 20 or so years, and the things I let go didn’t have much of a hold on me anyway. So I’m not sure why I spent time looking for some of that stuff this morning while I did some Christmas shopping.

I’ve been listening to some best-of collections of R.E.M., Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Replacements. In the spectacularly-off chance I might find some Replacements on eMusic, I did a search for the band. Nada, of course. But somehow, I started clicking on some random links from that search and ended up on a page for All About Eve. Wow. That’s a name I hadn’t heard in a long time.

I listened to the excerpts of Return to Eden, and it got me thinking of other bands whose music I bought around that same time.

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