Sunday, August 31, 2008

TuneUp: An Essential iTunes Utility

So, I've posted two blogs related to my trip thus far...and here's one more. While I was in Salem, Amy introduced me to TuneUp, which is, essentially, a companion program for iTunes, one that searches your music and matches your improperly labeled song files with the correct labels. In the creators' own words: "Your music is dirty, clean it up!" So if you've got a mix cd someone gave you (someone like me, say), and you want to know all the song titles and band names, TuneUp will do that for you. It's pretty incredible! Yesterday I cleaned up about 400 messed-up tracks in my computer, and I feel like I just got 40 new albums now. Happy happy happy...

There are a lot of other good things about TuneUp: one is that it also downloads album cover art to your computer. Another is the pricing: as of now, you can get 500 song file "TuneUp"s FREE...and beyond that one year is 11.95 and, for a limited time, a lifetime subscription is only $19.95. (I expect that truly will be a limited offer...I plan on buying in soon, as soon as I use up the rest of my free ones.) TuneUp also doesn't appear to be particularly invasive (everything is drag & drop by you, the user, so it's not like it just worms its way into your files...only the files you choose), which is very nice. Finally, TuneUp has only been public for about a month, so it's just kind of nice to get on the ground floor of something...right??? It's so new I can't even find a downloadable graphic for them. If these guys start trading publically, I am buying that stuff right up (just like Alex bought those Iraqi Dinars over the phone...but I digress...)

I have, on the other hand, found two negatives thus far: one, TuneUp does seem to get a fair percentage of stuff wrong (I'm gonna guess it's about 10-15% at this early stage?); and two, it's only available for Windows users right now (hey, didn't the Mac folks invent all this iStuff???). To both concerns, however, it seems fairly likely TuneUp is going to make these guys a lot of money, so they seem rightly ambitious and dedicated to getting all their bugs worked out. Hey, they made a pretty great product...good for them, good for us!

As I said, yesterday I cleaned up 400 songs, and this morning I am enjoying them all. I have to say, however, my absolute favorite song I've listened to this morning is "Then the Morning Comes," by--of all the freaking bands I thought I'd plug on here--Smashmouth!!! You remember this song, if you pay attention to pop music: the one that goes "It's just the way that you are / It's just the way that you talk, like it ain't no thaaang..." Yeah, I can't believe I'm saying this either, but it's true. So...if you dare, here's the song file. Enjoy...and go download that TuneUp so you don't have to type that terrible word (Smashm**th) yourself!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Radiohead! In Auburn! With Bootleg!

[Ed: So, as I've mentioned below, while on vacation Alex & I saw Radiohead play a show in Auburn, WA. Below is a zip/.mp3 bootleg of the concert, graciously taken from, a Radiohead gigography site. Also below is my quickie review of the show, which I originally posted here, at Green Plastic Radiohead. Oh, and the above photo--which shows the awesome light display the band played under, although this actual photo comes from the Boston show--comes courtesy of Ryan's Smashing Life. God the Internet kicks ass sometimes, doesn't it?]

I loved this show, it was fantastic. I was on vacation to see a buddy in Salem, OR, and we cruised around the West Coast for two weeks, with this concert being the crowning achievement. It was great!!! Second time both of us have seen them, having seen them in Red Rocks just after Amnesiac. I have to admit I was a bit of a bad fan recently and wasn't as knowledgeable of In Rainbows as I should have been ahead of time, but this concert gave me the song "All I Need," which, as other reviewers have said, was the one of the big turning points of the show and AMAZING. Their renditions of "Optimistic," and "Pyramid Song," "Talk Show Host," and "The National Anthem" (back-to-back-to-back!) were sooo good, their extreme fuck-ups during "Faust Arp" were hilarious and good-natured (come on, we all knew Thom was human...painfully human!!!). Both encores were awesome, with a jaw-dropping "You and Whose Army" dedicated to the WTO protests in Seattle from 1999 (as everyone has already said...but this has to go on my blog too :-), with a heart-rending "No Surprises" following. At that point I thought things were done, and pulled my buddy out of the crowd, only to be turned around for "Everything in It's Right Place," which everyone must agree is a seminal Radiohead tune. They blew me away; they are two-for-two. For whatever reason, it rains everytime I see Radiohead and I love that.

The parking and getting-out situation sucked (hours in the parking lot!!!), but the venue itself was cool. Like I said I was visiting from Alaska, and it was awesome how great everyone there was to us, especially the cool hippie guys in front of us that "hooked us up" :-). My friend got really messed up and danced his ass off, in a fashion hilarious to all around us but endearing to me (okay, also hilarious to me), and the girls were adorable all-about us. Thanks Seattle! Thanks Radiohead! You all rocked!!!

P.S. Thom and Johnny were amazing. Those guys are incredible.
P.P.S. I am always, always impressed by Phil Selway's drumming. That guy is awesome.

Radiohead, Auburn, WA, 8/20/08
1. 15 Step
2. Reckoner
3. Optimistic
4. There There
5. All I Need
6. Pyramid Song
7. Talk Show Host
8. The National Anthem
9. The Gloaming
10. Videotape
11. Lucky
12. Faust Arp
13. Jigsaw Falling into Place
14. Climbing Up the Walls
15. Dollars and Cents
16. Nude
17. Bodysnatchers

Encore one:
1. How to Disappear Completely
2. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
3. Idioteque
4. In Limbo
5. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Encore two:
1. You and Whose Army (dedicated to Seattle WTO protests)
2. No Surprises
3. Everything in Its Right Place

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So, I Went on Vacation...

...and that's my excuse for not blogging at all recently. I flew from Fairbanks to Portland, and then took a bus to Salem, OR, to hang out with good old pal Alex Pieske for a couple weeks. And great fun we had!--we rented a car (sweet cornflower blue Ford Focus) and road-tripped the West Coast. First we drove up to Portland for two nights, then we went down to San Francisco for three nights, and later we made it up around Seattle for a bit, with plenty of beautiful Salem thrown in the middle. Highlights included, chronologically: Alex getting super-messed up and crazy on my second night there (so much so that he tackled me to the floor, hard, in a grocery store); an Oakland A's vs. Tampa Bay Rays game; a sweet, sweet time at the San Fran Museum of Modern Art (Frida Kahlo exhibit!); a fun time at a birthday party of a new Salem friend (thanks be to Bree); and, the crowning jewel, an AWESOME, AWESOME Radiohead concert in Auburn, WA--my second time seeing Radiohead and simply breathtaking. I saw a lot of cool stuff; I met a lot of cool people. I met a really cool person. You can check out a bunch of photos from my trip here and here.

That's a very cursory review of my two weeks down south, which really felt like a month or so. But as Suzanne's experience with blogging her trip to Alaska shows, trying to fit everything into your writing can be an overwhelming experience...and ANYWAYS, this is a music blog, isn't it??? So I wanted to post here a mix I made just two days ago, after having arrived back from my trip. Basically everything on here is stuff I listened to, or was informed of, or heard on the radio (our car had some sweet SIRIUS going on), during our trip. I plan on blogging the Radiohead show, too, but for now here's a little something I call "Vacation Song". Click on the title to download the entire zip file:

Vacation Song

1. Baby, Now That I've Found You, The Foundations
2. Funny Little Frog, Belle & Sebastian
3. Can You Tell, Ra Ra Riot
4. Swept Away, The Avett Brothers
5. All I Need, Radiohead
6. Into My Arms, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
7. The Kids Don't Stand a Chance, Vampire Weekend
8. Badge, Cream
9. Long Distance Runaround, Yes
10. The Passenger, Iggy Pop
11. I Was in the House When the House Burned Down, Warren Zevon
12. When It Don't Come Easy, Patty Griffin
13. Heavenly Day, Patty Griffin
14. I Want You to Be My Love, Over the Rhine
15. Sleepin' Is All I Wanna Do (Stars on a Sunny Day), The Duhks
16. Bron-Yr-Aur, Led Zeppelin

"Baby Now That I've Found You" is such a classic tune; the original is WAAY better than the Alison Kraus version...Belle & Sebastian keep on keepin' on, don't they? "Funny Little Frog" is great and beautiful...Ra Ra Riot is a band I picked up on right when I got back to FAI. This whole album sounds good and I'll blog it soon...this Avett Brothers song may well be the death of me, I fear; it's too good..."All I Need" by Radiohead is a track I didn't pick up on until the concert itself. What a gift from Thom & the guys!!!...lots of Nick Cave listening on the trip...I blogged a bit about this Vampire Weekend song over on myspace..."Badge" by Cream. I heard this on SIRIUS twice I think, and I had to remember how awesome it is. The radio DJ said that the lyrics to this song come mostly from conversations between Clapton and Ringo Starr...when this Yes song came on SIRIUS I loved it instantly and said to Alex in surprise, "Holy crap, I can't believe this, but I'm becoming a Yes fan right now. Never thought that would happen!"..."The Passenger" is, I believe, the first song to make two mixes that were posted here on Mixed Cookies. Congratulations, Iggy!...God this Warren Zevon song kicks ass, and thank god to Alex for making me remember it...Amy told me I should listen to Patty Griffin. I'm semi-surprised that she was right, ha...this Over the Rhine song kills me,and their other stuff is good too...The Duhks are a pretty interesting blend of influences and styles: country, gospel, jazz, & bluegrass...Bron-Yr-Aur by Zeppelin. So apt that there are no words here...