Category Archives: music

doubleTwist – Removing DRM still exists!

Introducting doubleTwist – a music/video sharing and sync’ing application which also removes iTunes DRM.

This application continues to progress and has a great deal of functionality which many could take advantage of – most notably….

doubleTwist can automatically convert music you have purchased from the iTunes store to MP3, a universal format supported by all devices that play digital music. doubleTwist does not delete or move the original files. 

You can only convert files that you have legally purchased and are authorized to play with iTunes.

doubleTwist desktop enables you to sync iTunes playlists with:

  • Nokia N & E Series phones, including the N95, E61i, E62, and others
  • Sony Ericsson Walkman & Cybershot phones
  • Windows Mobile 5.0/6.0 platform (e.g. Treo, HTC, Palm)
  • BlackBerry Curve and Pearl
  • LG Viewty and LG Voyager
  • Sony PSP
  • Amazon Kindle

More on how to do stuff with doubleTwist here.

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Chicago Pride

Living in the US I see far more patriotism that ever experienced in the UK – it’s a wonderful thing to see, but also can be blinding to those that subscribe to it. I’ve also eulogised about how Chicago is a wonderful city to be in and around – and this is why I moved here.

Now let me preface that I’ve been to some pretty stunning places in the world – Edinburgh, Vancouver and Sydney immediately spring to mind – and they’ve been places I’ve considered living in the past, but for some reason I am drawn to Chicago and feel it very much home.. which is weird to see written down.

Part of this Chi-town patriotism has been brought out by hearing a song by Kanye WestΒ  – the video features a lot of Chicago – every time I hear this song it makes me feel proud that I’ve had chance to live in Chicago and be part of it.

Here’s the video – enjoy

27 songs for the ultimate Brit Pop/Rock playlist

When going through my iPod songs I realised there are a lot of British bands that produce some awesone songs and decided to put together my ultimate playlist for playing at gentleman’s parties, etc. There is one exception to this list of artists… I included The Killers who actually hail from Las Vegas… I think they’re style is very British in keeping with peers such as Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, etc. Here’s what I have so far… I’m sure there are some I’m missing, so if you’d like to suggest some too…. all but one have their YouTube videos too … which was nice.

1. Squeeze – Up The Junction

2. Ultravox – Hymn (Vienna is too slow!)

3. Republica – Ready to Go

4. Supergrass – Alright

5. Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue – The Kids are Alright**

6. Stereophonics -Local Boy in the Photograph

7. The Cult – Sun King

8. Sisters of Mercy – Temple of Love (’92)

9. Carter USM – Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

10. The Doves – The Pounding

11. David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure

12. EMF – Unbelievable

13. Feeder – Just a Day (awesome video btw)

14. Hard-Fi – Living for the weekend (now you know where this blog title came from!)

15. Kaiser Chiefs – I predict a riot

16. Kasabian – Club Foot

17. The Wonderstuff – Unbearable

18. The Killers – Mr Brightside

19. Manic Street Preachers – From Despair to Where

20. The Metal Gurus – Blockbuster* – can’t find a YT of it but here’s something else

21. Muse – Time is running out

22. Franz Ferdinand – Take me out

23. Ride – Twisterella

24. Scouting for Girls – She’s so lovely

25, Sugarbabes – Freak Like Me

26. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

And one to close out….

27. Pink Floyd – High Hopes – Although a little bit depressing for some, this song always takes my mind back to my childhood – and the reason is the bell sound; sounds exactly like the church bell that used to ring behind my grandparents cottage in Kirtlington. Looking back it makes me appreciate what a blessed childhood I had with my family. Anyway, here’s the live version too – didn’t know GIlmour used that instrument to do the solo… Although not generally a Floyd fan, I also love the live version of Comfortably Numb…. awesome guitar from 5:00 onwards. Genius!

Here’s the lyrics from “High” that particularly reverberate:

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river

Adding more!

Radiohead – You Do It To Yourself

* The Metal Gurus were a side project for The Mission UK where they covered some of their favourite glam rock songs

** I’m not a big Robbie fan but this does have that good feel to it … the sort of good feel you find towards the end of a night at your favourite disco stroke club stroke wedding.

Bands that did not feature

U2 – South of the border Irish and therefore not a part of the UK πŸ™‚

Keane – Some awesome tracks but I don’t think they’re really ones that make you want to bop around and pretend that you’re 18 again.

Mojo – Download music from other people’s iTunes!

The thing about writing commercial software is that even if you put elaborate things in place to stop people copying or ripping it, someone somewhere will find a way.

Similarly, now we live in an MP3 world, people who use iTunes can now download songs from other people’s shared iTunes libraries thanks to Mojo.

“Mojo will automatically find other users on your network and allows you to easily add buddies to your roster for those who aren’t on your local network. Β  Select a user to share with… Songs you already have in your library are grayed out.Β  Also, protected songs display in red… All the songs you have selected will be automatically downloaded and added to your iTunes library…Choose any playlist to subscribe to, and Mojo will automatically download and update the latest changes”

Sounds great eh? Mac users can rejoice that this is fully functional at this time, but Windows is still in beta meaning you can only share over a local network – the Mojo guys are working on completing this work shortly.

Visit the Mojo Site for more info

The Mission @ Sherpherds Bush Empire – Show #3

Saw the band play songs from “Children” and also a few other faves (Slave to Lust, Like a Hurrican, Like a Child Again) and they were on top form – shame the audience were a little lacklustre at the start but once Wayne got into it, everyone got into the whole feel and it was one of those great Mish shows, complete with the obligatory towers during “Tower of Strength”

Aside from the usual suspects also met Simon Hinkler (who is an exceptionally friendly chap) as well as Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls from The Wonderstuff. Miles and I have been in the same room on quite a few occasions but have never really introduced ourselves. He was looking quite dapper tonight.

Tonight is the final show and my last day in the UK. Back to sweet home Chicago on Sunday.

Have you ever considered listening to The Mission UK?

The Mission - God Is A BulletLooking for something new to listen to? How about something that’s been here all along and you’ve maybe missed it.

The Mission UK started in 1985 and have had a colourful career since – once the darlings of the British press, renowned for their antics on and off the stage, as well as breaking the US markgin briefly as well as Asia, not to mention dominating Europe and Latin America….

The year is now 2008 and The Mission are embarking on their final tour, culminating in four London shows (which I’m pleased to be travelling back to Blighty to see ’em). Their last album “God Is A Bullet” is touted by the band as possible the best album they’ve ever recorded, along side “Gods Own Medicine” – and I have to agree! Not just because I did the hand claps for two of the tracks πŸ™‚ but also because it is the most accessible album to date – and some have suggested was up there for album of the year in 2007 when it was released.

The last single (“Blush“) is an absolute corker of a track – it’s very pop orientated but has the Mission edge to it – Wayne Hussey has defined a sound for many years that, although the music has maintained a contemporary feel, has been part of what quintessentially makes The Mission – don’t believe me? Check out reviews like this -> (link)

Don’t believe all you read this band are a Goth band – they’re a rock band that has it’s goth roots, but they’re so much more than that – for $10 I would suggest you have little to lose than to check them out – And no, I’m not on commission!

more on music stuff

i (ahem) saw a post on newsgroups for Mary J Blige which reminded me of the first time I actually listened to this artist(e). Years ago a friend and I went to work and all he’d listen to was Snoop, Dre and other G-Funk stuff. I must admit after listening to it every other week for 2 years i actually liked some of the tracks (shit does eventually stick after all). He also played MJ but I just couldn’t get passed it.

Anyway a couple of years ago I was watching Later With Jools Holland and MJB appears. For whatever reason I decided to watch the performance…

Her performance was nothing less than outstanding – I was absolutely blown away by the sheer talent of the woman… all of her alledged bitch personality aside she gave a passionate all out deliverance of “No More Drama”. Today I found it on YouTube – and here it is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J-4dXS77V0

There are other YT clips, none of which really grabbed me except this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ttAjjrPUu8 – filmed a couple of years later and still she gave what was clearly every she could to this track.

She may have hit a few bum notes if you’re technical about it by when you consider she gave her heart and soul it only adds, not detracts.

And no, I am not gay for liking a MJB track! πŸ™‚

And no, I still don’t like most of her other stuff.

artists i have hated …. but now maybe like.

funny how tastes change – and how one song might change your whole opinion of an artist – certainly for me.

Pink Floyd – Sure they were seminal for their genre, but really… had no time for them… and then I hear “High Hopes” whilst playing pool in the Hobgoblin in Bicester, then see them at Live8 (specifically http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wtiNzci1Wc) and then it all changes. Every time I hear High Hopes it reminds me of home – spending weekends with my grandparents in Kirtlington where we would listen to the church bells on Saturday mornings which signalled time to have a sweet cup of tea and some cream crackers. My nan was a firm believer in putting Brandy in our tea for medicinal purposes. I think that has a lot to do with my alcohol tolerance….

Led Zepplin – So as most of you know I have strong affiliations to The Mission, who are supposedly LZ influenced – so why is it that I LOVE the Mish but didn’t like LedZ – and then that damn Puff Daddy remix comes along and then I go buy their “best of” remastered album and I like ’em. Yay me.

Jimmy Hendrix – What was the fuss about? I mean, seriously….. and then an old friend does a mix tape for me (Paul – friend of EMF if you remember them) which includes “Cross Town Traffic” and then I go buy the “best of” …. you know the story.

Bob Marley – Nope. Reggae bollocks. Then my sis keeps playing some BM tracks and all of a sudden I’m buying the “best of’ etc etc. blah blah.

I’m sure folks reading this have similar experiences… but I bet you no-one cites a revival of Milli Vanilli or Vanilla Ice