I used to post these on Facebook as Notes, but since the Timeline
refactor, I frankly have no idea how to use Notes; so I guess I'll just
post on my own blog. I use last.fm (me) to track my
music-listening habits (and sometimes for other things). As of some time
recently, I've passed 60,000 scrobbled plays since 2006. Yay!
Here's a graph I made (click for ps version; gnuplot continues to be
the best thing ever):
Newport Folk Festival
I spent Saturday at the 50th Newport Folk Festival, and it was
excellent. Some of the highlights? Well, let's see… I saw Iron & Wine,
The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes… the list goes on.
Aside from a little bit of sunburn and a lighter wallet thanks to having
my chair set up perilously close to the Del's stand, it was awesome.
The festival was held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI, and
started at 11:30 in the morning. We even managed to get there for about
11:30, after waiting only about half an hour for a parking spot. Right
off the bat, the festival opened with a legendary name in folk:
Ramblin' Jack Elliott. He was fun to listen to (lots of stories,
obviously), although not quite as dynamic a musician as some of the
others. Other early acts that I took in part of were Tift Meritt and
Ben Kweller. Merritt didn't make much of an impression on me, but I
rather liked Kweller.
Around lunchtime, I watched Billy Bragg, about whom I have somewhat
mixed feelings. He was very… politicized. On the one hand, I agree
with him and his songs about why socialized medicine is good and
deregulated banking is bad. On the other hand, even a rather staunch
social liberal such as myself might want to listen to some music without
the prosthelytizing that seems to be part of his music. I also saw a
little bit of Tom Morello, who I won't even give a link to. He did not
appeal to me.
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
So, I've been mulling over this post for a
couple of weeks, ever since I bought the new Decemberists album,
“The Hazards of Love”. I suppose you could label it something of an
"indie rock opera". But, after a couple of weeks with it, I personally
would label it "The Best Album of 2009". The plot is a bit bizarre,
about a woman Margaret, her forest-spirit lover William, the Queen of
the forest, and a murderous rake, and it's a bit of a far-out story. The
idea of having an album that isn't just a collection of singles is bit …
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
So, I picked up a copy of Andrew Bird's new album Noble Beast today.
Yes, I know that today is January 18th and it's not released until
January 20th. That's why this post isn't going to be published for two
Anyhow, the album is excellent. Everything you know and love from Bird's
previous releases is here, but more polished. Some things that I thought
particularly stood out:
- The instrumental beginning of Effigy. And the double-stopping
soloing in the middle. Really, the whole song.
- Unfolding Fans. Makes me think of Brian Wilson, but in a more
Newport Jazz Festival 2008
Yesterday I went to the 2008 Newport JVC Jazz Festival, and I
figured I'd review it a bit here.
We started off the morning with a set by the Mark Rapp band. Mark
Rapp is a trumpet player, somewhat modern. He uses a wah about half of
the time, and it's pretty cool. His band was good, too. The guitarist
was a little over-the-top, but he was generally good, and the bassist
was excellent. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, Rapp also played
didgeridoo, which was cool.
So, after Rapp, I saw a bit of Lionel Loueke, who was an …
My Baby Taylor
I almost forgot to mention… I bought a guitar! I was looking
for something small and dorm-room-ish and ended up narrowing it down to
either a Martin Backpacker, a Little Martin, or a Baby Taylor (of either
the mahogany or spruce variety). After playing all three, the Backpacker
sounded like it was being played from inside a tin can and the Little
Martin sounded like it was underwater. Both Babys sounded absolutely
excellent, and I ended up going with the mahogany for its slightly
richer tone and great look. So far, it's been treating me pretty well,
but I'll keep …