Herb Alpert for my hooligans in Brooklyn

I was spacing out in my dentist's office lobby the other day unconsciously bobbing my head to the quiet assortment of songs playing over the sound system when a very familiar minor 7th chord shook me out of my reverie:

Jump to around 3:09-ish if the video doesn't start there.

Yeah, that’s right, turns out this is the famous bit sampled (and pitched down) in Biggie's "Hypnotize". Maybe I'm one of like, 5 people who didn't know that, but it was fun connecting the sampling dots between a jazzy hit from the 70s and a modern hip hop classic.

[USA] by Anamanaguchi

Album cover for the album USA by Anamanaguchi

A friend of mine recently linked to the new album from Anamanaguchi, [USA]. It’s been a while since I loved an album so much from start to finish, but this was one of them. It has that tasty blend of pop, rock, and chiptunes I associate with the band, but something about the melodies and synth sounds feels akin to Mew's No More Stories...

Put on headphones, give it a listen, and maybe your Monday will be a little brighter.


I'm pleased as punch that a pal of mine introduced me to Songwhip - a super convenient website that'll ingest music links from a wide variety of services and websites, and provide a centralized URL for sharing. Friends sharing links from Apple Music, but you're a Spotify user? No problem.

Just take this lil' linky-link to Mark Ronson's cover of Just, by Radiohead: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/just/259214420?i=259214652

Paste that into Songwhip's search field, and get a slick little page and URL in return:

  <a href="https://songwhip.com/song/mark-ronson/just" target="_blank"><img src="https://cdn.uploads.micro.blog/wp-content/149855/2019/01/330ae-songwhip.png" alt="" /></a>

From there you can hit Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you might find the track/album/whatever. It's not perfect, and there are some quirks, but I've found it to be a great way to share music with friends across a broad specturm of streaming services.

Where this has really shined, in my personal experience, has been integration with Slack. One of my (too many) Slack teams has a music channel, and the Songwhip integration will echo out their URL whenever a song/album link from a compatible service is detected. Coupled with disabling autoexpansion of previews for services like Spotify, you get a nice neat sharing experience:

  <img src="https://cdn.uploads.micro.blog/wp-content/149855/2019/01/3956a-songwhipslack.png" alt="" />

timing is everything


A 19th century French metronome given to me by my flute teacher when I was 10 years old.

Shot on The Impossible Project's PX 100 Silver Shade film. Ain't it tasty?

sufjan stevens in concert

The second post on this website, back in July 2005, was about Sufjan Stevens. I've been a pretty huge fan ever since that time, but I've never yet made it to one of his shows. Couldn't make the 9:30 Club in DC a few years ago because of the week combined with it being at least 1.5 hours away. Couldn't make it to see one of the BQE performances because, well, they were exclusively in Brooklyn. Last night I finally made it, though, and caught Mr. Stevens at The National Theater right here in Richmond, VA.

This was one of the best concerts I've ever attended. Each musician was spot on, from the wonderful backup singers to the double drummers, and of course Sufjan himself. The visuals projected on screen reinforced the mood of many songs, and the sound was mixed quite well. It was still a proper loud show in a concert hall, but I could actually hear each instrument and singer clearly and distinctly. The whole set - including a several song encore - lasted around 2.5 glorious hours.

Most exciting, however, was how this show reshaped my appreciation of The Age of Adz as an album. I have to admit that, while I certainly enjoyed some tracks before the show, I was a little let down by Sufjan's latest effort. I'm not sure if it's because of the seemingly heightened sonic bombast or something else, but it was a slight step below The BQE on my ranking of Stevens' work. This concert, somehow, shifted my opinion. Perhaps it's my fond impression of the live performances, or maybe it's the way these touring arrangements seemed to have highlighted what made these songs good to begin with.

Whatever the case, I listened to a few tracks on Adz this morning with renewed ears. I sure hope Sufjan comes through Richmond again in the future, too. I'll be there.

Berkeley Girl

Check out the video for Harper Simon's Berkeley Girl, shot entirely on an assortment of Super 8 film stocks. There's a little extra significance to my posting this, but I'll get to that later this evening.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfXv6RBPEdI?fs=1&hl=en_US&hd=1&w=640&h=385]

music to my city

buskers in carytown

Carytown, Richmond, VA.

preview two tracks from sufjan stevens' upcoming album

As of today it seems you can listen to/download two tracks for free from the upcoming Sufjan Stevens album, The Age of Adz.

Check it:


Blind Pilot

One of my favorite reasons or listening to Pandora is the discovery of new music. Tonight on my way home from class I discovered Blind Pilot, a band with some tasty acoustic-driven pop rock. Check out their video for "Go On, Say It" below:

[vimeo 5580872 w=640 h=360]

Blind Pilot "Go On, Say It" from Team G on Vimeo.

(The song I heard on Pandora, for the record, was "One Red Thread")

Ben Folds + Nick Hornby + Pomplamoose = Ear Joy

I feel like this has been posted all over the Internet today, but this video (as of this writing) still has fewer than 4000 views. Let your ears be glad as you see all the people mentioned in the title of this post get down to musical business in the best way.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G5JaicYuVU?fs=1&hl=en_US&hd=1&w=640&h=385]
(via too many people to list, but it bears posting everywhere)

smash hit

Awesome piano playing. Heart-stopping piano destruction.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcm_u6ls0Ac?fs=1&hl=en_US&hd=1&w=640&h=385]
(via yewknee)

New full album from Sufjan Stevens

With the All Delighted People EP only just released last Friday (Go listen! It's incredible!), this news is startlingly exciting: Sufjan Stevens has a new full-length album releasing on October 12th of this year. If you preorder The Age of Adz in the next two weeks you get a download code to snag the music in MP3 format two weeks before your physical media ships.

So. Pumped.


So it seems that a certain Mr. Stevens has added at some more shows to his touring schedule, one of which includes a particular River City...

I'll be trying to score tickets Friday morning.

New EP from Sufjan Stevens


Sufjan Stevens has released a new EP called All Delighted People, and you can listen to the whole thing for free on Bandcamp (or at the bottom of this post)! From there you can buy the entire EP for five bucks, or you can wait until next week to digitally purchase it elsewhere. Or you can wait until later this year to snag a physical copy.

Just listen! So much majesty!


beautiful distortion

On the few occasions that folks have asked me for photography help, I've had to explain what "ISO" means and how it works. It's kind of a tricky subject, especially since its meaning in digital photography is a little different than its origins in the world of film. What it comes down to, ultimately, is sensitivity.

ISO, in analog photography, refers to a standard for identifying how well film captures light. The higher the number, the more sensitive. Higher sensitivity comes with a trade-off, however; you get distortion. In film this comes in the form of larger crystalline structures on the resulting negative, or "grain." So pictures taken on film with a high light sensitivity look a little coarse and lose some of the fine detail. To many photographers the grain is only a slight trade-off since it can add depth and character to images. Different film stocks from different manufacturers have varying qualities under particular lighting conditions.

In digital photography, ISO refers to the camera sensor's responsiveness to light. When you crank up the ISO to a higher number you can capture more light. But you still have that trade-off; increasing the ISO on a digital camera creates visual distortion, or "noise." The best digital cameras, in my opinion, degrade gracefully at higher ISO settings. The noise looks less like static on a television and more like, well, film grain. I've seen it on certain Ricoh point-and-shoots, Leica's crazy high-end digitals, and even my iPhone 4 (when converted to black and white).

This graceful degradation reminded me, recently, of another artistic tool where distortion isn't all that bad: guitar amplifiers. A great deal of guitar amplifiers have a knob labeled "gain," and this is directly analogous to a digital camera's ISO setting. That's because it's increasing the equipment's sensitivity to the incoming signal (in this case the electrical sound signal from a guitar). If you turn up the gain too high you overload the amplifier and the sound output starts to break up, creating distortion.

Quite a few musicians enjoy their distortion, of course, but have varying tolerances for how easily it kicks in and how evenly it builds. Amplifiers that allow players to crank up the gain without distorting the sound can fetch a pretty penny. Nikon's D3s and Canon's 1D-MkIV, similarly, don't come cheap, because of their respective abilities to crank up the ISO setting with less noise than other cameras. Some amps, on the other hand, are desired specifically for their distortion characteristics, and famous makers such as Marshall, Fender, and Orange, are sought after because of their signature overdriven tones. Likewise, I might choose Kodak's Tri-X film over Ilford's Delta 400 because I prefer the look of one film's grain structure over another.

So maybe this will clear things up if you play electric guitar, I suppose. Or perhaps it will confuse you further. I just hope this makes ISO a little easier to understand for some folks.

sound prism

If I had an iPad, I'd get Sound Prism as soon as it clears the App Store:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=385CymvTecU?fs=1&hl=en_US&w=640&h=385]
(via Jason Fried)

The Swell Season plays "Two-Headed Boy"

Be patient with the commercial at the beginning of this video; the song is absolutely worth it. As one of the later entries for The A.V. Club's Undercover series, The Swell Season covers Neutral Milk's "Two-Headed Boy." Absolutely delightful.

Stream Vampire Weekend's new album online

Less than a week until Contra releases, but until then you can hear the new hotness direct from the source:


"Cousins" by Vampire Weekend

Peep the new hotness from Vampire Weekend - "Cousins" off their upcoming album, Contra:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e0u11rgd9Q&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=340]

I really dig the video. It's a simple conceit - basically just back and forth on a dolly - but there's a lot of clever changes and some interesting editing at points. This album drops on the 12th of January, 2010.

Ramona Falls

Thanks to Michael Eades I now know about a tasty new band, Ramona Falls, fronted by the lead singer from Menomena. Ramona Fall's music is simultaneously airy and driving rock, and you can get the full effect from this amazing music video for "I Say Fever":

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga0ohgZFVqc&hl=en&fs=1&&w=480&h=292]

The Listener, as visually interpreted by Dust

Patrick tipped me off to this super-hot video created by Dustbrand Films:


Ozark Empire, or a snake oil salesman comes to your town. from DAN SMITH on Vimeo.

new release of old music from Sufjan Stevens is forthcoming

Holy smokes…some news for which I’ve been waiting a few years: Sufjan Stevens is releasing a recording of The BQE, a symphonic piece he composed and presented only in a series of live performances in NYC back in 2007. I’ve heard only small portions via NPR and the Asthmatic Kitty website, but I’m glad to see he’s publishing the piece soon so I can hear it in its entirety. I’ll be pre-ordering as soon as I get the chance.

Oh yeah, and bonus! It will include a freaking VIEWMASTER DISC.

Music Matters

Do you ever have a musical act that you totally love but seem to have dropped off the planet? You can't help but move in your chair every one of their tunes plays in your headphones, but you've stopped checking the official website and/or other channels for news long ago because it's been ages.

A number of musicians fit such a bill for me and, the act in mind today is dZihan & Kamien, the Vienna-based down-tempo duo that created one of the finest albums in my arsenal: Gran Riserva. After years gone by with a dearth of news (and no official website) I don't feel that bad for missing the announcement of their first studio album since 2002. It seems that the fellas released Music Matters in late April, and you can stream the whole thing for free on their new website! Sure, it's Flash-tastic, so I can't link directly to the listening page, but hit up the music link at the top of the page, and mouse over the left side of the album listing until the cover for the new album slides into view. And listen. Over and over.

I'm scooting over to Plan 9 forthwith tomorrow after work to see if have this album, and if not, I'm gonna have to see if the official D&K store delivers to The States (the prices are in Euros only). This album is my new jam.


Only two dollars? Um, yes please:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFG7-Q0WI7Q&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1&w=580&h=470]
(via waxy)


Feast your ears on this tasty new Deepspace5 track, and your eyes on this cool video:

"Raps" from the Stuff on Vimeo.

(via Patrick, who really oughtta put this on tasty hip hip treats)