Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paste Magazine: Signs of Hope

This is undoubtedly the happiest I've been writing a blog post in some time. After ceasing publication last September, Paste Magazine is back.

Meet Paste mPlayer, the digital incarnation of our beloved magazine. An email went out this morning announcing the launch and explaining what happens from here. In short, the good folks at Paste will produce a weekly magazine, a true multimedia product.

The interface is slick; Apple generation-friendly in terms of design, if you will. Songs (the Paste Music Sampler) and videos are integrated into articles, and most of all, Paste can once again return to the long-form features and essays that made it great and thereby fill the void created when it went away. (Ex. Listening to my life: Stereolab, North Carolina)

Personally, I'm more excited than I can express. When Paste stopped printing, I mourned the loss of a publication so strong and forward-thinking. I cringed to think that maybe magazines were doomed after all because if Paste couldn't do it, no one could. Today, with unbounded positivity, I say that in the rapidly-changing world of journalism and digital platforms, if anyone can make it work, it's Paste.

Here's a link to the FAQs page. It has details on subscriptions. Though, you should note that the paid model doesn't kick in until September, so there's time to scope it out. Also, issue No. 1 is live, so have at it.

One more thing: Viva la Paste Music Sampler, baby!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Having Fun with Dent May

Any day that I get to say "Dent May has a new song out" is arguably the best day of my week.

In case you are unfamiliar, Dent May (also known as the "softest boy in Mississippi") is the southern wonder responsible for the 2009 gem The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukelele. His crooning will make you cringe and then hit "back" to hear that tune one more time.

Today, the world is one more Dent May song richer. "Fun" is available to listen to below. It's a groove-y little '70s-style summer tune, sadly devoid of his signature ukelele.

Don't let that deter you, though. I'll be damned if this isn't quite catchy. Anywho, May is releasing a "7 of the single September 13 on Paw Tracks. (Q: Wait, isn't that Animal Collective's label? A: Why, yes. Yes, it is. Very astute observation, friend.)

Oh, and one more thing. Check out his music video for "Meet me in the Garden." It is no doubt the reason so many have fallen in love with the sound and style of Dent May. Here's to hoping an LP is on the way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

England: Mumford Covers The National

And this is what we call a "find." Mumford and Sons recently played VH1's Unplugged and performed a cover of The National's melancholic ballad "England," off of last year's High Violet. Mumford frontman Marcus Mumford said that The National is one of the group's much-loved bands, so deciding to cover "England" was a fairly obvious choice.

Mumford and Sons certainly gives The National a run for their money. Their version is every bit as rugged and beautiful as anything off Sigh No More. The new sound suits the song wonderfully. Definitely check it out. If this were available for purchase somewhere, I'd gladly pay to have a copy. (Via Pretty Much Amazing)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Distracted by Buddy Holly

Like a lot of people these days, from high schoolers to tv journalists to politicians and the odd 50-year-old in between, I use Twitter. In fact, one of my favorite hashtags is #distractedbyBuddyHolly because it applies more than you would think, and it's nothing if not accurate in describing what happens if I'm trying to say, do an interview, and "Rave On" is playing in the background of the coffee shop.

Anyway, today I bring you tidings that NPR is streaming the new Buddy Holly tribute album, Rave On Buddy Holly. It's 19 tracks featuring names like Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Modest Mouse, Patti Smith and Lou Reed, to name a few.

I've yet to hear it through, but I figure it's worth mentioning, not so much because I was so madly in love with She & Him's cover of "Oh, Boy," but because I think it's more than worth noting that Buddy Holly is still relevant today, 50+ years after his death, and will remain so for generations to come.

Give it a listen, let us know what you think.

Friday, June 10, 2011

So, You're Not at Bonnaroo, 2nd Ed.

If there's one thing The Musically Inclined is good at, it's enjoying Bonnaroo from a distance. Last year we brought you a selection of tips for a successful four days as a e-festival goer. This year, we do it again.

+ First up, Vevo is live streaming concerts from several of the main stages, June 10-12. Essentially, if you had a mind to spend the next three days glued to your high speed internet connection from noon to midnight, you could. Godspeed.

Glancing over Vevo's line up, we might suggest the following:

June 10: Best Coast (maybe) 5:00 p.m. CST; Florence and the Machine 6:45 p.m.; My Morning Jacket 8:15 p.m.

June 11: Ray LaMontagne 2:00 p.m.; Mumford & Sons 8:00 p.m.; Arcade Fire 9:30 p.m. (but mostly because eeeveryone looves Arcade Fire.)

June 12: Smith Westerns 12:30 p.m.; Mavis Staples 1:30 p.m.; The Strokes 6:45 p.m.; Widespread Panic 8:45 p.m. (You know, for shiggles.)

+ Next up, here's a sweet "Day 1 in Photos" gallery. Happy to say a former classmate of mine is the photog responsible for these stellar shots. I can only assume this will happen again in the days to come.

+ Spinner is offering a Bonnaroo 2011 sampler, free for download. There are about 30 tracks, which isn't too shabby. Serving suggestion: If you crank up the heating system and point every light and lamp you own at your face, you can pretend you're hearing the tracks live. Great fun! Extra points for realistically replicating the "smells of Bonnaroo."

+ Finally, Nashville's only independent radio station, the great Lightning 100, is taking you "Backstage at Bonnaroo." Check their site for interviews with artists which so far include Freelance Whales, Justin Townes Earle and Kopecky Family Band, to name a few.

Well, that's all I've got. Dig around and see what else you run into. And of course, have happy festival.

Monday, June 6, 2011

iCloud Details Unveiled, Music Beta Invites Go Out

There is so much shaking in the music cloud world right now, I'm not sure where to begin.

For one, we've finally got details on the long-awaited Apple cloud, or iCloud. Certain iCloud details were leaked a few days ago, but we're going to sit here awed anyway. Not really.

Watching live tweets from the announcement at WWDC was interesting because some of the initial reaction to it, especially from folks focusing on the music library angle, was "meh," in the vernacular of the web. iCloud is broader than just music storage. It's digital media storage that also integrates with apps like iCal and Mail in desktop and mobile form. It's also a bit more complex than just that, but here's the way Paste Magazine condensed it:

Cool, but not necessarily groundbreaking. Then came iTunes Match. iTunes Match will check your music library and upgrade it to 256kbps AAC files as if you'd bought it from the iTunes store. Paste Editor Josh Jackson saw some big implications from Match, Tweeting, "Apple essentially just monetized music piracy for the first time. Labels will presumably get a cut of yearly fees."

Meanwhile, the bitch slap award in technology goes to Music Beta by Google for sending out a round of invites in the middle of the Apple announcement. I believe the appropriate term here is "aw, snap." (I'd be really impressed if someone could get a comment from Google on that one. I'm sure it was "pre-scheduled" or something.)

While, according to CNET, "The [iCloud] will be made available with iOS 5 this fall," Music Beta is currently uploading my iTunes library.

Something smart: Music Beta gives you music packs to start off with based on your preferred genres, so while you're waiting to upload your cripplingly-large iTunes collection, you've got something to listen to from the get-go. Also, it's free music, even if it's only streaming. Woo.

As far as interface goes, it looks simple with nice big buttons. Nothing will be as pretty as iTunes, but Apple has got the market cornered on sleek and sexy tech, in my opinion.

How it compares to Amazon's Cloud Player? I guess we'll see. I like the Amazon Cloud Player. Somehow I consider it to be the underdog here, even though Amazon arguably has more of a reason for getting into this race than Google in terms of prior presence in the digital music realm.

What I see as being a disadvantage for Amazon is that both Google and Apple already have greater holds on people's lifestyles. Both can offer the consumer function as well as storage for documents and email etc. People are already running their lives through these systems, whether it's the cult of Mac or the all-knowing, somewhat invasive Google.

Ultimately, I think that Google and Apple will run along side each other. After all, no one said there has to be a winner... although if you want to purchase music, it'll have to be through Amazon, iTunes or where ever else you get your tunes, as record labels have yet to cooperate with Google.

Anyway, stay tuned for further updates as I get to mess around with Music Beta.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Paste Interviews The Avett Brothers

Photo from Paste

Recently, the folks at Paste Magazine caught up with the Avett Brothers at Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, AL. There's a six-minute interview as well an acoustic version of "Slight Figure of Speech" from 2009's I and Love and You. While the Avett Brothers said they're working on a new LP, they didn't elaborate much, but that's okay. It's probably safe to say this band is zestier on stage than in an interview. Check the link above.

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall : Coldplay

As promised, today Coldplay released "Every Tear is a Waterfall," the first single from their upcoming, yet-to-be-titled album.

The song is about music. It's not that good. The synth sounds messy. The lyrics are cloying. But hey, don't take my word for it. Judge for yourself.