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Bondage

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2004

Dave!Alrighty then. Apple's "New Music Tuesdays" mailing was delivered to my in-box, causing me to cruise by the iTunes Music Store to see what's new. While scrolling through the storefront offerings, I see four babes on the cover of a newly added selection and am instantly intrigued:

The name of the group is "Bond" and they play classical music to modern-day dance beats that's amazing, amazing stuff. I instantly bought both albums and am hooked. A little research has turned up that the group is alternately praised and condemned within classical music circles. Praised because they are exposing a new generation of listeners to classical compositions, and condemned for the pop-stylings that they infuse into these classical works.

All I know is that they are damn hot and know their way around a violin and cello.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Shynola

Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004

Dave!For the most part, I think music videos suck ass. 90% of them are formulaic and blur together into a wash of boring images that don't enhance the song at all, 9% of the remainder are only good because they have hot babes in them, and only the final 1% seem to have any kind of vision. But every once in a while, an amazing video comes along that makes you glad you bothered to watch... the first one I remember doing that was a-ha's landmark video for Take On Me. Others have come and gone, but now I've run across this really cool retro video for Junior Senior's Move Your Feet.

Move Your Feet!

Junior Senior!

The above screenshots don't really do the video justice, because it's the movement that makes it so cool... kind of like an old Atari 2600 video game or something. The creators of the video, Shynola, have it available for download as a QuickTime movie, and you can take a look by clicking here. Oh yeah... the song's pretty good too!

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

VH1 Reunited

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2004

Dave!I rarely have the time to just sit down and watch television and, on those rare occasions that I do, I usually end up watching only those shows that I have my Tivo record. But today was a little different. I had so much work to catch up on that I didn't want to risk being distracted by something "good" so I just parked the television on VH1 and left it there.

My plans for non-distracting television were dashed when the "Bands Reunited: A Flock of Seagulls" episode came on. I already had it recorded on my Tivo, but became instantly captivated and couldn't help but watch. Something about seeing people who have long since put their mega-star life behind them and moved on... only to be mercilessly ambushed with the prospect of a reunion with their old band mates... it's just compelling television.

Bands Reunited

Since I am a huge fan of AFOS... this episode was fantastic for numerous reasons (not the least of which is hearing them play again!). The stories behind the rise and fall of the group is just the icing on the cake.

A Flock of Seagulls, Reunited

But then VH1 continued on with more Bands Reunited episodes, including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Klymaxx... each with loads of drama involved in getting the bands back together again. This is a really cool series that will captivate you, even if you don't like the bands they feature.

Now if only VH1 would provide an RSS feed for the companion blog to their other amazing show "Best Week Ever," I would be really happy.

   

I… Want… More…

Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2004

Dave!Okay. I am officially addicted to VH1's new "Bands Reunited" show. The only problem is that it's not enough... I want MORE. I want to see Flock of Seagulls and Berlin's entire reunited concert! Not just the few songs they put at the end of the show, but the entire concert!! And what about a tour? I'd pay serious money to see some of these bands play. But even that is not enough... I want more bands to be reunited!

The original Depeche Mode... the original New Order... the original Thompson Twins... Breathe... Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark... Information Society... Johnny Hates Jazz.. The Kane Gang... The Psychedelic Furs... Talk Talk... When in Rome... THE SMITHS! Ack! So many cool bands from the 80's that I'd give anything to see back together, even if for just one night. The possibilities are endless, and just thinking about it makes me sick with anticipation over what new shows VH1 might dredge up for the next batch of episodes.

Ooooh... Romeo Void and The Alarm are just about the corner...

   

Reunited… Again

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Dave!Continuing on with my infatuation with VH1's Bands Reunited, I just watched the last episode of the series for another old-time favorite group The Alarm, and found it to be one of the best yet (unlike the episode for Squeeze, which was not only boring but disappointing as well). Oh how I hope that VH1 continues on with another season. Sure it won't be quite the same surprise when old band-mates are ambushed (since everybody knows about the show now), but there are so many bands out there left to be reunited...

   

Partial

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Dave!So I'm working away when I get an e-mail from a friend who reminded me of something that made me feel like listening to music by the Pet Shop Boys (no, I don't know why). I own a lot of their stuff, but have some gaping holes in my collection that need filling, so it's off to the iTunes Music Store I go. My first purchase is their album Release, which I never got around to buying (despite having guitar work by Johhny Marr!!). So far so good. But then I decide to pick up the "Further Listening" albums which feature remixes and additional material to some of their most popular works...

Partial!

... and oh crap, we've entered the dreaded "PARTIAL ALBUM ZONE."

What the f#@%??

It seems that more and more often when I want to pick up something from iTMS, I can only get parts of it. This is utter crap! I can only guess that some of the songs on these albums are covers of other people's songs or written by somebody who won't hand over the rights to sell the song online. Whatever. I guess I will buy what I can and then try borrow the albums from friends so that I can steal the rest. Do I feel bad about having stealing music? Not in the least. Not even the tiniest bit. Because, obviously, I would gladly purchase the songs online if I were able to. I am not going to purchase half the stuff online, then pay for that exact same material again (assuming I somehow manage to find the CDs available for purchase in the first place, since some of them are out of print).

Yes, I sympathize with artists who are getting a raw deal because music companies are taking most of the profits of online sales. But you sleep in the bed you make, and I'm not going to cry over a contract that somebody else was foolish enough to sign. Musicians need to wake up, drop f#@%king recording companies altogether, take control of their own music, sell their own product directly using iTMS and other online/CD distribution methods, and then keep all the profits for their labors (which they deserve). So what if their sales drop, they would probably make more money in the long run because nobody would be taking the majority of the profits they would be earning. It's only a matter of time before our antiquated recording industry dies off, and if it means I'll be able to purchase entire albums online, I won't be sorry when they are gone.

   

Dreamy

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Dave!And in the "color me surprised department," I am really into the Pet Shop Boys album I just bought called Release. It's a radical departure from their usual synth-pop stuff and has some really nifty slow tunes on it... my favorites being Home and Dry, E-Mail, and The Night I Fell in Love (sure I can't relate to it, but it's all good!). As expected, Johnny Marr adds sublime texture with his masterful guitar accompaniment (making me miss The Smiths and Electronic all the more). I guess it's time I look into Johnny Marr and the Healers which, alas, is not available for purchase from the iTunes Music Store.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Good Eye

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Dave!Wow! I just got an e-mail from a guy who saw my entry from yesterday and asked if that was a copy of Depeche Mode's 101 Tour DVD behind my head. Sure enough, it is! I have no idea how he managed to pick that out of the background of my apartment, since it's barely visible (should I be worried about that kind of scrutiny?). Depeche Mode is my all-time favorite band, and their "Music for the Masses" tour (which was featured in 101) was the single best live show I've ever been to in my entire life. What I remember most about that concert is that I went with a friend (not a big DM fan) who was blown away by the experience. The concert opens with a little concerto called "Pimpf" where the entire audience was chanting and had their arms waving toward the stage... he thought we had wandered into a cult instead of a concert!

DM DVD

To answer another question... the photo was taken by my new (and broken) camera, which I set on top of a stack of boxes, and then set for a 15 second delay. I too was astounded that I managed such a feat of dexterity so early in the morning.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Grey Tuesday

Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Dave!Why is Blogography grey today? Glad you asked! I've decided to join in with the others over at GreyTuesday.org in protesting the recording industry's ever increasing restrictions on artistic expression. A while back DJ Danger Mouse did something very curious... he blended tracks from Jay-Z's Black Album with samples lifted from The Beatles' White Album and created something wonderful and new called, you guessed it, The Grey Album.

This was no easy task, as the original works are completely different in style, tempo, feeling, and philosophy. But the result is pretty amazing. Unfortunately the dumbass party poopers at EMI records (who co-own a huge chunk of The Beatles' music catalog along with Michael Jackson) have issued cease and desist letters to anybody distributing The Grey Album... even if they aren't charging for it.

Dave Grey Tuesday

What totally blows about all this is that up-and-coming DJs wanting to break into the business have historically done exactly this type of thing in order to hone their mixing talents and work on their DJ skills. What's the harm in it? Does EMI honestly think that an album that has sampled tracks from The Beatles will cut into Beatles' album sales? I mean, money is all they care about (anybody believing that EMI is somehow trying to "preserve the integrity" of The Beatles' music is deluding themselves), and it's kind of stupid to think that sales of The White Album are going to plummet because of this. Hell, they may very well rack up new sales from an audience that has never even heard it before!

Being an artist is an exercise in creativity that requires drawing inspiration from the world around you. Forbidding an artist to explore that creativity will not only hurt the future of the music, but ultimately the consumers who want to listen to it as well.

Categories: DaveToons 2004, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Gunther!

Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

Dave!When you see something that says "Click here to see the best video you ever seen in your whole life" - you would pretty much be compelled to click on it wouldn't you? Especially after reading about the "artist" Pleasureman Gunther who "is from Sweden but he feels like a European" and "wants to change the worlds look at the sexual way of thinking, so he has started a new trend to sexualise it more in the world. A Gunthertrend. He has only started his mission to go out in the world and spread the message of Love."

It's Gunther!

Indeed.

And, if you like your video filled with sexual innuendo and plastered with Swedish women bouncing around and pleasuring each other to a disco beat... well, then this may very well be "the best video you ever seen in your whole life." For me it's either this one or the video for a-ha's Take on Me.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  38 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Musical

Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004

Dave!Do you play any musical instruments or have any musical talents? I played sax and clarinet in school band, but that's long-forgotten and I couldn't play a note now if I tried. I am finding a small amount of imitation musical talent playing with Apple's Garage Band software though. Whose musical talent would you most like to have? It's a toss-up between the vocal talent of Chris Martin from Coldplay or the song-writing ability of Martin Gore from Depeche Mode.

What was the last musical event you attended? Not counting the performance of a street musician in New York a few weeks back, I'd have to say it would be when I took my mother to see The Lion King in London's West End for Mother's Day in 2002. I haven't been to a proper concert in ages.

Give it up... to which musician would you most like to have an "all access pass" for the night? Gwen Stefani or any of the ladies from The Corrs (though I'm a bit partial to Sharon)...

The Corrs

FQ DARE: Reveal a musical artist or group that you are embarrassed to like. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but the most embarrassing would have to be the A*Teens. It's bubble-gum pop of the absolute most vapid, yet I find myself listening to them entirely too often recently.

FQ CHALLENGE: Mention the above artist or group in a comment you leave on some other blog, then provide the permalink URL where we can find it! (No fair lying about how much you think they suck and no cheating by leaving the comment on somebody else's FridayQ entry!). Extra creativity points for somehow working them into a completely unrelated conversation. How in the heck do you work A*Teens into any conversation? Somehow I managed it over at chaotic intransient prose bursts in this entry: http://blog.kung-foo.tv/archives/001009.php.

Take up the challenge yourself at the FridayQ!

Categories: Memes 2004, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Borrowed Heaven

Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2004

Dave!The inspiration for today's FridayQ was driven by The Corrs new album release Borrowed Heaven (along with my infatuation with Sharon Corr, who I just learned has the same birthday as I do!). Problem is that even though the album was released a few days ago, it's not yet available on the iTunes Music Store (here's hoping it shows up on the next "New Music Tuesday"). All you can get now is the first single release: Summer Sunshine in about a dozen remixes.

Borrowed Heaven

Looking around the Net I also found the their new video which, unfortunately, is just as lame as their others. In this one, they are tearing down an old house. Even more inexplicable is the young couple who run from room to room and make out until one of the Corr siblings come in and demolishes everything? What in the heck does that have to do with "Summer Sunshine" or the lyrics to the song? Why can't The Corrs find a video director that knows how to visualize their material and keep them from looking stupid? Having the band wander around like zombies in the background while Andrea sings is not compelling television (heck, they all play their own music... you should show that in the background).

In more ironic news, The Corrs are going to be performing at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery just over 2 hours away... but I will be in Europe on the day of the concert. To make matters worse, I can't see them in Europe either, because they leave for North America the day I arrive!

Fate, apparently, is not on my side today. I think I should wear my lucky boxers to compensate... what else can go wrong on a day you are wearing lucky underwear?

UPDATE: ARRGH! The boxers didn't help. I just got an e-mail informing me that the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Rally for 2004 is happening just three hours away in Spokane... right on the day I leave for Milwaukee! That's just cruel.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Move

Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2004

Dave!A good chunk of my day was spent listening to my entire catalog of Depeche Mode music while I worked. Naturally, this just left wanting more, but there is no more to be had because the members of the band are "on a break" and "pursuing solo projects." I wonder when they're going to get tired of that nonsense and give everybody what we really want... a new Depeche Mode album! And is it too much to ask that Alan Wilder come back to the group?

As an aside, How do you create a song as perfect as Higher Love off of the Songs of Faith and Devotion album? Is it just luck, or is it a "sell-your-soul-to-the-devil" type of thing?

Depeche Mode

In other music-related ranting, I noticed that there are a few more storefronts on the iTunes Music Store...

iTunes World

Interesting to note that while you can only purchase a few songs off The Cure's Disintigration album here in the U.S.A., if you live in the U.K. you can purchase the entire thing. That sucks ass! Once again I am put into a situation whereas the only option for me downloading the album is either A) go to a sharing network and steal it, or B) have a friend in the U.K. purchase it for me, then strip out the copy protection so I can play it.

Both options are illegal.

But I don't really give a crap.

I mean, I want to buy it... I want to do the right thing. But for some insanely stupid reason I can't, so screw 'em. I refuse to hunt down the CD and contribute another piece of plastic to the garbage dump because music publishing rights are so f#@%ed up that I can only get a partial album. I buy my music online now, and the music industry can either keep up, or be left behind... there are too many other options out there for me to care.

Or I suppose I could just move to Europe so I can buy the music I want.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Devotional

Posted on Sunday, August 8th, 2004

Dave!Very cool news... Depeche Mode is releasing a double DVD set from their Devotional tour. Since I was out of the country when the tour was playing, and Depeche Mode is the best live performance band on the face of the planet, this is a must-have item for me. If you're a fan, you can read more about the release here.

Depeche Mode

The only downside is having to wait until September to get my hands on it.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

ReReunited

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

Dave!While working at home, I usually have VH1-Classic running in the background so I can listen to all that old 80's music I just can't seem to leave behind. Most of the time, I barely realize it's there, unless some song catches my attention that I need to buy from the iTunes Music Store. Well, if it is available from the iTunes Music Store! All too often I find that an artist I want is plagued by having only "partial albums" for sale. Then I have to decide whether I want the music bad enough to buy it on CD, or just forget it.

Usually I just forget it.

Anyway, I really took notice when a commercial for a new season of Bands Reunited came up. Woo hoo! I've blogged about this excellent show a few times before, and have been looking forward to this. Here's the line-up this time around:

  • New Kids on the Block: Who cares? Seriously.
  • The English Beat: Ooooooh... interesting! This band (which I liked) eventually divided into General Public and Fine Young Cannibals (both of which I also like) so I'm looking forward to this.
  • Haircut 100: Not a band I was overly fond of. I can only recall the songs they had... Boy Meets Girl and Love Plus One. Nick Heyward's solo career might make this episode worth a look though.
  • The Motels: Not a favorite. Only the Lonely was an okay song, but Martha Davis never really did it for me.
  • ABC: This is a band I do like, and the episode I am most looking forward to. I really hope they end up getting together. So many good songs, but I like Be Near Me and All of my Heart best.

Only five episodes? Bummer. I hope they're good ones.

   

Musical

Posted on Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Dave!It would seem that the ongoing hotbed of controversy that's centered around the music industry is not going to disappear anytime soon. Music labels don't want people to be able to enjoy music unless it's in a way they make a lot of money. The RIAA wants to keep the music industry in the dark ages so that they are still relevant. Recording artists want to service their fans and make a living by getting paid for their work. Microsoft wants to completely control the digitial music industry and have no competition whatsoever for their WMA format (no more of that MP3 and Apple ACC nonsense!). Everybody is fighting each other and it's really sad because the actual music is becoming secondary to the battle.

Apparently there is no middle ground here and that sucks because all we music fans want is to be able to listen to the music we love in a way that's convenient for us.

Scrobbler: I finally got around to setting up an account on AudioScrobbler. Problem is that I listen to very different music on my iPod than at work (which is where my account is watching). Something tells me that blasting Nine Inch Nails from my office would not be appreciated by my co-workers, so I stick to mostly 80's Synth-Pop. If you want to see what embarrassing tunes are currently keeping me company, here's a link to my AudioScrobbler list.

Artist: A brilliant take on digital music downloads was just posted at ScottAndrew.com. Scott rightly points out that if musical artists concentrated on keeping their fans happy (rather than focusing all their energy on stopping theft of their music) that the fans will in-turn will support the artist. For me at least, this is a completely true statement. On my iPod there is exactly one song out of 4200 that I don't own... Tarzan Boy by Baltimora. I would gladly purchase the song if I could, but the CD is long out of print and all my efforts to buy a reasonably-priced copy have met with failure. I was left with no choice but to find a copy online and "steal" it. If music companies would get off their asses and put their entire catalogs on the iTunes Music Store, there would be no reason for me to steal. I support the artists I like because I want them to keep making music. It's inconceivable to me that a group I love would come out with new CD and I would steal from them. I would hope that I'm not unique that way, and I don't think I am considering that Britney Spears just bought a new seven million dollar honeymoon home.

Ballmer: Everybody's favorite dancing monkey-boy, Steve Ballmer, decided to take the typical approach of trashing competing products because Microsoft can't come up with something better. This lovely Ballmer quote was offered up to the London press yesterday: "We’ve had Digital Rights Management in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an (Apple) iPod is 'stolen'." Given the ludicrous nature of this statement (uhhh... Microsoft Media players don't have stolen music on them?) I have to ask the question: "are executives at Microsoft exempt from drug testing?" And, if "Apple is doing such a crappy job of advancing the legal purchase of digital music, then why is Microsoft trying their best to clone the iTunes Music Store with their shitty MSN Music Store?" For the sake of MS shareholders, Ballmer should just shut up entirely since he seems incapable of making anything but dumbass comments. Of course, he wouldn't have to talk trash if Microsoft would ever come out with something good enough to speak for itself, so maybe this kind of distraction is essential to the company's success?

Time for me to wrap things up... it's New Music Tuesdays at the iTunes Music Store, and it looks like there's new R.E.M. and Fatboy Slim to go buy!

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Cowbell

Posted on Friday, October 8th, 2004

Dave!This morning I went to burn a CD of the work I completed last night only to find that I didn't have enough disk space. Since I had just flushed all of my completed projects before my trip to Korea, I couldn't figure it out. What could be taking up all that space? Ultimately, I found out it was a couple of episodes of Cupid (the best television show ever made) which I had digitized for the trip (when are they going to release this show on DVD?).

Anyway, it wasn't the missing hard disk space that turned out to be the biggest surprise... along the way I discovered several musical scores I had written in Garage Band quite a long time ago. For anybody not familiar with this miraculous program by Apple, it's part of their $49 "iLife Suite" which allows you to create amazing music with absolutely no musical talent. Just use the music loops provided, arrange them as you wish, edit and adjust volumes, then mix and enjoy listening to the results. If you actually have musical talent, you can compose music with guitars, keyboards, drums, or any other MIDI compliant instrument. It's all very, very cool.

In fact, I suggest going to your local Apple Store right now and asking for a Garage Band demo. Just play around with it for a few minutes and don't be surprised if you end up buying a new Macintosh (if you don't already have one) just to be able to goof around with this one program.

But I digress.

As I listened to the tracks I created... everything from synth-pop tunes to beautiful mandolin-infused melodies... I realized something was missing. Sure they were all terrific songs that are fun to listen to, but there's an element absent from my compositions that kept them from greatness. Something profound and haunting that was needed to elevate my works from the mundane to immortality. But what was it? After a second listen, it suddenly occurred to me:

Where's the cowbell? I NEED MORE COWBELL!

Cowbell Mix

YEAH BABY! Now we are rockin' the house! Nothing like a little cowbell cranked up to 11 to make even the worst songs worth listening to. So now I am adding cowbell to all my tracks and loving it! I hope that Apple comes out with a Jam Pack extension that contains nothing but funky cowbell riffs. Because, in a world of confusion and uncertain times, a little cowbell is all we need to feel good again.

   

Dave Approved: devotional

Posted on Saturday, October 9th, 2004

Dave!A while back I posted about the upcoming DVD release of Devotional, a Depeche Mode concert film by Anton Corbijn. Well, it's just arrived and was totally worth the wait. If you are even a marginal DM fan, this is a must-have item if there ever was one (and there isn't even any cowbell in it!). Depeche Mode is the best band I've ever seen in concert, and this performance piece showcases exactly why I'm utterly shattered that I missed the Devotional Tour when it came to Seattle on July 11, 1993.

Devotional

Understandably, most of their earlier works are left behind in favor of the more mature sound that began with Music for the Masses and was refined in Songs of Faith and Devotion. This may disappoint some, but we have their 101 tour for People Are People and many others, so I'm okay with it. Probably the biggest selling point of Devotional for true fans is that it was the last time Alan Wilder would tour with the group. It's such a shame, because we get Alan playing drums(!) as well as keyboards this time around.

In addition to the live performance DVD, there's also a supplemental disc in the box. This second DVD has the freaky-ass video projections used by director Corbijn in the tour, even freakier Corbijn music videos, an MTV Rockumentary, and other assorted tidbits. Truthfully, I'd rather have skipped the supplement and paid less money for the concert footage, but I guess you can't have everything. In the end, it doesn't really matter, because the live stuff is worth the cost of admission alone.

Times like this have me longing for the band to get back together for another album. Putting aside their solo projects, it's been three long years since their somewhat disappointing Exciter release and we fans are needing a fix. I suppose I could attempt to make due with the upcoming Remixes 81-04 CD... but don't get me started on the awful Marilyn Manson cover of Personal Jesus. Because when it comes to Depeche Mode, accept no substitutes.

Categories: Dave Approved, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

OMFG!

Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2004

Dave!My favorite band of all time, Depeche Mode, has announced that they will be meeting next month in California to discuss recording a new album in January!! I have been hoping/dreaming/obsessing over a reunion for quite a long time now, and couldn't be more happy about the news. Is it too much to hope that they will be touring to support the album as well? Any chance that Alan Wilder will be coming back? How will the band's solo projects over the past three years affect the new material? Gah! I'm going a little insane here.

Now I want to watch Devotional all over again.

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

DavePod

Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Dave!I worship Steve Jobs (head of both Apple Computer and Pixar). Everything he touches turns to gold, and he has this magnetic personality when you meet him that is so powerful you have to do a heterosexuality-check once you leave his presence just to be sure you are in love with him for the right reasons. At least, guys do. Well, I do. I don't know about any other guys. Maybe it's a genetic defect in my DNA or something.

Anyway, given my love of all things Steve Jobs, it pains me to say that I totally disagree with his view that there should be no video iPod. He says something like "who would want to watch video on such a tiny screen?" to which I have to answer... "me." And probably a lot of other people too.

Sure I can watch DVDs on my PowerBook or a portable DVD player... but, by the same token, I can also listen to music on my PowerBook or a portable CD player. The thing that's so remarkable about the iPod is the stylish way that you can access digital content for music in such a compact, easy-to-manage device. Why wouldn't I want to do the same thing with video content? No need to boot up the PowerBook (especially, heaven forbid, if I am flying coach) in order to have something to watch - just turn on your Video iPod which you've synced with your TiVo, and you can take the latest round of television shows and movies with you in a convenient, pocket-PDA-sized, easy-to use player.

Ever since I started flying Alaska Airlines and renting their DigePlayer, I'm enraptured at the thought of being able to sync content with my TiVo and catch up with all the TV shows I like on the go. I think about it A LOT. On my long, long, flight home last night I thought about it while sketching on my PowerBook.

Inspired by the iPod Mini, this is what it looks like on the front, featuring a hi-res, 4-1/2 inch diagonal widescreen display (click on image to see the full-size version)...

DavePod Movie

It would flip open to display the controls if you should need to access them. Volume (and everything else) can be controlled from the click-wheel, just like an iPod, but an infinity scroll-wheel on the side allows easy volume control without having to flip open the panel. I also dropped in a small speaker for those times you might want to share the experience... it doesn't have to be anything great, just good enough to hear what's going on (click on image to see the full-size version)...

Davepod

Of course, you can still play music in either of the above configurations, but a second "regular-sized" iPod display would be included, so you could turn the unit over to easily control it when listening to music without having to flip it open (click on image to see the full-size version)...

DavePod Music

Naturally, you could store and view your photos, just like an iPod Photo, and it would also inherit the "video-out" port so you could look at your photos or watch video content on a television. Next-generation Video iPods could have "video-in" ports for recording video as well (although I still think some kind of sync feature like we have now with iTunes is a better option).

With all due respect to Mr. Jobs, I think this would be an insanely great product. I would sell my liver to buy one, and would freak with joy to be able to have an elegant Apple-designed product instead of the clunky alternative digital video players that are out there now.

Come on Steve... prove to me that my love for you is not in vain and make me a Video iPod!

   

Dave Approved: Etymotic

Posted on Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Dave!About a month ago, the cups on my faithful Sony earbuds came off and all my attempts to procure a new pair met with failure. Apparently I was going to need to buy an entirely new set, but never actually got around to ordering them. Instead I used the dreadful Apple earbuds that came with my iPod. Since they are not in-ear, noisy airplanes and airports ruin any enjoyment you might get out of listening to music so, after my last trip, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new set.

But which ones?

I have a friend who is a true audiophile, so I asked him which ones I should get. He instantly said "oh, get a set of Sure E5's... I love them." And so off I went.

Only to find out that they cost $625.

"ARE YOU f#@%ING INSANE?!? WHY WOULD I PAY MORE FOR EARBUDS THAN I DID FOR THE IPOD?!?" I screamed, after calling him back. Well, he had a laundry list of very excellent reasons that $625 was well spent, but I sure as heck wasn't going to spend that much... I was thinking more like $20! This made him laugh out loud for about an hour, after which he informed me that the earphones I use are arguably more important than the iPod itself, particularly for use while traveling on airplanes.

"Well, maybe I would go up to $100 if you are certain that it would be money well spent..." I replied. He said I could probably get a decent pair of "Ety's" for that much and, indeed, they would be well-worth the cost.

So I reluctantly ordered up a pair of Etymotic 6i's, which are specially made for the iPod, and a "bargain" at $149.

And two days later, I have my earphones. Anxious to know how super-terrific all my music is going to sound now, I rip open the package and plug them right in.

And they suck ass. Hard. The sound is tinny, weak, and generally bass-free. So, naturally, I call up my friend to start ragging on his moronic suggestion... only to find out I am the moron. Unlike other earphones, these are meant to be worn like hearing aids, and have to be shoved way into your ear (as shown in the instruction booklet I never bothered to read)...

Etymotic 6i

And oh what a difference a good set of headphones make (when used properly). Suddenly the bass is back in full-force. Sound is so bright and clear that I nearly have an orgasm when Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence starts playing. My nether-regions are still tingling.

My only complaint is that the "white" color they use to match the iPod is not "white" at all (more like a dirty cream or something). I seriously don't give a crap what color the cords are on my iPod, but if you're going to advertise them as "a perfect match for the iPod," then you should at least get the color right.

If $150 sounds this amazing... I have to wonder what in the heck do you get for the $625 price tag?

Categories: Dave Approved, Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Snow

Posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2004

Dave!White: Snow has finally come, and this time it looks like it may stick around for a while. Hopefully at least long enough that we don't have a drought next summer. It seems that we get less and less snow every year, and it comes later and later. When I was a kid, the snow was so deep here we could tunnel under it. When my mom was young, it was so deep here they could jump off the roof into it. Now we're lucky to get 12 inches. Yes, global warming must be a myth.

Filibuster: I just passed episode 2.17 - The Stackhouse Filibuster - in my continuing marathon of West Wing episodes. I think this is my favorite so far. I don't remember seeing it when it was originally broadcast, so it was an even bigger treat. The look on the senator's face when he was near exhaustion and was asked to yield the floor for a question... well, it was television magic.

Henley: You can't buy any Don Henley on the iTunes Music Store! I find it kind of strange, however, that you can buy a huge chunk of the Eagles' stuff there. What's up with that? Even worse, two of the Eagles collections are dreaded "partial albums" and it gets stranger when you see how they've screwed up The Very Best of the Eagles... they chopped three songs out of "disc 2" (The Long Run, In The City, and Those Shoes) and then smooshed everything else together into two 15-track "discs" so it's impossible for a customer to figure out which tracks they will be missing if they purchase it (unless they are already familiar with the album, as I am). Now, I don't blame Apple, because they don't create the content... that's done by the record companies. But whoever is responsible needs to know that proper track numbering is important to maintain (especially when they've decided to not upload the entire album).

Memory: Earlier today I forgot which Metro station was the stop to visit Notre Dame in Paris. And I really hate it when I forget simple things like that. All I knew was that it started with a "C" and was probably something like "Citrus" or "Citron" or something. To Google it would be cheating, so I decided to forget about it and it would come to me. But it didn't. And so just now I decided to bite the bullet, only to find out that the answer was the "Cité" Metro stop. Argh.

   

Shuffle

Posted on Saturday, December 11th, 2004

Dave!It's another meme from Neil! And this one has a potential embarrassment factor of 9.9! What could it be? Why, it's the Music Shuffle Meme!

The rules are rather straightforward, kind of scary, and basically ask you to put iTunes (or whatever music software you use) on shuffle, then reveal the first ten songs that show up... without skipping any of them! I have some hugely humiliating music lurking in the 4667 songs I've got on my PowerBook, so this could be devastating (though, about 1000 of them have only 1 star and won't be played). To add some fun and excitement to the meme, I am going to just hit "play" and write about each of the titles as it plays...

  1. Fernando by ABBA. And of course the first song is potentially the most embarrassing (but hey, there's nine left to go!). Actually, I kind of like ABBA, though Fernando is probably one of my least favorite songs just because it's kind of sappy. The Name of the Game, Supertrooper, and (of course) Dancing Queen are all classics.
  2. Freek-A-Leek by Petey Pablo. Holy crap! This is what I get when I let my nephew buy songs off of the iTunes Music Store? Bust this: "Sniff a little coke, take a little X, smoke a little weed, drink a little bit. I need a girl that I can freak wit, and wanna try shit, and ain't scared of a big dick. And love to get her p#$$& licked, by another bitch, cus I ain't drunk enough to do that." In Petey's defense, the beat is slammin' tight on this track! "Tell me what you want, do you want it missionary with your feet crammed into the headboard?"
  3. All She Wants Is by Duran Duran. I have to admit, Duran Duran is a guilty pleasure of mine, and this song is one of their better ones because it's not so obviously bubble-gum pop. My favorite D2 album would have to be their self-titled 1993 release (more commonly referred to as "The Wedding Album"), which has Ordinary World, None of the Above, and the beautiful Come Undone.
  4. You Are the Voice (live) by Heart. Oooh... I was at this concert in Seattle (Heart's home town!) where this song was recorded from their 1990 "Brigade" tour. In retrospect, this track isn't that great but, whenever I hear it, I remember being there and it's all good. The audience participation, while weak in the recording, was deafeningly cool in person.
  5. Home and Dry by The Pet Shop Boys. I am a huge Pet Shop fan and not ashamed to admit it because I find many of their lyrics to be brilliant and enlightening. This track happens to be one that I like but, of the 158 Pet Shop Boys songs I own, I will say that there are about half I'm not overly fond of.
  6. Walking in My Shoes by Depeche Mode. YES! I would have been gravely disappointed if my favorite band didn't make an appearance, and here they are with a killer track! I actually look at Depeche Mode as two bands... there's the synth-pop Depeche Mode from the 80's, and then there's the grittier Depeche Mode from the 90's... both equally amazing, but in different ways. The best way to hear the band is live, as they sound even more amazing in concert (which leaves me hoping that they tour for the new album their working on next January).
  7. I Love N.Y.E. by Badly Drawn Boy. An achingly beautiful musical interlude from the amazing About a Boy movie soundtrack. I remember leaving the theater after having watched the movie and immediately going to the music store to purchase this CD. It is absolute magic, and highly recommended whether you liked the movie or not (but, seriously, how could you not like this film?). This particular track (short for "I Love New Year's Eve") is from when Hugh Grant's character was falling in love with the beautiful Rachel Weisz's character, and literally made you feel what love is like when it played. If you have access to the iTunes Music Store, go listen to this song preview immediately, then buy the album because you love it so much.
  8. Robert De Niro's Waiting by Bananarama. Oog. Well that's a bit embarrassing isn't it? Bananarama actually has a few good songs in their catalog, but I'm not sure this is one of them. A bit catchy though.
  9. Back Here by BBMak. Oh my. And here I thought that ABBA and Bananarama were about as humiliating as it was going to get. Sadly, I really do like this piece of poorly rendered pop trash.
  10. Take a Picture by Filter. At least I am (somewhat) redeemed by the last song on the list. I purchased this rather excellent CD after this song had been played at a party I attended. I remember almost nothing about the party, but this song sticks vividly in my mind for some reason.

And there you have it, for better or worse (and yes, it could have been much worse). This was a pretty great idea for a meme I must say!

Categories: Music 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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