Wanted: Tightly compressed, sunny music for my cycle commute

I love listening to music and I love cycling into work. Not having a death wish, I don't ride along with headphones, oblivious to my surroundings. So I've rigged up a set of stereo Bluetooth speakers on the handlebars, which connect to my phone running Spotify for the music. The speakers aren't brilliant though: no bass, limited mid range. That pretty much rules out most electronic music, which needs some bass and clear mids. So I'm searching for music, suitable for cycling, that will sounds decent on these limited speakers.

If you've got a Spotify account, you can look at and add to the collaborative playlist I've set up.  If not, drop me a note in the comments.

So I suppose the specifications are:
  • Sunny, happy music you'd listen to on a bright, sunny Summer day.
  • Compressed sound that'll sound good on a $5 transistor radio over FM.
  • No reliance on heavy bass or mids.

Music currently in the playlist:
  • Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With the Arab Strap
  • Belle & Sebastian - I'm a Cuckoo
  • The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger
  • OutKast - Hey Ya!
  • The B-52s - Rock Lobster
  • Miss Li - Bourgeois Shangri-La
  • Washed Out - New Theory
  • The Virgins - She's Expensive
  • MGMT - Time To Pretend
  • Cut Copy - Lights & Music
  • Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out

Alexis Petridis' perfect New Year's Eve playlist

Chime Orbital

Useful because a) it's great b) has vaguely Big Ben-ish bells on it, but also because playing it marks the inexorable passing of time: watch ex-ravers of a certain age "have it large" before sheepishly heading home at 1am to relieve the babysitter.

Sounds scarily familiar...

Peats Ridge Festival 2010

Holly and I took Louis to his first outdoor music festival, and his first time camping over New Year. Peats Ridge Festival is held to the North of Sydney in a valley near the Hawkesbury River and bills itself as something of a sustainable music festival. It's got mostly Australian artists, though this year they had the Shout Out Louds who I'd previously seen at Roskilde in 2006 (yes, follow that link - the photo is awesome).

We didn't know quite how it'd turn out, whether Louis would cope with dust, camping, noise and heat.  Turns out we did fine.

Bands I really enjoyed, but expected to enjoy, were Shout Out Louds, Decoder Ring and PVT. Always awesome bands.

New discoveries:
  • The Seabellies: very talented multi-instrumentalist band. Curious to hear their recorded output, if I can find somewhere to buy it that isn't iTunes.
  • Fishing: very difficult to categorize, probably closest example is some of Hudson Mohawke's output (Polyfolk Blues in particular). Amazing live mashing up of their tracks.
  • Jinja Safari: Holly saw these guys so I don't really know anything about them.
  • Trentemøller: not terribly impressed with his recordings, but his set leading up to New Year's midnight was great.

But music was only part of the fun. We spent a lot of time trying to stay cool, with temperatures heading towards 30 and over in the day. We spent a fair amount of time cooling down in the little creek running through the site.  We lazed around.  Ate some yummy food.  Drank some beers.

The really fun part was last night with a dress up night.  Louis and I have these absolutely amazing costumes made by my awesome friend Linn Linn.  Loads of fun.

All in all, a nice little festival.  Good relaxed atmosphere, very kid-friendly. The "eco" label can be a little grating, especially when they stiff you an extra $1 "container deposit" on drinks and then make it difficult to actually get your dollar back.  But I think I'd definitely go again.  We had lots of fun.

Loads more photos are on my SmugMug.

In case you haven't had cute overload yet, here's a video of Louis dancing to Lolo Lovina:

Musical OCD

This came from my mate Mike, as a profound quote from his mate Dave.

Women do not understand mans need to accumulate music, they seem to think it has something to do with a desire to listen to it. 

This got me thinking about one element of my musical OCDness.

There's a really really annoying song on the otherwise excellent Vampire Weekend album Contra.  The annoying song has that autotune vocal mangling so popular with the kiddies' shitty pop music these days, and is really out of place from such an intelligent band and so long after the studio technique has been used, abused and discarded by serious musicians.

Anyway, all my music sits on a server at home and so it's just files in a directory.  I could delete this track in a millisecond and never have to endure the annoying track again.  But then I wouldn't have the whole album.  There's just some part of me that, regardless of the fact I never want to hear the song again, can't delete the track.  So instead I scramble for the remote whenever the track comes on to fast forward it.  Holly laughs every time.

The future of the music industry?

Ten years ago I wrote this blog about how the music industry doesn't get it. It's interesting that also today Apple bought the subscription music site lala.

Subscription is definitely where it's all heading. It should be a record exec's wet dream: getting the price of one album from every household every month would be streets ahead of what they get now. I'd sign up if someone offered such a server, with enough breadth of catalogue, in Australia!