Rodrigo y Gabriela

I’m stuck listening to Metal all day today, and it’s the fault of a pair of Mexican guitarists.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Tuesday night Paula and I went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela in downtown Dublin.  This couple got their “start” several years back here in Dublin are are currently in the middle of a world tour. 

I put “start” in quotes because this acoustic guitar playing duo were in a metal band before moving to Dublin and redefining themselves with an infectious mix of Spanish guitar, flamenco, jazz and heavy metal.  The duo’s show draws you in as they chat with the crowd, jam together and string together an almost random combination of original pieces and cover songs.  The best way to understand their music and personalities is to go see a show (and you really should). For folks state-side set your TiVos to record Letterman on the 18th, they’re definitely worth sitting through some stupid people tricks to see.  They’ll also be in Seattle on the 15th at Chop Suey.  Check out their site for Philadelphia, Denver and Chicago dates too.  As a poor substitute, here’s a melange of clips I recorded at their show.

A nice bonus was the opening act, Foy Vance.  Foy, with floppy hair, stellar guitar chops and wonderful voice, was a complete surprise.  Imagine if James Taylor and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s love child had been raised in Belfast by George Harrison.  Okay, perhaps that’s  a little hard to imagine, just go check out his music on his MySpace site, it’s worth the trip.


Old news: Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape 11 is up

I downloaded this one at the beginning of April, so Mercedes-Benz’s mixed tape 11 is certainly not brand new, but hey… it’s free music.  Grab it while it’s still there.



I went to the effort to copy/paste nice album art for Windows Media player for each of the mixed tapes (they only come with Adobe Reader art for printing) so I thought I might as well share them:

Download and use with AV Soft Album Art Checker.

And for those of you who are curious… the Mercedes-Benz mixed tapes work just fine in a Volvo station wagon (or other car of your choice).

Idle Music


Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape 9 is out along with some other interesting news: MB is branching out from the music business into the spoken word.  Early December Mercedes will publish its first volume of text tracks for download.  Billed as “Challenging literature for mobile people, young authors read by well known voices” it should provide a bit of variety to your morning commute.  We can only hope the right type of people download these audio tracks… plenty of people in California have enough trouble driving as it is… throwing challenging literature into the mix could create a tremendous road hazard.

Mercedes-Benz text tracks, think of it as Mercedes-Benz Mixed Audio Books.

Addendum: Small print on the back of the cover for MBMT9 indicates that volume 10 will be available on 12/13/2005 at … mark your calendars.

Idle Music Software Software Tech Useful

My computer is now a fat jukebox


I have finally reached the end of my CD collection… they are now all ripped.  870 (give or take) CDs are now stored on my PC.  17,501 files in 1,411 folders for a total of 270Gb.  There are 458 unique album artists covering just about every, imaginable genre.

Crap?  How do I find something now?

Windows Desktop Search to the rescue!  I use this free desktop search engine at work to quickly dig through megabytes of saved e-mails… and now I’ve also found a great use for it at home as well.

You can either type in your search (searching through e-mail, files and more) then narrow the results to just the music files by clicking the “Music” icon in the toolbar or you can use the keyword “music” when you perform the search (e.g. “Robert Plant Kind:music”).  You can even create some quick play lists by doing a search like “kind:music genre:classical”.  From the results you can select multiple files and either play them directly from search or create a play list.

Ripping all the music was done over the period of four months and took me hours to complete, I definitely don’t want to do it twice.  All the music is ripped to a RAID array, each hard disk has an exact duplicate.  For backup advice, see my earlier post: Are you crash-safe?

Idle Music

More music

Put simply: Mercedes Benz Mixed Tape 8 is out.  Get your fix of free Euro-pop and Jazz.

Too tired to blog.  Me: TV.  You: Download.

Music Software

Fix your Windows Media album info

Omar turned me onto this fantastic tool for quickly and easily fixing the album data in Windows Media.  Album Art Fixer may follow Microsoft’s not-so-sexy, name-it-what-it-is product title strategy but make no mistake, the product is way cool.  It is especially useful for people who are running Windows Media Center edition as MCE uses the “Album Artist” field where many tracks only get their “Aritist” field set when you RIP (esp. for those of you who insist on sticking to MP3s).  It also has a handy interface for getting cover art via a web search (Google by default). 

The process of fixing all your albums is very easy (Album Art Fixer is on version 1.5.2 at this point, the refinements continue).  I’ve ripped over 500 albums to disk so far and fixing them all was completed in one painless sitting last night (it took less than 20min).  I won’t re-hash the instructions on the Album Art Fixer page, their simplicity says it all.  I will add, however, that I’m picky when it comes to making sure my music is correctly labled and filed, so I was aprehensive about letting software do the changing.  Album Art Fixer does, however, allow you to adjust or reject any changes before it changes your media’s metadata.

The software is donate-ware, so you can download it and try it out absolutely free (it’s fully functional).  If you like it and use it you should, of course, show your appreciation by donating via PayPal.


You don’t have to take my word for it,

Album art fixer recommendation by Omar.

The album art fixer site:

A review here:

Media Metadata usage guidelines:


Idle Music

Gah, I missed my free music!

I was organizing my music last night (after ripping another 110 albums this weekend) and was reminded of the free music from Mercedes.  On a whim I went back to the Mercedes Benz Mixed Tape site… they’re up to number 7!  They were supposed to e-mail me when the next edition came out but didn’t.  I missed out on mixed tapes 4, 5 and 6.  Oh well, I won’t pass up on some gratis Euro-pop.  Free music is free music, get yours while it’s there.

Microsoft Music Net

More free music*

I love free music… well, I love free legal music.  I may have to wait a while for another Mercedes Benz mixed tape but starting tomorrow (2/8) MSN Music is starting its Grammy blitz by giving away one free song from each category.  A panel of music professionals is going to attempt to predict the winner in each category… then MSN Music will give away the song predicted to win.  So, not only is it free music, it’s good, free music.  You know it’s good, the professionals told you so.

Now, before you point out that I’m just being a corporate pawn to Microsoft let me say this… first: I am a total pawn, second: even if I weren’t a pawn I still like free music.  So there, I’m a sell-out… but I’m a cheap, stingy sell-out… that must be worth something.

There will be one free song per day, starting on February 8th.  Using my top-secret, internal Microsoft sources I’ve determined the order the songs will be released in is:

  1. Tuesday, Feb. 8: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance/Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
  2. Wednesday, Feb. 9: Best Rock Song
  3. Thursday, Feb. 10: Best Rap Song
  4. Friday, Feb. 11: Best R&B Song
  5. Saturday, Feb. 12: Best Country Song

So, there you are, in the greatest of corporate traditions a big company has told you what you’re going to like.

Music Weird

Bush and Blair… the new punk rock duo

Detroit rockers Electric Six have an entertaining, less-than-serious song called “Gay Bar”.  The song takes on a whole new tilt, however, when lip synched by George Bush and Tony Blair (I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean to ;)).  Check out the unofficial video at Camp Chaos.

Here’s how a description on Amazon (yeah, they fixed my account and are, once again, on my good side) describes Electric Six:

Electric Six is the most exciting band to come tumbling out of Detroit since Kiss. Sporting grimy leisure suits and hilarious stage names (the guitarists are known only as Surge Joebot and the Rock and Roll Indian), the ragtag group comes up with a deliriously catchy disco trash sound on its smart, hyperactive debut. Studio 54 horns mingle anxiously with AC/DC-influenced garage riffs, while frontman Dick Valentine rants maniacally over jerky, suggestive punk-funk songs like “Gay Bar” and “I’m the Bomb.” Plus, rumor suggests that single “Danger! High Voltage” features the White Stripes‘ Jack White on backing vocals and, less plausibly, Bill Clinton on saxophone. How cool is that? Very. –Aidin Vaziri

Incidentally, Electric Six also appears on the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, a fabulously eclectic mix of music.  I give it a ::thumbsup::.