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March 12, 2006

Why I Just Keep On Lovin' MySpace When it Done Treat Me So Bad

I really don't like MySpace. In fact, I dislike almost everything about it. The design seems shoddy, the pages are badly organised, it can be really hard to find anything you're interested in, pages play unsolicited music and video at you, if you open 86 MySpace pages at once it crashes Safari, and, you know. So on.

However, it appears that we are rapidly approaching the point where every band in the entire world ever has a site on MySpace. Most of them stick new tracks on there too, either to listen to online or occasionally to download. Karine Polwart and Benji Kirkpatrick have full songs to download, different from those I've linked to in Potted Music (which incidentally I have updated again to add Croft No. Five). Jim Moray's makeup is channelling David Bowie, and Jon Boden has a track to download from his forthcoming electric solo album. Peatbog Fairies, who I was unable to find any downloads at all for when putting together the potted music page, have three tracks on MySpace for download. I clicked on a random pic of a user with a melodeon, and discovered it was Rees Wesson, who sold me my D/G Castagnari Studio a few weeks ago.

And so it goes. All the bands friend each other, so you can follow traces from the bands you like to all the other bands you like, and all the bands you probably ought to like, and the fans of all the same bands as you, and you're sure you recognise that woman from the festivals last summer, or who you saw at the folk club. Bands are the natural social networking contagion agent. Other networking sites create little circles of existing friends, and yes, they overlap. But with myspace, you link people together by the bands they like. Works for me.

Posted by Alison at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2006

Accordion Hero

Erik Olson wrote to tell me that the button-melodeon teaching game I was searching for actually has a web site. It's called Accordion Hero, and is the latest game from Schadenfreude Interactive, the company that brought you Need For Speed: Underhill, Grand Theft Ottoman and Hannibal Crossing.

I want one.

Posted by Alison at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2006

Hail Music

I've updated the Potted Music page, mostly because I discovered a link on TradTunes to a free sampler album from HAIL Music. They're a collective of Highlands and Islands labels, and the sampler includes Blazing Fiddles, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis, amongst others. You will have to register with Trad Tunes to see the tracklisting, but still. Great stuff.

In one of those weird coincidences, The Wailin Jennys came to London just after Erik Olson recommended them to us, so we saw them at the Borderline. We were surprised to realise that the lineup has changed from the one on the album 40 Days, with Annabel Chotsvek replacing Cara Luft. This is a slight problem for me, because the Cara Luft songs were amongst my favourites on the album, and I'm definitely going to check out her solo work. Which I can, because there are mp3s on her site. Try No Friend of Mine. But the Jennys are still worth seeing; great harmonies, clever instrumentation including good use of small drums, and consistently strong material becuase they benefit from all writing songs.

The Wailin Jennys were part of an Americana season at the Borderline where in this case 'Americana' seems to mean 'all bands from North America with any traditional overtones at all'. In a couple of weeks that will include Enter the Haggis, a celtic rock band that people regularly recommend to me. They have downloads on their site: try December Ends.

If that wasn't enough of sweet female harmonies we also saw Rachel Unthank & the Winterset at Bush Hall. The Unthanks are sturdy Northern lasses with lovely voices. And a little bit of clog-dancing, which looked a bit trepidatious on the Bush Hall stage.

Rachel Unthank was supported by Helen Roche, an Irish traditional singer with a couple of mp3s on her website (try Willie O), and by Emily & Hazel Askew, who play fiddle and melodeon.

In other news, we have a new car! New as in so shiny new that I couldn't work out what the "17M" on the dashboard meant (yes, it was the odometer). It has all sorts of superfluous technology, including a hands free remote, so that the car automatically (and silently) unlocks when you approach. Which is absolutely like living in the future.

Posted by Alison at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)