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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Copperfield Mix

Posted by Peder on 9 August 2010

Last week I put the finishing touches on the following mix.  I’m really proud of this one.  It’s got some really rocking grooves, a mix of new tunes and old familiars, and flows pretty nicely from one song to the next … if I do say so myself!

My Copperfield Mix

I’ve really been impressed by some of the covers Lissie has put together recently, and Foxy Shazam still has to be my favorite find of 2010.  The Checks have a fun new album out as well, and jumping on their bandwagon now gives you the chance to say “I knew about them back when …” in a year or two when they eventually blow up.

the Copperfield explanation


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Music Mix and Podcast Update

Posted by Peder on 30 January 2010

I’ve blogged before about music mixes and podcasts I like.  Here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to recently.

Music for the Appreciation of Nature

I was running on a wooded trail a few weeks back and realized I didn’t have the right mix for appreciating nature.  Such a mix would be more subtle than other running inspiration I’ve used.  Its dulce tones would foster quiet reflection.  To contrast, a few bombastic, awe-inspiring anthems would enrich the soul with energy and joy … the aural equivalent of the bright sunshine warming my face.  Voilà!

There’s some African stuff in there, southern Asian (Indian), Icelandic … as well as East Asian and electronica sounds.  And a touch of Latin in the second track.  I tried it out on a run last Sunday, and it sounded great.


A bunch of songs I liked from the movies Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (did you know they’re making a 3rd?) and Inglourious Basterds.  It’s meant to be shuffled; I don’t have a set play order for these tracks.  Of particular note is that Santa Esmeralda version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”  It’s a 10 minute version, but miraculously never wanes in excitement!

Podcasts (I’ve linked their websites, but it’s probably easiest to grab these feeds through iTunes. Just type the title into the search bar.)

Stuff You Should Know – Hosts Josh and Chuck take on a new topic almost daily on a podcast which is now near the top of the iTunes Most Popular list.  Ranging from totem poles to geocaching to the CIA testing LSD on the public, each episode will teach you something in a fun, informal manner.  Yeah, learning!

All Songs Considered – Ripping the name from All Things Considered, this National Public Radio production looks into the modern music scene with an informed perspective.  The commentators can periodically come off a bit pretentious, but I’ve realized the good aspects of the show more than outweigh the bad.

Live Concerts (from All Songs Considered) – Speaking of NPR, they publish live concerts for free online.  Some short sets are even on video.  ‘Nuff said.

Musicheads – New music album commentary from a local radio station.  Their schtick is to ask if an album is “working” for them.  Unfortunately, over the last six months or so, more and more albums seem to work, meaning the show is becoming something of a promotion vehicle for the music they’re playing on the station.  Also, they repeat shows a little too often for my tastes.  In a perfect world they’d have more shows and use the space to rip on a couple albums once in a while.  Especially the ones I don’t like!

The Dinner Party Download – I just started listening to this one, and it has promise.  Each short episode has a quick joke and some fun stories from the past week.  And a drink recipe.  The idea is to prep you with stories and banter for your next dinner party.  Not a bad angle.

The Five Minute Linguist – Being that I’m a language nerd, this show has really peaked my interest.  But it’s not all grammar rules.  Topics range from how do languages spread, to what’s up with Esperanto, to was German almost the official American language?

That Sucks – This is a video blog that highlights little-known comedians.  Each short episode is centered around the theme of something that sucks.  Very funny.

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I ❤ Running

Posted by Peder on 22 January 2010

What can I say, I am hooked.  Line, sinker, done.  I am a born-again massive fan of running.  Specifically, distance running.

My ShoesI first started running in the summer of 2006 after I got sick of the back pains I was getting from sitting in an office chair all day.  I’ll never forget that first jog … I wasn’t gone 10 minutes – had only gotten into the 2nd song on my iPod, and only covered about 8 blocks in the neighborhood – when I returned to my apartment exhausted and mentally beaten up.  My roommate looked up, surprised, and said, “I thought you were going running?”

“I did!” is all I could muster back.  Man that seems like ages ago; last week alone I logged over 28 miles.

I took up the hobby again in earnest last summer.  As it was before, I have a good friend I can hit the pavement with.  It’s nice to have someone else vested in my fitness, and I enjoy the camaraderie and competition that comes from running with a peer.

Let's run!

I also enjoy listening to music.  Running provides a great time to listen to new albums and/or podcasts, both of which I am a massive fan.  And it just so happens that the general length of an album these days is about that of a good, quick run.  Someone planned this, I’m sure!

Exploring running sites has been an awesome way to discover nature around me as well.  It’s amazing how much beauty we miss when we drive by a stand of trees, but taking the time to jog through them really helps replenish an appreciation.

Then there are races.  Man those are a good time — you and a thousand others taking on a course together.  I swear the adrenaline of competition can really put a spring in your step.  Last Thanksgiving I set my personal best on a 10K track (6.22 miles).  I finished in 51:03 and set my personal best, with an average pace of 8:13 per mile.  Setting a PB is just a great feeling, and I look forward to bettering my time this coming spring!

Update:  Running helps beat cabin fever – a great cure for the winter blues!

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New Mixes

Posted by Peder on 7 December 2009

I’ve had some fun lately putting together some new music mixes. What do you think of them?

I started this mix after seeing the movie. It’s a collection of the best of what I listened to in the fall of 2009. Links go to the song’s Last.FM page.

  1. The Born Ruffians – I Need a Life
  2. The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart
  3. Cloud Cult – Journey of the Featherless
  4. The Envy Corps – Rhinemaidens
  5. The Tough Alliance – Something Special
  6. Glas Vegas – Go Square Go
  7. The Magnetic Fields – California Girls
  8. David Byrne and Brian Eno – Strange Overtones
  9. My Morning Jacket – Dancefloors
  10. The Last Shadow Puppets – Age of the Understatement
  11. The Dodos – Fables
  12. Julian Casablancas – 4 Chords of the Apocalypse

Update: I replaced songs 6 and 7 with Raphael Saadiq’s Never Give You Up and Elbow’s An Audience with the Pope, respectively. No knock on the previous songs, I just like the inclusion of these artists.

Slow Ride to the Digital Age
I started this mix a couple years ago when a friend asked for some recommendations for low-fi and downtempo electronic music. I’ve recently updated it.

  1. Radiohead – Palo Alto
  2. The Notwist – Pick Up the Phone
  3. Lali Puna – Bi-Pet
  4. Yazoo (or Yaz) – Mr Blue
  5. Datarock – Computer Camp Love
  6. The Notwist – One With the Freaks
  7. Hot Chip – The Warning
  8. Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek
  9. Q Lazzarus – Goodbye Horses
  10. The xx – Islands
  11. Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy
  12. Air – Alone in Kyoto

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50,000th Page View

Posted by Peder on 29 July 2009

I caught word of a local jazz trio playing last night in Minneapolis so I thought I’d check out their sound on their MySpace page.  (It’s good.)  When the page opened it said I was the 50,000th person to see the page.

50000th Viewer

Thinking there was a mistake I reloaded the page.  Sure enough, 50,000+1.

50001st Viewer, On Reload

I wonder if I win anything?

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Epic Music During a Post Office Showdown

Posted by Peder on 12 June 2009

Post Office Showdown

The strip includes the caveat, That song (“Fight Without Honor or Humanity”) — like “Ride of the Valkyries” — improves *any* situation.  Which is true. 🙂

Can’t remember the songs? Here are some memorable performances of each.

Happy Friday everyone!

Fight Without Honor or Humanity

Flight of the Valkyries (turn your volume up)

Original comic published here.

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Remebering German Music Videos

Posted by Peder on 12 January 2009

A while ago I wrote about my job with the Germanic-American Institute, where I have a lot of flexibility in developing lesson plans.  As one of my classes comes to a close I’ve been looking for some different pieces to bring to the class.  When I was a high school German student I loved the songs my teacher would bring out.  Dorky as they were, they were really helpful in remembering vocab.  And as a professional language teacher I’ve learned adding music to a lesson is a fantastic way to boost language retention — almost without equal, no kidding.  Back in the day we sang Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich from the Beatles.  We ironically sang traditional beer-drinking songs too.  And we sang 99 Luftballons.

I love that song.  An symbolic anti-war song set to a rocking 80s beat.  If I had to pick a theme I’d paraphrase Vonnegut from Cat’s Cradle, “Where’s the threat, where’s the war?”  Here, enjoy it in all its proto-techno glory:

So here’s where am I going with this.  When I broadcast on Twitter that I was looking forward to teaching the song to my class, an old friend pointed me to some other less-heralded songs of the German persuasion … that I might einführ them instead.  Thus I present thee, die Ärtzte and die Prinzen.

“The Doctors” rock.  I’m a fan of their upbeat punkish rock.  Other favorite songs of theirs include Westerland and Wegen Dir.  Here is “Hurra” from 1995.

“The Princes” are significantly cornier, be warned.  But I had to learn this song in 10th grade.  Other songs we learned include Millionär and Küssen Verboten.  I can’t believe I’m admitting to this.  Whatever, here’s “Gabi und Klaus” from 1991.  The 1:25 mark is priceless!

Pretty sure I’m going to completely self-indulge and bring all three of these songs to class on Thursday night!

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Online Holiday Fun

Posted by Peder on 23 December 2008

Xmas in Frisko

Xmas in Frisko

Happy holidays everyone.  We got another dusting of snow overnight in the MSP metro area, bringing the monthly total to something around 14″, making it one of the top 10 snowiest Decembers since they started recording that stuff.  Quite a reintroduction for me, as I’ve spent a lot of recent winters not in the Midwest, but it’s been fun re-learning winter driving techniques (think of a boat over the waves) and who could argue with a white Christmas?

I’ve been spending some more time with Soma FM and their new holiday stations. Xmas in Frisko has been great, with Christmas Lounge on the side for more traditional sounds.

I’ve also been spending some time with Google’s Book Search, which has been expanded and now includes an archive of old magazines on top of the archive of photos from Life magazine.  Very cool stuff.  I decided to look back at what was going on during my first Christmas on earth and found Larry Hagman smiling at me from the cover of a New York Magazine that boasted gift ideas for everyone on your list.  Being from the future, I was naturally drawn to gifts for “The Futurist,” where the Sony Walkman TCS-300 was going for $220. Of course, the ultimate winter outfit would’ve been nice: A reversible fuchsia and turquoise snowsuit that came in one size.  No doubt the $30 lighting rod was the epitome of class, but the four-function calculator and triangle vases would’ve still been pretty trendy in a world yet to experience New Coke, or would they?

Other highlights from that December 1980 issue include a story of a bunch of thirteen-year-olds who hacked Pepsi’s computer system to get cases of cola delivered to their school, questions as to whether President-elect Reagan will give cities the business (no, not the same business [0:39]), and a lot of liquor ads.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad and Happy Kwanzaa.  May Santa bring you everything you secretly hope for!



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My Jingle Was Jiggled: Dance Band Rocks!

Posted by Peder on 20 December 2008


davechappelle-dancingfurcapdudeThese are the right first words to use when writing about last night’s headliners at the Turf Club, Dance Band.  I had a great time watching them rock out up on stage … it was almost as fun as watching the crowd rock out on the dance floor.  I swear the dude next to me spent the whole set doing the robot guy from the Chapelle Show.

From <a href=The fast pace was definitely set by the band and it’s four front-people.  The guitar player kept a series of spacey riffs and geeky tweaks cascading over the top of the pounding beats.  Never over-dominant, I’d look over and watch his fingers just fly over the fretboard.  The bass player had some of the fastest lyrical stylings I’ve seen since Atmosphere.  That’s right, besides funking the funk out, the bassist raps — and gives the band a good third sound when the two singers take much-earned breaks from their own intense rocking. These leading co-conspirators of the dance dance revolution consist of a short ball of brunette energy (fittingly adorned in a Christmas tree hat last night) on female lead, and a shaggy, over-bearded Caucasian of rock-persuasion on male lead.  As it happens that guy, Paul, is an old classmate from my younger, formative school years.  It was a real treat to see how he’s crafted his nerdy retro-rocker onstage persona, especially since I know he was a star running back on our freshman football team.  Armor chinked?  Check.

Self-styled “geekfunk” never had it so good. With song themes based on zombies, Sega video games and UNIX code you get the sense these guys don’t have to stray too far to find song inspiration. You can check out their website which links straight into their Myspace page.  For geeks, they should be doing a lot more online, but I was told they have these things called “day jobs” that prevent this from happening.  Dunno, I’m dubious.

Opening for them were the bands Estate and Mystery Palace.  Mystery Palace took a nice chilled, German laptop rock sound and built heavier, dissonant layers on top of it.  It worked, if not a little down-tempo for the night’s theme.  I spoke to their singer/keyboardist Ryan afterward and he talked about how they bring their jazz influences and traditions into their work.  I’ll definitely be watching the wire for any of their other shows in the area, though it sounds like they’re headed to NYC for a while.

So do yourself a favor and go see Dance Band, and shake your baby maker!

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My Top Albums of 2008 (and Podcasts too)

Posted by Peder on 17 December 2008

Photo by Mahesh Habarakada

Photo by Mahesh Habarakada

I was recently reading yet another magazine’s listing of the top albums of 2008 – this one from Spin – and thought it might be fun to see what new music I’ve been listening to this year. So I concocted a quick smart play list on iTunes and found the following list (in no particular order):

  • R.E.M.Accelerate – When I heard Michael Stipe say this album was politically charged I knew I had to get it.  And when I got it, it took me back to a happy place I once had with their albums of the late 80s and early 90s.  Style and substance:  It rocks, it has innuendo, it’s a great album.  The album plays so well as a set, but some of my favorite songs include “Accelerate,” “Mr. Richards,” and “Red Head Walking.”
  • TV On The RadioDear Science – Holy crap this album blew my socks off.  Like their previous releases, it gets better as it grows on you, but they way they go between percussive jet fuel and tender ballads made me a hard core fan on first listen.  Seeing them live was easily one of, if not the best, show I saw all year.  (Other big one was Radiohead at Outside Lands)  Fave songs include “Halfway Home,” “Family Tree,” and “Shout Me Out.”
  • AtmosphereWhen Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold – I didn’t realize how much I listened to this album until I checked iTunes, but I cranked it a lot.  I suspect some of that came from the fact that I spent a good chunk of the year prepping to come back to Minnesota and these guys are a local favorite, but the album is just good Rhymesayer’s hip hop.  Fave’s include “Puppets,” “The Skinny” and “The Waitress.”
  • BeckModern Guilt – Just good Beck, plain and simple.  I’m a fan of Beck, have liked most of his albums, and have seen him twice in concert.  This album was also a no-brainer for me to get, and it did not disappoint.  Fave tracks include “Gamma Rays,” “Modern Guilt,” and “Profanity Prayers.”
  • The NotwistThe Devil, You + Me – So here’s a sleeper pick, if not for the fact it’s a great late night listen.  For a band that’s really switched it’s style up a lot, this album stayed satisfyingly close to its predecessor Neon Golden, which I also love.  This German laptop rock just has a spot in my heart.  Fave songs include “Where In This World,” “The Devil, You + Me,” and “Good Lies.”
  • Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend – Early, early in 2008 I started hearing about this band from Columbia University and thought I’d give it a go.  So fun and upbeat, each song comes off with a youthful innocence captured by the clean guitar riffs.  Funnest songs include “A-Punk,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” and “Walcott.”
  • The Ting TingsWe Started Nothing – When a buddy told me to get this album I kinda laughed in his cyber chat face.  But then I listened — first calling it a guilty pleasure, then bringing others for the ride.  It’s infectious, upbeat and perhaps a bit overplayed on the local radio station, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.  Guiltiest pleasures include “Great DJ,” “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and “Keep Your Head.”
  • MGMTOracular Spectacular – I felt a bit late to this party cuz I didn’t really get into this album until after I heard them on the air and read about them in Spin.  But I’m here now and this is an album I don’t really go more than a day without hearing at least one of these tracks:  “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feels,” or “Kids”
  • Kings of LeonOnly By The Night – Having been mildly impressed with their debut album, I picked up this album in a bout of drunken downloading and for once am happy with the results!  It’s well-produced and finally gives the singer the official position as band frontman, letting the guitar take its more appropriate role behind the vocals.  I love the songs “This Sex is On Fire,” “Use Somebody,” and “Be Somebody.”  I brought some other thoughts on this album to bear at the end of this post.
  • David Byrne and Brian EnoEverything That Happens Will Happen Today – It only came out recently but man is it good!  I’ve listened to these grooves a lot over the last couple weeks and have to put the album among my faves for the year.  Particular tracks I love are “Home,” “Everything That Happens,” “Life Is Long” and “Strange Overtones.”
  • Raphael SaadiqThe Way I See It – Waiting for a double half-caf Americano at Starbucks (You can take the boy out of California …) I saw one of those free iTunes download cards they give away there.  It was “100 Yard Dash” off this album.  Smooth, Motown melodies that call back to an earlier time.  Woah, we have something here.  Then I put it on when I helped my mom paint her laundry room and it was a hit.  Finally I heard an interview with the Raphael on The Sound of Young America and was impressed with the person behind this great sound.  Give yourself the pleasure of an album you probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise and get this one.  The whole album plays well, but I recommend “100 Yard Dash,” “Just One Kiss,” and “Staying in Love.”  Nah, really just throw that disc on start to finish!

Like I say, these albums were the ones with the highest play counts on my iTunes, which is an admittedly imperfect science.  That count doesn’t take into consideration what I played on my iPod, on CD in my car or on other people’s systems.  But they’re the albums of 2008 that have had a positive influence on this crazy, crazy year of mine.

2008 was also the Year of the Podcast for me, and I listened to a lot of these as well.  I can only see this “radio on-demand” technology growing and having an increased role in my life in 2009.  So, in alphabetical order, here are some of my favorite podcasts of the last year:

  • The Bugle – John Oliver from the Daily Show and his commedy partner Andy Zaltzman have a good English go at the lighter side of the weekly news.
  • Common Sense with Dan Carlin – A guy in Oregon gets political and *thankfully* doesn’t take sides.  “Your independent alternative to the partisan voices you normally hear.”  He makes a lot of sense too, and was a refreshing source of insight during this politically-charged year.
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – A fan of history rather than a professional historian, Dan has a very compelling way of sharing stories and insights from history to his audience in this, his second show.  He’s a lot more fun to listen to than pretty much all of the other history podcasts I’ve tried out.
  • Dear Amber – Insider’s Guide to Chinese Culture – Run by the school I used to teach for (proud much?) and, this podcast goes over Chinese culture from the perspective of expats.  Kinda fits me, and I love to listen and reminisce
  • The Moth – Stories told live without notes.  Very good, interesting tales.  The art of storytelling is not dead!
  • On Point with Tom Ashbrook – Part of the NPR network, On Point provides depth behind current news stories.  Plus Tom Ashbrook is a great interviewer, and it’s great to listen to him work difficult interviewees.
  • The Sound of Young America – I only recently discovered this one but love it for interviewing interesting people.  It’s where I learned a lot about Raphael Saddiq.  Score.
  • WNYC’s Radio Lab – This is a fun show that takes on a different random, interesting topic each episode.  They talk about it, interview people about it, make jokes about it.  And I really like their storytelling/interview style where they stick bits of commentary between parts of the guest’s interviews.  It provides context and adds to the impact of the interviews.  Guess that’s where the “lab” part comes from.

Here’s hoping 2009 will be half as cool as 2008 has been.  I suspect it will!

Edited to Add: I had a look back at my account (which I’m really not using anymore) to see what bands in general I had listened to in 2008.  Here are the top 10 bands I rocked out to, regardless of whether or not they had a new album in 2008:

  1. Arctic Monkeys
  2. Shiny Toy Guns
  3. The Notwist
  4. The Lovemakers
  5. Radiohead
  6. Boards of Canada
  7. Vampire Weekend
  8. TV on the Radio
  9. Beck
  10. Hellogoodbye

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