Here’s some of this week’s craps:
Love Story: On Pitchfork.tv, for one week only, you can view this documentary on Love and Arthur Lee. For free. My introduction to Love came through the High Fidelity Soundtrack which featured “Always See Your Face,” now one of my favorite songs ever and a personal mix tape classic. Oh, while I was writing this, Metafilter popped up with some swell linkage.
Yellow and Blue make Green: Courtesy of Boing Boing, here’s Big Bird singing at Jim Henson’s funeral.
It’s wonderful to see, but I’m still a little perplexed at the choice of song, for a couple of reasons. First, Big Bird is so obviously yellow. Second, and more importantly I think there was a much better choice:
LaLa.com: Last week I wrote about Amie Street being a great alternative to Emusic.com. This week I discovered Lala.com, which might be even better. This article and this one summarize the awesomeness pretty well, but I’ll quickly give you my own summary:
- Match tracks already on your hard drive to LaLa’s servers, and you can listen to them for free via Lala’s web-based player, which very much resembles iTunes.
- You can add tracks to your Web-based library for 10 cents a song or less. Sure, you can’t burn CDs with them, but for 60 to 80 cents you can listen to any album on Lala.com as many times as you want. If you want to buy the actual MP3s (DRM-free, natch) the prices tend to be cheaper than iTunes or Amazon.
- Your first time listening to any record or song in Lala’s collection is absolutely free. Because Lala.com has deals with all four major labels and a ton of indie labels, this means you can stream just about any new release in its entirety before you buy it. To me, this is the killer reason for loving Lala.
- Lala tracks your listening history, and in that way it’s similar to Last.fm, but Lala doesn’t track songs you play in iTunes or WinAmp.
- Works on Mac and Windows.
I’m not totally sold, because the library upload feature isn’t working 100%, but I love being able to stream any album I choose. And yes, I’ve been listening to Queen.
Anyway, check it out. You can find my account here.
Car Alarm: Sea and Cake have a new record out. I love that band and can’t wait to hear it. Reviews are good, but not great. Meh, that’s pretty much always the case with that band. I’ve enjoyed just about everything they’ve ever done. Here’s “Weekend” from the new record.
Houston Scene Wiki: If there was one great thing to come out of last week’s Bandcamp (which Justin and I attended, along with former NAP-star, Ramon Medina), it was this: The Skyline Network’s Houston Scene Wiki got some badly needed publicity and is finally getting some attention. Bandcamp organizer Matthew Wettergreen endorsed the Wiki as a project that every local musician should embrace.
Sadly, I think the early edits to the Wiki are only serving to reinforce the Houston’s tendency to be cliquish and sarcastic. But the beauty of a Wiki is that it’s democratically designed to overcome that kind of myopia. Houston deserves a group-edited history of music, and I will definitely make my own contributions towards its success.
As for Bandcamp’s attempts to address the problems in Houston’s music scene, I tend to agree with a couple of friends of mine. First, John Sears (a former roommate of mine) thinks there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the scene. I agree wholeheartedly. Houston is Houston. If you’ve got ambition, I suggest you leave or, at least, tour extensively. But if you’ve got some stray ideas and some time on your hands, and you don’t mind people ignoring you…well, Houston is your town.
Second, Ryan Chavez, the man behind Super Unison and one-time drummer for Smoking Popes, offered up a simple notion: to the extent something is wrong with the Houston scene, we could probably cure it if bands actually released more music.
It’s radical, but I think it could work.