Archive for January, 2009


bebel gilberto

Over the weekend, I tuned into XM Radio’s world music station. I’ve been doing this more and more lately – ever since we started a short-lived debate about whether NewTunes should include foreign language music.

There’s not much rhyme or reason to their playlist (that I can tell), so it can be very hit and miss. For example, I came across kind of a house/trance jazz song called “Aganju” by a woman named Bebel Gilberto. The song is very ethereal and a bit haunting, and I really loved her voice. Here’s the track…

Immediately after this song, there was a very traditional choral version of “Danny Boy,” the Irish tear-jerker. Wasn’t really a smooth transition.

But all-in-all, XM radio is a great source of finding new music. It comes with DirecTV, but if it weren’t for that, I’d find it to be unfortunately expensive.


how soon is now?

My daughter and I were listening to XM Radio – 1st wave this morning when The Smiths classic “How Soon is Now?” came on.

She really liked the song, so I started explaining to her that it is possibly THE classic alternative song. As I was explaining it, I was struck by how timeless and perfect the song it.

The song has three different hooks or riffs working in it. At the same time, no one had ever heard guitar work like that anywhere before, establishing Johnny Marr as one of the great alternative rock guitarists.

Lyrically, it also cemented the equation Smiths = depression in the minds of alt-music fans everywhere. Although “depressing,” the lyrics are extremely poignant and visceral.

What also stands out about it is that they threw away all convention by ignoring the three minute pop song, opting instead for over six minutes of guitar-driven angst.



better things from passion pit

Is it just me, or is “Better Things” from Passion Pit one of the greatest song bombs to hit in the past year? I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for some time now.

And I keep hearing this song, but every time I play it for someone, they’ve never heard it. I’m starting to wonder if I’m having an audio hallucination of the greatest pop song never written.

Is this a popular song, or not? And what can I do to get it out of my head? Listen, if you dare…


yoko ono is an artist

I forgot to mention that when I was in New Jersey over the holidays, this ran in the New York Times.


I didn’t capture the entire width of the page, but it’s just more white space, like the left half.

My favorite part about it is the bottom left caption, “Yoko Ono is an artist,” because if they didn’t put that there, there’d be no way of knowing from what was on the page.


finding g-d

The revenue model for NewTunes (or how we’re planning on maintaining out business) is based largely on advertising. By selling ads, we can maintain most of our services for free.

As we’re a young site, we don’t yet have the traffic to justify actual ad sales. Therefore, we like many sites in similar circumstances, are going the Google AdSense route.

Many of you have noticed the high concentration of ads referencing Jesus, God or the bible. We’ve traced this back to the static five songs on the home page (which by sheer chance seem to be christian bands). AdSense serves their ads based on keywords on that specific web page, so those bands remaining there keeps the religious ads coming. (Ironically, by even writing this post, I’m going to keep those ads coming.)

To remedy this, we are going to be serving up five random songs per page load, meaning that every time you come to the home page, we’ll start you on your music search with five random bands.


stereo total? totally

Last weekend, I was ugly doll shopping in Pop Deluxe (a store on State Street in Madison, which, coincidentally, I just found carries books that a friend of mine in San Francisco publishes from his company, Immedium.)

While my daughter sorted through the whether or not to go with a Poe, Abima or Wedgehead, I was continually drawn to the music being played in the store. It was a strange kind of indie disco that reminded me a bit of the Ting Tings, only far stranger.


When we checked out (went with the Chuckanuka ugly doll), the woman told me that we were basking in the glow of Stereo Total‘s 2005 album – “Do the Bambi.”

Stereo Total are a French/German duo based in Berlin named Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring (aka Friedrich von Finsterwalde). It’s a really freaky mix of electronic new wave and 60s pop. Like if Devo and Kraftwerk got together with Belle and Sebastian with Lykke Li singing (and that was not at all an attempt to be obscure to show off).

Check out “Ich bin Nackt” from “Do the Bambi.”

…or “I Love You, Ono.”


confessions of a music snob

Hey, I like the song “Mercy” by Duffy. What can I say?

January 2009
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