Browsing Tag: Music


    Apple Customer Service FTW

    August 25, 2008

    Apple logoI have a pretty big credit on my account with the iTunes Music Store. Cari’s been wanting to buy music lately, so I suggested she tell me the songs she wants, and I’ll use my credit to “gift” the songs to her. That’s where I buy the song, but she gets to download it.

    We did that last week, but a couple days later I noticed a charge from Apple on my debit card. So, after searching the online help and not finding an answer that satisfied me, I sent this email to customer service:

    I have a credit of nearly $40 in my iTunes store account. On August 19, I gifted a song to my wife (order #__________). I believe the $1.07 was deducted from my credit balance AND also billed to my credit card. Can you explain why this happened, and can you please fix it?

    I’d like all gifted music to be billed against my store credit.


    Matt McGee

    The next day, John replied back to tell me that the gifted song was only charged to my credit card, not to both the card and my store credit. He also explained that gifted songs can’t be bought against existing store credit, only against the credit card on file. Then he said this:

    Matt, as a small way to show Apple appreciation for your doing business with us, I have issued five song credits to your iTunes Store account. You can use these to buy the individual songs of your choice from the iTunes Store.

    How sweet is that? Ask a simple question, get a simple answer … and five free songs. Nice job, Apple.


    7 Reasons I Love the New Coldplay Album

    June 24, 2008

    Viva La Vida or Death And All His FriendsI wasn’t sure what to expect from Viva La Vida. Didn’t really care for the previous Coldplay album too much — too bland, too predictable, too Coldplay-by-numbers. But I was glad to see them choose Brian Eno to produce this one, and hopeful he’d steer them on a new course.

    He did. I’m a big fan of Viva La Vida. Here’s why:

    1.) After seven listens, there’s not a song I dislike and many that I love. “Lovers In Japan / Reign of Love” is terrific, as is “42” and “Death and All His Friends.” Those are the current faves.

    2.) It sounds new, different, adventurous. They have a new lease on life. It’s not a hugely dramatic change in their sound, but it opens up some new directions for them. That’s a Good Thing.

    3.) It’s not over-produced like X&Y was.

    4.) It starts with an instrumental. Seriously, how many rock albums even have an instrumental these days? How many start the album with one?

    5.) There’s a medley in the middle. Again, not a common thing on today’s rock albums.

    6.) There are three songs over six minutes long. The last track is technically supposed to include a “hidden song”, but the hidden song begins almost immediately after the actual track ends, so it plays like a a single, long song.

    7.) The song order is perfect. They did a marvelous job putting together the track list. Each song flows perfectly into the next. It makes this feel like a real album, not just a collection of random songs.

    That’s it. Seven reasons I love the new Coldplay CD.


    New Coldplay Single: Free Download

    April 27, 2008

    Viva La Vida or Death And All His FriendsJust got an email from telling me that they’re giving away the band’s new single, “Violet Hill,” as a free download beginning Tuesday on The free download will be available for a week.

    The new album is called Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, and (as you can almost see on the image at right) it has some artwork with a half-nekkid woman on the front. So, not exactly the most fan-friendly album cover when you have a 10-year-old at home who likes Coldplay.

    I’m really curious to see what this album will sound like. I’ve been a fan since their first album, but didn’t find the most recent album all that thrilling — it was almost like Coldplay-by-numbers. I’m looking for something that sounds different, something new. They need to find a new path and explore it. With Brian Eno producing, I’m optimistic they’ve done that. But we’ll see…..


    5 Great Bands You Should Know (& Their Free Downloads)

    February 24, 2008

    We all have different tastes in music, and I don’t pretend to think everyone should like the same artists I like. But maybe you’ll check some of these bands out and agree that you should be paying more attention to them.

    Vib Gyor

    Official site | MySpace | YouTube channel
    They formed in 2004 in Leeds, England, and their 2006 single, “Fallen”, got a lot of airplay in England and the U.S. — particularly on the West Coast, where the song was popular in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland, especially. I saw them last summer when they did a brief West Coast tour (photos from Seattle). They’ve released a couple EPs and are working on their debut album right now. Free Music: Visit their Profile and look under the Listen Now section. Highly recommend “Fallen,” a great rock song, and “Church Bell” is great, too.


    Official site (English) | MySpace
    Reamonn is a five-piece band from Germany, but with an Irish singer who has a terrific voice. They’ve been around for about 10 years, I think, and have a handful of albums and at least one DVD out already. Some of the songs are bit cheesy and melodramatic, but those are few and far between. They do mostly mid-tempo rock/pop songs, with a few high-energy rockers and a few ballads mixed in. Free Music: A top Reamonn fan site offers an acoustic version of their hit, “Supergirl” from a radio performance.

    The Last Goodnight

    Official Site | MySpace
    You’ve probably heard the incredibly catchy “Pictures of You” on a TV commercial. The other stuff is good, too. This is a group of friends from Enfield, Connecticut, that originally called themselves Renata. The Last Goodnight now has their debut album out, Poison Kiss. It’s really good. Free Music: Sign up for their mailing list, and get a free MP3 of “Pictures of You”.

    Beat Radio

    Official Site | MySpace
    Their official web site is straight out of 1995, and that’s surely on purpose. They wear the “indie rock” label proudly and call their sound “lo-fi.” I just call it pretty good — kinda quirky and interesting. Their debut album is called The Great Big Sea. Free Music: You can download the entire album (and several additional songs) on their web site. Recommended: “People Are Talking” and “Treetops”.


    Official Site | MySpace
    An Irish band that I love despite/because they have very little U2 influence. In fact, more recently, they tend to be making music more in the vein of Dave Matthews Band, a band I don’t particularly like. But I like Agiven’s sound. They have a new EP coming out soon called Legible Words for the Morning, and a new web site, too. Free Music: To get some free music, you’re gonna have go old school. They used to give some songs away on the old web site, so use and you’re all set. I recommend all three songs there, but especially “Forgive Yourself”. Great track.

    Honorable Mentions

    The Changes – “When I Wake”
    Official Site | MySpace | YouTube
    No free songs to download, but check out “When I Wake.” Good, bouncy pop song.

    Foreign Born
    Official Site/Blog | Myspace
    No free songs to download, but check out “We Had Pleasure” or “In the Shape”.

    Know of some other great artists that offer free music? Tell about it in the comments, please…

    (I have to thank Cara, whose blog intro’d me to three of the above.)


    Music Tells Me I’m Getting Old

    December 26, 2007

    My son, Sean, just turned 10 and is becoming as big a music fan as I’ve been since about the age of 12. Up until recently, Sean has mainly followed Dad’s musical tastes: He loves U2 and has even been to one of their concerts; he listens to Coldplay; and he’s taken a liking to some of the CDs on my shelf like Snow Patrol and Keane.

    All of that is fine from a fatherly perspective because I know the music he’s listening to, and with only a couple exceptions, don’t mind his young ears hearing these lyrics.

    For Christmas, he put several CDs on his list from artists that I know nothing, or almost nothing about: Nickelback, The Bravery, and even Blake Lewis (the kid from American Idol).

    That’s the first sign I’m getting old: When my kids start listening to bands/artists I don’t know. A week or so ago, Sean asked me if Lupe Fiasco’s real name was Lupe Fiasco or that was a fake name? I had to confess I’d never heard of Lupe Fiasco. The shame.

    Then comes the lyrics issue. Do I worry about what these singers are saying in their songs? Of course I do!

    That’s the second sign I’m getting old: When I worry about what my kids are hearing in the music they listen to. Should I listen to every song first to make sure it’s acceptable?

    After thinking about, I decided to go ahead and buy some of these CDs even though I don’t know the artist and don’t know what they’re singing about. Here’s why:

    1. It’s not realistic to think I can listen to every song my son wants to listen to before he does, and approve or disapprove it. Who has time for that?
    2. As he gets older, and as kids grow up faster than they did when I was young, he’s going to be exposed to a lot more in the schoolyard, at his friends’ houses, etc., and I have to accept that’s just part of growing up.
    3. Most importantly, he’s a Good Kid and I have to trust the job we did as parents and trust him to adjust and mature in an appropriate way as he experiences new things.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m getting old, does it? 🙂