While Sarah and were I driving around in our rented Avenger in December, we appreciated the Sirius satellite radio it came with. I’d never played with that before. It’s pretty sweet. We tuned right in to “Left of Center Sirius 26″ and pretty much left in there the whole time. Given my previous post, I’m sure that sounds like a talk show akin to AirAmerica.
Well, it’s not. It’s just a music station, but they play interesting new rock; kind of like The River used to in the mid-to-late-’90s before they sold out and fell back into snoozy listening. You know, stuff that it would be hard for me to find elsewhere (except maybe Narg and Carrie’s mix discs). And there was a really hot track attributed to Mark Ronson we heard in a Walgreen’s parking lot, where I was stocking up on a rainbow of deodorant flavors for the next year or so. We made a note to remember the name, and then forgot about it promptly.
Went over to iTunes (where I had resolved to buy less music after buying this Mac mini, not more), found the song, and found the whole album was going for only €7. Reading up a little bit on him in his blurb on iTunes, we found out he’s behind two albums we really dug from last year – Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Lily Allen’s “Alright, Still.” Well, duh — no wonder we like him.
Here’s why: the man is not shy about horns. Trombones, saxophones, and especially big ole barry saxophones. And devoted readers know I dig well-done mashups and unusual cover versions. His covers of Trainwreck Spears’ “Toxic” and Radiohead’s “Just” are really, really, interesting.
If you’ve got iTunes, take a listen into “Toxic” or “Just”. The original one which piqued our interest was “Oh My God” (obviously) featuring Lily Allen on lead vocals.
The Bürgerfest is Regensburg’s biggest strictly-summer — not beginning of summer, not end of summer, just summer — festival.
It’s so big that they only do it once every two years. Since *everyone* comes out for it, there are some pretty good people-watching opportunities. Anyway, there was quite a smattering of available tunage this evening. Not all of it was bad, and some of the bad stuff was entertainingly bad. You’ll find a range genres from marching band (without the marching) to Spyro Gyra-style jazz to angsty rock to ska to lousy pseudo battle rap* to crummy ’60s covers. It’s all good. Just shows the range that Regensburg has to offer, right?
Particularly good were the Jazz Police whose samples you’ll hear in the very last part of the audio track below. I’d like to hear more cool jazz covers from them and fewer Elvis-crap covers, but to their credit, they were playing to the crowd, who gave it an 88 because it had a good beat and they could dance to it.
We’re big fans of the “Party-Jukebox” function as it’s known in the German version of iTunes (I think it’s “party-shuffle” or similar in the English-language version).
But why does Girlfriend by Michael Jackson keep coming up in my playlist — supposedly randomly? It’s as if iTunes is saying
“hey pal, you put in your library, and by golly*, we’re going to listen to it. Together. Even if you skip past it. Twice.”
In other news, I’m experimenting with WordPress Sidebar Widgets. Got two of my own kickin’ right now, over there on the right side. They’re still kind of rough, but they’re coming along. One of them puts a factoid up there about me and Sarah, chosen at random (ok, no big deal, that had been up there for months, but hard-coded and therefore less cool), and the other, with a little help from Last.FM lets you know what’s currently playing on our computer.
This is so weird. I just can’t explain the German obsession with this song.
This was taken this evening at the Lucreziamarkt (am Haidplatz), just a few minutes ago. It **proves** (despite the whole Hasselhoff thing) that they are not making bad choices with regard to music just to be “ironic.”
I am actually surprised that I’m not hearing street musicians or the feedback shrieks from mics and amps at hastily set up band pavillions or parades of people going past (although that typically happens on Saturday mornings). Thank goodness another nearby town, Bad Abbach, is having their own Bürgerfest.
In other news, this has been another killer week with lots of overtime. I keep going in early and staying late (just one or the other! Not both!). I plan on relaxing this weekend by working on the revamped wish list site some more and chilling out to Lily Allen (just bought her CD on iTunes). She does the “I’m kinda bored with these sweet harmonies” thing really well — as Sarah pointed out, most people sound like they’re covering up a lack of talent by doing that — and Sarah and I have had fun detecting various influences. I think I’m hearing a lot of Gorillaz and some old friends from the early 90′s in there such as Spin Doctors and the Stone Roses. The expletives (be warned Mom, there are quite a few, and they’re British) are kind of a treat, because I just don’t expect them woven into such happy little melodies or from that pleasant voice. Also, we’re digging this band Fotos from Hamburg. They kind of remind us of German Strokes.** Check out this video:
Maybe we’ll head out to IKEA and come back with one of these in tow. We’ve lived here a couple of years now and I’ve stil got a big mess of cables where our ISDN phone line connects to our DSL modem and WLAN router.
*Chico: why no study?
**”Now ze wulled don’t moof, to ze beet uff chuss one drahm…”
This weekend is the Gassenfest. I don’t know how often it occurs, but let’s pray it’s only once a decade or something. It’s loud and bad for listening to anything (iTunes, TV, other people in the room, etc.). It’s like a little bitty Oktoberfest with the scope of just our little section of downtown (Regierungsviertel, or “Government quarter” — our neighborhood backs up to to square with some local government offices on it).
Honky Tonk Woman, Cocaine, Summer of ’69, U2′s One, and of course Proud Mary…all performed by wonderfully inept musicians obviously devoid of any sense of shame. If we keep all the windows shut, we’ll drown in our own sweat. If we keep the windows open much longer, we’ll go insane.
It’s a tough choice.
In other news, my very first privately-owned laptop arrived in the mail today and I wrote this post using it. I still have a lot of tweaking to do, but the basic functionality is there. Had to use ndiswrapper to get the WLAN working, but I got used to all of the painful parts of that with my desktop computer. Next up: I’ve got to get video drivers from openchrome.org working, with the hope that I’ll be able to take advantage of thix WXGA display (1280×800) instead of a crappy, distorted 1024×768 stretched over a screen designed for 1280×800).