Tag Archives: Ben Harper

Why Google Music is Cool (even if it’s not a game-changer)

Google’s music-focused press conference yesterday was surprisingly underwhelming. They released Google Music to the public, which many of us have been using in Beta for the last few months. It’s a cloud-based music service to which you can upload up to 20,000 songs for free, and can listen to them everywhere. They’ve also included a store, and a way to share music via Google Plus. Sounds cool, except for the fact that Amazon has a similar product, but upgrades you to unlimited storage space if you buy any mp3 album through them. And Apple just rolled out iTunes Match, which allows users to upload 25,000 songs to the cloud, and Apple will match those songs (even if they’re stolen) with higher quality versions.

But of course, there’s a catch to both Amazon and Apple. Amazon only let’s you upload mp3s. This kind of sucks, especially if you have a collection of FLAC or mp4 or any other music type. Going through and converting everything is kind of annoying, so that’s out. Also, rumor is that they down-sample everything, so even if you upload a 320kbps version of every mp3 you own, you’re still probably streaming it at 128kbps – an audiophile’s worst nightmare.

Apple is also tricky. Firstly, they’re charging $25 a year for their service. Sounds great and reasonable, but compared the the free options it’s annoying. And their “higher quality” versions of songs means they upgrade your 128 or 190kbps tracks to 256. Not bad, but also ear-grindingly frustrating for those who care about high quality audio.

And then there’s Google. Sure, you can’t download the songs from the cloud. And their store is lacking and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. And their social features are bested by the combination of Spotify and Facebook. Nevertheless, they’re the number one cloud choice for me, and here’s why:

  1. There’s an iPhone app
  2. You can upload any music file type
  3. You can stream high quality audio
  4. They have a free, unreleased, Pearl Jam bootleg in their store

That’s basically all I need. Good quality audio that I can listen to anywhere + free Pearl Jam. No, this is not a good system to backup your music – you can’t even download the songs. And the 20,000 song limit will get annoying pretty soon. But for now, I’m flying high and enjoying having a good chunk of my music, anywhere I go.

Ben Harper – Rock N Roll Is Free (live)

Ben Harper – Live In Paris

Check out this Ben Harper bootleg from yesterday’s show in Paris. It’s really quite good. His new album “Give Till It’s Gone” is coming out on May 17th, and you can preorder that in myriad formats on his site here. As for the bootleg, you can grab the entire show here, or stream/download the tracks below. Continue reading

New(ish) Music – Edward Sharpe, PJ Harvey, and Fistul of Mercy

I have a confession to make: I must admit, many of these songs were sent to me for promotional purposes. I feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t inform you of this. But you should be sure that I only post a tiny percentage of the stuff sent to me, and I only post the stuff I would’ve posted regardless. All that’s changed is that I get the music in a more legal fashion now, and I’m sometimes able to post downloads.

  • I don’t know much about Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, but I do like their music. They just released an iTunes session which can be purchased here. Or you can listen to Fire & Water here, or listen/download the track below. (You can also do all three, if that tickles your fancy.) Continue reading

TSA Pat Downs For Everyone!

Wednesday is supposedly the most popular flying day of the year. And given the new possibly dangerous full body scanners, many people will be opting out of the scanner and settling for a supremely uncomfortable pat-down. Even if you go for the scanner, there’s still the possibility that you’ll get patted down by TSA employees.

I’ve heard and read of a bunch of suggestions of what to do: wear a kilt or strip down to your boxers; employees aren’t allowed to pat down under skirts or underwear, so these clothing options will leave you relatively free of a pat-down. It’s a pretty big fashion statement just to make a point, but I do respect those who make the effort to do that.

What will I do? I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll probably listen to of these songs to prepare for the inevitable uncomfortable situation.

My Morning Jacket – Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part 2 (live) Continue reading

(I’ll) Rise

Lebron’s new Nike commercial is quite awesome:

Also, he references the Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise, a poem that Ben Harper made into a gorgeous song. Check it out.

Ben Harper – I’ll Rise

Subway Sweat Mix

Here’s a few songs I’ve been thinking about and listening to recently. Some are newer. Some are older. All are awesome.

Horse Feathers is a band I recently discovered on La Blogotheque. Their Take-Away-Show is quite awesome, partially because they have a cellist, and partially because they do the Appalachian-hippie-indie-bluegrass-rock thing really well.

You guys probably know the other two bands, but may not know the songs. So check out all the tracks, crank them loud, and use the music to cope with the late-night summer heat.

Horse Feathers – The Drought

The Raconteurs – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) {live}

Ben Harper – Power Of The Gospel

Nine days

We’ve recently begun a period of mourning for the ancient temple in Jerusalem, commemorating the date when it was burned to the ground, 2000 years ago. Many Orthodox Jews, in an attempt to intensify their mourning, will refrain from listening to music. As a music-blog writer, I feel torn. On the one hand I want to be able to participate as much as possible in this communal mourning. On the other, I want to continue writing and posting.

So, the solution as I see it is a simple one. I’ve always thought of music as a way to express one’s feelings and emotions. We all have songs that we associate with happiness and joy, and songs that we associate with sadness as well.

For the next few days, we’re going to be posting sadder songs. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to email me, or leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to post as many of them as possible.

Olin & The Moon – Hello Goodbye

Ben Harper – Amen Omen

Miles Davis – Blue In Green

Ben Harper – Bonnaroo 2007

This is a show that I’ve posted a few times in the past, and has always gotten great reception. It’s Ben and Co. at their absolute best with a slew of special guests and awesome cover songs. It’s a Sunday morning Monday evening boot like none other, and on this July 4 weekend, it may very well be the perfect soundtrack for the infamous grill and chill.

So grab a beer, lay some meat on the grill, and kick back to this awesome boot.

With My Own Two Hands

Ground On Down Continue reading

Summertime clothes

(Not actual footage of our frisbeeing)

It is truly summertime. In New York City, temperatures are reaching the 90s on a regular basis, my fear of subway-sweat (if you live in NYC you know what I’m talking about) has limited my transportation to buses, and I can no longer get to sleep without the AC on full blast. And while I’d say I prefer the cold months (there’s nothing quite as cozy as a good sweater and a cup of coffee on a chilly morning), I do enjoy the summer months.

Just today a bunch of the guys and gals from my lab ventured out of our dungeons (seriously – we have no windows in the lab) to enjoy an hour of frisbee tossing. I kicked off my shoes, rolled up my jeans, and had a blast just frolicking on the Math lawns, and enjoying the outdoors.

So crank up these tracks, pour yourself some lemonade, and enjoy the summertime.

Dead Heart Bloom – New York City Heat Continue reading

Weird Uncle Music – Episode 11

Friends, this post has been a long time in the making.

For a year and a half, while attending Yeshiva University, I co-hosted a radio show called Music Your Weird Uncle Listens To/Music Your Weird Uncle Likes/Philosophers of Art. (We could never really remember exactly what the name was.) We had a great time, spending one hour a week just listening to music, being total idiots, and having a grand old time.

Continue reading