Archive for July, 2011

27
Jul
11

iTunes: Not so i-Deal

First of all we here at HiFi Central must apologize for the lack of posts over the past few months; we have been on a hiatus from blogging and using much of that valuable time to be with our families, or simply avoiding writing anything because we are too lazy and I felt compelled to touch base.

As some of our readers may know, over the past year I was enlightended about the brilliance of Phish and how diverse their music truly is; even I have to admit being rather ignorant in just assuming that they were a reincarnation of The Grateful Dead; they are clearly their own band and incredibly so.

So, over the past few months I have been collecting their studio albums and listening to live material in order to gain a larger appreciation of who they are and what they have contributed to music.  Clearly the best repository for their live material is directly from their website LivePhish.com; this site has a comprehensive offering of (I would assume) everything they have ever done; and for a small fee you can obtain choice snippets of what you consider to be the best shows to add to your collection.  I’ve used the uploading service for both their free Live Bait  releases and a 2010 concert; the sound quality has been superb!

So, I’m sure you are asking yourself “ok, so what does this have to do with the Apple logo and  the semi-clever post caption?”, ok, I will get to the point.

I’ve always been somewhat anti-Apple; and even moreso with the growing popularity of their products since it reminds me of some subtle world domination thing; I don’t know.  In the past I had subscribed to iTunes and liked it to a degree, but found that MicroSoft Media Player more dynamic; specifically in recognizing burned tracks and album art; something the iTunes in it’s infancy either accepted or rejected to no avail.  I wrote a blog post entitled “How Zappa Killed My Ipod” a year back and it really turned me off to iTunes and it’s inflexibility, especially with rejecting nearly 90% of Zappa’s catalog.  Not to mention the idiotic response I got from the Apple Stores “genius” at the time.  Up until recently I was opposed to the cult of Apple and everything they produced (and to top it all off and add insult to injury, my brother-in-law is a manager at the local Apple store, terrible eh?)

Well, about a month ago I was reliant on my Droid Eros as my mobile phone and for about a year it was reliable and snazzy (so I thought); I scoffed at the idea of owning an Iphone for reasons explained prior.  My driod died (the touch screen just stopped working) and Verizon was unwilling to assist me in fixing, replacing, or making any other mode of accomodation to keep me as a customer.  I finally decided to give in and try the iPhone 4, and yes, ok, I like it (just a little), ok….I like it alot more than my Droid.  The downside was that I was required to establish and iTunes account again (see, Apple get’s you by the nuts whether you like it not!!!); and of course the first thing it wants to do is become my default player AND convert my entire collection into their format; complete with unknown tracks and missing album art, once again. Yippee!

So, during my time exploring the self-created prison of iTunes I decided that I would check out their music catalog to see what they had to offer, of course I decide to type in Phish and yes, they have nearly all of the Live Phish sites catalog, very cool so I thought.  This is where I learn more about the lack of a deal iTunes really is if you are a savvy shopper and pay attention rather than relying on impulse to purchase your online music.  The concert I decided to look up was Phish’s 2010 concert at The Greek Theater in Berkely, CA (the 8/6/10 show, crazy version of “Cities”); on iTunes you can get 10 song’s for $12.99, or you can go to LivePhish.com and purchase the entire show of 20 songs for $9.99!!!  I was shocked and disappointed in iTunes, clearly this is a case of taking advantage of the uninformed consumer.  Why on Earth would you purchase anything live from Phish through iTunes, buyers please beware.  It’s like thinking your getting a good deal on a bulk size of Pringles at Sam’s Club instead of doing the math and realizing you can get a better deal at your local supermarket.  Then again, perhaps it is simply the consumers ignorance to blame for not doing their research comparing prices.

The other thing that I resent about iTunes is that you only have a limited amount of computers you can move your collection to (I think it’s 6?); then you are S.O.L. and have to either re-purchase the songs you bought off of iTunes or re-rip your cd collection (if you kept any after uploading them, which most of us are trying to downsize just for the benefits of electronic media storage).  Now, I’m not versed in MyCloud or McCloud, or whatever they are calling it, but perhaps this is the solution to keeping your collection off site and available for eternity.  If you do know how it works, please comment on this blog to enlighten us here at HiFi.

I like my iPhone, I really do, but this price gouging thing got me rather bitter.  Not to mention the uploading of my music collection to iTunes now looks pretty goofy with multiple albums without album art and a separate area of music quarantined as “unknown” or “unknown artist” which MediaPlayer seemed to figure out in 2 seconds, but the brilliance of Apple is dumbfounded; frustrating.

06
Jul
11

Live Bait Vol. 5 – Free Phish Download

Life sometime just throws you out some random sprinkles of joy  that make you smile, today is one of those days!

Live Bait Vol. 5 has been released to masses from  LivePhish.com this morning!

I’ve been very impressed with the quality and quantity of material they make available for free every once an awhile; this band clearly knows how to keep their fan base happy on a consistent basis. 

Check out LivePhish.com today and download your newest copy of this incredible live series of free shows and let us know what you think!

01
Jul
11

Randy “Macho Man” Savage Album? Oh god!

With the recent autopsy results released today I felt compelled for some reason to see if  “Macho Man” ever put out an album, and holy shit, he did!  Of course it’s pretty goofy and I do hope that he did not see a move to Hip-Hop as a legitimate career path. Sadly, howver, after listening to the samples on Amazon.com, clearly he did.   In my personal opinion the album is downright awful and most likely found its way into the .99 bin at your local mall CD store; but I’m sure it sold a few when it was originally released.

The craziest thing perhaps is that the cheapest used version is selling for $30!!!!!!  If you want it new it will cost you a mere $60!  I’ve heard of out of print 7-inch records, but a CD; c’mon.

I love one of the album reviews on the Amazon site:

“Randy Macho Man Savage’s excursion into the hip-hop arena represents an pivotal moment for American culture and civilization. In creating his recording, “Be A Man”, Savage throws out all conventional ways and approaches to artistic expression and replaces them with new structures and processes of analyzing the age-old problematics brought about by human conflict, identity and belonging.

Savage manages to do this by utilizing a multi-disciplinary, consilient approach (which E.O. Wilson would be proud of) by synthesising elements of American popular culture such as wrestling and hip hop. In Sartre’s existentialist tradition, Macho utilizes the elements available in his times and environment to revalidate and giving meaning to what had become a meager existence, while at the same time elevating & liberating the rest of humanity to another level of meaningful existence.

Examples of this new paradigm of human expression abound in this ouevre. From the cd cover photo, which shows Mr. Macho manipulating the chains which symbolize the possibility of humanity’s ability to break away from the chains of oppression that enslave us all and prevent us from leading a truly meaningful existence, to his aptly named title track, “Be A Man” which utilizes his rivalry with Hulk Hogan as a metaphor for the conflict between a superficial and unfulfilling material existence and a meaningful and rich human spiritual existence. This truly is a paradigmatic change that T. Kuhn would find exemplary.

This is a seminal must for any one’s artistic recordings collection, for it is destined to be a classic and the topic of scholarly and intellectual discussions for quite some time.

Makes you want to take a dump on this guys front lawn, doesn’t it?  I love the review and how much thoughtful time was taken to deconstruct the inner meaning behind this profound contribution to our society, complex human relationships, and ills that plague all of humanity (I think I just threw up in my mouth).

Don’t get me wrong; I loved the Macho Man growing up as a kid. I first saw him wrestle when I was 13 years old at the old RPI Field House in Troy, NY.  The guy was larger than life and from what I can recall, very cool with his little fans.  He was probably the most cheezy of the wrestlers at the time; his outfits were always ostentatious, and his glasses usually hid his cage-rage crazy bloodshot eyes; but I loved it.  But to take anything about his rap album other than it being a goofy project that someone (perhaps the lovely Lady Elizabeth) pressured him to do since the Slim Jim commercials weren’t paying the bills, would be just plain dumb.

However, on some degree this might be a righteous thing to own in your collection when you want to feel inspired by the Macho Man now and again.   

If you’re ever in the mood to hear his debut rap album it clearly exists, but I’m still in disbelief.  You can pick yourself up a copy at Amazon.com. Crazy!