Monthly Archives: March 2008

This is why I’m deaf and blind


CONTAINS STROBING

I don’t know what you did at Christmas this year and you could argue – quite rightly – that it’s none of my business. But here’s what I did: I cut together a load of video footage I’d shot of great bands throughout 2007.

What I did next was completely fail to publish it on this website. Never mind though – I’ve done it now. So pull up a chair, sit on it, and endure 15 minutes of pure actual video.

Bands featured include: Operation Wolf, Lardpony, Yeborobo, BARR, Shimmy Rivers And And Canal, Les Savy Fav, Hundreds, Tens & Units, The Chap, Hands on Heads, Tea With The Queen, cLOUDDEAD, Mika Miko, Dananananaykroyd, DJ Scotch egg, Liars, Everybody Is Going To Die, Heseltine and Gay Against You. I hope you find something to your liking.

All peformances were in London, apart from cLOUDDEAD and Les Savy Fav at All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Single Frame interview

Single Frame

Hey! Have you heard? Single Frame have gone digital!

If that means nothing to you, then you’ve pointed your browser at the right website. Let me explain: Single Frame are a very good band from Austin, Texas who at the time of writing have been active for around eight years. Their diverse creative palette merges energetic, synth-riddled indie rock with less lazily definable sonic experimentations. Saying they’re a bit like Xiu Xiu channeling post-hardcore probably won’t be much help, but if those words don’t render you completely bewildered, they might at least point you in the right direction.

Sadly it’s fair to say Single Frame haven’t reached the level of recognition here in the UK that they deserve. This could have a lot to do with the general unavailability of their records in our highstreet entertainment chains, but now, thanks to this new thing scientists are calling ‘the internet’, distribution shouldn’t be such a problem.

SFepIn what’s becoming an increasingly familiar story, Single Frame have parted ways with their label to return to their (not inconsiderable) DIY roots, self-releasing the new and imaginatively titled SFep as an iTunes Plus download – along with, at 50 units, a very small run of limited edition CDs.

iTunes Plus is of course Apple’s vaguely insulting new iTunes Store ‘innovation’, the ‘plus’ being that the MP3s are encoded at a higher quality than the regular store and provided DRM-free – surely as it should have been in the first place. But this does mean reasonable pricing and international availability, and now wherever we are, we can all enjoy a little bit of the Single Frame musical action-pie.

So I bought that EP from iTunes, and I loved it. Then I thought “I really don’t know anything much about this band”, and then I thought “maybe I’ll ask them some questions” and then I did and they responded and now I invite you to listen to the EP and read what I asked and see what they said.

Continue reading

Facebook’s bad vibes

Still using Facebook? Loser. All the cool kids have either been BANNED or quit in disgust. Facebook could be about to become this year’s MySpace (remember MySpace?). The relaunch of Netvibes with the new Ginger feature set has seen the customisable ‘start page’ build the familiar elments that comprise its RSS-feed aggregating, drag-and-drop widget house into a fully-fledged attempt at a social networking platform: it pulls feeds in, it spits them out again to your subscribers. This includes status updates and ‘walls’. Sound familiar?

Facebook status updateOf course it does, you idiot. Unfortunately for Facebook, it would never have been long before this began to happen. Predictably it took MySpace longer than it should have to introduce status updates on its service, but it’s not the only competition. You could now spend all day updating all your status messages across different services if you wanted. This had obviously become apparent to developers, which is why there’s been a sudden slew of new services promising to help you aggregate and maintain all your other services and the services subscribed to by your friends. Services.

Some folk are calling this ‘lifestreaming’ (me for example, just then) and sites like Second Brain and the mildly terrifying Spokeo (‘Spookio’ might have been more accurate) already do a pretty good job of aggregating common feeds in and out and finding those emitted by those you wish to stalk.

Find your friends, track your friends, harass your friends, lose your friends.

The thing is, Facebook could come out of this very well in the long term. They just need to open up and embrace the wider web. The vast majority of Facebook users are not going to be getting Second Brains in the near future, mostly because they couldn’t give two shits about RSS feeds or social bookmarking. But it’s not impossible that the more enthusiastic casual web users will soon pick up Netvibes accounts, especially as they can use Netvibes to incorporate common activities like checking webmail, monitoring eBay bids – and indeed, Facebook updates.

Netvibes is a lot less uptight about how you use it. Facebook ‘applications’, as we all know, are an absolute chore at the best of times and when you want to do something simple with your favourite external service – like adding a feed of your latest pictures on Flickr, for example – the experience is rarely satisfactory. This is mostly, I suspect, because Facebook want us to stay within their little blue and white garden, and use their photo sharing features. At the same time, Facebook are tentatively sullying the focal point of information with advertising (sorry, ‘sponsored messages’).

So, the ball’s in your court, Facebook. Are you going to start playing nicely and become my lifestreaming tool of choice, or are you going to stagnate while Netvibes and the rest get on the social networking bandwagon?

Netvibes