Cheeseburger Gothic

Major Tom leaves orbit, flies into the dark

Posted January 11, 2016 into Music by John Birmingham

I was never much of a Bowie fan. But maybe you were.

Lots of people were really, really intense Bowie fans.

Tough day for them.

27 Responses to ‘Major Tom leaves orbit, flies into the dark’

Sparty puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2016
Big fan. Met him once, (in same group seeing a play) - avoided going into fan boy as his gaze just said "I know, you don't have to say anything". So I calmed down and chatted about Japan.. He was effortlessly cool + brilliant.


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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted January 11, 2016
Bowie was probably the only intellectual modern pop star. I remember reading an interview with him by Rex Reed back in the 1970s. For some reason, it was in the back of a limo going across the American desert. Bowie was at his most skeletal. Reed was an old school bloke with no interest in pop/rock and he wondered who was this strange creature. As they chatted, he realised that Bowie had seen every silent film made before 1930. Not just the big names; Chaplin, Keaton, Murnau, Pabst, Eisenstein etc. But like every pre-1930s film. Bowie was a very interesting fellow.

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she_jedi asserts...

Posted January 11, 2016
Discovering Labyrinth as a tween and encountering him as the Goblin King was a life changing moment. I don't think I've been rocked this badly by the death of a musician since Freddie Mercury died. I'm just devastated.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2016
That was a great role. The man who fell to earth made me feel a bit dumb, like I was missing the joke.

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AuntyLou is gonna tell you...

Posted January 11, 2016
Gutted. Have been a fan since I was 12 years old...& I am more properly known as Grandma Lou. Bowie has been the soundtrack to my life. I didn't like everything he did but loved the way he just breezed past artificial genre boundaries. He was the quintessential artist of our time.

Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 11, 2016
Perfectly put.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted January 11, 2016
Of all performers, Bowie seemed to be the only one who was immortal, or was supposed to be. At the moment it's inconceivable that he's gone.

Surtac ducks in to say...

Posted January 12, 2016

Also gutted. And agree completely with what AuntyLou said.

I have a new playlist to try to get through today at work - Ziggy Stardust and the new album Blackstar.

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jason reckons...

Posted January 12, 2016
I thought this guy would live forever. Listened to Ziggy Stardust last night start to finish. Reminded me what a genius the man was and what we lost. Also got me thinking about the friends I used to listen to this guy with and how they are still with me through the music.

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Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2016
He's the only reason my answer to "first album you bought" would have been considered *remotely* cool if I ever made it onto Rockwiz. I bought Let's Dance when I was at school, a couple of years after it was released. My family was on holiday in some or other small coastal town, and I stumbled across the album.

Just on Sunday night I was watching "Twenty Feet From Stardom", about backup singers, and there was old footage of Bowie doing Young Americans & others. The backup singers were speaking very kindly of him, and so has everyone else been.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2016
Man i had a shit day yesterday. Struck down vomiting from suspected food poisoning. Decided to skip work and watched Interstellar and some black mirror eps. Then the news about Bowie came through. Left me feeling very flat. Even my kids were down about it (they are 10 and 7). Speaking to them over the phone at their grandparents and they say in a subdued voice "did Grandma tell you what happened?" . . . shit no, what happened?, "David Bowie died" phew, we already knew . . . . but still a bummer. I'll never forget the the look on their faces when they drew the dots that the Goblin King was the dude singing on the stereo. Love that man . . . . except for Dancing in the Street. That one can stay locked away in the dark.

JG mutters...

Posted January 12, 2016
Also a fan for around 40 years. Perfectly put, AuntyLou. He was a always a groundbreaker and changed with the times. He took risks and was ahead of the times. So many personalities and styles over the decades. I still listen to his music on my running playlists. A true legend.

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SZF swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2016
FFS world, stop it. Weiland and Wright were no surprise given their demons, and bless him but Lemmy just looked like he always had one foot in the pit. Hearing they'd invaded Valhalla with fire and thunderous riffs was a shame, yet appropriate.
But Bowie hurts.

dweeze would have you know...

Posted January 12, 2016
Already numb from Lemmy. Yeh, he be scorching Valhalla with Stevie and Scott. The duke was too cool for Norse gods.

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Peter Bradley swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2016
"The stars look very different today"

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted January 12, 2016
Loved him in The Prestige.

Let's Dance!

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Quokka asserts...

Posted January 12, 2016
Yep. I saw that news pop up & I felt like I'd lost a part of my youth.I was at Lang Park in November '83 for the Serious Moonlight gig. It was slick & professional, everything ran to schedule down to the exact minute & the man & his band did not miss a beat. We all walked away in awe after that show. We all got the impression that Bowie looked down on Brisbane like a turd stuck to his shoe but that was the fading days of the Joh regime, after all. And I do think that the overall impression he had of Australia in general & Brisbane in particular was pretty much as Billy Connolly put it 'Queensland is the Alabama of Australia.'I was with a bunch of black friends who'd grown up in the UK & they said he was totally different with the audiences over there.

AuntyLou asserts...

Posted January 12, 2016
I was at that one Quokka. Was pretty disappointed because I had been waiting such a long time (I had not been allowed to the 1978 concert because know one I knew wanted to go - and I was an obedient teenager) and he just didn't seem to want to be here.
Leap forward to 2004 and the most wonderful concert imaginable. Songs buried on old albums suddenly appearing among the most popular hits. Bowie prowling up and down, playing with the audience. The concert I had always wanted. I literally stood with my hand to my mouth trying to stop myself squealing like a teeny-bopper. Ahh...the memories.

Quokka would have you know...

Posted January 12, 2016
Wow. I'm sorry I missed it. Music is personal, though, so when you get the feeling that an artist has other places he'd rather be, it does put you off going back for another dose of it.
It did lead to some interesting discussions with my UK friends about what Europe was like compared to Brisneyland & that was quite an eye opener. I could understand why he would have been wishing himself elsewhere. Kudos to the professionalism of that show, though. Is it my fading middle aged memory, or did he finish his set & walk off & he didn't come back? I'm sure I remember standing there for 20 minutes, my friends insisting he was just out the back having a few cones because he always came back on stage in the UK.Again - Brisbane, Brisbane thug cops, Joh. He probably couldn't get on a plane out of here fast enough. I'm so glad I got to see that show, though.

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2016
I was at that one too. Was telling my kids I had Raelene Chen on my shoulders for most of it, about 10 people back from the stage - they were somewhat shocked. Adored his music, his characters and his obvious cool intelligence. The thin white duke absolutely rocked. I don't at all like it that some of my heroes are gone.

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2016
And I forgot Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. I did enjoy that flick - Bowie was good, music by Ryuichi Sakamoto was excellent and the Japanese sargeant played by comedian Takeshi was amazing.

AuntyLou puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2016
Yeah your memory is correct Q. He just strolled through the whole concert & then buggered off. There were apparently issues behind the scenes as well. I do know that at least one of the band was ill/unavailable (saxophonist if my memory serves...so pretty damn important ) & had to be subbed by a local boy who was a friend of a friend. Stood there for ages hoping that at least we would get something, but nada. Local boy said he was "polite".

AuntyLou would have you know...

Posted January 12, 2016
And BPC...absolutely love that movie. The soundtrack is one to sit & listen to on a humid stormy afternoon. Bowie was so intense yet restrained..yeah thanks for the addition to the list (be grateful he doesn't know where you live...give it a few days & my hubby will probably be over this Bowie shit ?)

AuntyLou ducks in to say...

Posted January 12, 2016
And bugger this writing on a tablet! I just wrote a most amusing bon mot re being young & thin & sitting on shoulders...gone to the gods!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2016
My wife shook me awake early this morning to tell me the news. My son called a few hours after tell me the same. Very sad day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIog1vxXN4U

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Rob would have you know...

Posted January 13, 2016


I never really liked his output. It was the 80s and I was too young to know about the groovy stuff he made in the 70s. But the parts that piqued my interest was his cover of China Girl which lead me to Iggy Pop and his song Cat People which he wrote with Georgio Moroder, that song must have influenced all the alternative bands like Killing Joke, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. I did however admire him as an artist, he was the last great modernists of the 20th century , before we devolved into knowing post modern irony about everything we see and hear.

One thing I that stands out about David Bowie was how his lyrics were constructed gibberish. He used a very Dada and William Burroughs approach to text, by randomising sentences, words, paras. He did it by cutting up words he had written to a formula. Later on, a fan made him software to do it for him. So his words were meaningful in a random kinda way by the listener.

Now put on your red shoes and dance the blues

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TheWah swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 13, 2016
He wrote a song that put a spot light on the plight of indigenous australians back in 1983... well before most white australians gave a flying fig about the plight of the indigenous australians. So, well done British man, that was pretty cool of you.

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Flicking the Electric Light Orchestra back on

Posted November 22, 2015 into Music by John Birmingham

How can you not love this awesome SciFi album art? Are you some sort of monster?

Until I stumbled across this Rolling Stone review of ELO’s recent reunion gig in New York I’d forgotten how much I loved that band in my teens. A tweeted link to Stone's story and declaration of intent to spend the afternoon streaming the band's backlist brought an immediate reaction from Silent Rob who opined, "Nooooo." But he was outvoted, the entire middle-aged internet to one. (Beeso and the Doc did not attend the polling booth.)

Stone's reviewer was apparently an old fan too.

Higher and higher, baby. Now this was a momentous occasion: Jeff Lynne's ELO playing their first real American show in 30 years, an intimate gig at New York's tiny Irving Plaza that sold out within seconds. Some of us had waited years for this night — probably including Jeff Lynne, who looked touchingly shy in the presence of a live crowd. Electric Light Orchestra songs tend to be so eerie and isolated — it's strange to stand in a room full of your fellow fans singing along to songs as profoundly lonesome as "Telephone Line" or "Turn to Stone." (There was hardly an audience member not singing along.) But it was a night to celebrate, dance and bust out the air-cello moves.

Air Cello FTFW!

I had three or four big ol’ vinyl platters of Jeff Lynne’s high concept pop art orchestral rock and I spun them up every chance I had. Later, I fed the maw of one greedy tape player after another with cassettes of the same albums – at least until I had access to a 3-in-1 player-recorder and could make my own copies to feed the instiable appetite of those tape-eating analogue fiends.

Remember when blank cassettes were going to destroy the music industry and all of western civilisation with it? Yeah, good times.

Anyway, I’m playing A New World Record as I type this, and it’s weird – I don’t recognise all of the songs. I’m not sure if bonus tracks have snuck on, or whether I just fast forwarded through the unfamiliar songs thirty years ago. That was some grandmaster Kung Fu everyone had to learn before the arrival of the CD-Walkman and the dark magic of track skipping.

(A little off topic but I can’t think of a more telling precursor of what was coming with the digital disintegration and atomisation of popular music than the way we all jumped on the Walkman’s track skipping like a Labrador on a T-Bone. I remain a big fan of playing whole albums, but how many albums were actually worth playing in their entirety? Not many, I’d hazard.)

I’ve mostly been playing ELO’s backlist as background today, while I worked, but later on I might put on some headphones and really crank up the 70s. It's a lucky thing parenthood cured me of my doobie smokin' ways because otherwise I'd totes be firing up a choice fatty to properly unpack Discovery.

32 Responses to ‘Flicking the Electric Light Orchestra back on’

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted November 22, 2015
You are a touch, ahem, more senior than I. My recollection of ELO & That album art was on the wall of a school friend's older, hipper (& very hot) sister. By the time I got to album buying size Jeff had retired to his mountain top moog powered retreat & Supertramp were filling stadia. Of course, now as is the way of things commercial Sh!ts & memories radio have taken a good & wholesome thing from my childhood and whored it to curtains shops & small engine mechanics.

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted November 22, 2015
Back in grad school during Christmas we would turn off the usual Rush Limbaugh feed at the Civil War Sutlery I worked at and fill the store with ELO.

It was a hell of a thing.

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Des is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22, 2015
Jeff Lynne .. most anonymous Rock God genius ever. mention him, and people stare blankly... untii you say 'that guy with the beard, afro and sunnies in the Travelling Wilburies. John Lennon called ELO 'son of the Beatles on a radio show in 74. says it all.

Des ducks in to say...

Posted November 22, 2015
IMHO punk killed them. whilst they had a gorgeous melodies, and superb production, they had no politics, which became more important than polish. the Clash, the Pistols, The Jam etc were plugging directly into powerful resentments in the west, and Lynne's whimsy became obsolete. it has to be said that onstage, Lynne had all the animation of a beche de mer, and the Springsteens, Strummers, Wellers, even Morriseys delivered a more connected raw experience for eighties audiences. does not take away from Lynne's genius though.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted November 22, 2015
Punk. Or Time. Time kills everything. Even Punk.

Des mutters...

Posted November 22, 2015
wittingly or otherwise, you might as well have been referring to their album, "Time" killing them, after Discovery. they got rid of the trademark cellos and violins on that album. compare the synth-heavy 'Hold on Tight' with the majesty of 'Evil Woman', and 'Do Ya'. 1980...thats when i drifted off

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted November 22, 2015
Just been playing it. You're right. It was a sugar sweet nostalgia hit, but I won't be plating it up again for a while. Whereas I'll have the earlier stuff on high rotation for the next few months. The most recent album, Alone in the Universe, is a return to form, though. Not that anyone cares.

Des swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 22, 2015
Check out the unassuming everyday genius talking about 'discovering' the chords to 'Livin Thing'. very cool.https://youtu.be/O0mYVP4zR5s

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yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 22, 2015
I have nothing to add, except this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt6o03K_y54

Des has opinions thus...

Posted November 22, 2015
thats what they opened with in '78 at festival hall. green lasers squirting off a mirror ball at the back, into the portentous darkness.

AuntyLou puts forth...

Posted November 22, 2015
Ah the memories! All my friend & I could say, when collected by my parental unit after that concert, was "amazing".

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Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted November 22, 2015
I'm working my way though The Alan Parsons Project, Moody Blues and Fleetwood Mac on the pod of i for my commute. These are all stuff I listened to as a kid that my Dad owned on vinyl.
The 1970s did weird good. Man what sort of drugs were they on...oh yeah right ...1970s all of them.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted November 23, 2015
It's a blue world, mate.

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GhostSwirv swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 22, 2015
Love ELO - the Whale is one of my fave instrumental pieces, it's a featured part of a grand screenplay in the making.

Thanks JB for reminding me of Jeff Lynne, I know most fans remember the beard and sunnies for me it was always the string section, especially the violins.

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Fimomofo is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22, 2015
Remember the b-side of the Xanadu soundtrack? So much GOLD!

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted November 22, 2015
I may have owned a copy. In various formats.

Dick asserts...

Posted November 23, 2015
Still do, on vinyl.

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Abe Frellman puts forth...

Posted November 23, 2015
I remember honing my track-skipping skills on albums like this one, Pink Floyd's The Wall and Led Zep's In Through the Out Door. Once you got the hang of applause, live albums, like Supertramp Live in Paris became a doddle. I think Sony's track-skipping technology provided my first lesson in the need to future proof my skills; I remember one Christmas morning feeling an overwhelming sense of redundancy at age 10. I was the track-skipping whisperer no more.
PS I am totes stealing 'Labrador onto a T bone'... 'Fat kid onto a smartie' and 'Seagull onto a hot chip' have had their day around the sausage factory. I might need to tweak it a little, I'm thinking maybe "Labrador onto a Toulouse" might go down ok. (I know garlic and onion are out, but how do dogs go with nutmeg?)

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beeso mumbles...

Posted November 23, 2015
We had a little chat this week about how streaming is changing some stuff. One of the things i'm big on is that it lets smaller bands do an album again, as in an album as a thematic whole, because niche music listening means you don't have pull out a killer single for radio. The other is the album length. You don't have to to a 45-60 min album. It can be 7 tracks and 22 min or 21 tracks and 130 min, Spotify doesn't give a fuck. But listening to some of our classic albums you can just spot the filler a mile away.

Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23, 2015

There's a lot of old mix tape theory in using Spotify. Used to cherry pick new album purchases and those of friends and flatmates thus avoiding crap filler tracks. missed those tapes until streaming became a thing.

As for ELO? I found it good as an accompaniment to riding in lifts. My nostalgia lies more in punk/post punk garage guitar theory.


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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted November 23, 2015
Going down to the man cave to dig out the massive boxes of CDs and find ELO. I may be some time.

NBlob mutters...

Posted November 23, 2015
Probably beside the Elk clavicle & that bloody tuneless femur flute.

Therbs would have you know...

Posted November 23, 2015
... and those shite drums made of mammoth skulls

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Brother PorkChop ducks in to say...

Posted November 23, 2015
Awesome! I once got sent to the deputy principals office for singing Telephone Line in class at primary school - maybe grade 2 or 3, I'd have to check. Always been on my playlist and I like the lot - Evil Woman to Rockaria.I chilled Saturday night listening to the early Fleetwood Mac where there are no girls. Some great tracks there too but then went to the later Mac tunes. They sound just as good live now as they did on the albums IMHO.

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Rob would have you know...

Posted November 23, 2015

Its funny what a few years in someone's age makes. I moaned about ELO and couldn't see the point of listening to it ever . It strikes me that being 14 is the golden year for setting your taste in music for the rest of your life. I have a friend who is 2 years older than me and still listens to Kiss , when I went 'really?' she asked me what I liked at 14, well it was SNFU, Fear, Crass and the Butthole Surfers. So she grew up listening to hard rock with a pop veneer and I grew up listening to punk rock which veered into underground weirdness and experimental recording. So for better or worse turning 14 set my taste in music for the rest of my life. But to me, ELO was something that was played on easy listening stations in coastal towns in NZ, nothing too offensive or challenging, while my friends and I all listened to Motorhead , Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies, and when my son's both turned 14 they listened to NoFX, Blink 182 and Rammstein.

however I wonder if we can all agree on Weird Al Yankovic?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23, 2015
Weird Al is a fucking genius. Watch the video for Living with a Hernia (parody of James Brown's Living in America) and you will see almost unbelievably complex, intelligent parody/satire. I Lost on Jeopardy (send up of The Greg Kihn Band's Our Love's in Jeopardy (1983)) and Another One Rides the Bus (Queen's Another One Bites the Dust (1980)) are personal nostalgic favorites. I rode that same bus over the Sepulveda Pass from the San Fernando Valley to Sunset Blvd., and damn was it crowded.

dweeze mutters...

Posted November 23, 2015
I must be one of those weird few who do not stick with their teenage musical tastes. Quite separately to Beeso and the Doc, I have long made a policy of trying out new music and not closing the doors on newer styles. If I had stayed stuck, my life would be a re-run of Adam & the Angst, Siouxsie Sioux and Australian Crawl. Bleghhhhhhhhh. I'd have to self-lobotomise.

Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 23, 2015
Hey Rob, do those same easy listening NZ coastal stations now bombard the airwaves with Nil Fun, Dave Dobbyn and Fat Freddie's Drop?

Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23, 2015


sounds way better than when I was a kid. I heard Radio Hauraki now sounds like student radio from when I was 20.

Nirvana and Soundgarden on your high rotation, no repeat work day station. Aha boomers the shoes on the other foot now, its GenX who want new cars, giveaways, tyre deals and deep voiced superannuation tour adverts.

Worked with Dave Dobbyn once, we made him play solo acoustic at a dark, very empty Aotea Square .

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted November 24, 2015
Coastal town radio in NZ....had a serious flashback to some holidays of my youth, visiting the NZ rellies...
I suspect we are of an age Rob - you mirror my own musical tastes! Except Crass - never really got into them. Still can't go past a loud guitar, although my sons have steered me towards various Metal genres as a variation.

Rob mutters...

Posted November 24, 2015
I liked Crass cos I was basically an OG emo , but its pretty awful, and recorded out of time. Literally the drummer could not play. I liked all the weird electronic noise and radio edits. But yeah I think Jeffrey Lewis did a fantastic folk version of their songs on , wait for it '12 Crass songs'. One day a few years back , driving over the Tasman bridge listening to Hatebreed I had to ask myself. 'when the hell did I become a metaller?'

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Rdio Silence

Posted November 17, 2015 into Music by John Birmingham

Rdio are bankrupt. Pandora, the streaming radio service have bought up some of their IP, equipment and talent, but the service itself is dead. This makes me sad. I kept my Rdio subscription going ($30 a month, four family members) even after AppleMusic arrived and I subscribed to that.

Rdio was a much simpler service than AppleMusic, and much more reliable and elegant for it. I still get weird drop outs on Apple, and the machine learning isn't very bright. I don't how many times I've told Tim and Eddie that I don't want to listen to Rhiana – but they still keep serving her up to me.

Of course Rdio didn't have a coupla hundred billion in cash hidden under the mattress in Ireland and competition in the streaming market gets tougher every day. It will probably shake out to a couple of behemoths – Apple, Google, Amazon – and a graveyard full of dead competitors. I don't know that the giants will even make money on their services. They might just run them as loss leaders.

I will miss the simplicity and reliability of Rdio though. It just worked.

13 Responses to ‘Rdio Silence’

bawpcwpn reckons...

Posted November 17, 2015
I really wanted to use Rdio but unfortunately, at the time, I was keen on the whole playlist sharing idea, and sharing tracks with friends, and Spotify is what they were all using and I couldn't convince them otherwise. I always liked its handover feature, which Spotify still doesn't properly have, nor Apple Music. It's a shame they never caught on.

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dweeze reckons...

Posted November 17, 2015
OH CRAP.
Just moved to Rdio recently and was really enjoying it. It's worked a treat and has an easy, slick interface. I spent the last 3 months building up a fkn choice library, having to manually like, favourite, etc all the bestest bangin choonz. This comes hot on the heels of losing my last streamer (mog) after it got sucked up by Beats Music, who in turn got hoovered up by the iFruitCo, spawning AppleMusic. I woulda bought in to that if not for the sheer SHITE-NESS that is iTunes.
Now, I've been using the Rdio desktop app (in 'doze) and it has no fkn export feature.
Nor did mog, FFS.
FAAAAAARK ME.
Do I really have to give up on streaming and dig out the CD collection?

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted November 17, 2015

Never used Rdio.

I did play around with Pandora for a while on the phone after encountering it in our favourite local restaurant, but gave up when I realised what it was doing to my totally inadequate phone data plan.

However, as of last week I now have a shiny new vdsl2 connection at home, with ten times the monthly data allowance. So it might be time to give it another try.

Or should I just try Spotify instead? Any advice gratefully received.

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Thestevoexpress has opinions thus...

Posted November 17, 2015
$30 a month for Rdio? No wonder they went broke!

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beeso mutters...

Posted November 17, 2015
I've binned Apple Music. Too often I get lag when I press play. Not really good enough.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted November 17, 2015
No it's not.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted November 18, 2015
Been waiting for Apple Music to get its shit together but no. No no no. Rdio was good but Spotify is my go to choonz app. Just be wary of The Balls After Dark Podcast reviews. Those blokes listen to some real crappy crap in amongst the good gear. Mind you it is fun when Beeso makes Dr Y listen to stuff which doesn't have loud, swaggering guitars.

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DarrenBloomfield mutters...

Posted November 18, 2015
ah, network economies of scale. Love them, hate them. I too invested in the Rdio universe so am stuck. My lifelong task of creating the "every song from the Rebus series of novels" Playlist will have to migrate to Spotify. Not yet sold on Apple Music, but I supple like everything they will (a) eventually dominate (b) eventually get it far more right than wrong.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 18, 2015


I think I'm missing out. I only got an Ipod classic last year, about a week before it got discontinued. Still I mostly just put all my CDs on to my PlayStation hard drive and use that. If pressed for music I might log onto YouTube. By the time I do think about it there will probably be only one streaming service a GoogApple hybrid , one world wide system and one company. The lack of competition in the market place is what is actually stuffing up the royalties for songwriters and artists. In the past there were multiple radio stations and TV stations in multiple markets. So a hit song ( or any song for that matter) the licencee would pay a small royalty to the Publisher for playing the song. On high rotation it might be 8 times a day for a few weeks, and then in each market that might mean 4 radio stations and 3 TV stations and pretty much times that by 10 places across Australia, New Zealand etc. So there's competition across markets and diversity in marketing songs.

Now with the advent of apple or google and spotify , you have three licencees , world wide , sucking audience and advertisers into their web. So for a songwriter it means three sources of income set at the royalty rates for the old system. So instead of an artist getting $240 per market or radio station in capital city, you get a songwriter getting $240 per streaming service. Which if you think about it, kinda sucks. A bit like the Windows anti trust litigation 10 years ago Government will need to break up the monopoly power of the big 2 Googpple. Otherwise the only people ever making money will be the shareholders of the Apple and Google, who in turn can set rates, deny competition in the market place and destroy free markets and creative enterprises.

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Aaron asserts...

Posted November 18, 2015
Kind of ironic free markets will be buried by...free market. I thought that was meant to be the commies job.

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pi asserts...

Posted November 18, 2015
I'm a spotify junkie. Have been using it for a coupla years now or there-abouts. Ever since I started using it, I've barely even touched my music collection.

The best thing about spotify, and something that was only available in android (might be different now) in the past, was the ability to put tunes into it. I can create a share drive on my computer that has the spotify client, and it will replicate the tunes into my library, which I can place into my different play lists. For the very few tunes that aren't available through spotify, I can include anyway. This is especially good if I want to put something like a 60 minute mix (I'm into dance music) and I just want to listen to it all the way through (for the record, anything by this guy https://soundcloud.com/matzo ).

Spotify is the shiznit IMHO.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted November 18, 2015
How's that for a business model? He puts all of his content on the internet for free anyway. Sells the CD's in a traditional way, all of his music is available through spotify, and he just places it up for download by anyone anyway. Sells out any dance club or stadium anyway.

Created a bunch of mix sets, 60 minutes each, and released them on the radio, and then posted them.

https://soundcloud.com/matzo/sets/the-mat-zo-mix

These are the mixes I put into spotify (4 & 5 are where it gets really good.)

Like I said, spotify is the shiznit.

dweeze puts forth...

Posted November 21, 2015
Bit the bullet and migrated across to spotify. Not bad, not quite as slick an interface as rdio but way more stable than mog ever was. As for AppleiTunesMusic - still COMPLETE ARSE.

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And while I'm on 007

Posted September 7, 2015 into Music by John Birmingham

Alessia Cara should totally be doing the signature track for Spectre.

3 Responses to ‘And while I'm on 007’

FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted September 8, 2015
is that Portishead being sampled in that song?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted September 8, 2015
Reckon so.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted September 9, 2015
Great voice.
But geez, she shoulda just stayed home. Sums up this whiny ass generation in a song.
She was probably triggered because they didn't have a segregated safe space.

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Timeless tracks

Posted September 2, 2015 into Music by John Birmingham

I dips me lid to Beeso for this link to a frankly fkn fascinating article at Polygraph by Matt Daniels. He dived deep into Spotify data looking for songs that burned longer than the flare up of a Top 10 hit. As Daniels explains, it was impossible to measure the popularity of older music until the advent of streaming services. "Billboard charts and album sales only tell us about a song’s popularity at the time of its release. But now we have Spotify, a buffet of all of music, new and old. Tracks with fewer plays are fading into obscurity. And those with more plays are remaining in the cultural ether."

What's happening, as the data resolves, is that songs which were inescapable as they smothered the airwaves for a week or two, begin to fade after a month, never to be heard again. Radio stations don't program them. You don't hear them pounding from the car next to you at the stop light. They disappear from clubs and shopping malls.

Other songs, which might not have burned so bright at first, keep burning. Journey's Don’t Stop Believin’ is the most-played 1980's song on Spotify. Daniels points out that it barely charted on release. In 1991 there were 41 songs more popular than Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. In the years since, as Spotify's subscribers have crafted their own meta-playlist, Cobain has buried them all.

Daniels looks at more recent years to tease out emerging trends, finding two tracks that made little impact in 2013, but which have stealthily crept up on 2015:

Lana Del Ray’s Young and Beautiful and Arctic Monkey’s Do I Wanna Know look like modern equivalents of [Etta James 1961 release] At Last: little commercial success on its release, but steady growth over time. Today in 2015, both tracks are at parity with Royals and Get Lucky, and you’d probably never guess it.

What's still popular from different periods in history is almost never the obvious choice. Accolades, Grammys, and cultural dominance mean nothing to future generations.

The artists who have cult-followings and underground appeal: it’s a signal for some undefined musical quality that’s impossible for a hit song to replicate. Perhaps it means that they are culturally ahead of their time. Or perhaps generations will feel obligated to share it, for fear of it fading.

It's a truly interesting bit of data work. Check it out.

17 Responses to ‘Timeless tracks’

Ghoulie reckons...

Posted September 2, 2015
There is a Spotify playlist of some of these songs made by Jason Kottke here: https://play.spotify.com/user/12130829032/playlist/1VqKzSscgJbYClbiSZzywM

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Dave W mutters...

Posted September 2, 2015
OT- I see you've been name-checked in the review and have given a tip o' the hat on the cover of the book: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-02/larissa-dubeck-spills-beans-on-restaurants-in-prick-with-a-fork/6740318.

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dweeze mutters...

Posted September 2, 2015
Yeh, interesting analysis. The most poignant line for me is: "When we examine pop hits, popularity is so much more than song quality." After spending the best part of a decade within the belly of the beast, it is blindingly apparent to me that the music business is all about business and little to do with music. Art does not always make the best product and, in these throwaway times, the more disposable the product, the quicker the next unit is on (and then off) the shelves.
Rock on Beethoven...

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Blake mutters...

Posted September 2, 2015
"Some of my friends were deeply disturbed by what's been lost in time (e.g., Pearl Jam)"<font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">For some reason i never look for Pearl Jam on spotify. But Ten and a couple of </font>official Aussie<font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif"> bootlegs live in reasonably high rotation on my mp3 player and on the rare occasion i stray from the J's in the car MMM is reliably. </font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">I wonder if that's the problem, its Dad music... i was pretty young in 1994 but i recall that by ~2003 my neighbours father was a big fan.</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">
</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">I wonder how much the playlists contribute to popularity. Earlier in the year i was diggin' the 60's vibe whilst renovating (It started with Cream, White Room). Much of the lists i turned to seemed to have a limited selection - which seems to be overly represented in the data.</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">
</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">Interesting though that Bob Marley doesn't appear in their lists at all. Africa and Asia must not have found spotify yet.</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">
</font><font color="#232323" face="merriweather, serif">
</font>

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted September 2, 2015
<font color="#333333">I am listening to Lana Del Ray's Young & Beautiful at the moment, though I prefer Ultraviolence.</font><font color="#333333"> </font>

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted September 2, 2015
Does the font colour stuff appear even when I don't cut and paste?

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2015
Clearly not

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted September 5, 2015
actually cut and paste from your blog above.

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Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2015
Last week I was tossing up between buying a CD imported via Amazon for $30 or buying it off google play. In the end Google won at $12 and instant gratification. So I downloaded it to my phone and it started playing, no headphones in... a loud 'Die Fucker' from ProPain was heard clear across the office (how loud are HTC phones? Very is the answer, very) . Anyways it good to see a tech article about music streaming talk about the music as opposed to the technology or politics or commerce. Nirvana weren't the best band of that generation, I reckon it was Mudhoney and Pop Will Eat Itself.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2015
Interesting. But i feel like there is an intuitive leap missing. Can't put my finger on it except for "..have not even considered the role of covers, samples, and movie soundtracks, etc. - a future project to undertake.."

It's almost like people using spotify listen to MMM (or insert your run of the mill commercial radio station here) and go "i want to listen to that without the inane banter and all those bloody ads". Can you profile people who use spotify the most? Or the ones that contribute to those massive tallies?
(i don't use it) but assuming it is used by a bloody wide range of people across the (western) world. It just seems like a lot of the songs they have listed there are ones i'd choose not to listen to unless i was stuck on a desert island and only had those to listen to. Although you can't argue against 43million plays for one song can you? can you?

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Dave W would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2015
Robert M. Pirsig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, talked about quality and what it is, how is it identified and who can identify it. His basic conclusion (spoiler alert) is that it's intangible and it doesn't take experts to know if something has quality or not.
In this situation, we can identify the quality of music, even without music degrees or a career in the music industry, through the benefit of time.
I agree with Rob re Nirvana, extending his list with Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. Sheeeeet, Smells Like Teen Spirit wasn't even Nirvana's best song (for my money, Lithium).

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2015
Fucking hipsters.

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GhostSwirv swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2015

Another factor to consider in this is the use of popular music in movie soundtracks.

I myself prefer original scores to a lot of the dross that's been released over the years.

However many of our favourite movies from different eras have compilation soundtracks of songs that were chosen not for their Top 10 quality but because they are somehow associated with the era that the story is set in and the emotions of the characters dealing with the world they find themselves in.

These then become manufactured memories, constructed by Music Supervisors, and promoted by distribution companies.

As much as I love Burton's first BATMAN, Danny Eflman's spectacular score was under-promoted by Warner Bros in favour of Prince's soundtrack as he was a star they had in their stable.

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2015

The Dredd soundtrack is superb. and can vibrate my house down. My wife reckons it sounds like a spaceship landing every time I play it when she's out, and arrives home. (Klipsch speaker set up :) )

Sudragon is gonna tell you...

Posted September 6, 2015
Dials that go to eleven?

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Balls After Dark. Ep 15

Posted August 20, 2015 into Music by John Birmingham

In which Beeso and the Doc consider AC/DC's Live album.

I am #ashaned to admit it but I didnt even know this album existed. Some days I forget anything besdies Back in Black exists. So I shall plate this bad boy up at Apple Music before I listen to the expert commentary.

10 Responses to ‘Balls After Dark. Ep 15 ’

beeso mutters...

Posted August 21, 2015
I'm starting to doubt whether you were really born in Ipswich.

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Dave W mutters...

Posted August 21, 2015
I was born in Wagga and I owned this album. There, I've said it. I'm not proud, but I've said it.

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Puff reckons...

Posted August 21, 2015
Everyone has one of those life defining albums and this one is mine. I can still remember the first time I heard, I was about 12 and my best friends elder sister put it on and my taste in music changed forever. The version of Bonny on there still makes me hair stand on end and it was one of the first songs I ever learnt to play on guitar.

One of the great live albums

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dweeze ducks in to say...

Posted August 21, 2015
Like Beeso & the Dr (surely there's a JJJ show in there) opine - these guys were always better live and this album captures that. Back in the early 90s, I was a career roadie (oxymoron or just plain moron???) and worked on an ACDC show at the Tennis Centre Melb. Yeh, they duly rocked. Same week, I worked with a covers band, Back In Black, and I reckon they did it even better than the real thing. Perhaps it was the in-your-face pub thing, perhaps it was the slo-blo 6" nail that we put in the fuse box so that we could run 50000W of PA in a tiny pub with 200 punters. Dunno...but it kicked rectum.

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Trashman mutters...

Posted August 22, 2015
I was in the crowd at Donnington!

AC/DC
Metallica
Motley Crue
Queensryche
The Black Crowes

What a line up - what a day!


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Trashman mutters...

Posted August 22, 2015
Forgot to include this:

http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/donington-1991.html

Some pictures, setlists, etc.

Nearly 25 years ago - I am officially old now.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted August 23, 2015
I got this album when it came out in '92. One of the better live albums I've ever heard, and "Highway to Hell" in particular is a fucking ball-tearer. Excellent version of "Moneytalks" as well. Only downside is, you can't understand a word Brian Johnson says when he's interacting with the crowd/s in between tracks. I think you can make out, "Och the noo, lassie, do ye fackle mae fanny?" at one point.

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted August 23, 2015
What is with the hashtag #ashaned ?
Is that some portmanteau of ashamed and Shane Warne?
ie; you're completely tasteless but you don't care

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted August 24, 2015
I thought it was a #typo.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 25, 2015
Nope, it is a legendary twitter hashtag. Lobes figured it out.

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