Category Archives: Free

Stuff I Like Right Now

Need something to do online?  Check out these links to the music and words capturing my attention right now.

Music:

Books:

Images from Amazon.com, Borders.com, and terababes.com.

In Brief: Holy Crap, It’s an Effective Music Search Engine

New music search engine “Just Hear It” purports to be able to find “any song in the world.” Not only can it find the song, it can play the song for free, make playlists, etc., all within a stunning interface. Check it out.

An Alternative to iTunes? Songbird 1.0 Review

GetSongbird.com.  Will this program replace iTunes?

GetSongbird.com. Will this program replace iTunes?

Apple’s iTunes is one of the most popular media library management applications currently on the market.  It’s available for free, comes pre-installed on all Apple computers, supports all of the most popular audio and video formats, and is the most compatible application with the iPod.

But a tall tree attracts a lot of wind.  Just as Mozilla decided to take on the task of toppling Internet Explorer’s dominance of the web browser world (after a few other companies tried), a new start-up is trying to take on iTunes.  And wouldn’t you know it:  their software is based upon the same code as Mozilla’s Firefox.  Continue reading

Vests and Cardigans; Therefore Music?

Urban Outfitters, the clothing and, for some reason, furniture, dealer of choice for all the coolest kids is releasing a twenty-one-song mix on their blog.  Oh yeah, I guess they have a blog as well.

Download the free mix here.

Source:  Too much free time before school starts.

Now THIS Should Exist

Mygazines.com offers scans of print magazines for free.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Mygazines.com offers scans of print magazines for free. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Remember that Obama mash-up video that I posted a few days ago?  Things like that video (and this blog) are evidence that some people just have too much time on their hands; and do non-productive (if not hilarious) things with that time.

Introducing Mygazines.com – one of the most ingenious products to ever result from free time.  Mygazines is like an online lending library specifically designed for magazines.  Their quick and unique interface makes it easy to flip through the pages of major publications – Rolling Stone, Blender, and even (hell yes) the Ikea Catalog to name a few.

There aren’t too many small magazines, like JPG, one of my favorite photography magazines, but all of the major players are there.  That being said, the magazine industry is up in arms about the service.  I wouldn’t expect to last that long, but for now it’s a great service. But these magazines are scanned and uploaded by users, who, ideally, bought a copy of the magazines for themselves.  What’s the difference between this site and, say, a local library, which has copies of magazines (and books and movies and music) available for free?  Ethically?  Not much in my opinion.  Financially?  A hell of a lot:  Mygazines has web advertisements; libraries have government funding.

Enjoy it while it lasts!

Via Lifehacker and The Inquirer.

Games of May Do…Everything. Overachievers.

The more I listen to Games of May, the more I’m impressed.  The small collection of their songs I have in my library run the gauntlet of musical genres – jazz, Latin, rock; and do I detect a hint of burlesque?  How can one band stab at so many genres and still create a solid, connected sound? Continue reading

Bloc Party’s “Mercury” Increases Bass, Video Increases Nightmares

The Mercury Disc Set

The "Mercury" Disc Set (1)

Bloc Party’s latest cut, “Mercury,” dropped in early July to the delight of some and the dismay of others.  Commenters on the Brooklynvegan blog, apart from arguing about career choices and ‘hipster’ status, largely agreed that the song “sucks.”  Among those who deemed themselves qualified to label the song as “sucky” were an anonymous plumber, graphic artist, and even a gorilla.

Some critics, however, have taken the opposite stance.  IGN blogger Spence D. gave the single 9.5 points of ten, calling the song, “a post-apocalyptic jazz mass that will leave your cerebral cortex in a state of vertiginous disarray,” (IGN: “Mercury” Review, 7 Jul., 2008).

The song is a thumping mix of bass-centric beats and stressful strings, which are at the same time hilarious for their melodramatic tone and yet make the song feel like a secret agent jam from a Bond flick to be released thirty years from now.  It’s not the most beautiful or harmonic song out there right now, but its intrigue lies in its chaos – fast and frantic drum beats mixed with string melodies reminiscent of the Flight of the Bumblebee will leave you in a post-rave trance…and might leave you with a headache.

But it’s not as bad as the nightmares the video will cause.  It has something to do with monkeys building a Frankenstein-esque monster to take over the US presidency and start worldwide nuclear war…I don’t know.  I’ve never been much of a music video fan myself, and this one hasn’t made me feel any cognitive dissonance yet.

Bloc Party lead Kele Okereke

Bloc Party lead Kele Okereke (2)

Are Bloc Party going post-modern?  Are they ahead of their time?  Or are they just hopping on to the trance-meets-dance-hall-meets-hip-hop trend spearheaded today by bands like Justice, MGMT and others?  We’ll likely have to wait for the entire album to be released, which won’t likely happen for quite some time.  BP lead Kele Okereke told the Zane Lowe Show on BBC’s Radio One that the band are “still writing and working on” their next album.

Sources:  brooklynvegan, IGN

Image Sources: (1) BlocParty.com Online Store, (2) Mail Online (dailymail.co.uk)

“Mercury” on The Hype Machine

“Mercury” Music Video on YouTube