The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007

In haste: The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
(now updated to include better MP3s)

  1. (intro)
  2. Go
  3. Please
  4. Can You Feel It?
  5. The Rainbow
  6. Energy
  7. Strawberryfire
  8. Radiation
  9. Do You Understand?
  10. Open Eyes
  11. I Can’t Believe
  12. (apples in stereo mini-theme)
  13. Skyway
  14. (mini theme/tuning)
  15. Motorcar
  16. Tin Pan Alley
  17. Sun Is Out
  18. Same Old Drag
  19. (theme interlude)
  20. What’s the #?
  21. Ruby
  22. (encore intro)
  23. Play Tough
  24. Baroque

spiff with a silent X

I’ve been playing with XSPF, mostly so I can use the XSPF Web Music Player. There’s a Perl API for working with XSPF (XML::XSPF) which works well, but is extremely short on documentation.

Creating a playlist with XML::XSPF is pretty logical: create a new track object for each new track, then feed an array of these tracks into the playlist object. It took me a couple of hours of fiddling about (and much use of Data::Dumper::Simple, the plain man’s guide to tortuous data structures) to find that out.

The end result is this:
id32xspf – create XSPF playlist to stdout from a list of MP3s with ID3v2 tags.
It’s intended for use on a local directory of MP3s, which will subsequently be uploaded to a website. It uses MP3::Info to do the tag work.
It has some limitations:

  • every file must have ID3v2 tags.
  • it doesn’t handle file:// locations at all well, as their syntax is system-dependent. You’ll probably have to use the --urlbase option. For example, for Unix systems for local files in the current directory, I find -u file://`pwd`/ works well.
  • it doesn’t include track numbers, as I didn’t know that XSPF supported them.
  • it doesn’t create track artwork links, as this isn’t included in ID3 data.

One slightly amusing caveat about the XSPF Web Music Player is that it doesn’t understand the rate of some of lame‘s more amusing VBR presets. If you feed it files from the voice preset (56kbit, mono, resampled to 32000Hz), the results sound like Pinky & Perky

From Eldoret to Sighthill (to Toronto)

Daniel Aliangana is a medical technologist from Eldoret, Kenya. In 1994–95 he was studying at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, and living in the apartment blocks in nearby Sighthill. He recorded these tracks in his spare time, and gave me a tape before he left for Kenya.

Daniel recorded these on a double cassette deck, carefully overlaying each track by recording live over the top. He used a classical guitar, an electronic keyboard, and some kitchen objects for percussion.

There are occasional harmonies which might have been provided by Catherine‘s former flatmate Grace Achiya. Grace is also from Kenya, and it was through her that we got to know Daniel.

I don’t know where Daniel is these days, but there’s a Mr D. Aliangana listed as Chief Technician in the Department of Medical Physiology at Moi University in Eldoret. Wherever you are, Daniel, I hope you are well, and thanks for the music!

  1. Huyu Odote
  2. Dada Margaret
  3. Usikoti
  4. Mama
  5. Binadamu
  6. Mama Watoto

(originally linked from my music page.)

best of 2006

In no order you’d care to guess:

  • The Information — Beck
  • Awoo — Hidden Cameras
  • The Optimist’s Club — Casper & the Cookies
  • Cue Are Es Tea You — Mayor McCa
  • The Sole Inhabitant — Thomas Dolby
  • The Jig Is Up — Peter Stampfel
  • Black Gold — King Biscuit Time
  • Calico — Erynn Marshall
  • Ys — Joanna Newsom
  • Olé! Tarantula — Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
  • Cannibal Sea — The Essex Green
  • Just Like The Fambly Cat — Grandaddy
  • Back To The Web — Elf Power
  • The Eraser — Thom Yorke
  • The Crane Wife — The Decemberists
  • either Tales of the Rat Fink Original Soundtrack or In Concert Vol. 1 — The Sadies
  • The Way the Wind Blows — A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Discoveries of 2006: Karen Dalton, Nic Jones, Lee Hammons.

dimeadozen.org :: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – The Mod Club, Toronto – 10 November 2006

I uploaded a torrent of Friday’s show: “Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – The Mod Club, Toronto – 10 November 2006”. There will also be MP3s, if you give it about an hour or so.

house concert!

We went to a house concert last night to hear Chris Coole & Erynn Marshall play some Kentucky duets. Erynn’s back from BC to record with Chris; today’s a long day in the studio.

Great music, nice venue, excellent evening. Maybe we’ll eventually get enough money to buy Chris a new banjo head; his current one looks stricken with some dread skin disease …

eBay.ca: music tapes 2nd imaginary symphony /neutral milk hotel (item 200017937813 end time 22-Aug-06 21:04:40 EDT)

eBay.ca: music tapes 2nd imaginary symphony: one of Julian’s original CD-Rs is up for sale. Looks like it’ll go for over $100; eep!

the late b.p. helium, live at The Boat, Toronto — 28 June 2006

  1. (intro)
  2. crying*
  3. reminder to self
  4. they broke the speed of light
  5. fela*
  6. i tried to make it with you
  7. (banter)
  8. bluebeard
  9. rabbit’s ear
  10. the curse of the trial
  11. raisa raisa
  12. the weeping soul

*: These short titles are taken from the setlist. I don’t have their full names.

Info page: the late b.p. helium, The Boat — 28 June 2006, which also includes a link to FLACs.

FUNtain.ca

Steve Mann‘s done it again: the FUNtain.

Though totally different in scope, it reminds me of a device I saw at a street fair in Glasgow. This was a bank of drainpipes, arranged in a circle. One end of each pipe had a pressure washer head with a flat nozzle played across it, and the other end was stopped at just the right length to play a note. The pressure washer triggers were arranged as a keyboard, and there was a (laminated against water damage) music book on the console. You could play simple (if very loud) tunes.

I’ve never seen such a device since then.

the mayor is back in town (or will be)

Mayor McCA is touring in Canada soon!

May 4-Ebar Guelph ON
May 5- The Jane Bond. 004 Princess St, Waterloo ON
May 6- Music Gallery- The Over The Top Festival Toronto ON (advanced tics recommended for this one).
May 7- Casbah. Donut Rock City (Hamilton) ON,
May 8-10- TBA
May 11- The Paramount. Moncton NB
May 12- World Cafe 2412 Agricola St , Halifax NS
May 13- Gus' Pub 2605 Agricola St, Halifax NS
May 13-17- TBA

Old German Guys were better than Coldplay

I guess by appropriating the main riff of Computer Love, Coldplay might’ve thought they could suck less. Nope. They’re still the Sade of the 2000s; music for chartered accountants.

best o’ 2005

2005 was a pretty good year for music, but you had to dig for it. My maximal list, in alphabetical order:

  • A Hawk And A Hacksaw — Darkness At Noon
  • Animal Collective — Feels
  • Beck — Guero/Guerolito
  • Bright Eyes — Digital Ash In a Digital Urn/I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  • Caribou — Marino Audio: yes, it’s a promo. A combination of the audio tracks from the Marino DVD release and the 2005 tour CD, I much prefer it to The Milk of Human Kindness.
  • The Decemberists — Picaresque: I know all the hip kids had it as MP3s last year.
  • Dressy Bessy — Electrified
  • The Fruit Bats — Spelled in Bones: folk, with just the right tinge of bubblegum
  • Malcolm Middleton — Into The Woods: anyone who can sing about the existential possibilities of Falkirk High station, and also about love & chips, is deep into the Scottish psyche.
  • Of Montreal — The Sunlandic Twins
  • Kate Rusby — The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly
  • Sigur Rós — Takk …: and yet I still don’t know what they’re singing about.
  • Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
  • Teenage Fanclub — ManMade
  • Vashti Bunyan — Lookaftering: don’t dismiss this as merely fey hippy nonsense; it’s beautiful fey hippy nonsense.

We like them, they like us:

  • Dan Jones — Get Sounds Now: Catherine’s elementary school friend rocks out
  • Lazerlove5 — Flicker Mask: fine funkiness from a fellow feg.

Excellent compilations from 2005:

  • Ivor Cutler — An Elpee and Two Epees
  • Charlie Poole & The Roots of Country Music — You Ain’t Talking to Me

Some excellent tracks, but not entirely memorable as albums:

  • Devendra Banhart — Cripple Crow: I’m a Child is crazed genius, but lose the Spanish lounge music, eh?
  • Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
  • Jennifer Gentle — Valende: I Do Dream You is the perfect garage punk song.
  • John Parish — Once Upon a Little Time
  • Sleater-Kinney — The Woods
  • Wolf Parade — Apologies to the Queen Mary: what was with the lumpen first few tracks?

Next year, look out for The Lollipop People’s We Need a New F-Word. I like their offensive avant-cabaret noise more than I should.

Schultze Gets The Blues

from Schultze gets the Blues
It’s German, it’s funny (no, really), and it has wind turbines in it. Horst Krause is wonderful as the retired and bewildered Schultze, as he makes his quest for musical identity in the Deep South.

music of 2005

It’s getting towards the end of the year, so I’m thinking about what albums I enjoyed most. These are the 2005 albums I have in my collection:

  • A Hawk And A Hacksaw — Darkness At Noon
  • Aimee Mann — The Forgotten Arm
  • Animal Collective — Feels
  • Beck — Guero
  • Bettye Lavette — I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise
  • Bright Eyes — Digital Ash In a Digital Urn
  • Bright Eyes — I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  • Calexico / Iron & Wine — In the Reins
  • Caribou — Marino Audio
  • Dan Jones — Get Sounds Now
  • The Decemberists — Picaresque
  • Deerhoof — The Runners Four
  • Devendra Banhart — Cripple Crow
  • Dressy Bessy — Electrified
  • The Duhks — The Duhks
  • Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
  • Fiona Apple — Extraordinary Machine
  • Gorillaz — Demon Days
  • Grandaddy — Excerpts From The Diary Of Todd Zilla
  • Jennifer Gentle — Valende
  • John Parish — Once Upon a Little Time
  • Kate Bush — Aerial
  • Kate Rusby — The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly
  • Kimberley Rew — Essex Hideaway
  • Lazerlove5 — Flicker Mask
  • Lemon Jelly — ‘64–‘95
  • The Lollipop People — We Need a New F-Word
  • Malcolm Middleton — Into The Woods
  • Marbles — Expo
  • The Mountain Goats — The Sunset Tree
  • My Morning Jacket — Z
  • Of Montreal — The Sunlandic Twins
  • Sigur Rós — Takk …
  • Sleater-Kinney — The Woods
  • Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
  • The Vanity Project
  • Wolf Parade — Apologies to the Queen Mary

I know there are some that won’t make my list (Aerial, for one) but the rest of them all have their moments.

Ivor Cutler: Glasgow Dreamer

I’ve archived an MP3 copy of Arnold Brown’s Radio 4 programme here: Ivor Cutler: Glasgow Dreamer. It’s a good introduction to Ivor Cutler’s work, and it’s a bit more accessible than the RealAudio format I had to convert it from.

batch renaming iTunes directories

In partial response to the Ask Metafilter question “How can I rename my music folders on my Mac based on ID3 tags?“:

#!/bin/bash
# itunes_sanity.sh - fix dir names created by iTunes
# only works for mp3s, and not actually tested on a Mac
# created by scruss on Sun Sep 4 22:05:00 EDT 2005

find "$@" -type d -mindepth 1 | while read directory
do
  artistdir=$(dirname "$directory")
  firstfile=$( find "$directory" -type f -iname '*.mp3' | head -n1 )
  year=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TYE ' | sed 's/=== TYE (Year): //; s/[^0-9]*//;' )
  album=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TAL ' | sed 's,=== TAL (Album/Movie/Show title): ,,;' )
  echo mv \'$directory\' \'$artistdir/\[$year\] $album\'
done

So if you were in the terminal, in your music library (one up from the individual artist directories), and you did:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy

you’d get:

mv 'Dan Jones/Get Sounds Now' 'Dan Jones/[2005] Get Sounds Now'
mv 'Dan Jones/One Man Submarine' 'Dan Jones/[2003] One Man Submarine'
mv 'Tripping Daisy/Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb' 'Tripping Daisy/[1998] Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb'

If that looks okay, run the output through the shell:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy | sh

and all should be well.

You’ll need id3lib, which is probably most easily installed from Fink. Also, this only works for mp3 files; I can’t grok the tag info for AAC files. And finally, this might go seriously screwy on weird characters in filenames. You know my feelings on that …