If you were anything like for the last decade, you listened to a lot of music. I had the AudioScrobbler plugin for WinAmp, so that I could use their data tracking to help me discover new music. Then Last.FM bought AudioScrobbler and I got on board with their service, which used Scrobble data from thousands of users to help you discover other music you might like, long before services like Pandora or Beats tried to create a custom channel for you. But now that it looks like Last.FM is on the way out, and that data may still be relevant to you. You may be wondering how you can export your last.fm Scrobble history? Somebody made it quite easy for you. Continue reading
I wrote about The Districts in 2012, after hearing their 2011 album Kitchen Songs, and I thought they sounded promising. It turns out, I was on to something, as the regional band just made their national debut. Following up 2012’s Telephone, the band is putting out their first nation-wide EP release, self-titled The Districts. RollingStone is writing about the boys, and even has the entire EP available for streaming.
The new EP features some familiars to anybody who has heard their Telephone album, and for those who recall Kitchen Songs, you will be pleased to know that their sound hasn’t changed much. The musicians are extremely talented and are maturing at a quick rate. Lyla promises to turn some heads with hypnotic refrains and guitar talent that joins with the vocals that let you know you’re listening to someone as unique as The Districts. Funeral Beds, without question the first single off of the album, has a humble, folksy sound to it, harmonica included. But it has no shame in building on itself until you can’t help but tap your foot along with the music until you feel your whole body wanting to join in. The building in the song, however, is subtle. It sneaks up on you. It doesn’t become more rocous until near the very end of the track, but the whole time you feel it coming, and what is building is more your anticipation of it than the song itself.
A couple of new songs join the ones you know and love, and Rocking Chair really helps set the tone for newcomers to the band. In this track, the boys genuinely seem to be having a good time. It’s a more fun sound than they have had to date and feels to me like they are just happy to be sharing their music with a wider audience. The closing track, Stay Open, is another new song and yet again features the lyrical brilliance that I have come to love. I have had limited listens so far, these are first impressions of the new album, but I like to see how hard The Districts’ members are working to make sure their band takes off. Look for them at SXSW 2014, and until then, check out The Districts EP.
A Knight’s Tale is one of those movies that you see on TV, and it’s just different enough that you’ll go ahead and watch it. It is also my best friend’s first DVD he ever owned, which made it one we watched many times over, over the years. Heath Ledger’s acting is good, and Alan Tudyk and Mark Addy have many great lines throughout the movie. But one of the reasons I love this movie is Paul Bettany’s portrayal of “Geoff” Chaucer.
Geoffrey Chaucer: the father of English literature. Chaucer is the fourteenth century author most famous for The Canterbury Tales is portrayed in A Knight’s Tale as fairly care free, and free-wheeling. Despite living well into his fifties, Geoffry Chaucer never finished The Canterburty Tales, but this movie plays on that concept by giving a re-telling or perhaps an alternate telling of The Knight’s Tale in the Canterbury Tales. Through the movie, “Geoff” is not the main character, but is rather just someone the main ensemble encounters, and he stays with their group and gains inspiration from them. You are to believe that these events unfolded in his younger life and inspired him to write The Canterbury Tales.
It’s fun, it mashes up modern and middle-ages in a way that is simply enjoyable. There aren’t the kinds of plot twists that make you think hard, there aren’t multiple simultaneous story lines, there isn’t even complex character development. It’s a very “what you see is what you get” kind of movie that moves quite linearly and doesn’t pretend to be anything than a funny adventure with a side of romance and a guaranteed happy ending. The characters are likeable, the soundtrack brings in that modern flare, and the visuals really are quite appealing to the eye.
All in all A Knight’s Tale is easy to watch, passes the time quickly, and is always good for a few laughs. It’s a good movie for a Sunday afternoon when there’s little else to do, but because of my long history with it, and having seen it so many times, I thought it deserved a nice mention here as one of those movies you should see if you haven’t.
Fletch is vintage comedy. I always thought it was a good movie, but it found a soft spot in my life at my last employer. Our intern was always quoting the movie, and one of the other guys also knew just about every line. Then it became a major event – when the intern left to go back to school, we had a big lunch and played the movie in the conference room. The tradition would continue on after that.
Fletch is the kind of comedy that is literally non-stop. Once the plot is presented to you, it gets out of the way and lets you enjoy Chevy Chase at his finest, rattling off memorable one liners with the kind of pacing and frequency that practically leaves you breathless. Fletch is word-play 1980’s comedy the way it should be: you will love it, your friends will love it, and you’ll be quoting it all day, every day. Enjoy it!
I’ve talked about Anamanaguchi before. They are a chiptune group, who have gone on to do things like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game (the soundtrack). Recently, they’ve been taking part in a Kickstarter event – hoping to make their new album, Endless Fantasy, more than just an album. I contributed to it as soon as I had found out about it (it exceeded funding goals pretty quickly). Before I knew it, even before they had a chance to realize what was happening, they raised over a quarter of a million dollars.
The band already released the album as a digital download for their backers. Just by that process, they were able to track enough sales to debut the album at Number 1 on the Billboard Heatseakers charts, and #2 on the Dance Chart (putting them even above will.i.am). Anybody looking to get in on it early can order Endless Fantasy on Amazon, as an MP3 download, a CD, or even on vinyl.
This album strays from some standard chiptune fare. It has a few tracks featuring vocals, other talents of the band are highlighted beyond their standard backing with the chiptune as the main act, and Endless Fantasy doesn’t force every track to be a pop song. Some of the tracks are a bit more introspective, a little bit slowed down – not like the fast action fighting game stuff we heard in the Scott Pilgrim game sound track. But that certainly doesn’t account for the entire album which, I’ve neglected to mention thus far, is 27 tracks. The tracks often drift one in to the other and in the end I’m always left with a positive experience. I might not feel excited and energized the same as after some of their previous work, but I certainly feel refreshed. And that’s exactly what this album is. Refreshing. Different enough from their previous work to not be “just more of the same” – and certainly different from anything else out there. Even other chiptune artists. Anamanguchi’s Endless Fantasy is yet another reason that they are one of the leaders of the genre. And if all that isn’t enough, then check this out: They sent a slice of Pizza in to space. Just because they could. No really, watch below.
Don’t forget to check out Anamanaguchi.com to find out when the unique experience of an Anamanaguchi show will be coming to your town. Further setting themselves apart from anyone else out there right now, they aren’t afraid to cater to their digital fans by animating their album cover art and tour poster!