Leaked from 404 Podcast 955:Elvis Costello tells fans to "Steal this record." Little Printer chews your feeds into a bite-size newspaper. Groupon stock is tanking, and Jill's here to tell us why! Facebook IPO coming next spring? Bathroom break video 1: Using Siri and Viper to start a car. Bathroom break video 1: Girl totally owns the treadmill.
Downloads and streaming music can't touch physical media for sound quality, or the pleasures associated with truly deluxe packaging.
For a prime example of the state of the art of the box set, check out the extra-thick album sleeves and gorgeous slipcase on Pearl Jam's "vs. & Vitalogy Deluxe Edition" three-disc set. The third disc is a live show from Boston's Orpheum Theatre in 1994. The band is peaking, and it's great to hear this fierce, passionate music sounding this good. To get the full effect, you'll want to play it loud. The … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--If you're looking for powerful brands in the entertainment business, you'd be hard-pressed to find two with more influence than "Avatar" creator James Cameron and Cirque du Soleil.
So the marriage of the two, on a forthcoming movie project Cameron is executive-producing (and that's helmed by "Shrek" and "Chronicles of Narnia" director Andew Adamson) promises to offer fans a compelling mixture of the Cirque's unique hybrid of artistry, acrobatics, music, and showmanship and Cameron's mastery of the latest filmmaking technologies.
This partnership is just one of the latest … Read more
Add this to your Christmas list--one of two 1970 Mercedes-Benz 600s once owned by Elvis Presley will be auctioned at Bonham's year-end sale in December.
The $15,000 Mercedes-Benzwas originally purchased in 1969 by the King who paid $5,500 in cash and financed the balance, according to an article in Auto123.com.
He kept the car for two years before giving it to a friend, James Leroy Robertson. The car traded hands again before being put up for auction at the Important Motor Cars and Fine Automobilia sale at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey, England on December 6.
Aside … Read more
I attended a fascinating panel discussion, "Behind The Glass: Audio Production in the 21st Century" at the Audio Engineering Society convention in New York City on Sunday.
The panelists were all prominent record producers and engineers: Tony Brown (Elvis Presley, Emmy Lou Harris); Jimmy Douglass (Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones); Dave Hewitt (Simon and Garfunkel, U2); Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers); George Massenburg (Linda Ronstadt, Lyle Lovett); Ann Mincieli (Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston); and Russ Titelman (Stevie Winwood, Eric Clapton). These people know from where they speak!
Moderator Howard Massey led the panel through a discussion of the problems facing the record industry, with a primary focus on sound quality. Massey co-authored (with Geoff Emerick) my favorite Beatles book of all time, "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles." He also has a new book coming out, "Behind the Glass, Volume II: Top Producers Tell How They Craft the Hits" a collection of interviews with top record producers and audio engineers.
It seems like the main problem comes from record company pressure to make perfect recordings. Vocalists' off-pitch and out-of-time singing is tweaked with Auto-Tune; music-making is largely technology-based. That is, technology has replaced musical talent, and singers like Britney Spears were cited many times as to where it's all headed. Not so musically talented, her music has to be patched together in the studio. There's not a lot of there there.
Jimmy Douglass talked about the overuse of dynamic range compression, admitting that since most music is listened to over crappy computer speakers or cheap earbuds, compression is required to make it sound acceptable. Sad, but true. … Read more
Bring out your dead: a Michael Jackson movie is in the works.
I'm just amazed it took this long to surface. Details are sketchy, but there are murmurs of a $60 million deal with Columbia Pictures to make the movie using video of Jackson rehearsing for his "This Is It" concerts in London.
The film, possibly in 3D, will be assembled from hundreds of hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage. So sure, expect lots of "extras" on Blu-ray. I'm sure the film will make oodles of cash, but that's par for the course for dead stars.
The dead rock star thing started on February 3, 1959, when a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three first-generation rock musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. It was "The Day the Music Died," but the dead-star business really kicked into high gear when Elvis Presley died of an overdose in 1977. The King was dead, but his career was in great shape.
He's been one of the top earners on dead celebrities lists for decades. In 2007, 40 years after his death, Presley-related products pulled in $49 million. Kurt Cobain and John Lennon are also strong "performers." But Jackson looks likely to top this year's list.
Dying is a great way to kick a lagging career into pure profit mode. And it's so easy, just dredge up "lost" tapes and live performances that were deemed sub par while the artist was alive, and devout fans devour them.… Read more
What follows is a list of my favorite sounding CDs of late, in no particular order. My preference is for realistic-sounding recordings, recordings that allow the band to sound "live." And sure, I like lots of recordings that are heavily processed, but I wouldn't by any stretch use them to "test" the naturalness of a speaker.
Here's the first half of the top 10 CDs; the second half will appear in the next Audiophiliac.
Elvis Costello, "Secret, Profane & Sugarcane"
I love Costello, especially his first five albums, and this new one, produced by T-Bone Burnett, is a winner. Acoustic and country influences predominate, and Costello's voice is in great shape. The sound is free of digital grit and glare, so instruments and voices sound like themselves. The tunes are all good; there's not a weak one in the bunch.
Mark Olson & Gary Louris, "Ready For The Flood"
Mark Olson & Gary Louris of Jayhawks fame joined forces to make this gorgeous sounding album. The two voices' harmonies are something to hear, and maybe it's just me, but there's echoes of the Everly Brothers and maybe Simon & Garfunkel in there. "Doves And Stones" is the standout track, but the album's pretty good from start to finish.
Dan Auerbach, "Keep It Hid"
Have you heard Auerbach's band, The Black Keys? Anyway, his solo CD presents more varied music than the Keys' hard-core blues-based blasts. Check out the deep bass pounding through "Heartbroken, In Disrepair." Granted, Keep It Hid isn't exactly an audiophile disc, but it sounds great cranked to "11."… Read more
Stuck with a stinky new Mac Pro? Good news: it might be toxic! (No proof of toxicity has been determined.) Also, Tom Merritt reveals himself to be a ruthless murderer of Firefox downloads. And the state of Pennsylvania takes it upon itself to make the streets safer by making old people smarter. Love it! Listen now: Download today's podcastEPISODE 822
Nintendo officially unveils Nintendo DSi and online store, coming Nov 1 in Japan for $180 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081002-nintendo-shows-off-new-dsi-with-camera-app-store.html http://kotaku.com/5057870/nintendo-announce-new-ds-the-nintendo-dsi
Toxic fumes from Mac Pros? http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/02/1223203 … Read more
There's going to be an Elvis karaoke contest on MySpace. That is not a joke. I can't seem to figure out whether it's trying to market Elvis to a younger generation or MySpace to an older one--or if it's just for kicks.
The News Corp.-owned social network, best known for attracting a demographic for whom the King has always been dead, announced Monday that it will be hosting an official Elvis karaoke competition for "Elvis Week 2008," which runs from August 9 to 17. It's in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises, and … Read more