What is left to do when each new album you put out as an artist is better than the last one? When it seems there’s nowhere else left to go, there’s heaven to reach out for Hammock, the musical duo made up of Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, from Nashville, TN (yes, their studio did get affected by the recent floodings!)
Since 2004, I have been writing about them. But in 2010′s Chasing After Shadows…Living With the Ghosts, the eerie cover showing floating bodies in water is carefully balanced with one of the most positively stimulating albums they have ever done. Very few vocal arrangements make their way into the sea of processed guitar sounds that lie at the heart of the Hammock sound. Their Sigur Ros influences can be felt here and there but their work is unmistakable and unique.
It’s hard (nearly impossible) to pick a favorite track: not only because the entire album is unbelievably great. But also because it has a unity to it, like the hand that moves the hair aside to let the light fall on the eyes that go with the smile… it’s simple but perfect, complex yet soothing, calming and elevating at the same time.
The best way for you to experience Hammock is to listen to it. Watch the video for the track “Breathturn” to get a feel for how these guys sound…
Today, subscribers to the 5-year old service LaLa received this email message:
The Lala service will be shut down on May 31st.
In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple’s iTunes Store. If you purchased and downloaded mp3 songs from Lala, those songs will continue to play as part of your local music library.
Remaining wallet balances and unredeemed gift cards will be converted to iTunes Store credit (or can be refunded upon request). Gift cards can be redeemed on Lala until May 31st.
I have been writing about LaLa since it’s Used CD trading times and through their dramatic change in business model. Like many other LaLa users, I have been wondering exactly how would Apple incorporate the LaLa service (basically streaming music from the “cloud” for free once and unlimited if you pay 10 cents per track) into their iTunes strategy since they purchased the Palo Alto-based company back in December.
The news today gives SOME idea of what those plans may be. Here are my two cents:
Not unexpected to see LaLa (as a separate entity) shutting down. No surprises there.
What is a surprise is that they are crediting users for all web song purchases. I assumed that there would be “something” ported over into whatever incarnation there may be on iTunes in connection with any account you may have there, to extend the experience. Now, although I am not losing money on this change, I have wasted time… If I wanted to purchase the same songs for streaming (assuming that they are offered in streaming format and that they are offered at the same price through iTunes or whatever Apple’s new service ends up being called), I am going to have to scroll through my 9,000+ library to figure out which ones are web songs that I care about and which are downloads (that I keep anyway).
Why did they do things this way? Perhaps developing the technology to bring “in-house” the collections of current LaLa wasn’t worth it, in Apple’s mind (with Apple’s new role as the IBM of the 21st Century, it could be the case). Porting over data from a “handful” of fanatic users like myself wasn’t worth their time… and they may be right, sadly.
While I don’t feel “betrayed” as I did when Last.FM sold out to its parent company CBS, I do have VERY mixed feelings about this move. I know Apple will come up with something in June and that something will likely have its home in the “cloud” as FastCompany accurately assesses: think “web-based iTunes or something”.
I keep thinking: the only way you can REALLY control the way things work for you is you do them yourself. But then, you will find yourself spending time and energy developing/hosting solutions to make things work your way. Is it worth it? Probably no. Does it dissapoint me when I things change on me overnight? Still does… anyway… End of rant! Happy Friday to you all!
Uno de los “highlights” del viaje a Venezuela que hicimos en diciembre fue descubrir (gracias a Felix, de la banda CharliePapa) a Los Paranoias.
De su canal de YouTube: “Formados en Caracas a finales de 2001 por los hermanos Luis Irán (voz-guitarra) y Carlos Da Palma (bajo y coros), actualmente cuentan con Yunior Lobo en la batería e Iván Gozon en la guitarra. Han compartido tarima con artistas de la talla de R.E.M., Travis, Jethro Tull, The Alan Parsons Project, Los Bunkers, Los Pericos, Los Rabanes, King Changó, Los Amigos Invisibles, El Gran Silencio, Desorden Público, Caramelos de Cianuro y Papashanty Soundsystem, entre otros…”
Este grupo suena simplemente BRUTAL! Si se imaginan que saldria mezclando una dosis saludable de Sentimiento Muerto con Soda Stereo y un par de cucharadas soperas de los Beatles, pueden aproximarse al sonido de Los Paranoias. Pero como no puede uno hacerle justicia a un trabajo discografico con descripciones escritas casi nunca, los invito a que escuchen el ultimo album por cortesia de Lala. Para quienes se encuentran fuera de Estados Unidos, pueden escucharlos tambien en la pagina Facebook de la banda.
My friend Steve captured this gorgeous HD video of Glen, from The Swell Season, telling a great story about meeting “Lois from New York City” and then suddenly going unplugged to sing “Say It To Me Now” unplugged.
It really was the highlight of the concert and also one of the most amazing live musical moments I’ve been fortunate to witness! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did: