Thursday, December 31, 2009

5 of the mostly now

I've been a bit lax in posting any 5 of the now music recently, so some of these tracks are finely aged at this point. All still good though. A nice mix of some mainstream, and some really fine remixes.

1. Cage the Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked
Good, solid rock. I thought for sure this was a hair metal track that I somehow missed, only to learn it was brand new. I've only heard this on KRNA on rare terrestrial radio listening occasions, so I don't know if it has gotten much airplay or not. I dig it.

2. Lateef & Z-Trip - Ahead of the Curve - Time (Freestyle)
Z-Trip is hands-down one of my favorite DJ's, and I've been a fan of Lateef's since his work with Lyrics Born. This track is the current favorite off of what is a great mixtape.

3. Rhianna - Umbrella (Travis Barker Remix)
Since becoming more interesting in drums, I've been even more amazed with what Travis can do. His work with DJ AM was incredible. This track is very much along those lines.

4. DJ Earworm - Heartless (In a Bottle). I first came across DJ Earworm after his "United State of Pop 2008 (Viva La Pop)" mashup of the top 25 pop songs of 2008. He has a number of other very smooth mashups, with this one being one of my favorites. The Fray doing Kanye + The Police + Black-Eyed Peas + others. Fabulous.

5. Toby Keith - American Ride - American Ride
Toby Keith is often hit or miss for me. This one nails it though.

Albums of 2009

For the past few years (initially started by Ryan, I believe) at the end of the year I have assembled a list of my favorite albums that I purchased during the year. These are not individual songs, instead they are whole albums that ended up getting lots of play during the year.

This year proved to be particularly challenging. First, in something that should be a sign to the ignorant record companies, I did not buy a single, silver, shiny disc this year. Not one. I didn't do this to purposely not buy CD's any longer. Instead, I have just found that price, convenience, and ease of use by me all lead to me buying nearly all of my music as Amazon MP3 downloads. Second, I also greatly loaded up on the amount of free music I was finding, and a healthy dose of Pandora. All of this lead to a rather small list of possible albums. However, out of that list, I was able to find 4 albums that had significantly more listening mileage than others.

These are in no particular order. They are simply 4 albums that I purchased this year and found to be the most interesting of 2009:

1. Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon: The End Of Day [Explicit]
I was first pulled in by "Day and Night", and the "Make Her Say" remix was far better than the original. Good stuff overall.

2. LMFAO - Party Rock (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [Explicit]
Raw fun. That's really all you need to know. This stuff never gets old, it just perks up your day when you hear it. "I am not a whore" remains my favorite.

3. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness
Yes, this album got a significant amount of standard radio airplay. Despite that, this is the real deal. These guys are how I want my rock to sound. The title track still kicks me in the rear when I need it.

4. Steinski - What Does It All Mean? - 1983-2006 Retrospective
If you dig people such as Girl Talk, DJ Shadow, etc., you need to give Steinski a listen. In my mind, he's the Grand Wizard Theodore of the mashup/sampling movement. He's the originator who almost nobody knows - he doesn't have the mainstream name. However, this stuff is top-notch. More info on Steinski is here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

5 for July

Billy Currington - People Are Crazy - Little Bit of Everything
I've been in the mood recently some simple, feel-good country music. This is a really light track, but I have yet to get tired of it. "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy." I can't disagree with that.

Rodney Atkins - It's America - It's America
More simple country goodness. Not really a good explanation on this one, but I enjoy it.

Primus - The Toys Go Winding Down - Frizzle Fry
"This isn't even AC/DC - it's just some techno band". Yeah - true that. Les Claypool and Primus have been beyond cool since I was in high school. Couple that with AC/DC, and I'm sold. I can't believe I didn't know about this until I got it as a free track somewhere. Free music FTW!

Ben Harper & Relentless7 - Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart) - White Lies for Dark Times
This is the BEST SONG EVER. That comes straight from my son's drum teacher. I don't disagree. The intro, the heavy metal yell, the drum, and the bad-ass guitar. Listen to it at high volume. Do not resist.

A Perfect Circle - The Noose - Thirteenth Step
Possibly the smoothest song ever. Maynard has unparalleled vocals, and the production on this is amazing. One of my favorites for a long time. Here's looking at you, Cheney and Bush.

Friday, May 15, 2009

5 of the now

Wow - haven't touched the blog since February. Unfortunately (maybe), Twitter has mostly replaced blogging for me it appears. The 140 character bursts fit my available time better.

However, the blog still provides a great place for 5 of the now to land.

Charlie Robison - Good Times - Good Times
True Blood has one of the best mixes of music I have ever heard on a TV series. An eclectic mix of primarily swamp rock, country, and folk. Charlie Robison brings the perfect stoner band song to the mix. Mellow out and enjoy.

Lyrics Born - Funky Hit Records - As U Were
I already knew Lyrics Born was badass. This track just blew the lid off the place though. Just try listening to this and not nodding your head and rocking out. It's free to boot.

Shinedown - Sound of Madness - The Sound of Madness
Shinedown was on the last 5 of the now, and here they crank up the rock. This thing rocks out hard, and has a chorus that is beyond catchy. There is a hint of vintage Metallica running through the beginning, and then they make it their own. Definitely my favorite rock group of the moment.

I'm Just Raw (Remix) (feat. Del The Funky Homosapien & Pigeon John) - Lyrics Born - Overnite Encore: Lyrics Born Live!
Yes - a 2nd appearance by Lyrics Born. Until I saw him live in Iowa City, I actually didn't get this song. Now I do. One of the single best performances I have seen. This track isn't actually live, and you can now get it on his 3rd mixtape album, but Del puts this one over the top.

A Little Bit Of Riddim (featuring Cherine Anderson) - Michael Franti - All Rebel Rockers

Now for something completely different. Open up wide and enjoy some music that is different than anything you have been hearing. This entire album is great, but this is probably my favorite.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

5 of the now

2NU - The Best of 2NU - Crossroads (Chaos)
Great flashback to the early 1990's (for me at least). I was a huge fan of 2NU and "This is Ponderous" back in the day, and one of few people to actually own their CD it turns out. This track came out on one of their later discs, but I find it very cool still. A bit of spoken-word mixed with odd humor, so not for everyone.

Shinedown - The Sound of Madness - Second Chance
This is one of the best songs I have heard in years. I really liked Shinedown's previous album with "45", and I picked up this album before this track really started getting a lot of airplay.

Team 9 vs. Stereogum - Stereogum & team9 Present... MySplice The Third - Lockdown Shelter
Team9 makes some of the best mashups I have heard this side of Z-Trip. Pairing Kanye with the Stones is an unusual and completely fantastic mix. This might be the best mashup I have heard to date. Plus it's free!

The Flying Burrito Brothers - Hot Burritos! The Flying Burrito Bros: Anthology 1969-1972 - Christine's Tune (A.K.A. Devil In Disguise)
This one was picked up by watching True Blood. This plays on the radio during the final episode of the 1st season. A catchy little number, especially if you have the show context behind it. Once I found out that Gram Parsons wrote it, I understood why I liked it so much.

Tom Morello The Nightwatchman - The Fabled City - The Iron Wheel

I admit - I got this track (and album) originally because Shooter Jennings is on this track with Tom. They go way back to when Tom actually produced albums for Stargunn. However, I enjoyed this particular track much more than expected. The Nightwatchman is Tom's folk/country alter-ego for those who don't know, or can't believe it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


After doing some research of my own, I thought I would throw some fun facts out here about the Iowa Wrestling program - the definition of dominance.

I realized that one great measure of a program is how many members of that program end up coaching in the sport. Specifically, I wanted to see just how many Big Ten schools had coaches from Iowa. Here are the results:

Indiana - Duane Goldman (Iowa 1983-1986)
Mike Mena (Iowa 1994-1997)

Northwestern - Tim Cysewski (Iowa 1973-1976)

Penn State -
Mark Perry (Iowa 2005-2008)

Wisconsin - Barry Davis (Iowa 1981-1985)
Bart Chelesvig (Iowa 1988-1992)

Illinois - Mark Johnson (Iowa Coach 1980-1990)
Jim Heffernan (Iowa 1983-1987)

Ohio State - Tom Ryan (Iowa 1989-1992)

Iowa - Tom Brands (Iowa 1988-1992)
Terry Brands (Iowa 1988-1992)
Doug Schwab (Iowa 1998-2001)
Mike Zadick (Iowa 2000-2002)

Minnesota - J Robinson (Iowa Coach 1972-1984)

That makes 8 out of 11 schools with at least one former Iowa wrestler on the coaching staff. Pretty impressive.

Now, just to bask in the glow for a bit, here's a shotgun listing of some stats that range from bad ass to completely mind-blowing:

Record at Carver Hawkeye Arena - 164-18 (90%)
16 undefeated seasons

National collegiate dual meet attendance record - 15,955 (2008-12-06)

101 Big Ten Champions
182 Big Ten Championships
32 Big Ten Titles

49 NCAA Champions
76 NCAA Championships
21 National Titles

9 consecutive NCAA Championships (1978-1986)
11 of 12 (1975-1986), and 20 of 26 (1975-2000)

There's a reason this program was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the top sports dynasties of the 20th century. Looking forward to wiping the floor with other programs again at the Big Ten and NCAA championships this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

...And I start to complain that there's no rain

Google recently announced they are shutting down some of their service offerings. This move is at least partially driven by reducing costs and focusing engineering efforts on more popular services.

I found this all interesting for a few reasons. First, while at least one of those services, Google Notebook, was flagged as unpopular, I personally knew someone who used it quite a bit. Second, it brought to light something which was always dangling out there with these new "Cloud Computing" services.

It's all the rage right now to utilize these services, and move as much as possible to the "cloud" model. Applications as services, delivered through the web, is one of the current flavors of the month. In many ways it's very appealing, and I admit, I drink from the faucet freely. I have signed up for countless numbers of these sites and services, and many from Google in particular are now indispensable in my daily routine. They are easily accessible from any computer and possibly more important - consistent. They can be updated immediately and everyone simultaneously receives the new upgrade.

However, that last point is exactly the looming underbelly of all of this. When a vendor no longer finds it worthwhile or profitable to maintain a service, it disappears. It doesn't just go end of life, it doesn't just stop receiving technical support, it ceases to exist entirely. {Note - in this case it appears that the service won't disappear entirely immediately. There are plans to leave it simply unmaintained for a while. I'd guess eventually it will cease completely though.}

This is a substantial change from nearly any paradigm of the past. If you bought (or received for free) a service or product, you continued to have it. Unless it was a consumable, even if the company no longer made the product or stopped supporting it, you could continue using it as it was. Not so any longer.

Cloud computing on the web isn't the first to have this issue, other "connected" services had this type of potential gotcha as well. Certain Satellite dish receivers and other boxes that receive television guide data have bumped into this issue in the past also. It is just becoming much more prevalent and open to a larger potential user base now via the web.

With most of these services of course, this basically falls under the "get what you pay for" category. However, I would use this as a reason to be very wary of cloud computing services that want to start charging for service. It should also serve as a reminder to keep all data backed up in an offline format as well - unless of course you want to be the next JournalSpace.

As for Google Notebook, it appears some services are stepping up to try to switch existing users. Hopefully more will follow suit. Lifehacker has offered several suggestions for those feeling abandoned by this service being discontinued.