Against the Grain

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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Why I am in love with Adrian Hartley

Posted by Patrick on 4 Dec 2007

First of all, I suspect many people do not possess the knowledge to pick Adrian out of a crowd.  She is the vocalist for the Blue Man Group’s “How to be a Megastar 2.0” tour that is currently making the rounds.

I had a hard time distinguishing her voice from Tracy Bonham live – that’s an accomplishment. But I’m sold on her because she also does a very good Venus Hum cover, and at the Denver show on 11/25 I thought she did a great rendition during the encore.

What puts me on the Adrian bandwagon is really hard to describe in a single phrase; she’s got a buttery, jazz-friendly voice with good range. She sings with a great deal of conviction – this was evident in the BMG show, especially in some of the songs that feature a wide vocal range. And I guess it helps that she tips the hotness scale on the good side. I’m on board with hotness that has a good singing voice. Overall, I think her niche is going to be something where she gets to use her full expressive range and really let her emotions do the singing for her – something like indie or blues or jazz a la Tori Amos or Norah Jones accordingly. If you also read my other blog, then you know that my son’s favorite song on earth is “Up the Roof” by BMG and Tracy Bonham. This year was my first chance to see this live, and I really loved the way she did this song – it had me excited to see my son so happy with it.

Keep your eyes peeled for her to do something bigger than guest vocalist for BMG.  Her website is here

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HP:DH Audiobook for your iPod

Posted by Patrick on 31 Jul 2007

Let’s face it, sooner or later the gestapo of Apple will be offering Jim Dale’s recorded version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for purchase and download via iTunes (an anagram of nutsie, btw).  But, even if that’s all well and good for convenience sake, why would you buy it from them?  Why would I download a set of DRM-encrusted m4b iPod-specific files when I can get the actual discs from any major retailer either online or in-store for 1)cheaper, probably and 2)more flexible? 

It’s certainly not rocket science to take the MP3 or AAC discs and convert them to nutsie’s format, thanks to freeware and shareware programs out there on web sites like freeipodsoftware.  I personally use the MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter, and haven’t had any problems with the newest iTunes and current iPod firmware.  The only note worth mention is that the files need to be kept under about 4-5 hours runtime each, or you may have trouble getting your iPod into sleep mode.

Technical capability aside, nutsie doesn’t offer US customers the option to purchase the Stephen Fry reading of the UK book editions.  Jim Dale does a good job, but the UK readings are actually my preference, and they’re widely available – if you can’t find it at Target or a retailer, Britain’s Amazon has it.  I doubt nutsie, who thrives so heavily on targeted marketing, will ever come to grips with that.  Hell, I can’t even buy Japanese music from Japan via nutsie, but I can certainly get it from other outlets.  I went as far as to set up a proxy in Tokyo to get to the actual Japanese nutsie store online and just check it out. off topic, sorry.

So, who out there is planning to or has already dumped HP:DH audiobooks onto their iPod, even before the nutsie store has it for sale?

Posted in apple, harry potter, international, Japan, music, random, reading, technology | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

The Canon Rock Showdown

Posted by Patrick on 5 Jan 2007

I got turned on to this by a post by WordPress’ own Vid a Day blog showing the “kid” that I know to be the Korean guy funtwo rocking out to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. When I saw this video stating that it is funtwo playing JerryC’s arrangement, I sorta got upset about it in a guitar virtuoso geek kind of way. Without sidetracking too far, I’ll say that I’d like to see funtwo come up with his own arrangement of something and not just play covers all the time. In this sense, I’ve got to vote that JerryC > funtwo on originality.

JerryC’s variation on Canon in D is rawk, don’t get me wrong; I follow JerryC’s music when he does something new. But then, oh ho ho, I started to see if there an even better rendition of Canon out there. And boy I didn’t have to look far. I found this kid on YouTube who goes by mattrach (probably part of his real name) that posted a rendition. It’s absolutely a must-watch, as this kid annihilates any doubt. After watching this seemingly original rendition (I’m not going to troll for copies of it), I’ve got to re-vote that mattrach’s Canon > JerryC’s Canon.

My notes on this video: I love the Ibanez Jem series guitar; they’re distinguishable by the monkey grip at the top of the shoulder. I used to own a Jem 777 so they have a special place with me. The kid reminds me of so many punk and rock players, but most notably, I think he looks like Flea (RHCP) and he gets into his playing a lot like, I dunno, Eddie VanHalen.

Prepare to be amazed. Now click play. editors note: the original video is back if you visited earlier and I noted it as a substitute

Posted in guitar, music, omfg, random | 1 Comment »