Pandora’s True Value

Pandora’s stock has been getting rocked lately with Apple Music and Spotify making it awfully hard to compete. When you can play practically any song on demand, “radio” seems too slow and out of touch. The idea of Internet radio is likely over at this point, but that does not mean Pandora has no value. In fact, the opposite is true. Pandora’s value is not in its ability to play music. The value is in its predictive engine. That is what it needs to license to others. No one can come close to its accuracy. Imagine Apple Music’s For You section with predictions from Pandora’s engine. People would play more new music bringing in revenue for Apple Music and lesser known artists. It is a win-win situation.

Dave Matthews Band – Saint Louis Concert

My wife, Donnell, and I had the pleasure of seeing Dave Matthews Band for the second time together last night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The band put on an incredible show, and of all of the times I’ve seen them, I can say I have never heard them play so tightly together.

I have a few thoughts I’d like to share about the concert.

  • Having met Donnell at a concert, I can say for certain that there is nothing I like more than standing next to my lovely wife listening to a great band.
  • Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that every rock band needs a horn section. Trumpet playing backup singers are pretty cool. 🙂
  • Rashawn used a lot of bucket mute during the show. I’m a big fan of bucket mute, and it mellowed out the sound of the horn to really fit with the songs.
  • I thought Jeff’s choice of a Preservation Hall t-shirt was excellent and fitting.
  • We had seats just left of center in the pavilion which were actually quite good. It was the closest I had been to Dave since I flew on the same plane with him to Jo’burg.
  • Why anyone thought it would be a good idea to build a music theater next to a landfill is beyond me, but at least the wafting of the sweet and salty smell of kettle corn disguised some of the stink from the landfill.

The band played one of my favorite songs, You & Me. Every time I hear it, I cannot help but think about Donnell and the kids so it’s great in my book.

Unfortunately, they did not play Donnell’s favorite song, Tripping Billies. Donnell and Kyah spent a lot of quality time together listening to this song when Kyah was very young so it would have been great to hear it last night.

And to close things out, here is one of the best quotations from the evening from Donnell, “He’s so Phillip Phillips, it’s hilarious!”

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth

I have been listening to the new Van Halen album while working and exercising to slowly get my head around the fact that there is a new Van Halen album with the old (or should I say old-ing) Van Halen.

I have to admit that I really enjoy the album. It is without question a Van Halen album.  Eddie Van Halen is still the undisputed champion of hard rock guitar. There is no one on the planet that even comes close.  There are many times while listening to the album that I find myself shaking my head in disbelief hearing Eddie rip yet another shocking run.  Alex and the young Wolfgang round out a really great rock band.

Now, that brings us to David Lee Roth.  There are moments on the album where DLR is his old self belting out lyrics just like back in the day.  Then there are the moments when he sounds like me trying to sound like the 70’s version of DLR or Robert Plant (insert funny comment from the wife here).  If my ears are working correctly (and at high volumes, I think they are), it is possible to hear the order in which the songs where recorded.  I have a feeling DLR’s voice is just a little rusty on the songs where he sounds a bit off.  It is clear to me that with practice, he can regain complete control of that insanely fun and powerful voice.

If you’re a Van Halen fan, I’m sure you’ve already heard the album, but if you haven’t, you can find it on iTunes and Spotify.

Pinball Wizard

For those of you that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I have been calling my son the Pinball Wizard in honor of his mad skills on Mappy, Galaga, Pole Position, and Pac Man. For a four year old, I am constantly amazed how quickly he picks up new (old) games. He has even taken over the high scores on some of the games, but I’m practicing!

So, in honor of my Pinball Wizard son, Noah . . . The Who!

Which Music Festival Would You Attend?

If you had the choice between a rock festival featuring Arcade Fire, Wilco, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and a pop festival featuring Madonna and Elton John, which one would you attend? Come on, be honest.

Now, let me ask another question. Which concert do you think would be in support of Barack Obama? If you said the rock festival, you’d be right on. The bands at the rock festival are insanely cool, current, and relevant just like Barack. The bands at the pop festival are lame, dated, and completely irrelevant just like Hillary and McCain. To be completely fair, John Mellencamp is supporting all Democrats, but seriously, he wouldn’t be caught dead playing a gig with Madonna and Elton John on purpose.

Indiana, North Carolina, let’s finish this thing. Listen to The Boss and the rest of the rock stars and vote for Barack tomorrow. You wouldn’t have to admit that you went to some lame pop concert on purpose.

A Funky Groove from Christian McBride

While reviewing my Dashboard yesterday, I found this excellent track from Christian McBride and his band. The track starts out as a jam but spontaneously evolves into James Brown’s Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose. Moments like this are the reason it is so fun to play in a band. You never quite know what’s going to happen when everyone starts stretching out. You can play the track here.

Christian McBride – Out Jam/ Give It Up Or Turint Loose

Back in the day, I played in a band called Real Jazz Quintet with my brother Jeff, my buddies Terry Brown and Rob Buckley, and a dude named Dave that played awesome piano. Well, one night at a coffee shop in Aurora, Illinois called Roasters, we had one of these moments, and luckily, we recorded it using an insanely cheap but effective boom box. Check out A-Town Drug Bust by Real Jazz Quintet.

Send Some Holiday Cheer with iMix

The iMix feature in Apple’s iTunes Store is one that I have never really gotten in to. Sure, I used to mix cassette tapes when I was a kid, but for whatever reason, I’ve never really been one to build a lot of playlists in iTunes. That’s not to say that playlists and iMix aren’t really cool.

My buddy Terry Brown of Lazy Revolution fame sent an iMix to me today of some excellent jazz Christmas music. I’m not talking about the normal stuff you hear on the radio. Check out this iMix and see for yourself.

Now, to me, this is a great use of iMix. What better way to pass along some holiday cheer than to hip a friend on to some cool jazz music. If you have some favorite music you’d like to share, feel free to post a link in the comments section of this post.

Rhapsody on TiVo

Ever since I saw this post on TiVo Blog, I have wanted to test drive the new Rhapsody service on TiVo. Well, I have finally had a chance to spend some time playing with the new Rhapsody service, and I have to say that it’s pretty darn good.

There are some annoying performance issues like songs cutting out and the pages locking up, but I’m not sure if it is because of the service or my wireless network. The USB Wi-Fi adapter I use with my TiVo is kind of old and isn’t in the best of shape so it doesn’t get a very good signal. I have seen comments on other blogs that the performance of the service is a little iffy so my performance issues could be a combination of the service and my USB adapter.

I really enjoy the ability to search for and listen to pretty much any artist I can think of. A feature I like even more is the ability to enter the name of one of my favorite artists and listen to their music along with similar artists. It really is a great way to hear artists and songs that I may have never been exposed to, and with the radio stations in Saint Louis, I need some way to hear something new.

Over all, I am very impressed with the new Rhapsody service on TiVo. I’m not sure that I would spend the money on a monthly subscription to Rhapsody because I have so much invested in iTunes, but for someone without a large music library, Rhapsody and TiVo make a perfect combination to get music from the Internet to the Family Room.