Tag Archives: last.fm

4 Somewhat Random Musical Facts I Realised This Week

1

Even if by some miracle I’m able to maintain my current average daily playcount, it will take me another twenty years of listening to hit one million plays on Last.fm. I doubt I’ll have that much time.

2

Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the best theme song. There were two versions used over the course of the show – the original by Nerf Herder and a version by The Breeders. Of the two, I prefer the Breeders version, but I swear I had a mad live version in my library by Nerf Herder which trumps them both. I have no idea where I got it from or where it’s gone – I can’t even find a reference to it online. Anyway, here’s a very cool piano version.

There’s also a really nice classical-style version, played by ear no less.

3

CocoRosie’s Daytrotter session is really quite good – worth the hassle to grab via the rather annoying download manager.

4

I have 27 songs in my library with bird in the title, 10 with the word snake (though, to be fair, exactly half of them are different versions of Jeff Martin‘s/The Armada‘s Black Snake Blues), 3 songs each for cat, rat and pig, 8 with dog, 1 with squid and 4 with elephant. This means absolutely nothing, but I’ll use it as an excuse to post the aforementioned Black Snake Blues.

S4E

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Musical Musings (Part III – That’s What I Like)

So here’s the round-out to my previous two posts. To simplify (well, my version of simplify…) I’ve taken the top 100 artists from my Last.fm charts – for the last three months only – and listed them here. There’s just over 100, actually, the last few artists were on equal standing. To be honest, I’m a little surprised at some of the artists/positions, but who am I to argue? Just keep in mind that some who have made an appearance are working their way down, while others are working their way up. Also, because I generally keep my player on shuffle, artists with more albums are likely to appear higher up on the list…

The whole purpose of this exercise is to give a fair representation of my taste in music (the following is about 1/4 of all the artists I have in my library). I began by talking about where it started, took a detour into what I hope to achieve when I talk about music (via talking about what I don’t like) and here’s where I am now – I’m pretty sure they’re all the tools anyone will ever need when deciding whether or not an artist I’m raving about is worth their own time to check out.

I’m not going to add anything to the following – except possibly links to stuff in the future. All you really need to know is – I listen to these:

Tori Amos

Tool

My Brightest Diamond

The Black Heart Procession 

Tricky

The Tea Party 

Christophe Beck

Depeche Mode 

Deftones

Damien Rice

Cat Power

Bon Iver

The Cure

Team Sleep

A Perfect Circle

Scout Niblett

Portishead

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Denali

Dave Gahan

Inga Liljeström

Arab Strap

Massive Attack

Niobe

Beth Orton

Sian Alice Group

The Flaming Lips

Ben Harper

John Lee Hooker

Sarah Blasko

Adem

St. Vincent

Shearwater

New Order

Jeff Martin

Muse 

Lightning Dust

Deerhunter

Tindersticks

Beck

Radiohead 

 Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

ASHES dIVIDE

Lavender Diamond

The Doors

Angus & Julia Stone

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Nine Inch Nails

PJ Harvey

Manchester Orchestra

Martina Topley-Bird

Björk

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man

Nirvana

Beastie Boys

BLACK ERA

Bob Dylan

Piano Magic

Fiona Apple

Rachael Yamagata

植松伸夫 (Nobuo Uematsu)

Black Mountain

Sparklehorse

Puscifer

Scarlett Johansson

Gotye

Neneh Cherry

Faultline

Mazzy Star

Röyksopp

She Wants Revenge

Eels

Goldfrapp

Dawn Landes

Aimee Mann

Spook

This Mortal Coil

Jeff Buckley

DK7

Violent Femmes

Low

Jimi Hendrix

Great Lake Swimmers

Sarah Millyard

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Bat For Lashes

Angie Hart

Ophelia of the Spirits

Nicholas Lens

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lêndi Vexer

The Readies

Pillars and Tongues

Corrina Repp

B.B. King

My Latest Novel

The Killers

Pete Murray

Sonic Animation

Dirty Vegas

The Frames

Tom Waits

For a complete tour of my library or profile, just click on this link.

S4E


Music Resources – Last.fm

Yet another music-related post…

This time, I thought I’d take a more generalised line and share some of my favourite music resources, with the focus being on discovering new  artists. It may not be an incredibly extensive list, but it will be thorough, and I can pretty much guarantee that each resource will benefit those seeking to expand their exposure to new music, and ultimately add to their library.

First cab off the ranks is Last.fm, and at the end of this post I have included links to some of the best downloads (I think) the site has to offer. I’m certain that everyone is aware the internet itself is an incredible tool for research and sharing information, but one thing I want to make clear is that I do not in any way support piracy – in any form. (This does not include artists opting to make their work freely available to the public, such as with the downloads available on Last.fm). Piracy is a huge issue and I won’t delve into it at length here and now, but please remember that not all artists make millions of dollars from their work (and that’s just what it is – work – they should be paid for it). I just want to note that once you have found an artist you like enough to add their music to your collection, do the right thing and support them by buying their albums.

Last.fm

I’m quite sure Last.fm isn’t any great secret – millions of subscribers from all over the world are testament to that; but therein lies its power as a phenomenal resource for discovering new music. To start with, you don’t even need to be a member to take advantage of  the many features Last.fm has to offer. It’s a (fully customisable radio) station, a gig guide, and a directory to access a massive catalogue of artists world-wide – popular or not, signed or struggling, you’ll be able to look up almost any artist you can think of and find out all sorts of statistical information as well as listen to their music.

If you become a member (requires a software download), the first thing Last.fm does  is take a look at your listening habits, via a method called ‘scrobbling’. They use this information to create all sorts of different charts, for you and for the global community. You will be able to see charts for who you listen to the most, which song you listen to the most, which albums you listen to the most and  how many different artists you have in your library. Charts can be viewed in a variety of time frames (only becoming relevant once you have been ‘scrobbling’ tracks for the appropriate length of time) – seven day, three month, six month and twelve month charts allow you to see a visual representation of your taste in music over those time frames. (For statistical nerds like me, staring at personal charts can become a time-consuming habit! Not only that, once I learned how to use Windows Excel, my mind started racing with all sorts of ways I could chart my music collection and make comparitive pie charts – I did already say I was a geek…) 

So, how does this help you discover new music? Well, it doesn’t really. Where Last.fm becomes an almost limitless fountain of information for new music is in the ‘similar artists’ categories. Last.fm will automatically recommend artists based on what you listen to. There’s no great thought behind their method – they take who you listen to and compare it to other users with the same kind of listening habits. This results in them being able to create a list of other artists a great percentage of people who listen to one artist also listen to. (For example, I listen to Tori Amos, so I am continually recommended artists that many other people who listen to her also listen to, like Alanis Morissette). It’s not exactly perfect (I’m not a fan of Alanis Morissette) but I have been recommended some amazing artists that I otherwise would never have heard of, and recommendations can be dismissed at any time, leaving the way open for new recommendations.

Of course, you don’t have to leave it there – I certainly didn’t. On the basis of one of the artists I listen to, I was recommended My Brightest Diamond (whose every album I now own). I took a look at the similar artists listed on the profile for My Brightest Diamond and had a listen to them – all of whom referred to others that I could check out via their respective profiles. You can take it as far as you want to – or have the time for – but chances are very high that you will not only discover a bunch of new music this way, but find several that you wish to add to your own library. One again, you don’t need to be a member to take advantage of this – all you need do is go to the site and search out some of your favourites, then click on any ‘similar artists’ that pique your interest and away you go.

Last.fm also has many artists that offer free MP3 downloads  – ranging from unknown/unsigned artists trying to get their music noticed, to well known musicians who are promoting new releases. Often times downloads are available for a limited time, especially when coming from the more well-known artists, so it’s worth checking often. (My Brightest Diamond does, in fact, offer two fantastic songs for free. That I now own every album is testament to the fact that this method can, and does, work as a way of getting your music noticed. It is never a substitute for the real thing, though!)

Finally, Last.fm also operates as a social networking site. That means that you can connect with other friends and check out what they’re listening to, as well as look up ‘neighbours’ (members with very close taste in music to yours that Last.fm list in a menu on your profile). They also have a forum, and offer the option of creating and/or participating in more specialised group forums.

My favourite Last.fm downloads:

My Brightest Diamond offers Something of an End and We Were Sparkling, from the album Bring Me the Workhorse.

Denali offers Gunner from their self-titled debut, and Hold Your Breath from The Instinct.

Piano Magic offers several songs from various albums and EP’s – particular favourites are I Have Moved Into the Shadow and Help Me Warm This Frozen Heart.

Corrina Repp offers four songs, including Upstairs, Outside and Your Son Now.

 

 S4E