Live Leo

Ted Leo/PharmacistsIt was a year and a week ago that I wrote about Ted Leo/Pharmacists to little notice, but I’m still listening to these records, “The Tyranny of Distance” and “Hearts of Oak,” at least once a week. If anything, I think that what I once saw as Leo’s self-imposed and short-sighted limitations — his obsessive desire to re-create a sound and an energy often deemed lost to the 20th century — now seem more like a very selectively chosen milieu, a platform for an oeuvre. It was always that, of course, but I was reluctant to see it. Now, having watched the rise of a horde of bands who have worked out the science behind a way-back machine down to a decimal point, it’s more apparent to me than ever that Leo’s work is, first, classier and more thrilling than anything else in thrift store clothes, and second, actually forward-looking.

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Old Musical Express

NMEOver the weekend, I picked up a copy of the 01 May 2004 issue of the New Musical Express, a long-running, weekly British music tabloid that I once read at least twice a month but that I now rarely ever glance at. Though the roster of bands that the NME covers has changed over the past decade, the tenor of the journalism is remarkably the same: patently snarky, often hilarious, willfully dismissive and still composed primarily of hot air.

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The Head Case

Sony MDR-7506One of the small but enduring benefits from my time in the dot-com boom was the pair of Sony MDR-7506 studio headphones that, in the early days of abundant venture capital and scarce foresight, one of my former employers handed out to every employee free. When I moved on from that job, I conveniently forgot to hand the headphones back in, and since then I’ve been using them more or less every day.

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Heart on Sleeve

DiscSox DJ SleevesTo take the edge off the Iowa caucuses and Howard Dean’s somewhat shocking third-place finish, I preoccupied myself with the humdrum task of getting rid of all my CD jewel box cases and replacing them with DiscSox DJ sleeves. They’re the only sleeves I could find that hold all the materials that come in a standard CD package: the disc, the booklet and the tray card. So, in spite of the fact that the kind of politics I personally tend towards were slapped silly this evening, I can at least rest assured that I’ve been able to reclaim a few shelves’s worth of storage space for my music collection. Sigh.

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I Found Summer

Donna SummerAs a know-nothing, seventeen year old snob with an ill-informed set of rules for the way art and music should be made, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to completely passing by and paying no attention to a Donna Summer album. But after reading a recent interview with her, my thirtysomething curiosity was provoked, and I bought myself a copy of her disco-era classic “Love to Love You Baby” today. First of all, this cover is remarkable, a gloriously posed expression of emerging sexuality. And second, this music is beautiful, a lush and lilting dance-floor reverie. I regret how long it took me to open up to it.

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Pulp Faction

Relaxed MuscleJarvis Cocker, ex-front man of the destined to be legendary Britpop combo Pulp, is about to release the first full-length CD from his new project, the provocatively named Relaxed Muscle. I had my first sampling today of the song “Be Real,” which is rather shadily offered for download today at Fluxblog. This song is great! It’s like some weird collision of Pulp, “Heroes”-era Bowie and the Fall. It has me totally enthusiastic for an impending album for the first time in a long time. Cocker has always struck me as an oddball genius on the verge of charicaturizing himself into obscurity, so I’m thankful that, in this song at least, he has kept his wits about him and written a truly superb track. You can also catch a video for another of his new tunes at NME.com.

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All Together Now!

RendezvousToday at Behavior, we finally got a majority of the office running iTunes, thanks to the Windows version of this excellent music management, shopping and playing software that was released recently by Apple. This means both the Windows machines and the Macintoshes were all working together without a hitch, and much more seamlessly than just about any other cross-platform technology I’ve ever used.

This is all thanks to Apple’s superb implementation of the Zeroconf technology standard — Apple calls it Rendezvous — which makes networking and sharing ridiculously easy. We had already been using this between the Macs, but being able to see my colleagues’s Windows-bound iTunes music with absolutely no effort left me duly impressed.

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