SXSW 2014 Cover Art is Posted

I have just post­ed this year’s album art for SXSW, the Music fes­ti­val in Austin in eleven days.

But all is not well. SXSW has offered one track from each artist as a down­load (as a .tor­rent) since at least 2005. Accord­ing to the Unof­fi­cial SXSW Tor­rents site, while there are a small num­ber of tracks avail­able so far, SXSW has decid­ed to put the files up on Sound­cloud, instead. Sound­cloud works hard to pre­vent cap­ture of the music they play, which makes down­load­ing the tracks… dif­fi­cult.

Go to the cov­er art page to get this year’s art, and find out how to let SXSW know that you don’t like this.

SXSW Show­cas­ing Artist Cov­er Art

Enjoying the hell out of iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is a rev­e­la­tion to me. Not that I did­n’t know what it was going to be like, I mean, intel­lec­tu­al­ly. I’ve used Pan­do­ra, after all. But Pan­do­ra was annoy­ing, brows­er-based, finicky, and I nev­er used it very long. When I first tried iTunes Radio yes­ter­day, while try­ing to write, I picked some of their pre-pro­grammed “sta­tions” and was all, meh. Their “iTunes Top 100: Alter­na­tive” has too much Killers in it. Which is to say, any Killers is too much. My taste is def­i­nite­ly Alt, but I like my alt more eclec­tic than that. And that Fall­out Boy song (Alone Togeth­er) sounds like Rihan­na in drag.

But today I made my own “sta­tion” based on a song in heavy rota­tion in our house, Lit­tle Brass Bear by Rachel Goodrich.

And it turns out, basi­cal­ly, that iTunes Radio is like Genius, but with the entire iTunes cat­a­log as your library. Which is freak­ing awe­some.

Of course, it also turns out that iTunes Radio is just like Pan­do­ra, Rdio, etc., but with­out the has­sle of using some­thing added on to my ecosys­tem. I am, as stat­ed else­where, ful­ly entrenched in the Apple ecosys­tem, and in here I am as hap­py as a bug that is snug in a rug.

My playlist so far:

Jay­may (one of my favorite songs, Gray or Blue!)
Woody Guthrie
Matthew and the Atlas
Kimya Daw­son
Lang­horne Slim
Lau­ra Veirs
Lind­sey Ray
The Col­or­ful Qui­et
Malv­ina Reynolds
Lucy Wain­wricht Roche (dang there are a lot of Wain­wrights, no?)
Cast Spells
Rachel Goodrich

I’ve heard of… six of those artists. I own one of the songs I have heard so far. New music! Which is what makes this so awe­some.

Album cover art and torrent download for SXSW 2008

Hel­lo, vis­i­tors from the Intar­webs.  You grace my site with search queries about the SXSW Music con­fer­ence, and I have decid­ed to give you what you want:

  • Here is a link to the cov­er art I made for the SXSW 2008 music.  You may use this cov­er art (a 600 x 600 pix­el jpg file) how­ev­er you like, though I sug­gest using it in iTunes.  Oth­er years are also avail­able in that post, as is prop­er cred­it to Ben Mil­lett, who made the first exam­ple of SXSW cov­er art I found.
Have at them.

Rickrolled by my baby

So YouTube is busy cel­e­brat­ing April 1st by Rick­rolling all the Fea­tured Videos on their front page.  How fun, I thought, I haven’t seen Rick Ast­ley since, well, the Eight­ies.  So, at break­fast, I vis­it­ed YouTube and clicked on a video about a mon­key.  Sure enough, there was Rick, singing in his too-deep tones with ran­dom dancers doing ran­dom Eight­ies moves.  I shut the win­dow and start­ed surf­ing anoth­er site when I heard the dul­cet tones of my own lit­tle song­bird.  He (the two-year-old) point­ed at the lap­top and said, “Again!”  And then, when it was done, “Again!”  And, “Again!”  We watched the video a total of five times this morn­ing, and now I can’t get the song out of my head.  I do believe I have been Rick­rolled, by my baby.

The last memorable commercial: United’s use of Rhapsody in Blue

Just heard George Gersh­win’s Rhap­sody in Blue on the radio, and I imme­di­ate­ly won­dered what a Unit­ed Air­lines com­mer­cial was doing on NPR. Sec­onds lat­er I real­ized that it was a per­for­mance of the Gersh­win piece, not an ad. I don’t watch com­mer­cials any­more, with TiVo in the house, but Unit­ed’s cam­paign pre­dat­ed my TiVo by quite a bit (they licensed the song in 1976), and seems to have bur­rowed deep into my brain. Good on them, I am impressed.

I’ve been profiled, by a holiday catalog

Among the many hol­i­day cat­a­logs we received was one that offered a turntable (you know, the kind that plays those old plas­tic records… um, vinyl?) that could con­vert your music to a dig­i­tal for­mat. The beau­ti­ful pho­to includ­ed an iPod and a stack of CDs, the top one labeled promi­nent­ly, “Chica­go.” Not the city.

Lancelot has died: Robert Goulet, 1933–2007

Robert GouletYou have to under­stand some­thing about my fam­i­ly, to know why I care that Robert Goulet ((Here is his Wikipedia entry, and his offi­cial site.)) has died. Besides being that rare per­former that is com­fort­able mak­ing fun of him­self ((While he appeared in sev­er­al come­dies, includ­ing an episode of The Simp­sons, this Emer­ald Nuts Super­Bowl com­mer­cial is my favorite.)) (a qual­i­ty that endeared him to today’s youth­ful gen­er­a­tion), Goulet por­trayed Lancelot in the Broad­way pro­duc­tion of the musi­cal Camelot, along­side Richard Bur­ton and Julie Andrews.

My moth­er had the record of the orig­i­nal Broad­way cast when I was grow­ing up. When I was old enough to put records on by myself, I used to rotate Camelot with a Spi­der-Man record I had, and a record about Sparky the talk­ing piano/train? My mem­o­ry is fuzzy on that last. But I spent the next two decades immers­ing myself in all things Arthuri­an. My moth­er had a lot to do with that, and it’s been a bond between us for­ev­er. We even made an Arthuri­an her­aldry quilt togeth­er.

I’m not quite sug­gest­ing that Robert Goulet is respon­si­ble for the man I turned out to be, but think­ing about him now makes me remem­ber all those parts of my life that were affect­ed by the Arthuri­an leg­ends. As a kid I drew a lot of swords and sor­cery stuff, I played Dun­geons and Drag­ons, I read a ton of fan­ta­sy nov­els (not the least of which was Le Morte d’Ar­tur, but most more along the lines of The Lord of the Rings), I was, in short, that kid in high school.

I found out this morn­ing that my wife shares some of the nos­tal­gia I felt on hear­ing of Goulet’s death. Turns out, her moth­er had the Camelot record, and she, too, lis­tened to it as a kid.

In hon­or of Mr. Goulet’s influ­ence (how­ev­er small) on my life, I went and bought the Camelot sound­track on iTunes this morn­ing, and I have been lis­ten­ing to it this morn­ing. Turns out I miss musi­cal the­ater.

Where are the protest songs?

We’re doing our morn­ing chores when Wash­ing­ton Bul­lets by The Clash comes on the iTunes mix, and after about half the song, my wife (who did not bring The Clash to our mar­riage) asks from the oth­er room, “Is this the Clash?”

Inim­itable. But it made me won­der, for the umpteenth time in the last four years, where are all the protest songs? What hap­pened to music as a polit­i­cal out­let? And don’t give me John May­er. That song could have been so much more than it was. Pok­ing sly fun at your own fan base is one thing, tes­ti­fy­ing against your irre­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment is anoth­er. I want the lat­ter.

Maybe we just don’t hear it on today’s radio. Which is a whole ‘nother rant.