You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘music’ category.

Every summer, I compile my favorite tracks of the year so far and force the compilation on the people I know will give them a listen or two. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss. I don’t know the adoption rate, or catchiness quotient, or conversion statistics for the stuff I share with friends and family, but I do know that I like the idea of collecting, sorting, and imposing subjective evaluation on new music.

For me, I can attest as of August 20 that this is the year that the album was resurrected. I’ve purchased 18 complete new albums this year so far, and if you break down those acquisitions into individual tracks, I’ve picked up and broken in about the same number of song downloads here and there, thanks mostly to Peel and the blogs that provide the mp3s. By the way, if you have a Mac and love music, Peel is the best $15 you will ever spend on anything in your life (I don’t care if the code is three years old).

Here’s a rundown of what stands out to me so far in 2010. You might notice that hip-hop, R&B, and electronic are missing, and conspicuously so, but it’s only because the new recordings I love from those genres don’t have standout tracks. I can justify those omissions; I limited this list to 18 songs, and like I said before, the album has made a comeback this year in my estimation.

Note: An asterisk in the list below denotes one of my daughter’s favorite dance tracks.

I Was Thinking… — Gauntlet Hair
Heart to Tell* — The Love Language
Odessa* — Caribou
The Suburbs — Arcade Fire
Mouthful of Diamonds* — Phantogram
Marathon — Tennis
O.N.E.* — Yeasayer
Round And Round — Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Albatross — Besnard Lakes
Promises — The Morning Benders
Empire Ants* — Gorillaz
Lucidity — Tame Impala
Gold Skull — Miniature Tigers
Walk in the Park — Beach House
Shadow People — Dr. Dog
Bloodbuzz Ohio — The National
That’s Some Dream — Good Old War
Sinister Kid — The Black Keys

The most popular of the tracks listed above contains a close-to-home-hitting verse:

So can you understand
Why I want a daughter while I’m still young?
I want to hold her hand
And show her some beauty
Before all this damage is done…


A couple of years ago, pregnant Katie and I went to see R.E.M., Modest Mouse, and The National at Walnut Creek (or whatever corporate name it has now); Jackie’s first prenatal concert experience showcased some of the best (R.E.M.), most innovative and raw (Modest Mouse), and worthwhile contemporary (The National) alt-rock.

A couple of weeks ago, pregnant Katie and I went to see My Morning Jacket with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary; McLain’s first prenatal concert featured the pre-eminent live experience of Jim James and company, preceded by the mostly-Dixieland style of a New Orleans jazz institution.

Pooch displays the set list from the Cary show

The show was also one of the biggest conventions of Triangle friends and family I’ve seen in years. My brother and his wife, Katie’s sister and her husband, as well as five college friends and other acquaintances. We really appreciate the baby sitting services of the Grandparents Jones.

Katie and Mindy

I’ve been waiting about six years to see MMJ, so my expectations were probably a bit inflated. As Katie and I walked to the car after the show, she asked me how I would grade it. I told her that I gave it a B for two reasons. First, the town of Cary has a noise ordinance that limits the volume (and therefore, limits the fun); there were four or five times when I was consciously irked that there wasn’t more output resulting from the band’s hard work. Second, they played too many songs from their most recent (and my least favorite) album. Even worse, the heart of the encore was the one MMJ song I detest: Highly Suspicious. So, count me among the curmudgeons who are old enough to complain about wanting to hear more of the “old stuff” from the “good old days.”

The end of Run Thru

Now that I have the negative out of the way, I want to say that the band was extremely tight considering that they didn’t really tour at all in 2009 or the beginning of 2010. The final song included the PHJB in a moving (literally for Rich and me) rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s Move on Up. What’s more, they played about six of the 15 or so songs that I really wanted to hear. That’s a pretty good batting average, and it included my Jim James favorite, The Way That He Sings. Why does my mind blow to bits every time they play that song? It’s just the way that he sings, not the words that he says or the band.

Dondante was one of several highlights

In one of my fantasies of the future, McLain will come to me one day and ask about the virtues of Southern Rock and who killed it (when it needed to die gracefully). Or maybe he’ll want to know how powerful a voice can be under the command of good songwriting. Perhaps he’ll just want to know what constitutes a great live rock and roll show. We’ll listen to It Still Moves or Z and I’ll remind him that he was in attendance, sort of, in Cary of all places.

Earlier this year, Tom Ewing summarized the power of popular music quite nicely:

Often, the pleasure of pop is surrender: when a record overrides your reflexes or emotions for a few minutes, when you let it possess you. That feeling isn’t easy to write about, let alone argue over.

Pop music, for me, has come to mean two things: current and fun. Somewhat contrary to the modifier “popular,” the music described here is not overplayed and overconsumed.

So, when I spend a few hours every week catching up with my mp3 blog aggregator (much cooler than it sounds) and reading band news and album reviews, I’m actually chasing new sources, hoping to find those diamonds in the rough that will possess me. It sounds like an addiction because it is an addiction.

The capacity of any song to induce surrender is temporary. After the first few listens my memory starts to capture the most prominent qualities of the song (a bass line, a vocal harmony in the chorus). Soon the song realizes its full potential in my brain, and the song possesses me.

Possession continues for multiple future listens; the staying power of a song varies from five to about twenty replays. Then, as the newness of the melody, dynamics, and rhythm wanes, it loses its grip on my brain.

If the song is merely good, it sits quietly somewhere on my hard drive until I stumble upon it on some future date. If it’s a really good song, it has several different long-term locations in several different playlists, and I will listen to it occasionally in the future. If it’s a great song, it will have a celebrated retirement home where I will visit it (similar to beach-side assisted living in Boca).

Every song must retire. Here are my 2009 inductees for the Dog Food Money Hall of Fame — the most surrender-inducing songs of the year.

Best songs

Note: An asterisk in the list below denotes one of my daughter’s favorite dance tracks for Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Tier One

Two Weeks* — Grizzly Bear
Idiot HeartSunset Rubdown
French NavyCamera Obscura
My GirlsAnimal Collective
All the King’s MenWild Beasts
HomeEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Take it Easy* — Surfer Blood
Rain onWoods
Islands* — The xx
Oslo CampfirePort O’Brien

Tier Two

Chi Don’t DanceBBU
While You Wait for the Others
— Grizzly Bear
Tonight’s Today*
— Jack Peñate
Skeleton Boy
* — Friendly Fires
Lisztomania — Phoenix
Lust for Life
Pyrex Vision — Raekwon the Chef

Ghost Life — Bowerbirds
No Reasons
* — VEGA

Tier Three

Hazel * — Junior Boys
Velvet — The Big Pink
Lost Words — Ganglians
Vacationing People — Foreign Born
Suburban Beverage — Real Estate
The Now — Muzzle of Bees
Shine Blockas * — Big Boi featuring Gucci Mane
Norway — Beach House
You Don’t Know What You Do to Me — Blakroc
Ambling Alp — Yeasayer

Best album

— Grizzly Bear

Best album runners-up

Girls — Album
Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II — Raekwon
xx — The xx
Dragonslayer — Sunset Rubdown
The Bright Mississippi — Allen Toussaint

Note: This is jazz, not pop, but it’s super.

Best mashup

Two Weeks of Hip Hop (Dead Prez vs. Grizzly Bear)
— The Hood Internet

Best remix

Friendly Fires featuring Au Revoir Simone (Aeroplane remix)

Note: I know, it was released in ’08, but it wasn’t put on blast in our house until January ’09, and I didn’t hear anything better that came out this year.

Best video + song created from recorded clips of a legendary astronomer and physicist

Glorious Dawn
— Carl Sagan (featuring Stephen Hawking)

Best chillwave (new sub-genre of the year)

Feel It All Around
— Washed Out
Green Knight — Memory Tapes
Fire Ant — Bibio
Weak 4 Me — Nite Jewel
Last One Awake — Memory Cassette
Terminally Chill — Neon Indian

Most Annoying

At least in indie and mp3 blog circles, 2009 was the year of AnCo. They started the year with a much-anticipated, inevitably-leaked full length album, and ended it with a heralded EP. They narrowly escaped the list below because they produced interesting music throughout 2009, but when will the AnCo hype machine take a breather?

Here are the bands that I think were overhyped and overrated in 2009.

The Antlers — I know that music critics loved “Hospice”, but it was a bit too whiny and monotonous for my tastes.

YACHT — Psychic City was amusing the first few times I heard it, but the other tracks from this album annoyed me.

The Dirty Projectors — If I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate the dissonance and tempo changes, then so be it.

Wilco — Just because I’m a dad, that doesn’t mean I have to like dad-rock.

Modest Mouse — I know they didn’t realease a full-length album in 2009, but I’ve heard plenty of the EP they put out. After This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About and The Lonesome Crowded West, I would have never guessed their music could be boring after Johnny Marr joined the band (not that it’s his fault). Oh, and Isaac never screams like he used to (that’s a bad thing).

The Very Best — Someone explain to me why they are so widely adored by critics.

Kings of Leon — They’ve regressed in a similar way, yet in a much more dramatic way, as Modest Mouse. They have a clothing line now, and I hear their music on sports radio. I am now proposing a new law (the Followill rule) for evaluating music: The second a song is used as a segue snippet on sports radio, it is instantaneously lame.

MGMT — See the Followill rule, and I’m talking specifically about Kids of course.

Now, on to 2010. In with the new!

There are many musical associations lurking in our heads. In my experience, a connection between a certain song and a stimulus happens often, and some even happen and repeat on a regular basis. For example, “Summertime Rolls” by Jane’s Addiction is triggered every year during the month of August, and I think I’ve experienced this — the song evoked by the late summer heat, set to repeat in my head  — since I was 14 or 15 years old.

I thought about personalizing and re-hashing the lyrics for this post, but that seemed a little too contrived (although the line “there is so much space…I cut me a piece” is a perfect fit for beachgoing). I also didn’t use the song as a soundtrack to the beach footage below, but for me, it’s playing in my head when I see my daughter barefoot, fingernails of mother’s pearl playing in sand, gumming cantaloupe, and dancing with her Uncle Rich.

Another birthday has come and gone, and I realize now that one of the best periods of every year is not my actual birthday, but the two weeks that follow it. My family and wife’s family now know that I would rather have new music than 95% of other gift ideas. It isn’t that they aren’t creative in their gift planning. Rather, they try to make me happy, and I truly appreciate that.
During the fortnight after my birthday, I don’t let the iTunes credits, Amazon credits, and cash burn holes in my pockets. I spend time reading about, listening to, and legally purchasing new music.
Here’s what I’ve scored recently, and I’m fairly pleased with everything on my acquisition list for late July and early August.
God Help the Girl, God Help the Girl
Sunset Rubdown, Dragonslayer
Akron/Family, Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free
Spoon, Got Nuffin — EP
Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue
Memory Cassette, Calls & Responses
Dinosaur Jr., Farm
The Very Best, Warm Heart of Africa —– WTF???
The Eels
The Magnetic Fields (XX Merge)
The Hood Internet, Mixtapes

Another birthday has come and gone, and I realize now that one of the best periods of every year is not my actual birthday, but the two weeks that follow it. My family and wife’s family now know that I would rather have new music than 99% of other gift ideas. It isn’t that they aren’t creative in their gift planning. Rather, they try to make me happy, and I truly appreciate that.

During the fortnight after my birthday, I don’t let the iTunes credits, Amazon credits, and cash burn holes in my pocket. I spend time reading about, listening to, and legally purchasing new music.

Here’s what I’ve scored recently, and I’m fairly pleased with everything on my album acquisition list for late July and early August.

  • Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue
  • God Help the Girl by God Help The Girl
  • Dragonslayer by Sunset Rubdown
  • Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free by Akron/Family
  • Got Nuffin (EP) by Spoon
  • Farm by Dinosaur Jr.
  • Ambivalence Avenue by Bibio
  • Calls & Responses by Memory Cassette

Classify those last two albums under the hottest new summer genre: chill wave, or GorillavsBearcore. If you’re into this sort of thing, read a summary of the sub-genre Carles coined at I Guess I’m Floating or the original Carles post at Hipster Runoff.

I’ve also been cherry-picking some other artists, not all of whom have recent releases. I’ve included some editorial notes too.

  • The Eels — always one of those bands that I thought I would like if I ever put in the effort. Their catalog is pretty large, and I’ve enjoyed my time browsing.
  • The Magnetic Fields — chalk this up to the single thing that makes The Triangle much cooler than it would be otherwise: Merge Records. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary, and it inspired me to try out my favorite Merge band that I knew very little about. I’m about 10 deep in 69 Love Songs.
  • The Hood Internet — if you like hip-hop and indie rock, you can’t find a better value (free at than these mash-ups. I’m not exaggerating when I say that some have blown me away. I’m serious. These guys are supreme matchmakers.

Finally, can someone out there explain the appeal of The Very Best’s Warm Heart of Africa. Even though every respectable taste-making music blog/magazine is smitten, I’m afraid I just don’t get it. I’m cool with world music, I like Afro-pop, but I just don’t get it.

Jackie is approaching three months, and one of the latest developments is her new-found fondness for chewing. I can’t wait to leave indie rock, electro, Russian classical, non-gangster hip-hop, jazz, slowcore, post-punk, or shoegaze credits under her pillow on behalf of the Tooth/Tune Fairy. Here’s a video of her teething a little, playing a little, and being her adorable little self.

We recently got our scooter back from the shop, where two recalled parts (a fuel pump seal and the connecting rod) were replaced at Yamaha’s expense. For both Katie (before she was pregnant) and me, scooting with the wind in your face causes a perma-grin, or “scooter smile” as we call it. Not a full smile, mind you…that would put you at risk of swallowing a bug. The scooter smile is more subdued, but impossible to prevent.

Nice whip eh?

Nice whip eh?

There are several good reasons not to take yourself too seriously when you’re scooting about. For one thing, I think most people look a tad dorky (in the best possible way). I am no exception; my helmet is so big that I imagine myself looking like Lord Dark Helmet (of Spaceballs) as I drive around town.

Lord Dark Helmet, scooter aficionado"?

Lord Dark Helmet, scooter aficionado?

Another reason that scooter riders need a sense of humor is our slow speed relative to the rest of traffic. It’s hard to exude coolness when a Hybrid Kia can smoke you without up-shifting from third gear. Finally, people in North Carolina sometimes assume that you’re riding a scooter because you lost your driver’s license (that’s when a “Not a Liquorcycle” bumper sticker really comes in handy…thanks Steve). So, scootin’ and grinnin’ go hand-in-hand.

Best Albums of 2008

The scootin’ conditions have been pretty cold here recently, but I have managed to scoot around Five Points on the warmer days during the past two weeks. Aside from running different errands, time on the scooter has given me a chance to think back on the year in music. 2008 has really been a good one for tunes, so just like everyone else, I have my own personal “best of” list. Here’s how I rank some of the best of what I’ve heard since this time last year. Also, I reserve the right to make changes to these lists as songs/albums/artists pop into my head. I initially planned to add links to these artists or even mp3s, but I probably won’t have time before my daughter is born.

Tier One

Dr. Dog – Fate
TV On The Radio – Dear Science
Deerhunter – Microcastles
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

Tier Two

Flying Lotus – Los Angeles
Nomo – Ghost Rock
Sun Kil Moon – April
Santogold – Santogold
Hot Chip – Made in the Dark

Tier Three

The Walkmen – You & Me
Ratatat – LP3
Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
The Magnetic Fields – Distortion
Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair

2008 Mixtape (or my favorite 2008 singles)

MGMT – Electric Feel
Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream
The Field – A Paw in my Face
The Walkmen – In the New Year
Bon Iver – Creature Fear
Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach You
Lykke Li – Little Bit
Big Boi, featuring Three Stacks & Raekwon – Royal Flush
Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You
Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
No Age – Teen Creeps
Lil Wayne – A Milli
Islands – In the Rushes
Atlas Sound – River Card
White Denim – Sitting

Most Disappointing Albums

My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
Portishead – Third
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
Booka Shade – The Sun & The Neon Light

I’m always interested to hear some different takes on the music year in review. Leave a comment and let me know if you noticed any mischaracterizations or glaring omissions in the lists above.

You know what would make a great contest?

The Brad Mehldau Cover Challenge. Music students and/or music lovers would write a brief essay suggesting and justifying a list of 10 pop songs for Brad Mehldau to cover. Four basic rules would apply:

  1. The songs would have to be worthy of reinvention and should inspire something more from Mehldau than the novelty of a familiar melody in a different style
  2. The songs would have to suit the musicality of jazz piano (that would probably rule out most hip-hop and some electronic)
  3. The songs would have to be “popular music” (or music recognizable to at least one-quarter of the American population)
  4. The songs cannot have already been covered extensively by other artists (Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races” comes to mind…Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” are more poppy examples of songs that have been covered to death)

Aside from those criteria, the sky would be the limit. Prior to the submission of these essays, Brad Mehldau himself would choose the winner and create an entire album and name it in honor of that person. It would be the ultimate jazz-cover mixtape. As for my own cover choices, I haven’t fleshed out a complete album. Here’s a partial list:

  • Say It Ain’t So, Weezer
  • Maps, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Diamonds and Pearls, Prince
  • A Tear for Eddie, Ween (I know…I’m already breaking rule three)
  • Here You Come Again, Dolly Parton
  • Imitation of Life, R.E.M.
  • God Only Knows, The Beach Boys (now I’m breaking rule four)
  • If I Had a Boat, Lyle Lovett

I discovered Mehldau several years ago. It was a cover of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android that introduced me to his intensity (check it out if you don’t believe me), dexterity (he can play different melodies with each hand), and overall genius. The Brad Mehldau Trio released Brad Mehldau Trio Live (Nonesuch Records) a few months ago, an album recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York in the fall of last year. Live is Mehldau’s fourth album recorded there. It’s so good that I’ve dropped other music I’ve purchased recently and started going back through Mehldau’s earlier live recordings.

Brad Mehldau Trio Live

Of course, Mehldau and his current trio, which includes bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, are much, much more than a cover band. They also play Mehldau’s original music and an equal percentage of their live sets is devoted to classic jazz standards.

When I read that Mehldau’s group recently covered Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun on their lastest live recording, I had to pick it up. Ironically, Black Hole Sun is the only throw-away track on the two-disc set; the song is good for a round of “name that tune” with your friends, but a bit tedious at more than 23 minutes total. Now that I have my one negative comment out of the way, I can gush uninhibited about the rest of the album.

The album opens with its other pop cover, Oasis’ Wonderwall. As with any successful cover, it’s what Mehldau’s trio subtracts and adds to their version that really makes the song wonderful. The Mehldau trio’s rendition is void of the Gallagher delivery and attitude that annoyed me so much. The trio’s enhancements include a bossa nova-like rhythm, staccato and stride piano interpretation of the song’s lyrical notes (as opposed to Noel’s nasaly moans), and a bluesy-sounding, hard-driving Mehldau solo. Throughout his wandering improvisation, one of Mehldau’s hands remains true to the song’s melodic theme while the other hand explores the rest of the keyboard.

The trio’s chemistry is excellent throughout the album, but certain instances, where they nail typical jazz transitions (from a solo to the song’s head, from one solo to another solo), are remarkable and even spine-chilling. Secret Beach (a Mehldau original) really stands out to me.  B-Flat Waltz, Buddha Realm (I wish my name had a cool anagram) and John Coltrane’s Countdown are other highlights. As the band leader, Mehldau and his solos loom large over most of the tracks; he covers a wide spectrum of tempos and styles. Grenadier and Ballard also shine on the rare occasions when they get the spotlight.

More importantly, all three musicians excel at conversational improvisation, whether call-and-response or a less formal kind of interplay. I’ve found that whenever I listen to any of it, I continually have to remind myself that the performance is live. Oh, and considering our weakened American economy, I have to point out that you can’t find a much better value; the two-disc set, with two and a half hours of music, has the same price point as a single album.

Playing and improvising popular music written by someone else is inherent to jazz. When a pop song is accommodated by an artist in a different genre, for a different audience, the result can be a powerful hook that draws listeners in. Some of Mehldau’s pop covers are so good, they could legitimately replace other, more dated standards.

The Mehldau contest may be my own personal fantasy, but I share my appreciation for Mehldau’s recordings with many different types of jazz fans. So, come for the familiar and stay for the new and fantastic.

Baby girl Jones is doing fine, with no real updates to speak of, so I’m making this post in lieu of baby news. I know, I know. You’re probably already disappointed.

I remember the first time I flipped through The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte. My initial skim of the book was a kind of coffee-table experience — I was captivated by the aesthetics of the graphics without taking the time to appreciate their informational value. After a more thorough reading during my graduate coursework, chartjunk, small multiples, and other theoretical and practical concepts began to sink in. I remember disagreeing with more than a few of Tufte’s claims (and I still do), but I was enamored with his academic dedication to technical communication. It inspires me still today. I’ve been wondering lately…could I learn something about my musical preferences by visualizing my music’s metadata?

Even though I sometimes worry about Apple’s stranglehold on digital music, iTunes is the best digital media application available. I’ve been a loyal iTunes user for the past three years. Katie and I share our Mac, but I am responsible for 98% of the music uploaded. At a minimum, she deserves an understated tip of the hat: my wife is a good sport when it comes to my music-listening/buying/downloading habits. Since 2006, I’ve been able to collect and organize my music in ways that stacks of Case Logic albums could never accommodate. On the one hand, I miss liner notes and inserts. On the other hand, I’d prefer to filter and sort data fields click-by-click anyday over flipping through plastic sleeves in a book.

Last month, I decided to delve deeper into my (and Katie’s) music library. I began with a loosely-defined purpose and one particular variable. I wanted to analyze my song aquisition habits since the beginning of 2007 by genre. In other words, how have my musical tastes changed over the past year and a half? Of course, genre is an extremely subjective way to categorize. For example, I draw a clear line of distinction with my mind and ears between R & B, Soul, and Funk. For example, if the average person were asked to sort Donny Hathaway, Jill Scott, Poets of Rhythm, Bo Boral, and Mary J. Blige into these two genres, their results would likely be different than mine. Some artists (e.g. Rufus Wainwright, The Avett Brothers, Beirut, Air France) are pretty darn difficult to force into one bucket, but they can’t be duplicated and put into two buckets or divided among multiple buckets. I keep reminding myself that it’s okay if the genres are subjective — I’m the only one interested in dissecting my library anyway.

In most of the cases where genre blurs the boundaries of visualization, I used the category Alternative & Punk as a bit of a catch-all. As any ontologist will attest, homogeneity is crucial to characteristics of division. If genre is a characteristic of song division, then a couple of my labels don’t fit the bill. As a category label, Soundtrack is problematic because it is not homogenous with the others. Finally, the category called Blanks (also not homogenous) consists of music that has not yet been assigned a genre label.

Here’s a snapshot of my music library in July of 2008. The full data set, or all the music I own, is about 10,100 songs. The pie chart below depicts songs by genre.

Music Library, by Genre

Music Library, by Genre

So, World music jumped 2,450%, from two songs in December 2006 to 51 songs in July 2008. The statistically-significant increases from January 2007 to July 2008 were:

Genre Percentage Increase Number of Songs 1/07 Number of Songs 7/08
Bluegrass* 128% 47 107
Electronic 81% 214 389
Folk 46% 133 194

* attributed mostly to Chatham County Line

Lounge and Metal were completely flat (no songs acquired) over the year-and-a-half period, while I only added one single Blues song (1%) and six Soundtrack tracks (3%). Increases in all the other categories ranged from 9% to 45%.

Here’s the breakdown of song acquisition by genre:

Music Acquisition Trend, by Genre

Music Acquisition Trend, by Genre

This exercise has me thinking about other variables that, when displayed visually, might reveal interesting trends or patterns. Play Count and Skip Count would really describe my listening habits, but there’s no data because I rarely play music in iTunes. I suppose I could start appending each song record in my library with My Rating, but tastes change overtime and it would be a full-time job assigning stars to every song I hear. Perhaps the next time I sort through my music, I’ll look at the gradual trend of acquiring songs and not entire albums during the last several years.

I’d certainly like to hear any ideas you may have about visualizing music collections and listening habits.

Image from Raleigh

Urban dirt-biking

I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.