Friday Music – The Preatures – “Girlhood”

A surprisingly good album with 80’s throwbacks. This pop rock group will have you thinking of icons from Cyndi Lauper to Sting and The Police.

The first three tracks are super and set the tone for the rest of the album – a straight rocker, a rocking ballad with country twangs and sweet chugging synth pop – all with such 80’s infusion, it’s the album equivalent of watching an episode of Stranger Things…..fewer monsters though.

The album is a burner, well worth exploration. Vocals never fail to offer fragility and strength in equal measure – the front-woman Manfredi can really sing. Lyrics and production show a mature understanding of their craft. Highs and lows make it a dynamic listen. There may be one or two too many songs on the album, but even the less arresting songs are better than most – I can see how it was a hard list to cull.

This album was offered up as a recommendation by Google Play and I am so glad it was.

Streaming and ownership

If I can consume media with purpose then I will be happy. Too often though, I feel like media is force fed to me like a scene out of A Clockwork Orange.

I have decided to make a change in music subscription services – from Google Play Music to Tidal. New MQA Masters catalogues on Tidal are a factor, as are my future plans to integrate with a service such as Roon. Roon lets you interact with the music you listen to like we used to with CDs and LPs.

All of this is a rather futile effort to mitigate against the fact that when we stream our music or TV or movies, we no longer own the content. It’s a mindset from another time I guess but to pay for a service rather than a piece of art seems like a poor deal.

At least it is convenient and works on my phone though.

 

The tech urge within

For some reason the world of audiophile technology and tech hardware has become extremely refined in its marketing of products. The premium that must be paid to own a new high grade audiophile amplifier is insane. And yet….

And yet I want one as if it is going to cure my human condition. I don’t understand this urge. Why do I feel so intensely that I have to be part of this tiny group of people that spend their children’s school fees on audio equipment? Do I honestly believe the music will sound THAT much better? No. Sigh…..

I think the truth is that there are many industries that have tapped into this tribal urge to belong – Apple being the most obvious. An iPhone essentially does the same thing as a phone one tenth its price – and yet the company’s revenues go up and up. People want to spend money on things which make them feel part of a group.

The trick is to decide what will make a tangible difference to life, and what is merely hype.

The latest iPhone will not out-perform my Motorola to the point that my life improves. And neither will a new amplifier improve the performance of my headphones.

The pull is strong indeed though. It’s like these companies are using the Jedi force to extract my wallet from my pocket, and it is all I can do to push it back in.

That’s my consumer culture rant for the day. Back to work 🙂

NYT top albums of 2016

I am a little late finding this list, but I am looking forward to listening to these albums. Like most of us, when I listen to music I end up in a bubble of stuff I know that I like. These sorts of lists help me break the bubble, spread my wings, climb towards the sun in a musically enlightened arc like a giant audiophile eagle!

ahem….

What I mean to say is, it’s a cool list 🙂

What does your work mean to you?

I found this cool video of Pearl Jam titled with a probing question. It got me thinking about what the work we do means to us. Clearly we can’t all be Eddie Vedder answering a call to sing while surfing (how’s that for a fairy tale?) – but I believe we can always make our work more meaningful. In fact what better thing to try and do in life?