June 2007 Archives

Top Albums

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My friend Justin recently posted a list of his favorite albums on his blog and challenged his readers to list their own. Stuff like this is always interesting to me, because it's very hard for me to prioritize things, especially in an "all time favorites" as opposed to "what I like at the moment" way.

That said, my list is below, divided into a top three and a rest of the top ten (because that's what Justin did). Within each set they aren't prioritized at all. I could not tell you which is my favorite album of the top three, for example. If you have never heard of one of these albums, click the links which will take you to Amazon where you can listen to samples.

The criteria I am using to pick albums is this:
No "Best of" collections, that's a cop out.
Having a great song is not the same as being a great album.
All of the albums are ones that I can and do listen to over and over without getting tired of them.

Top Three...
Tin Drum - Japan
Colma - Buckethead
Cake - Trash Can Sinatras (specifically the Japanese release that includes all the b-sides from the singles and is amusingly mis-titled "The Cake")

Top Four - Ten
Casanova - The Divine Comedy
Goodbye - Dubstar
Grace - Jeff Buckley
Pink Moon - Nick Drake
Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (so close to top 3)
Strange Free World - Kitchens of Distinction
The Love That Whirls- Bill Nelson

I have also decided that because we live in a world where I can have over a thousand albums on my iPod that ten albums is not enough. So here is another 10 that are just as essential as the first (though I am allowing some collections in this section, because I am lazy)

Gone to Earth - David Sylvian
Small Change - Tom Waits
In A Coma - Matthew Good
If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle and Sebastian
The Golden Age of Wireless - Thomas Dolby
The Dresden Dolls - The Dresden Dolls
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret - Soft Cell
The Smiths - The Smiths
Flesh + Blood - Roxy Music
Swoon - Prefab Sprout
Smiles Like A Shark - Mulu

As I mentioned in a comment over on Justin's page, yes, I am aware that my choices reveal me as the biggest girl in all of girlsylvania, and that I undoubtly spend all my spare time playing with dolls. What can I say - I like my music to be, well, musical. While I can really enjoy noisy loud music, it's never going to be my all time favorite. Except for Trompe le Monde by the Pixies, which should totally be on the list somewhere...maybe a top thirty...

What is your top three, ten, or whatever?

I thought that I would have to wait until Amazon's digital music store opened before I could get away from the incredibly irritating iTunes interface, file formats and pricing, but it looks like I can jettison it right away.

7digital has just started selling the EMI catalog at $1.00 per track (about 75% the price of the iTunes tracks), 320 kps (really doesn't matter, you can't detect the quality difference from Apples 240 kps tracks) and in straight MP3, which totally beats Apple's AAC format, since these will play on ANYTHING (even my GPS navigator!).

Also, since the store is just a website, it isn't restricted to only Windows and Mac OS, like iTunes.

Unfortunately it looks like their non-EMI music is available in a mish-mash of DRMed WMP9, AAC and MP3, so it's still difficult to search only for music that is DRM free. Maybe as I spend more time with it I will find a way to make this easier.

I haven't looked into it yet, but I am hoping there is some way to buy lower quality versions of tracks, since I really don't care about anything over 128 kps and hate having to downsample everything when moving it over to a portable player. Unfortuneatly, it looks liek the lowest they off is 192 kps, which is still not too bad, I could live with that on a portable player.

Anyway, it looks like it took less than a month for iTunes to become completely useless to me again.

You Will Smell and Feel a Lot of Things

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Someone has scanned in and posted a 1943 War and Navy Department guide to Iraq for soldiers that were serving there in World War II. It is fascinating reading both for itself and in comparison to the 2003 version for the current war, which was apparently written by an illiterate.

Someone really should have read the old version before we went to war - on page four it mentions that Iraqis are among the worlds most skilled guerrilla fighters in the world, while page five points out the foolishness of trying to go into a country and change the inhabitants. If only we had known!

It's really a fascinating read.

Wow, iTunes Plus Really Sucks

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So I finally found something on iTunes plus that I wanted to buy - Sigue Sigue Sputnik's "Dress for Excess". I didn't find this using any of the tools in iTunes - I went to Wikipedia and found a list of all EMI artists and then started entering the ones I was interested into the iTunes Store's search box. Great work Apple guys, you have made it very easy for me to use your store the way I want to.

After I clicked the "Buy Album" button, which allowed me to purchase the entire album at 256Kps, non-DRMed for $9.99, which I think is a pretty reasonable price, it proceeded to attempt to download the songs. Each one of them said it was going to take around 40 minutes, which is obviously ridiculous. I went to bed, only to find that at some point last night one of the downloads failed, iTunes put up an error dialog box and stopped downloading the other songs! Well, that's just terrible design.

8 hours later I have none of the songs I purchased last night available, and the other tracks have all timed out since then again. Maybe they will be here by the time I get home tonight, but honestly, by then I could have gone to the store, bought the CD used for $4.00 and ripped it, all perfectly legally.

I know that the reason for the download problems is that they are experiencing bandwidth issues, but come on, Apple is a multi billion dollar company with more than enough resources to ensure that amateur hour stuff like that doesn't happen.

So far, they get an "F" on the experience.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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