5 août 2007, 8h26m
12 mars 2007, 23h27m(Stats group readers, scroll down to the bottom for the stuff you're interested in!)
Two little Last.fm milestones have, in an amazing act of serendipity occurred within a few hours of each other - two years of data collection (taking into account timezones), and 40,000 tracks listened to. Much like last year, I was hoping to mark the occasion with a whole bunch of spiffy things on the music site, and things were sort of getting there. Unfortunately, much like last year, real life has conspired to get in the way. One of the hazards of being a PhD student.
Thoughts on the past 12 months - musically speaking
I probably spent far too much money on gigs during this time. I've really been surprised by the number of quality gigs that have been put on in this region. Pretty much since I went to see Xavier Rudd playing at the end of March, it's just been a steady stream of gigs (except for May and June, where I spent time World Cupping). The furthest I've travelled for a gig is Karlsruhe, which is only really 30 mins away, but I'm planning to head down to Strasbourg for some gigs at some point of time this year. I mentioned stuff about gigs at the end of 2006, so I'm going to leave that, and talk a bit more about changes in listening habits.
Up till around April of last year, I'd say that my musical tastes remained pretty static - listening to variations of hip-hop and indie rock, with a number of artists making up the bulk of my listening. After that point, things started to get a little interesting. There was a huge surge in british music - whether it was british rock or british pop. In addition, little periods of intense blues listening appeared. In addition, the prevalence of music from singer-songwriters and acoustic started to increase. By far the most notable change in listening habit would be with blues rock though. I can pretty much attribute that directly to The Black Keys. Away from rock, there were significant variations in the amount of trip-hop and turntablism (probably Kid Koala and DJ Krush) towards the end of the year - probably as I geared up for a few gigs. What is disappointing is that I don't see any significant presence of the french genre. Maybe the music I'm listening to isn't really French.
In terms of artists listened to, I'm happy to say that beyond a big Gomez hit in April to July, I've been listening to a lot of new music. I've been introduced to a fair number of new bands (not through Last.fm incidentally), and a few (such as OK Go) have quickly come up to being my favourite artists. It seems like I have intense periods of listening to artists for a few weeks, after which the listening dies off a little, and if they're any good, I'll have another binge on the artist again.
Well, I've participated in massive geekery to get the the megamu visualisations rendered, and I'm pretty happy with the job I've done on it. Sure, the labels aren't very clear. Sure, I don't have all the nice spiff which I wanted to add in. However, for me - it's feature complete. This is where I hand over the reins to someone else, as I'm entering the second half of my PhD now, and if there's any chance for me to hit my target of 20 gigs (at the very least) for the year, I need to wrap up some work on the music geekery, so I get more time, to er, maybe work. In that spirit - I've put up the code on the Google project hosting, and you can get access from here. If anyone wants the graphs generated for themselves, you can send me a message, I'll add you to my graph generating roster, and you can then look at your graphs - much like the ones for these people:
- Hirenj_au - Tags and Artists
- ansuba - Tags and Artists
- ChesRockwell - Tags and Artists
- anujp - Tags and Artists
- benschulz - Tags and Artists
- C26000 - Tags and Artists
- keiths - Tags and Artists
- kihsleek - Tags and Artists
- martind - Tags and Artists
- megamu - Tags and Artists
- schtef - Tags and Artists
- simonbuchanan - Tags and Artists
- turkeyphant - Tags and Artists
- zubari - Tags and Artists
18 fév. 2007, 15h06mFebruary 16th 2006
I did listen to all the albums for these guys before I went to see them yesterday, focusing mostly on Plans and Transatlanticism. The gig was absolutely packed - I never even knew the venue could hold so many people.
Even with me listening to them quite a lot, I never seemed to manage to get into the gig. There were glimmers of recognition for some of their songs, but I wasn't really affected by their performance. I think they were lacking a certain presence, or energy on stage. It certainly gave me an excuse to pull out the camera and try taking some shots of them in my first attempt to do gig photography. You can see the results on flickr. I don't know about going back to see these guys play live - maybe if I manage to get into their next album.
18 fév. 2007, 14h48mFebruary 16th 2007
I'm not exactly an old man, but I still believe I have the right to be curmudgeonly. Last Friday, I scooted on down to Karlsruhe to go and see OK Go do their rocking stuff. I've been listening to them a fair bit after Caroline directed me to them via their Youtube shenanigans, so I was really interested to see what their live show would be like. Luckily for me, as part of what I'm assuming is a promotional tour for the Substage festival, OK GO have been playing a few dates around Germany. Karlsruhe seemed close enough, so I decided to head down there.
For some reason, I couldn't buy tickets online, so we (Aaron, Caroline, Yuhei and I) all had to head down to the gig ridiculously early to pick up our tickets - basically ensuring we could actually get in. Once I got in, I naturally made my way to the merchandise table - where I picked myself up a lovely paisley infused black t-shirt, and as a special bonus, a signed drum-top from OK GO (I'll ebay it in a few years!). That's going up on my wall.
We decided that we didn't want to stick around there to catch the first support, so we headed out to get some food to line our somewhat empty stomachs. I had some inklings that this was going to be an odd evening. We'd spent a large part of a tram journey earlier that evening discussing wildlife foundations, wrestling giraffes, and the need for people to fornicate with pandas. Not exactly your standard fare for polite public transportation conversation. It was only really fate that we ended up in Hallo Pizzeria.
Hallo Pizzeria was a hole. Chances are, that if you are reading this a year later, it still is a hole. Decorated in an 80s faux 50s comic style, the air had the consistency of the emphysematous Darth Vader funeral pyre, if he'd been stuffed with tobacco. Since we were sick of walking, we sat down and ordered our food regardless of the dodgy surroundings. I'd like to publicly thank Aaron for his ability to lead us to crapola eateries, you never let us down. As a café that actually has the word pizza in their name, I expected to see a kitchen with a bit stone-fired oven, and minimum wage turkish worker slaving away in the blistering heat. Instead, when we ordered the pizza, they actually ordered the pizza from the pizza shop next door. The delivery guy actually came directly to us and delivered the pizza. Could we just cut out the middle man and order directly from the pizza store? Inquiring minds want to know.
Things just got weirder from there. Caroline and I sat around complaining about the music, and I was chastised for knowing who Eric Prydz was (damn your influences Ministry Of Sound), and I was further thwarted when Mad World came on, Caroline decides she doesn't like it, and then all of a sudden the playlist skips the song. I don't know which powers she has, but they're scary.
OK GO are a pop band. Not that I'm calling the taggers at last.fm liars or anything - but they have to be kidding if they think they're indie rock. I say this with some degree of certainty after looking at the demographics for the attendees at the concert on Friday night - we were surrounded by kids. Kids trying to get off their face outside the venue since they wouldn't be allowed to drink inside. Stupid stupid stupid kids turning the mosh into a brawl. Shouldn't these kids be at church on a friday night or something? Anywhere but getting in the way at my concert. Kids today.. tsk.
Not only do they ruin the ambience in the pedestrian underpass turned into a venue (cool idea) that is Substage, but they keep promoting bands like the support/side-acts that played. It was all disgracefully middle of the road - sound quality was all mid-range, vocals were uninspiring, and the music was just plain and simply inoffensive. If they'd just got rid of one of the support acts, I could have caught the full OK GO set, instead of having to leave slightly early to catch a train home.
And oh my god, what a set OK GO put on. Maybe it was a strategy to put such average bands on before OK GO, but they come on, rip out one or two chords - the lights go on full strength, and confetti comes streaming from the ceiling. Rock and roll indeed. They've got a lot of charisma on stage, throwing out tambourines to the crowd, and even coming out to slum with the crowd while they played some campfire pussy rock (that's a tag I want to see on more songs). One of their slumming it songs was Million Ways - sure they weren't dancing to it (which is a bit hard to do when you've got guitars to play and drums to hit), but it was a great acoustical rendition of the song - complete with a xylophone. From start to finish - they put on a great show - energy packed songs, which the teenybopper crowd (and I) went wild for. I've got a theory that Oh No is actually a soundtrack to my life, and I sung especially loud for It's A Disaster and A Good Idea At The Time. Maybe I'm too old and cynical to listen to OK GO, but goddamn they put on a fantastic show (and convinced me to spend €35 on merchandise).
You know where this link goes to.
11 fév. 2007, 23h32mI recently joined up to the stats group, where I ran across one of the coolest visualisations for listening habits I've ever seen - done by megamu, drawing the amount that he's been listening to artists as a sort of organic waveform thingie - you can see the results here - it looks very cool.
I started thinking it would be a cool idea to do something like that too. I've got a big hole on my wall which is just begging for a piece of geeky artwork. So, I set about writing a bit of code which could handle the drawing of the waveform. Luckily, because this is just another view on the tag data I'm playing around with, I could just tweak some existing code to get the results I'm after.
Anyway, to cut a long story short:
The colours aren't quite right on it - I need to make them correlate with the time the tag was first listened to, and I could do a couple of saturation tweaks to make it more readable. Obviously, the biggest thing I need to fix is to make it look a bit more curvy, which I'm not really sure how to do in SVG. It's just a bunch of plot points however, so I'm sure I could do such a thing in a more dedicated graphing program.
11 fév. 2007, 10h22mFebruary 10th 2007
I still can't really get over the fact that DJ Krush came down to play in Heidelberg so soon after I'd gone to see him play in Sydney. Apart from the supports being different, not much really changed between the two sets. This time around, the support act wasn't so much warm-up as mood-setter. I don't remember the name, but it was a DJ with a live trumpeter as accompaniment, playing pretty much a large amount of french downtempo (a la St Germain). Everything just starts later in Europe, so Krush didn't come on stage till 1am, after which he played a two hour set. It's lucky that I live in the city, otherwise I would have had a hell of a time getting home.
I'm starting to change my mind a little on Krush - I've got a feeling that for his live sets, he's best when he's mixing a fair bit of other people's material, otherwise they do tend to get a bit repetitive. There are a couple of nice moments in his routine, but the most memorable moments come from other people's tracks (Organ Donor). Maybe Krush sounds best mixed into other people's work.
As is standard with my trips to Karsltorbahnhof, I am emboldened enough to bring my camera along, and I spent a fair bit of time getting snap-happy with Krush. Here they are.
8 fév. 2007, 23h40mFebruary 7th 2007
It feels like it's been far too long since I've been out at concerts/gigs. The Teitur gig on Wednesday night was possibly the slowest, or most easy going way to start the concert-going year for me.
This gig was probably the emptiest I've seen Karlstorbahnhof. It could have just been the god-awful dreary weather earlier that day, but the room was only half full. I grabbed a perch at the back of the hall with ChesRockwell and we proceeded to pretty much ignore Phil Vetter. There wasn't anything that particularly grabbed me - very middle of the road. That is, until I heard what I hope is his opus - his song about Pimp My Ride. Check it out on his Myspace page.
Teitur came up on stage, and rather faithfully, the crowd shuffled forward. I didn't find the performance particularly good - I've got a feeling the concert was more for die-hard fans than for the casual listener. There were a fair number of people chatting around us, so I'm guessing that a lot of people weren't exactly enthralled either. In Teitur's defence, he did improve towards the end of his set, and I did start to enjoy it a bit more. I just would like it if he was a bit catchier for the whole set. Pics.
DJ Krush on Saturday. Goddamn yes.
17 jan. 2007, 16h16mIt's a popularity contest right? So these are the songs which I have listened to the most in the last year. Sort of. In no particular order:
- Steady As She Goes
- Pretty Little Thing
- See the World
- Black Swan
- Million Ways
- Stopping All Stations
- How We Operate
I promise, this is the last list I'll do for a while.
24 déc. 2006, 13h28m2006 has been a big year in music for me, where I've managed to go and see a massive number of bands play. This is particularly impressive considering that I'm living in a small town in Germany, yet I still get to see some great acts come through there.
(in no particular order)
Honourable mentions to Kid Koala and Gerling.
I've heard a whole bunch of new albums this year - but hands down - The Eraser is my favourite album for the year. This doesn't mean that I've listened to it the most though. I've got a sneaky feeling that honour would go to either Oh No, How We Operate or Inside In Inside Out.
The actual album data charts match up for the year - the top 11 listened to albums for me this year:
- Oh No
- When I Met You
- The Mouse & The Mask
- Solid Steel Presents Bonobo: It Came From the Sea
- The Eraser
- Beloved One
- The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
- Biscuits for Breakfast
- How We Operate
(Okay, it's top 11 because I wanted Gomez in there)
The bands who cancelled their tours! Stuffing up and not catching the 2 Many DJs set. Portishead not releasing their new album yet.
24 déc. 2006, 12h53mDecember 22nd 2006
The Annandale is a great little venues nestled in the bustling inner west of Sydney. In a city which is becoming increasingly bland, it's one of the few places left with any kind of charisma. One of the things that I especially like about the Annandale is that it's got the whole sticky pub carpet thing. I lost track of the number of times that I had to literally peel my feet off the carpet there.
I'd rocked up late to the venue, so I missed out on seeing Hand Me My Jetpack playing, so I have no idea how good they are. I did manage to make it to the venue to see Dappled Cities Fly play though. I didn't really get into them - maybe it was the fact that I didn't pick up any of the lyrics to their songs, or that the music seemed a little samey and insipid. The things is, I've heard lots of very good things about the band, but I had never heard any of their music before seeing them on Friday night. There were a fair few people who seemed to enjoy the set though, so I must be missing something. I'll wait for a friend to ram the CD down my throat, and see if it'll eventually catch on.
I'd seen Gerling play a few years back at Sydney Uni, and I remember thinking that the gig was pretty enjoyable. I don't know if they've changed the way they do live acts now, but I don't remember them being quite so energetic as they were at this concert. The set started with a christmas classic Sleigh Ride to introduce the band onto stage. From there it was a mix of their older songs (including Dust Me Selecta) and stuff from their last two albums (which I haven't listened to yet!). There was podium dancing, madness from the crowd, and just general musical insanity from Gerling. You could really tell they were having a great time on stage. Incidentally, I thought that Dust Me Selecta just didn't quite sound right this evening, almost like they had a backing record and it was skipping.