The Liner Notes

All the music that matters

Posts Tagged ‘Music

Top Ten Albums of 2011

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10) Pusha T – “Fear of God II: Let Us Pray”

 

Pusha T continues to elevate the hip-hop game here with a truly fantastic release. Hard hitting and heavy from start to finish each song if full of signature beats combined with Pusha’s rapid fire lyrics. Mixed well and combined with some eclectic guest spots – 50 Cent and Rick Ross, lend to a suburb LP.

 

 

 

9) Neon Indian – “Era Extrana”

 

Trippy, spacey, airy, spooky, juicy; just pick your adjective to describe the Austin, Texas bred electro band. This third offering is chock-full of fun beats and crazy sounds that entertain. Soothing yet unsettling, “Era Extrana” shows a distinct growth for the band.

 

 

 

8 ) The Decemberists – “The King is Dead”

 

One might think that the Decemberists style may grow old like Arcade Fire. However, this album came as quite a surprise. Still the Decemberists to a “T,” “The King is Dead” provides some new depth to this band and delivers both crooning ballads and smooth rock.

 

 

 

7) TV on the Radio “Nine Types of Light”

 

TV on the Radio has always been good, but with their fourth album the band seems to have found a groove. This album is filled with one catchy song after another that lead the listener through a journey that is unlike any the band has presented before.

 

 

 

6) Sbtrkt – “SBTRKT”

 

This London-based dubstep came out of the gates hot this year with this blistering debut album. Think Burial on acid. This album spread like”Wildfire” as even Drake remixed the hit song. The ethereal sound combined with infectious beats, makes for a great first effort from this group. Innovative and experimental in nature, it will be interesting to see where Aaron Jerome, the DJ, will go from here.

 

 

5) Kayne West & Jay Z – “Watch the Throne”

 

This album got a lot of press, but all the hype aside this is an epic album. Combining the talents of Jay-Z and Kanye West could very well be considered a PR stunt, but the combined talents of these two hip-hop moguls is unparallel. The sprawling epic songs defy conventional verse, chorus, verse styles creating an amazing mix of lyrics and beats.

 

 

4) Adele – “21”

 

After “21” came out Adele was launched into a whole new league, especially in the UK where it’s the bestselling album of the century. Her soulful pop music is carried by her amazing voice. This is just one of those albums that seems timeless. Adele saved the best for last on this album with “Someone Like You.” It is a breathtaking song that encompasses all of what Adele can do.

 

 

3) Radiohead – “King of Limbs”

 

This album is a bit of a departure from Radiohead’s traditional sound. Diving deeper into more dub and ambient territory, “King of Limbs” adds some texture to latent beats that build across the album. It is innovative, provocative, subtle, sweet and basically phenomenal music.

 

 

2) Mastodon – “The Hunter”

From the first track this album hits hard. Heavy bass and straight forward power chords make for a sound reminiscent of classic Queens of the Stone Age. However, the album harkens back to classic heavy hard rock. Songs like“Curl of the Burl” comprise the blistering album.

 

 

 

 

1) Bon Iver – “Bon Iver”

 

This album is unreal start to finish. When it came out it was all I listened to for a month solid. Forget that it was nominated for four Grammy’s, just listen to “Holocene,” it is hauntingly good. A sonic soundscape that is sparse yet dense, quiet yet loud and sad yet enduring. However Justin Vernon does it, this takes album of the year by a mile.

 

 

Top 10 albums 2011 playlist: MOG or Spotify

Top 10 albums of 2010

Top 10 albums of 2009

Top 10 albums of 2008

Written by David Young

December 9, 2011 at 9:03 am

Is Facebook Music a game-changer?

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Music is about to get a bit more “social” with a new move by Facebook to integrate a range of streaming music services into the social media site.

The concept is simple. Users of music streaming sites such as MOG and Spotify have the option to link their accounts to Facebook which will then post what they are listening to in a ticker. Their Facebook friends can see what they are listening to in real time, and if they subscribe to the same service, stream the same song right there on Facebook.

The service is still rolling out, but right off the bat it looks interesting, but has its flaws. The ability to see what friends are listening to is great when they are discovering awesome new bands, but can be embarrassing if they go into a three hour long Brittany Spears session.

Then there is the problem of having to subscribe to the same streaming music service that friends use. Right off the bat Spotify, being free, seems to be dominating, but it is a pain to have to open your respective music site and manually play the song. It defeats the entire purpose of integration.

The whole concept is sharing music on a bigger level, and provides the social aspect that many of these services are now lacking.

The idea, in theory, is great but will it work in reality? Time will tell, but this is another nail in the coffin for not just compact discs, but downloading music. Clearly streaming, most likely from a social centralized site such as Facebook, with various companies is the future – music on demand is a digital buffet.

Written by David Young

September 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

July’s Hits

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One thing I have enjoyed with MOG, aside from streaming music 24/7, is it presents a list of everything I have listened to. It also puts those songs into categories of top songs, albums and artists that I’ve been checking out.

Here are the hits for July:

Top Songs:

Top Albums:

Top Artists:

Just for fun let’s compare to what Spotify says were my hits last month. It only breaks it down by top songs and artists.

Top Artists

  • Beady Eye
  • DJ Khaled
  • Brett Dennen
  • Flux Pavillion
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Nikka Costa

Top Songs

  • The Edge of Glory – Sultan & Ned Shepard Remix by Lady Gaga
  • Floating (Time isn’t working on my side) by Portugal The Man
  • The Cantina by The Sea and Cake
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
  • The Roller by Beady Eye
  • Sydney (I’ll Come Running) by Brett Dennen

Written by David Young

August 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

The Music Cloud

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For years now music has been moving toward the cloud.

The days of buying music or even downloading music are fading fast. In a not too distant future majority of people will access music via a subscription service that grants them the ability to listen to any song they like from their computer or phone.

This is already a reality; however no one has quite mastered it yet. Technology is still lagging, 4G will help, and record executives still think people should pay $15 for a physical CD.

I have tried a number of these subscription servers from Napster to Rhapsody and have found flaws with all of them. Napster doesn’t offer full versions of a lot of their songs, only 30 second samples and Rhapsody’s format is horrible not to mention their phone apps are slow and sporadic.

Lala by far had the best format. It was a simple interface that let users share their musical interests and tastes with others. It also was tailored to the user so that you don’t have to sift through Billboards top 50 to find what you want.

Best of all it was free, but alas it was too good to be true. Apple bought up the service and thus far has only offered Ping in return, which is an afterthought at best.

Most recently I tried MOG, which offers unlimited streaming for $5 a month. I thought it was a great deal and found the iPhone app worked great so I could stream any album I wanted virtually anywhere. In addition their “artist radio” feature is great. It allows the user to manage via a sliding scale how similar they want the station to be to any given artist.

The format, while not great, is one of the better that I have tried. It is clean and simple. The profile options are limited and sharing capabilities leave a lot to be desired, however there is potential.

My main complaint came when my free trial period ran out. I was more than happy to start paying, however I discovered the $5 offer only pertains to computers. If I want to keep my iPhone app it costs me an additional $5 a month. Not that that is a lot, it is just not stated upfront, or if it was I missed it.

The other main drawback is that only one computer can log into the account at one time and there is no way to add users. If I want to add an additional user I would have to start a whole new account.

With the loss of access to music on my phone I was left with Pandora and a handful of albums I had loaded. I went in search of a solution and found it, ironically enough, with one of the trailblazers in file sharing: Audiogalaxy.

Audiogalaxy started in the 90s as a file sharing site for music similar to Napster that drew the ire of the RIAA and led to legal issues. Long story short the site has re-launched as a placeshifting service meaning users can upload their library to Audiogalaxy servers and then can listen to it from other computers or a smartphone.

Audiogalaxy has an app for the iPhone so I have been able to take my entire iTunes collection with me anywhere I go and listen on my phone. Thus far it has worked pretty well and is a great substitute until Spotify can crack the U.S. market.

Written by David Young

February 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Posted in MP3s, Music

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