Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daisy Buck

I got a search hit for "Daisy Buck accuracy," so I thought I'd offer my two cents since I have one. It's not, very, mostly because it has such a low velocity that it's only good for up to about 10 yards and then you have to aim very high to get the BB to the target. Also it doesn't have an adjustable rear sight. But if you're looking for a cheap BB rifle to get a little kid started on learning how to handle and aim a rifle, it should suit your purpose. Just expect to upgrade to something better when the kid gets bigger and can handle a heavier gun and starts getting serious about rifle shooting.

Halloween by Harry Behn

Halloween
by Harry Behn

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
Everywhere,
When ghoul and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween!

I memorized this little poem from my fourth-grade reading book. I didn't remember the author, but thanks to the internet, I punched in a verse and got the missing information.

Illustration "The Pumpkin-Man" by my son.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Anybody remember this?

James might.

I had to use a personal holiday before the end of the year so I'm off work today. I spent a couple of hours this morning plowing through our small but jam-packed storage shed in search of 1) all the rest of the D&D books, and 2) my chainsaw case. I didn't find the case, although I did find the chainsaw and all related accoutrements (except that special little wrench). I also found the last box of D&D stuff which included the Snarfquest book and a bunch of old Dragon magazines. There were also several odd items that I might have to post scans of in the future.

Now if I could just find the dice that I had lost, then found, then misplaced again.

The Mayberry-Mothersbaugh Connection

Before I start on this post, I want to make it clear that this is in no way disparaging the musical talents of Mark Mothersbaugh, whose musicianship I admire. But a few months ago I happened to catch a snatch of The Andy Griffith Show that arrested my attention because of the familiarity of the song they sang on that episode.

The episode in question is from 1965, season 6, titled "A Singer in Town." This episode re-ran just recently (Oct 27) and I was able to record it this time. A famous (but fictional) pop star who has his own TV show stops in town on his way to somewhere else, and ends up staying a couple of days to go fishing. One of the star's hits was a song about Texarkana, and Aunt Bee thinks that a song she and her friend Clara wrote about Mayberry could be just as good, so she pitches it to him. Right-click and save to hear her pitch (these files are stored at my old Eponym blog--if the bandwidth runs out the links will stop working until next month):

My Home Town - Aunt Bee's demo version

The pop star's manager thinks that this might be just the thing they're looking for, to give their TV show a new twist, so they write a new arrangement and invite Aunt Bee and Clara to be interviewed on the show before singing the song. During a rehearsal, they run through the song and it sounds like this:

My Home Town - rockin' version

This was the version that caught my ear and made me think, well how 'bout that! However, Aunt Bee and Clara object strenuously to this souped-up version and argue very strongly against it, so strongly that the singer creates a new, last-minute arrangement (which they can easily do on TV shows) and when the program finally airs, it sounds like this:

My Home Town - smooth version

Which Aunt Bee loves and greatly approves of (and so does everyone).

Yes, I am eventually coming to a point, of sorts. I had previously detailed one of my favorite oddball records, Potatoes Vol. I from 1987. On this record, Mark Mothersbaugh has a song titled "My Home Town," a 90-second anthem about his home town of Akron, Ohio. Give the "rockin' version" above another listen, and then listen to this:

My Home Town - Mothersbaugh version

I don't know if this was a deliberate parody or an unintentional subconscious copy. But owing to the relative obscurity of the original song, I would think it appropriate to mention something about it in the liner notes, and I think the similarities are too striking to be coincidental.

I don't expect this to be earth-shattering news or anything like that. It's just one of those things that strikes me as interesting.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It would certainly explain a lot...


Professor Paabo, who is director of genetics at the renowned Max Planck Institution for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, made the claim at a conference in the Cold Springs Laboratory in New York.

But Prof Paabo said he was unclear if the couplings had led to children, of if they were capable of producing offspring.

"What I'm really interested in is, did we have children back then and did those children contribute to our variation today?" he said in an article in The Sunday Times.
Full article here.

Pfft!

I recorded that show on the History Channel last night about the Beast of Gévaudan--a beast considered a werewolf during the 1760s. During 1764-67, more than 100 women and children were brutally killed by this "beast," and some of them were also sexually violated. I hadn't heard about this incident before so I was quite interested in it.

The two guys on this show were some alleged cryptozoologist from San Antonio and a police profiler from somewhere else.

My first complaint: their conversations were obviously scripted. Either that, or they both have the most monotonous and un-modulated voices I have ever heard.

But the big complaint, and the one which made me turn it off and give up before even the 30-minute mark, was a blatant lie.

The so-called crypto guy was trying to show the police guy that some odd creatures may be out there, so he used some search engine (not Google) to hunt down the Cuero "chupacabra." He gave the police guy a brief synopsis of the case, and then said something like, "scientists still have not been able to determine what it was."

False. False false false false false.

Here's a pertinent screen cap:


As usual, click to enlarge. You will see exactly what I saw on the very first page of search hits for "cuero chupacabra." You don't even have to click to see that it has been determined that the creature was a coyote. Furthermore, if you go to that first link (and follow it to the second link), you will find that the woman herself who first found the coyote admits to the validity of the DNA tests which show that it was a coyote that also had some Mexican wolf ancestry.

So...if you missed it, you didn't miss it. The utter blatancy of that one lie puts the whole show down the toilet as far as I'm concerned.

I do want to hunt down a book about the Beast of Gévaudan, though. It still sounds like a very strange and compelling case of mass murder.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's still not safe to go in the water

A "MONSTER" great white shark up to 6m long is prowling a popular Queensland beach after biting another great white almost in half.

Swimmers were warned to stay out of the water off Stradbroke Island after the shark mauled another smaller great white which had been hooked on a baited drum line.

The 3m great white was almost bitten in half.
Full article here.

Light bulbs


Click to enlarge, read from the bottom up.

Found here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

P.S.A.

If you're going to use the alternate search engine (alternate to Google, that is), called Scroogle, make sure you go to scroogle.org. NOT scroogle.com. Unless you're into that sort of thing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Significantly less than 40 acres

One of those pictures that just make you wonder what the hoohah is going on at That Will Buff Out.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Lovecraft documentary

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown due out on DVD and Blu-Ray October 27.
H.P. Lovecraft was the forefather of modern horror fiction, having created the Cthulhu mythos. Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown is a chronicle of his life, work and mind as told by such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, S.T. Joshi, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Andrew Migliore, Robert M. Price, and Peter Straub.
More details at The Lovecraft News Network.

Observation regarding Monty Python

I've been watching that six-part documentary that's been showing on IFC this week. I still have two parts to go, I think (recording it with the DVD recorder). Anyhow, there was one bit of information that was new to me and made me contemplate how things might be if not for Terry Jones.

I was already aware that in the olden days, the BBC had a practice of "wiping" master tapes so that they could be re-used as a method of saving money. I knew about this because all but (if I recall correctly) two of the second Doctor's (as in Doctor Who) adventures were wiped, plus some odd bits & pieces from here & there. Thus there is hardly any televisual record of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.

After Monty Python (the TV series) had finished its run, the BBC were going to wipe the tapes. When the Pythons found out about this, Terry Jones went and personally bought all the master tapes. And just to show how stupid the BBC were about this kind of thing, they didn't even consider the value of the intellectual property (that is, the "contents") of the tapes. Jones was able to buy them for about £90 each, which was how much it would cost the BBC to replace them with new tapes. He then stored them in his attic. A few years later when someone at the BBC realized that there was still money to be made from re-running the series, they had to go ask Jones if they could get the tapes back.

Which left me to contemplate what my own life might be like if not for the humorous influence of the work of Monty Python, not to mention all the hours of enjoyment I would have missed and the friends I might not have made through a common love of their comedic work.

10 more albums #65


Belinda Carlisle - Her Greatest Hits (1992, CD)
Fleetwood Mac - Behind the Mask (1990, CD)
Johnny Cash - Classic Cash (1988, LP)
Dennis De Young - Back to the World (1986, LP)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - The Best of (1985, LP)
Don Williams - Listen to the Radio (1982, LP)
Various Artists - Country Cruisin' 1964 (1982, LP)
Roy Buchanan - Second Album (1973, cassette)
Jimmy Smith - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1964, CD)
Tommy Dorsey - The Best of (1962, LP)

The Belinda Carlisle CD is one my wife bought. I thought I'd rip it for a little 80s nostalgia, but the verdict is still out. At one time I had referred to this as "cotton candy music" but lately I've been thinking it's more like rice cakes sprinkled with saccarine. This one might yet get deleted.

The Fleetwood Mac CD isn't all that great, either. Even the Stevie Nicks songs don't catch my ear very much. I might delete this one too, except for Stevie's songs.

Back to the World was Dennis De Young's second solo album after Styx broke up. It's okay. One song that has always stood out for me is "Southbound Ryan," a song about a train and which has a smokin' harmonica part. Perfect rip.

Elvis Costello. Well, I realize his talent and his musicianship. It's just that his music has never done much for me. This old "best of" collection is all I'm ever going to need from him, I think. Another perfect rip.

Don Williams is another childhood favorite and this album is from the inherited records. Not a perfect rip on this one, although there weren't any skips or any serious pops or clicks. I deleted track 2 for being redundant with my "greatest hits" CD, and treble-boosted the whole album because the recording sounded very dark and somewhat murky.

Country Cruisin' is another inherited record. Perhaps interesting to me personally because it's a collection of hits from the year I was born, and most of all, has the original version of "Give Me 40 Acres" by the Willis Brothers (my favorite truckin' song). Since this is probably one of those obscure out-of-print records, here's a full track list.
1. Lonesome 7-7203 - Hawkshaw Hawkins (murky sound--I might re-rip this one and treble-boost it)
2. I Love To Dance With Annie - Ernie Ashworth
3. Sam Hill - Claude King
4. Gonna Get Along Without You Now - Skeeter Davis
5. Sittin' in an All Night Cafe - Warner Mack
6. Cross the Brazos at Waco - Billy Walker (this is the original, I think--Marty Robbins' version came later)
7. Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar) - Jean Shepard
8. Give Me 40 Acres - Willis Brothers
9. Take My Ring Off Your Finger - Carl Smith
10. The Belles of Southern Bell - Del Reeves
Perfect rips on all except track 4 which came out with one faint artefact. Pretty good for such an old record.

I had read about Roy Buchanan somewhere long ago, but I don't remember where. He was a blues guitarist and singer who had achieved a somewhat legendary status among musicians but wasn't that well-known to "outsiders," despite having released a score of albums before he died in 1988 (he did have two albums go gold, according to Wikipedia). This tape was the only thing of his I ever came across in a music store. I have a compilation CD of his in the queue at yourmusic.com.

The Jimmy Smith album is from the great jazz organist who I am avidly buying everything I can find by him. This album is different, in that he's backed up by a big band rather than his more usual small jazz combo.

The Tommy Dorsey record is another inherited album, with lots of great big band jazz. Faint artefacts throughout, but still listenable.

Album count: 660.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekly update

We had our annual safety rally today. This is a yearly, hour-long meeting that means we start our real work an hour later than we should, but we get served breakfast (breakfast tacos and tamales), juice and coffee and have the chance to win fabulous* prizes.

The safety rally is like a pep rally except with no band, the cheerleaders are barely awake and not really very attractive (to be generous), and instead of saying "our team can beat your team!" they say "our team can do their job without getting too terribly injured all that often most of the time..."

So I won one prize based on a random drawing and it was an "emergency road kit" that I am not heartless enough to inflict on my worst enemy. A flashlight and a tire gauge that are both guaranteed to break on their first attempted use and to be a fair, a pen that works (for the time being). It also came with a pocket road atlas allegedly published by Mapquest but I think it must be from their Malaysian sweat shop division and from it I learned that we apparently have a new state called Kentuckiana, or possibly Louisitucky.

Then we saw a video clip from "The Office" which I must admit was quite humorous and a slide show of my company's workers in "action" to the tune of...yes, of course you have guessed it..."The Safety Dance." One photo of a snake elicited a murmur from the room; I am still quite amused by co-workers (and customers) who are mortally afraid of patchnose snakes and garden spiders.

When the meeting was over they told us we could grab anything on the "prize table." I wanted to get one of their lined winter hoods for my jacket but by the time I got to the table the only thing left was a pocket snakebite kit. I haven't opened it yet--it's still sealed in plastic--but according to the contents listed on the lid, the accepted practice is now to use the enclosed sterile syringes to suck the venom out of the bite site. Really.

It was still an easy week this week. I was in charge of training a new temp, but it's a guy I've worked with before on two previous jobs and he was already thoroughly familiar with reading gas & electric meters so he had no trouble shifting right into reading water meters. The weather was great this week, finally getting some serious cooling off. That only day it rained, it happened so early that we did have to deal with flooded meters but we didn't actually rained on. So that was nice.

*Note for readers: I will use the word "fabulous," but only in an ironic context.

Just a little klezmer for you



Not a real video, but only filmed by someone at a gig. Bootleg-quality audio. But you can still download the studio version for free: Train Across Ukraine by Golem.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

But which four, for G*d's sake? WHICH FOUR???!!!

Only four positions were found possible without "mechanical assistance". The other six needed a special elastic belt and inflatable tunnel, like an open-ended sleeping bag.

Mr Kohler says: "One of the principal findings was that the classic so-called missionary position, which is so easy on earth when gravity pushes one downwards, is simply not possible."
Read the whole article here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Movember?

Apparently November is grow a mustache month or something. Not something I'll ever do, and I'll tell you why.

I once had a dream--one of those dreams that begins with waking up, except you're not really awake, you just think you are--went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and I had a mustache. I looked like such a total douchebag that the shock woke me up (for real). I resolved then and there never to grow facial hair.

Also I don't think I could grow one in 30 days. At the rate that I sprout whiskers, it would probably take me at least 6 months.

On the other hand, the hair on my head grows so fast, if I went for 6 months without cutting it, I would look like the guy in the back.

Agog, that is

Just because it's so weird, and for no other reason.

click to enlarge

Roll d4 for SAN loss, unless you go to Found in Mom's Basement, download the much larger version, and read it all, in which case roll d10.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Exceptionally awesome picture of Cthulhu


Found at Purd's Scribbles via Under Vhoorl's Shadow.

10 more albums #64



400 Lonely Things - Minutes A.D. (2008, CD)
Arthur Lyman - Bwana Ā (1958, LP)
The Association - Greatest Hits (1968, cassette)
Cecil Taylor Unit - Spring of Two Blue-J's (1973, mp3 download)
Heart - Heart (1985, LP)
John Denver - Greatest Hits (1973, LP)
Kate Walsh - Acoustic (2009, EP-length mp3 download)
Soweto Gospel Choir - The Sounds of Soweto Gospel Choir (2009, mp3 download)
The Firesign Theatre - Nick Danger: The Case of the Missing Shoe (1979, EP)
Various Artists - The Great Big Bands (undated, LP)

Minutes A.D. is the most recent release* from the darkwave or dark ambient group 400 Lonely Things. I purchased it just recently and I think I'll write more about it later.

Arthur Lyman was a famous jazz vibraphonist. I wonder if there were ever any non-jazz vibraphonists. I might to write a full post on this one, too, so I won't say too much about it. I like it. The music is inspired by and/or adapted from Hawaiian music. Lyman was a Hawaiian by birth if not by heritage.

I got the Association tape via a music club when I was in college. I remember it quite distinctly because I stopped to pick up my mail on the way to Bible class at ACU ("Genesis to Esther"; Bible classes are, or at least were, required courses at ACU when I went there). When I got to class, I was talking with a classmate who I had sort of become friends with because his name was also Alan. When he saw that I had this tape he got really excited; apparently they were one of his favorite groups. The cassette has now deteriorated a little, although my rip is still listenable, but I would like to replace it with a CD someday. I would probably like all their regular albums as well. I have always been a fan of vocal harmony, and the Association's vocals are rich, deep and intricate. Some might consider them "bubblegum-ish," but their "Requiem for the Masses" on this tape makes me wonder what else I might find if I started digging into their non-compilation albums.

The Cecil Taylor Unit album was downloaded from Kathleen Loves Music. This is free jazz, and Cecil Taylor is considered one of the pioneering artists of this musical form. It isn't something that I can easily wrap my head around, and I don't enjoy listening to it very often. It sounds too incoherent to me. But I am still working on trying to learn how to listen to this kind of music. Taylor is a pianist and on this album is accompanied by alto sax, bass and drums.

The Heart album was purchased as a new release in 1985 and brings back a few vivid memories that I don't wish to recount here. But anyway, a good five tracks out of the ten were also included on These Dreams, so I ripped only the remaining five that are not redundant with that collection. Perfect rips on all.

When I was a kid, my mother had the cassette of that John Denver album. It became my favorite album for several years. I thought I had at one time bought this CD, but I guess I never did. Anyway, this record is an old one of my wife's, and it isn't in the best of shape, so I still want to get the CD, or one of his later compilations that includes most of the songs on this one (see below). When I was a kid my dad got a good deal on a Kimball electronic organ that had been repossessed, and I played it all the time. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was one song that wasn't in any of our music books but I picked it out by ear anyway. I think my favorite of this album is "Rhymes and Reasons," but at one time I had the whole thing memorized and I still mostly do. However, I never really care for that "Sunshine on My Shoulders." That one just never caught my ear. I have a few other records of his that I haven't ripped, and they're probably all in bad shape.

Kate Walsh is new to me; I just downloaded this EP from Amazon. A British singer-song writer, and these are acoustic versions of three of her songs. I could get more by her.

The Soweto Gospel Choir album is another recent Amazon free download. Most songs have a drum or drums keeping the beat, other than that it is all a capella. Some songs are in English, but most are in their native language. Either way, this is a great collection of a capella Gospel and if you are into that sort of thing you should follow the link and download it while it's available.

Back in the 80s I read about Firesign Theatre in several different places, but they were another troop that was hard to find in any record stores. If anyone had asked me only a few months ago, I would have said that I had only one of their records: Not Insane or Anything You Want To. I had forgotten that I had this one until I came across it a while back while going through the shelves. This is only an EP, 12 minutes long in total, and it's funny. Not Insane just seems like a complete waste of time to me; I don't remember anything funny or even interesting about it from the last time I listened to it many years ago. Both of them were found from used sources. I would still like to get their earlier stuff, from before Not Insane. This EP is like an old radio program about private detective Nick Danger, who awakens one day to discover that his left shoe is missing. Of course it's a parody of those old radio programs, and farcical as well, including fake commercials for silly products. This one will go in the "other mp3s" directory because it isn't music.

The Big Bands record is another from the inherited collection. Three of the tracks have faint artefacts but the rest came out very well. Ten tracks with some of the big names from the big band era, including Gene Crupa, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and others.

Album count: 650.

*This was correct when I first wrote the draft of this post. They recently have released a new album.

Get your Mojo

Just about everything Mojo Nixon ever recorded, FREE for a "limited time."

At Amazon.

The "H" makes all the difference

Albatross has captured a perfect example of "authorized journalism" at KSAT News.

Strange in San Antonio: Switching Bushes

Friday, October 16, 2009

Work pix: Sunset Station

Oh man, what a week. I'm glad it's over. The only easy day I had was yesterday (Thursday), when I had my regular cycle 15, the Alamodome route. I haven't posted any work pix in a while, so here are some I took yesterday around Sunset Station.

Headed toward downtown on Commerce. I tried to take a picture of my own shadow but the sunlight was too diffuse. I'm the long dark shadow in the exact center of the sidewalk.

An engine that is always sitting behind Sunset Station. I guess they use it for something, but it's just sitting there every time I do this route. There are two meters to the right of where I'm standing.

Another shot of the train.

Just past the train, looking south behind the row of restaurants toward the Alamodome. There's another meter inside that fence to the right, and one more farther down where the next fence is, but in a vault outside the fence.

Around the back corner facing the Tower. Two more meters are to my left, just in front of the station building. Another meter on the sidewalk right in front of me.

Today was the first day this week that I finished with dry feet. The waterproofing on my boots has worn out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Strange, campy, retro, creepy...

...and I like it very much.

The Raveonettes - "Last Dance"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 albums a day #63


All various artists label samplers, free downloads from Amazon.com. All 2009.

Strut World Music Sampler
Sub Pop Sampler
Tomorrow's Stars from SXSW
Tuff Gong Worldwide World Music Sampler
World Music Network Amazon Sampler
Worn & Grazed: A Park the Van Sampler

Strut: 1/6. Overall: 1.5. Not all that great collection of pop, jazzy tracks, and one that I would call electronic reggae.
Starred artist: Mulatu Astatke.

Sub Pop: 3/11. Overall: 2.3. A not entirely bad collection of alt rock with one rap track that I did not delete in this case because it's funny (by Flight of the Conchords). No longer available.
Starred artists/groups: Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine.

SXSW: 5/6. Overall: 3.3. A good collection of alt rock. Unfortunately no longer available.
Starred artists/groups: Anberlin, honeyhoney, Iglu & Hartly, Paper Route (this one sounds like an 80s group), Tyrone Wells.

Tuff Gong: 0/7. Overall: 1. I guess if you are a reggae freak, you'll love it. Otherwise...it's seven songs from the Marley family & friends, headed up by Ziggy.

World Music Network: 1/7. Overall: 1.6. One starred artist: Benjamin Escoriza. This track has a prominent part by something that sounds like a double-reed instrument that I can't idenify.

Park the Van: 0/11. Overall: 1.3. Another totally meh collection of alt rock, with nothing that allows me to recommend it.

And so we have finally come to the end of the digital collection as it stood when I first began this series of posts. I already have a couple of more posts lined up, and will post more as the opportunity and the mood strikes me, and of course I have loads of records yet to rip, and buy new CDs occasionally that I will probably feel the need to mention.

I don't know what the big point of this series is, if there is one. But I have enjoyed methodically working my way through it.

Album count: 640.

Monday, October 12, 2009

10 albums a day #62


All various artist samplers, free downloads from Amazon.com. All 2009.

Nutone Amazon Spring Sampler
One Little Indian Amazon Label Sampler
Open Remix
Real World Amazon Sampler
Ropeadope Label Sampler
Sample the World Through Music
Secretly Canadian Sampler
Six Degrees Free Indian Music Sampler
Stax Sampler for Amazon
Sterns Amazon Sampler

Nutone: 4/8. Overall: 2.5. A good score and a nice collection of mostly pop music from India. Still available but now costs $7.92. Might be worth it if you're looking to get into this stuff.
Starred artists/groups: Jai Uttal, Donna De Lory, Wah!, Reema Datta.

One Little Indian: 3/6. Overall: 2.3. A not bad collection of alt rock. No longer available.
Starred artists/groups: Pieta Brown, Astrid Williamson, Surrounded (hmmm...two different tracks by this group on two different collections).

Open Remix: 0/7. Overall: 1.6. Seven remixes of one basic track. This is a "benefit" album, but I don't know exactly how they "benefit" by giving away a free album. It's still available. This is dance music, some of the remixes are hip-hop(ish), heavy rhythms and such.

Real World: 5/11. Overall: 2.5. A pretty good collection of "world music," although it includes one song from The Blind Boys of Alabama who are from the U.S. I would recommend this one, even if it cost a few bucks, but it's no longer available.
Starred artists/groups: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Joi, Afro Celt Sound System, Peter Gabriel.

Ropeadope: 8/12. Overall: 2.4. This is a good one that suffered from having two rap tracks, which I deleted. Several tracks of just fine jazz, some leaning toward chill, one newgrass (jazz bluegrass) track, and a few alt rockers. Still available, and recommended. All tracks can be downloaded individually so just skip tracks 1 and 9 (the rap tracks). Skip 11 and 12 if you don't want the mediocre alt rock tracks.
Starred artists/groups: Carlon, Bodega, Dred Scott Trio, Fatty Acid, Leo Genovese, Otis Grove, Reut Regev, Cabinet.

Sample the World: 4/8. Overall: 2.8. Another good one of world music. Still available and still free.
Starred artists/groups: Niraj Chag, Sub Swara, Kush Arora. The three tracks by the latter two artists are what I would consider chill or smooth electronica.

Secretly Canadian: 1/8. Overall: 1.8. Mostly mediocre alt rock. One starred artist: Jens Lekman.

Six Degrees: 3/8. Overall: 2.5. Another enjoyable collection of music from India. One deleted track (rap). Still available and free, but you have to download the whole album in one shot.
Starred artists/groups: Cheb I Sabbah, Midival Punditz. I would put all three of these tracks in the chill/smooth electronic category.

Stax: 2/4. Overall: 3. A good but woefully small collection of blues and r&b from the Stax label.
Starred artists: Albert King, Isaac Hayes.

Sterns: 2/12. Overall: 1.6. Spanish-language (or possibly some Portuguese; I can't tell the difference) world music. This one didn't strike me as all that great.
Starred artists/groups: Bembeya Jazz National, Amadou Sodia.

Album count: 634.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10 albums a day #61


All free label sampler downloads from Amazon.com, all 2009.

Eenie Meenie Records.
Eagle Records Live at Montreux.
Dead Oceans Sampler.
Chess Records Black History Month.
Lookout Records: Be On The Lookout!
JDub Records Presents Wild Peace
Jagjaguwar Sampler.
Ioda SXSW Opening Day Bash Sampler.
ESL World Music Sampler.
Emo is Awesome Emo is Evil 2

Eenie Meenie: 4/11. Overall: 1.8. A mostly mediocre collection of alt rock.
Starred artists/groups: Great Northern, Division Day, Golden Boy, Irving.

Eagle: 3/13. Overall: 1.9. Not a good overall score, but there was a wide range of really good and total garbage on this one. Two deleted tracks, both rap. The three really good tracks were so good that I will be more detailed than usual. First is "Frosty" by Albert Collins, a jazzy and bluesy instrumental. Second is "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple. Now, the thing that makes me bump this one up a notch isn't because it's a timeless classic [smirk], and not because it's a live version. The cool thing about this one is the jazz piano instrumental that riffs on the theme of the original song and which takes up the first 2 1/4 minutes of this 9-minute version. The piano part should have been longer. The third one is the awesome balled "Angel Eyes" by the great Jeff Healey Band. This one is no longer available, but all the individual artists' live albums from this event are available. This collection is mostly classic rock/pop, r&b and those two rap tracks.

Dead Oceans: 1/5. Overall: 1.6. Mostly meh alt rock. The one starred track is by a group called The Donkeys which sounds kind of like The Grateful Dead.

Chess: 0/3. Overall: 2. This was Amazon's token freebie in honor of "Black History Month." They could have done a much better job. Nothing at all wrong with these three tracks, it just seems like a shoddy effort in today's overly-politically correct world. Also all three tracks fade out at about 2:30; I know these old tracks were generally shorter than songs are now, but they still sound like they are sort of "demo" versions that were faded out before they really finished.

Lookout: 2/9. Overall: 2.2. Another generally unexciting collection of indie punk(ish) and hard(er) rock.
Starred artists/groups: Ted Leo, The Reputation.

JDub: 3/9. Overall 2.4. This is a collection of "world music," which is someone's lame idea for categorizing any music that is created outside of the United States. Therefore, if someone says "world music" they really aren't saying anything because it can mean almost anything (provided, of course, that it was created by someone outside the United States). I think this stuff is mostly from eastern Europe, and it's a nice collection.
Starred artists/groups: Deleon, Golem, Balkan Beat Box.

Jagjaguwar: 2/8. Overall: 1.9. Alt rock, nothing really exciting.
Starred artists/groups: Okkervil River, Parts and Labor.

Ioda: 1/11. Overall: 1.6. More meh alt(ish) rock. Don't really know what to say about it. Nothing really hit me as mentionable, but one starred group: The Phenomenal Handclap Band.

ESL: 3/8. Overall: 2.5. More world music, and not a bad collection with some of what you call "smooth electronica" verging into darkwave (a genre of which I'm becoming more and more of a fan) in here. This one is still available for free.
Starred artists/groups: Thievery Corporation, Ursula 1000, Natalia Clavier.

Emo: 1/15. Overall: 1.6. Well, I had to download this one for my own musical education. It's not completely horrible. Allegedly "emo music." To me it sounds like harder alt/college rock. They still have this one but it costs $4.98 now. Not worth it.
Starred artist: Surrounded.

Album count: 624.