Chronicles of Ryebone

Singles 2015

It's that time of year again to share my annual playlist! For those not familiar, I have - for the past few years - been adding music I listen to frequently, to a playlist on whatever streaming service I'm subscribed to. I don't overload it with too many songs, and I end up with a pretty solid mix, typically fifteen to twenty songs. 

YouTube Playlist

2015 was an interesting year for music. I really got into The Black Keys, whom I have listened to before but not with the same level of interest. I was also introduced to Wolfmother, whose songs hit me hard: they're fun and full of rock. It makes me miss some of the "heavier" tunes I've listened to in the past. A nice return to form, for sure. I'm really digging this 2015 playlist. The songs are, for the most part, at this comfortable level for me. Nothing too hard, nothing too pop. Quite a bit of older music, and a few new tracks as well that I hope will stand the test of time. So far, I imagine they will: I frequently listen to 2013 and 2015, with 2014 bringing up the fewest listens, as I believe there was a bit more experimentation and inconsistencies throughout. I know the playlist is a good one when I can share it to some friends and they play the entire thing back without giving me one of those "Ryebone, what kind of weird stuff are you into?" looks.

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Singles 2013

As I mentioned in my previous Heavy Rotation post, I started a new job that wasn't really music friendly. That is, I can't really use headphones and playing music through speakers isn't going to happen when some people are in the room (my office is a large, window-less room with three people in it, including my immediate supervisor). So Rdio takes an even bigger hit, and listening to music at home typically involves putting on MP3s (or whatever format they are in - I like to collect FLAC). As this downturn in office listening occurs, an upturn in mobile listening comes out. I've put together a "Singles 2013" playlist on Rdio which is composed of any singles that I've taken an interest in. I think it's a pretty awesome mix, if I do say so myself. It comes on in the car all the time, in the house while I'm doing chores, and whenever I want to listen to some seriously solid songs.

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Mix 2008 I

Do any of you remember mix tapes? Or even mix CDs? It feels a generation ago that any of us were making these compilations. With the advent of the iPod and deluge of MP3 players afterward, the compilation CD was rendered obsolete and a memory of old tech.

There's a problem though, in that many of our cars don't have connections for digital music players. Sure, mostly all of them do now, but you go back a few years and they all lack that AUX jack that makes it all come together. Instead, we're stuck with a single disc CD player and the radio. My car is a 2008 model and has that AUX jack so I don't have much of an excuse to pop in a CD anymore, aside from that fact that it is infinitely more convenient than getting the cable and everything plugged in (especially while driving - a big no no) and navigating the interface to start playing something. With a CD, I pull it out of the visor storage area and pop it in, the music is playing immediately. So there is much to be said for the CD mix these days, although I recognize I am in the minority here.

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Heavy Rotation - July 2013

Rdio has taken a bit of a backseat to life these days; with a change in jobs I don't have as many opportunities to put in headphones and set my mind on a task. My fear is that my music listening will fall way behind, so I'm actively trying to keep a few albums open, and Rdio playing a shuffled artist station whenever I can.

So far so good, but I've definitely hit a snag, in that I just keep listening to a few albums that I discovered just a few months ago. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as its telling of the quality of these albums, right?

I was asked recently what I've been listening to, and this post has been sitting in draft for a while. So here you go, my top four albums this past month!

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 First, I have to tell you that Rdio is one of the greatest services that I have ever used, and has completely changed the way that I listen to and discover music. I’ll probably write more about that another time, because the focus here is on one artist I found through Rdio that reaffirms the model and reinvigorates my love for music. It also helps to remind me that there is new, good music out there, and that I’m not crazy in looking for that “click.” See, when I first listened to The National, something just clicked, and I was hooked immediately. I sought out and bought all their music almost immediately. Ever since, I’ve loaded up new albums, had a listen and moved on, never to experience that click in quite the same way. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t degrees of clicking and trying to list those degrees is akin to basically ranking your favourite albums and artists (which is fundamentally unfair, I know). It’s safe to say The National (and specifically Boxer and Alligator) are amongst the top; I could easily just list the most recent additions to my music library as other good contenders. One album though has stood out, which is The Golden Age by Woodkid.

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The Great Music Collection, part four: The Aftermath

It's now been months since I first imported my collection into iTunes and really embraced the ecosystem. After months of use, the import has proven successful: the data is clean, the albums are organized and it is an actually joy to work with. Never did I believe you would hear that from me in regards to iTunes. That's not to say the software isn't without it's problems, as the software can be slow, sluggish and a pest with it's need to update all the time. But the initial setup and planning has paid off: I have the Core playlist which syncs with my iPod, and podcast episodes are individually chosen. Subscriptions to podcasts are all setup and download automatically all the time (although iTunes seems to forget the odd one).

One of the goals I had was to have the entire music library available through Subsonic, which runs off my server/HTPC that is always powered on (the desktop housing iTunes is not always on). The previous folder structure I had was good for Subsonic, but iTunes' structure is even better. Folders for artists, then folders for each album inside. I simply copied the entire iTunes music folder onto the server and pointed Subsonic at it: everything worked as expected, and as a bonus I get a simple mirror backup of my music. Now, that was good for a while, but I rarely use Subsonic anymore, as work and life don't really permit me to do so. I don't have a big need for it, so the service has been turned off (as has the server most days).

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