Category Archives: music

Beta Male’s (Long Overdue) Debut Album

Beta Male Live

Remember how it’s not a secret I dig Nathan Monk? Well, in much the same way, it’s hardly a secret that I really like the musical stylings of local band Beta Male. They play in a style that Nick summed up best as “sex pop,” a really catchy blend of millennial indy rock with an 80’s twinge at the edges, and some of the best suited vocals I can name. I picked up their EP when I saw them open for Freezepop, and I long ago picked up their “Husband’s Girlfriend” EP to keep it company, but now there’s finally a full-length album. I’ve been listening to my copy since the release show, and if it disappoints in any way it’s simply that it’s not longer.

So, I don’t talk or plug music much around here. It’s not my scene, but, I’m going to encourage you all to follow a link below to the digital music purveyor of your choice and plunk down the whole $9 you need to get their album. And, if you go through Zune or Amazon, another few bucks will get you the “Husband’s Girlfriend” EP, which has my personal favorite track of theirs (“Mirror Ball”). So, all of you should be able to afford to show these guys some love, right?

iTunesBeta Male (LP)

Alpha and Omega

Back in high school I was a member of a rock band for a fleeting moment. My experience programming drums for it would lead after the band ended to my career as DJ Mace through college. And the frontman for that band, the kid who got me going on it all, was my friend Sam Hartman.

Who’s now a member of Anagnorisis (“the point in the plot especially of a tragedy at which the protagonist recognizes his or her or some other character’s true identity or discovers the true nature of his or her own situation”. -Merriam-Webster). Anagnorisis is blackened death metal, bringing in the traditional anti-theist lyrics of the black fork and blending it with the deeper vocals and chug of the death fork. In short: they’re kinda heavy.

They’re actually, for that matter, a little heavier than I usually listen to even my music, which possibly shuffles them closer to “brutal.” But hey, you got to support your friends in life, and Anagnorisis seem to be developing rather a name for themselves.

And, I missed it, but earlier this year they started distributing their new album/ep— Alpha and Omega– free online. So, I encourage you all to slide on over to their site and give them a shot. And, I think if you like Alpha and Omega, their first album, Overton Trees, is still available from the usual digital download sources (no, iTunes, Amazon, you know, the ones where people get money for their work, silly).

Zune Software Introduces Smart DJ


Zune's "Smart DJ" Attempting "The Brustkern Test"

Yeah yeah yeah, I’m one of the odd dudes who went with a Zune over an iPod. It’s been covered on here. But, today the Zune software updated to add a Smart DJ feature, looking to counter Apple’s much-hyped Genius engine.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of good dynamic playlists. It’s what kept me using Exaile and Listen! on Ubuntu before I bought the Zune, and it was sorely missed when I made the switch. And now it’s back. And, I can justify my Zune Pass further because it’ll let me toggle whether to include local only (traditional dynamic), or to shuffle what I have with recommendations from their online catalog (much more like Pandora, but without the feedback loop).

And, so far, it seems solid. I was worried. Their “Rock Picks For You” playlist seemed to have me confused with my assistant manager (I don’t even like Nickelback, I don’t need half my list to be them, darn it). Smart DJ is considerably better at it’s job. I am pleased.

I am also spent. It’s nighty-night for this Zed. More later.

Zune Pass: Verdict

So, I’ve finished my 14 day spin of Microsoft’s intriguing (and badly advertised) music subscription plan. Well, the lite version, anyway, since I didn’t get the 10 tracks to keep. Still, what I had was near infinite access to music, both at my computer and from the device (the bit that enticed me to begin with).

Here’s what I can say:

I figured initially, with the going rate for music downloads on Amazon what it is, I’d need to consume at least 18 albums a year before Zune would even begin to break even. I think I had downloaded more than that in the first 8 days. Whole albums, selected guilty pleasure tracks, you name it. and, beyond that, I could listen to entire songs on demand even without downloading, and all on the legal up-and-up. It was, in a word, addictive. It was downright addictive. I’m spoiled. There were too many moments in a mere 14 days where I went “man, I should’ve remembered to rip that… oh, wait.” It was brilliance.

Now, a year from now, when I’ve explored music to my little metal heart’s content, this story might change. But I can forsee it taking a year before MS’s little subscription plan wears on me. 120 tracks a year plus infinite sampling, it turns out, is just fine for how I approach music. Namely, I want to hear it all and want to keep rather little of it.

The Zune Pass

So, I just recently upgraded my PMP for the first time in half a decade (I went from a 30GB Zen Xtra to a 120GB Zune Original). I’m actually quite pleased (despite the main market being between devices from two companies I hold at arms length when it comes to liking), and I’m really pleased with the way Zune Originals supports artists with the surprisingly trendy and awesome ‘custom’ designs you can buy. I got an etching from Ippei Gyoubu. But that’s all secondary to what I want to get at here, and that’s my takes so far on the fairly hotly debated “Zune Pass”.


Bands and Mind Changing

Just got back from seeing local band “Beta Male”, who quite rocked my world and who I hope I can deal with and bump into more in the future, and the perennial Grimey favorite, Freezepop. It was a stellar show, and thank you to both bands for making my week rock.

Now, about the walkabout next week, we’ve changed our mind. There’s a little ray of sunshine on Wednesday morning. Not enough to drag a model out, but enough that we’d just be weak if we didn’t hoof it out there and try to find a shot worth taking. If you’re free Wed morning at 8, come join us.