As I announced in my last post, RFI is officially going the way of the dodo. Effective as soon as I decide to do it, I’ll be replacing it with a redirect to http://imjasonh.com, where the real fun is. It’s so much nicer there anyway.
So this is just a notice to anyone who wants to go back through the archives for one last romp, now’s the time. Either way, I’ll see you on the other side.
Due to a change in motivation, Radio Free Internet is turning off the transmitter, dismantling the antenna, dropping the sub-domain and moving on over to ImJasonH.com. Please update your bookmarks and feeds and I’ll see you on the other side!
Additionally, if anyone is interested in purchasing a dismantled metaphorical antenna, please contact me. You can never find a buyer for stuff like that.
There’s one album I really wanted to write about during my break more than any other. It’s a great album, and barring a fantastic seven months of music, it’ll probably rank very high on this year’s top ten. The album I’m talking about is Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere.
Gnarls Barkley is a collaboration between Cee-Lo and in-demand producer DJ Dangermouse, and I have to say, neither party has done better work that I’ve heard. The project turns out to be a mix of soulful R&B and ingenious beats, truly the best of both worlds.
The songs themselves are entertaining through and through, they never get old, and the album is one of those that you can just put in and hit Play, sit back, and be confident in the fact that you are in for a treat.
It’s already swept the blogosphere in my absence, and it’s all over the radio, so you’ve probably already heard them, but I’ll take this opportunity to urge you a little more – if you haven’t bought this album, you’re missing out and you won’t have any friends unless you own it. If that’s not enough reason for you, maybe these tracks will help:
If the tracks still haven’t sealed your purchasing fate, then there’s probably no help for you. Enjoy your solitude, nerd.
Apparently when I say, “More Tomorrow,” that secretly translates to “I’m going to go out of town for the weekend and not have internet so not really more until Sunday.” Sorry about the misinterpretation on your part.
I’ve got a ton of stuff to write about. Tons of music, tons of news and other stuff, so let’s get crackin’, shall we?
The first thing I want to talk about it Eef Barzelay. I wrote about his solo album, Bitter Honey, as part of a Clem Snide/Eef megapost-type dealy, and I got the opportunity to see the man perform live a week or so ago at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland. The show was absolutely great, for a lot of reasons. The Tavern is probably the smallest venue I’ve ever been to, which is great for an artist like Eef because it means a much more personal show. There were probably somewhere between fifty and a hundred people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder inside this bar to see him.
And the music itself was great. He played a lot of songs off his solo album, but also a bunch of Clem Snide stuff. There were even a few Clem Snide songs reworked seemingly on the spot into completely new versions of old favorites. He even slid into a Neutral Milk Hotel cover near the end, which was equally as unexpected as it was mind-blowingly awesome.
The thing I never knew about Eef is that he’s got the weirdest and sweetest stage dance he does while he plays. It’s kind of a rock-and-let-the-music-move-you movement, which he says one of his fans in Washington, D.C., said looked like he was autistic. And you know, I can kind of see it. No offense (to Eef or autistics).
All in all the show was great, and I’d recommend you try to go see it, except Cleveland was his last show, so you missed the boat on that one. Sucks for you.
Anyway, it was an absolutely incredible show, and Eef Barzelay is an incredible artist, so if you haven’t heard Bitter Honey yet, you should. Don’t waste a single second, do it now.
It looks like plenty of blogs are rekindling their flames as Summer starts. Two of my favorites in particular, Veritas Lux Mea and Xooglers both started back up recently, much to my delight, and reminded me that I should probably kick-start Radio Free Internet’s dusty generators again. So here goes…
Like I said, it’s been quite a month. At work, I wrote my very first “professional” web application and learned more in a month than I have in three years of college. On the school front, I finished up that third year of college with one of the best semesters so far, despite having Bronchitis through most of finals week. I moved out of my dorm into another, temporary dorm, from which I’m moving into a house in a couple weeks. Needless to say, I’ve been keeping busy.
All in all, I’m glad I took this break. Either I would have killed myself trying to get posts up, or (more likely) I would have half-assed all over the place and that’s really not fair to what few readers I have.
But I’m here to say, the break is over. I’ve got a laundry list of things I want to write about, and plenty of time to do it. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll conjure up the willpower to redesign the site and upgrade the WordPress installation while I’m at it.
Don’t touch your radio dials, kids, this is gonna be good. More tomorrow.
At the high-scale restaurant where I work it’s quickly becoming that time of year where you see two adults decide to “make it official” and tie the knot. We don’t get to see the ceremonies, we don’t get invited to the reception, we just get to serve them at their rehearsal dinners the night before. In some cases we get to see the proposal itself, which is always pretty nerve racking for everyone involved. So without further adieu I offer to you, the RFI faithful, a collection of songs vaguely tied together by the bonds of marriage, so to speak.
To start things off I decided to go back while still staying fresh. I recently purchased Above by Mad Season but it came out a whopping 10 years ago in good ‘ol 1995. You might not have heard of the band but you’ve definitely heard the sound since the band itself was a marriage of other bands that were very popular at the time: Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. With Layne Staley on vocals and Mike McCready on Guitars it was clear that Seattle was still good at churning out hard rockin’ tunes that were still radio-friendly. It had two real hits, “River of Deceit” and “I Don’t Want Anything”, but see if you agree that it’s a little creepy that a side-project sounded this good because it really shows how good the other bands really are.
After the old piece comes the new, and for me the newest music I’ve found is Live’s yet-to-be-released album titled Songs From Black Mountain. For those unfamiliar with the band you might remember them from the 90s as well when they released their multi-platinum Throwing Copper. This is their seventh album and these guys are still a rock band. Nothing reminds me of a marriage more than a band that’s stuck together for almost 20 years without breaking up. It’s really a testament to these guys that they’ve been able to pull it off for so long. This offering is a little older and a little wiser but still the same great band at heart. “The River” is their current single and you might hear it on a radio near you any day now if you’re listening really closely for it.
This one might be a stretch but I was desperate. For my borrowed selection I chose Dream Theater’s cover of Elton John’s classic “Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” off of their A Change of Seasons EP. While they borrowed the song from a natural hit-maker like Elton they definitely put their own twist on it and made it sound all their own. They adapted the tune into a new classic, something that two people definitely need to learn how to do to be successful in a marriage. It’s all about compromise, or so I’m told, and this song shows how you can blend the old sounds into new ones and make something unique and personal to a whole new generation of fans. Feel free to break out your lighter and sway to the first half but be prepared to rock out for the second half.
Last but certainly not least is my current favorite album: Taproot’s Blue Sky Research. This CD was released last year but I just recently got into it. A friend of mine told me to buy some of their stuff and I did so on that recommendation alone. I decided to start with their latest effort and work backwards, and boy am I glad I did. While you’re listening see if you can hear pieces of Chevelle and Deftones and see how the sounds of harmonic and screaming vocals marry together to give a nice coherent sound in the end. Along with a great sound are great lyrics, definitely worth checking out as well. Oh, and you may have heard “Calling” on the radio last summer, sadly it was their one and only real hit.
So there you have it, a nice compilation package for your aural pleasure tied up nicely with a bow and set gently on the gift table. Be sure to check your mailbox for a thank you card even though I can guarantee you won’t find one in there from me. If you email me though I’ll definitely send you a reply, it’s almost the least I could do for you, the dedicated RFI readers.
First off, I want to offer my sincerest apologies. I’ve been very busy lately, and I’ve let RFI take a back seat, and that’s unfair to you, the reader.
I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I would venture to say it’s my dream job. I get to write professional-grade web applications in a professional environment with professionals. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had a job that I didn’t just take to tide me over until something better came along – this job is the “something better” I’ve been waiting for.
Unfortunately, the time required of me has been taking its toll. I spend hours a day at work on the computer, and when I get home I want to do anything but stare at another screen. Of course, then there’s the computer programming homework I have to do. By the time I would usually have time and desire to work on something RFI-related, I’m completely over anything involving a keyboard and mouse.
And so I’m proposing a vacation. School will be over for me in about a month, and hopefully work will become less taxing. It’s then that I hope to have energy enough to put anything more than unadulterated half-assery into RFI.
Writely’s Really Freakin’ Awesome
Google’s new acquisition, Writely, is a stab at the heart of one of Microsoft’s mainstays – the oft-maligned but utterly universal Word. Except this time, in typical Google fashion, there’s a revolutionary spin. This time, all the work is done online. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection (and an invite to Writely’s private beta, for now) can upload, edit, export, and collaborate with others on online Word documents, along with RTF, OpenOffice, HTML, and plaintext documents. Oh yeah, and it’s free.
It’s kind of like 37Signals‘ Writeboard, except with a lot more features and a much better UI. I have to say, I love this thing. I loved it so much that I wrote this update on it! Google’s had a lot of hits and misses. This one looks like a definite hit.
I don’t know how many other people subscribe to podcasts anymore these days, but I know I just love them. One of my favorites is Inside the Net (odeo / feed). It’s a tech podcast led by Amber MacArthurt and podcast magnate Leo Laporte, featuring interviews with popular internet operations. In the past, they’ve interviewed the masterminds of some of the internet’s best sites, including Pandora, TechCrunch, MAKE, 37Signals, and YouTube.
One of my favorite things about it is the fact that, unlike most Laporte-produced podcasts, he doesn’t talk the whole time. Sometimes he just grates on me. Luckily, Amber does most of the interviewing, and like a good interviewer, she lets the subject do the talking. In the end, it’s my favorite of the TWiT network podcasts, and for good reason. Interesting content, interesting guests, and a tolerable amount of Leo.
Video (courtesy of YouTube)
Here’s the first (and possibly only) episode of the hilarious House of Cosby, a cartoon parody featuring multiple Cosby-clones. Unfortunately, its future is up in the air ever since Bill Cosby’s team of lawyers gave it the ol’ Ceast and Desist.
Just a friendly reminder to never ever copy that floppy, brought to you by the roaring 1980’s and a misinformed view on computers.
Some amateur actor re-enacts a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and actually makes it pretty entertaining. He’s no Gene Wilder, but it’s still pretty good.
I don’t know about you, but I happen to see this Nickelodeon commercial just about every twelve seconds whenever I watch TV (which has been a lot this week). What makes it even more infectious is the fact that I’m pretty sure Jack Black says “lick a tittie” in the lyrics. Twice even. It’s like a Where’s Waldo for sexual propositions.
The More You Know
Sometimes I wonder where bands get their names. Turns out, some of them are really interesting terms (to me at least), so I figured I’d share:
A rogue wave (or freak wave) is a mysterious ocean occurence culminating in waves much larger than usual, known to capsize ships without warning.
The Wilhelm scream is a common movie sound effect originally recorded in the 1950’s. The sound effect has been duplicated and used in dozens of films, including every Star Wars film, Kill Bill, The Two Towers, and even Anchorman. Chances are you’ve heard the Wilhelm scream tons of times, and just never knew it. A sound clip is available from the Wikipedia article.
In history, the Decembrist revolt, from which the Decemberists get their name, was a very short-lived attempt at overthrowing the Russian monarchy in 1825.
I’ve written about The Tiny’s uniquely haunting style before, and they even made it onto the RFI Best of 2005 compilation, so you know they’re good. Well, lucky us, they’ve released a new album in Europe, and it’s on its way to America as we speak (hopefully). The album, Starring: Someone Like You, is more Tiny greatness – simple melodies, haunting vocals and lyrics, and just all-around musical beauty. Needless to say, listening to it made my week. Hopefully it’ll have the same effect on you!
Just about the day after my last post, Saves the Day’s new album, Sound the Alarm, leaked out onto the internet, just a couple weeks before its April 11th release date (but it when it comes out). I have to say, I was a little prehensive going in to it, but it ended up being pretty good. I’ll admit, I think the singer’s voice has gotten more annoying since I listened used to listen to them. See what you think:
This week’s pick for Best New-to-Me Artist is Jem. Her sound is kind of like Imogen Heap and Esthero mixed together and put over a hip-hop beat. If you can’t pick it up from that sentence, I think she’s amazing. It’s artists like Jem that make me mad I didn’t know about them years ago. Here are some tracks off her 2004 album, Finally Woken.
Not being at my regular computer, I wasn’t able to get any Jem tracks up for download. Instead, mosey on over to Jem’s official website and check out some tracks there. I was going to start you off with “They", “24″ and “Save Me", which happen to be the preview tracks anyway! Sweet serendipity!
KT Tunstall came in a close second for the New-to-Me Artist – we’ll give her honorable mention. I found out about KT Tunstall through VH1’s You Oughta Know, and decided to grab a copy of her album, Eye to the Telescope. Her style goes back and forth between really great soulful country-pop and fairly tame adult contemporary stuff, so about half of the album’s really great. Here are a few from that half.
That’s it for me. Sorry it took so long to get here, and let me know what you thought about being able to see this update take shape. Peace out, home slices!
I’m trying out a new thing. Watch this space to see the next post on Radio Free Internet take shape. Of course, the combined forces of homework, workwork, and my Spring Break might make this update a little long in coming, but that’s cool, you can read it right now!
If this works out, I might make it a regular feature, so let me know what you think!
Site Updates Extravaganza!
I’m still trying to redesign the site. Turns out I can’t do anything even remotely visual without nitpicking and hating every pixel of it. I’ll stumble upon something eventually, maybe, probably not.
In the meantime, I’ll be adding a few minor changes here and there, probably in the vicinity of the sidebar. The first one of these is the addition of a Talkr podcast. No, no, no, I didn’t start an actual podcast. Talkr is a text-to-speech module that takes RFI, speechalizes it, and wraps it up in a nice little package for all you on-the-go types out there who love listening to a computerized voice going on and on about every boring thing on the internet.
Videos A-Go-Go! (courtesy of YouTube)
Bracketman (1:30) - A nice little ditty dedicated to all those bracketologists out there.
I’m the Juggernaut Bitch! (9:08) - A redubbed episode of the old X-Men cartoon from days of yore. I laughed a little too much at this, but it does get pretty old near the end.
Some kid has too much time on his hands (0:13) - That’s not to say I don’t wish I could do this.
Peter Jackson accepts the Empire Award for Best Picture for King Kong (4:14) - …by showing some bloopers from the filming of the movie. I’ll admit, it’s pretty funny.
Gadgets: The Lighting Round! (via Gizmodo)
Apparently sick of me only linking to Engadget, the Giz guys went crazy with a flurry of sweet gadgets, from the useful iPod battery extender to the quaint GummiLights and the kitchy push pin lamp. But then they got all badass and introduced the sweetest gun this side of the BFG-9000.
Here’s a reason to never become a human guinea pig: “…Six volunteers in the first trial were, as one witness said, “exploding”. Minutes after being given the drug they had suffered catastrophic reactions, screaming and begging for help. It was like “a living hell”, said a witness.”
Scientologygate 2006: After Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology had last Wednesday’s episode of South Park pulled for its anti-Scientology message, Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, quit the show. Fortunately for us, Trey and Matt have fought back with a scathing press release. Wonder what all the fuss is about? Wonder no more.
Kent State Basketball Team Massacred By Ohio National Guard In Repeat Of Classic 1970 Matchup - Okay, okay, I’ll admit, this one probably isn’t real.
Music Like There’s No Tomorrow!
I got the chance to see Dream Theater play last night, as part of their 20th anniversary tour. The show had no opener, the band played two complete sets and an incredible encore, and my face was rocked off completely. The whole tour looks like it’s all pretty small venues, for that great face-to-face experience with the band, and there are only eight more shows (including a live DVD being recorded in New York City), so if you get the chance to see them, please do yourself a favor and do it. For everyone else, listen to this live Dream Theater track and pretend! It’s from the Live at Budokan CD / DVD (it’s almost eight minutes long)
Dream Theater - As I Am (live)
A friend of mine came across a cache of Dresden Dolls covers and live material on our college network, and I must say, some of them are absolutely fantastic. The cover of “Hallelujah” is especially amazing, but they’re all well worth your time.
The Dresden Dolls - Karma Police (Radiohead cover)
The Dresden Dolls - War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
The Dresden Dolls - Two-Headed Boy (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
The Dresden Dolls - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover, must listen)
This week, I came across a copy of a tour-exclusive acoustic EP from Saves the Day, called Bug Sessions, Volume One. I’ve been a casual fan of Saves the Day since high school (mostly I just love Stay What You Are), and I’m always down for acoustic guitars, so this was really a win-win for me. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Threadless $10 T-Shirt Sale - click that link to help Radio Free Internet by wearing a stylin’ shirt.
Happy 21st Birthday Lauren!
End of the Post!
I don’t wear watches. I just don’t. I don’t like the feel of them. There is one watch out there that might convince me to put aside my desire for comfort in the endless pursuit of quaint time-telling. That watch is Fossil’s Frank Gehry watch, which displays the time in a more fluid way. Rather than displaying, 9:52, it prints out “8 til 10″ (as shown below). Of course, style like that comes with a price, and that price is $150. So until I decide I need to wear two months worth of Wendy’s Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers on my arm, I’ll stick with my pocketwatch.
In other gadget news, the world’s largest-capacity USB thumbdrive was released recently: the Iocell Celldisk, a tiny black stick that can hold up to 16 GB of documents, music, movies, and basically everything else in the world. With that much storage, why bother with a hard drive? Apparently I’m not the only one thinking that.
Microsoft, striving to stay relevant in the tech industry, actually managed to generate some hype over its new Origami tablet PC, which they released at CeBit this week. I’ll admit, I was more than a little underwhelmed. It’s a tablet. Probably the only interesting things about it are the keyboard input system and the fact that there’s a SlingPlayer for it.
I get the feeling the guys at the ‘Plex are kind of tipping their hand a little. Official word about the GDrive slipped out, and not even a week later they acquire Writely, an online editor for Word documents (as well as OpenOffice, RTF, and PDF) that can store and convert your documents as well. Writely on its own was a great idea, but didn’t have the cash flow to make their service as popular as it could have been. Luckily, Google swooped in with their infinite storage and capital to fix all of that.
And in another move to make my dreams of an online GOffice suite come true, leaked screenshots of a Google project called “CL2″ made their way to one of my new favorite tech blogs, TechCrunch. The design is still pretty primative, and every report I’ve heard says it will still be a while before this goes public (and “beta” you can assume), but I’m still salivating at the thought.
Oh, and on top of all this innovation, Google still found the time to completely rehaul their search arrows. Stop the presses, everybody.
There’s a great article at 37 Signals about what Google’s future office plans might entail. Worth a read.
LifeHacker’s Download of the Day is KeyTweak, a program that will re-map your keyboard to your exact specifications (and potentially really piss off your roommate).
Stereogum delves into the mystery behind hacked camera-phone pics of Fall Out Boy’s bassist Pete Wentz in the buff. Why, I have no idea. It does beg the question, why do celebrities like seeing themselves naked so much?
WMMNA has a really interesting article about the future of video games, and the part the new Nintendo Revolution may or may not play in it.
As you probably didn’t know, this past Wednesday was International Women’s Day, as designated by the United Nations. Since that’s the case, I’ve decided to showcase a few musical acts of the “fairer sex” today on RFI.
Ambulette has been featured on RFI before, but they get a mention here again to commemorate the release of their new EP, called The Lottery. It’s mostly the same songs as the demos posted before, but there are some minor changes, and two new songs.
I heard about Haley Bonar from You Ain’t No Picasso last month, and immediately began searching for more. She was opening for RFI-favorite Andrew Bird, and was starting to gain some buzz all her own, with her folksy and beautiful music. Well, I found some, so I figured I’d share some with you, the reader. These songs appear on Haley’s 2003 record, The Size of Planets
The Like Young are another band I heard about from YANP last month (I promise I read other blogs, I really do). Matt gave them quite a shining review, and drew heavy comparisons to another popular twosome, Mates of State, albeit much more guitar-driven than the Mates.
Well, after listening to a little more of their material, I’m not really sure that comparison is very accurate – they’re still good, but they don’t really have the quirky vocal style that Mates of State have come to be known for. Either way, they’re still worth a listen. Here are some tracks from their 2004 album, So Serious.
I guess while we’re on the subject, I could probably provide some material for comparison. Here are some tracks from Mates of State’s upcoming album, Bring It Back, due out on the 21st.
Mates of State have a style completely their own, both musically and lyrically. Within the first five seconds of any Mates song, the chord structure and unique vocal style immediately let you know you’re listening to great music.
Last but not least, I’d like to thank everyone who reads RFI for, well, doing that. I found out that RFI is ranked #105 on The Hype Machine’s music blog rankings, and it’s quite an honor to come so close to cracking the top 100. I even miraculously managed to beat out my personal favorite blog, Veritas Lux Mea (how, I have no idea). Thanks for all your support, readers.
Until next time, Seacrest…out.