Saturday, January 18, 2014

JFRO'S BEST OF 2013 MIX






This was a pretty diverse year for my music listening, so I hope people enjoyed their New Year's mix CDs. For those who didn't get one (free by request), here's a mix of recent stuff (2012-2013).


This was a year where my taste actually matched the general public at a few points (Daft Punk, M.I.A., Janelle Monae). Shoegaze continued to be big, with new bands (Chatham Rise, A Place to Bury Strangers), a new album by the codifiers (My Bloody Valentine), and even an all-Japanese cover of Loveless. Speaking of covers, DJing in Johnny Urgh's 3-D House of Covers on the late, lamented Turntable.fm got me back into my weird covers obsession (SHONEN Knife, Melvins, Martha Wash). I hope to get back into it on Plug.dj

Stoner rock continued to be big (Windhand, Vista Chino, Dark Earth, Devil to Pay, Orange Goblin, The Quill, Nightstalker). I was glad to discover Red Desert, the Twin Cities' own contribution to the genre. I hope to see them live in 2014.

I now have Pandora access on my living room media system via both networked Blu-ray and Chromecast, but it just doesn't do it for me, I still prefer human-curated radio. Listening to internet radio has not been publicized as a big selling point for Apple TV, but I do it all the time. Mostly Radio K and Sanctuary Radio, but I also discovered Heavy Handed Radio via the Tunein app. Tunein has become my favorite radio app on the iPod Touch, it has the most stations and the least drop-outs.


Spotify has improved this year, allowing web access with no download, making the app more useful for non-subscribers, and eliminating listening limits for the free version. I'm still mostly using it to try out albums to see if they are worth buying, as I hate the commercials, but not enough to pay for it. I did make some playlists, which is always fun. Here's the Spotify version of Jfro's 2013 for Spotify fans. It's missing a few songs (Why no mbv, Spotify?)


I uploaded all my music to Google Music, since my 13,000 songs don't all fit on my iPod. It's also always nice to have another backup.






Track Listing:
 
  • M.I.A: "Y.A.L.A." 
  • Janelle Monae: "Q.U.E.E.N." 
  • Daft Punk: "Get Lucky"
  • Pomdexter: "Call Me a Hole" 
  • Zynic: "Dead End"
  • Diana: "Perpetual Surrender"
  • Windhand: "Orchard"
  • Vista Chino: "Dargona Dragona"
  • Dark Earth: "Time Warp"
  • Red Desert: "Slow Kill"
  • Devil To Pay: "Yes Master"
  • Orange Goblin: "Aquatic Fanatic"
  • Nightstalker: "Soma"
  • The Quill: "Freak Parade"
  • Tar: "Walking the King (Peel Session)"
  • Ted Leo: "Return to Crap Kingdom"
  • My Bloody Valentine: "Only Tomorrow"
  • A Place To Bury Strangers: "Leaving Tomorrow"
  • Chatham Rise: "Oncoming Daze"
  • SHONEN Knife: "When You Sleep"
  • Melvins: "Female Trouble"
  • Martha Wash: "Dream On"











Monday, January 13, 2014

ALL YOUR STREAMS ARE BELONG TO ME



So, Jthbeaux and I are now officially an all-streaming household.  Those Netflix discs were just sitting there for months lately, the evil Comcast finally turned off my cable entirely, the antenna doesn't get NBC, and the EyeTV just stopped working.

The Apple TV is working fine, but the first generation has only YouTube and Flickr as apps, so it's mostly an iTunes content delivery device. I thought I'd try something new, so I bought a Chromecast, since it was only $35. I have my iPad Mini by my side all the time, anyway. 

We decided to get Huluplus, since the Chromecast supports it and it's actually $2 less than the Netflix disc subscription, so a net savings. Finally, I can watch new shows on my schedule without the risk of the recording going wrong, and without a lot of space taken up on my hard drive. You do have annoying commercials, but the HD is great, and since I'm addicted to The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, it also saves me money not having to buy them from iTunes. Netflix also looks better than on my old Blu-ray player, and it's much easier to search for things using the mobile app. 

The main issue I have with Chromecast is that using the iPad Mini as a remote is not as smooth as my trusty Logitech Harmony remote, It could also use more apps, though it's still new, so I'm sure they will come. 

Then, my old Blu-ray player was getting wonky, but my parents were kind enough to get me a new Samsung for a present, It has Amazon Instant Video (I already had an Amazon Prime subscription for the sweet free 2-day shipping) in addition to to Netflix and Huluplus, not to mention many other apps, and the streaming interface is much better than my old one. I think I'll use it for most of my viewing, because I can use my universal remote. It also lets you cast from the Youtube mobile app, which is good because typing with the remote to search for a video is a pain. 

I still like my old AppleTV for streaming Internet radio, listening to my music, and sharing my photos. It's weird that neither the Chromecast or the Samsung have radio apps other than Pandora. It's also nice to have in case there's something exclusive to iTunes.

I'd still recommend Chromecast to someone who wants streaming on their TV but doesn't want to spend much.  I'll keep it to see if more music apps come along (Spotify would be good). 

For movie and TV shows not on streaming, we get a lot of them from the library anyway, so we'll keep doing that.  If I'm OK with waiting, Can I Stream It? will notify me when it's available.