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Special tip of the witch’s hat to: Ow! My Sweet Eyes!

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Over the next couple weeks I’ll be recapping my roadtrip down to Memphis and Nashville in a series of ‘What I Learned’ posts. The trip was 5 days long and I’ll be doing a post for each day, as there was too much to learn to fit into one post. Our story begins the day before I left, Saturday, October 11th, 2008.

1. I’m becoming less trusting of technology. Regular readers of The Siren know about my love of vinyl records. While I’ve been very tolerant of digitally formatted music, it’s beginning to try my patience. I’m not saying I dislike it, not at all. (The Siren surely would not exist if it weren’t for the abundance of digital music the the internet.)

I was getting all my ducks in a row the day before I left, and one of those ducks just happened to be updating my iPod with all the hot new jams I’d downloaded since I last updated (almost a year). As I was attempting to update, iTunes gives me an error message, something about not being able to read or write from the disk. So I decide to reformat to the factory settings. This means that all of the data and songs on the iPod will be lost, which was ok with me since I had them all backed up on my computer. No problem. Well, even after the reformatting I get the same error message. I try banging it on the desk a few times (I heard from Tony that this works sometimes. No luck.) Finally I give in and decide on two things, one, I’m not driving 14 hours to Memphis without bringing some music, two, I need a new iPod (as evidenced by my first decision). So I walk down to the local Target Everything Emporium, spend $160 on a new nano. While I’m at Target I also purchase a radio tuner/car charger for the nano, thinking it a good idea since I’d be on the road all day on Sunday. Get the nano back to the office, plug it in and load it up with hot new jams. Once the nano tells me it’s charged I unplug it and it goes black. The little fucker won’t stay charged. I leave it plugged in over night to no avail! Sonnuva! I also find out that the cigarette lighter in the Buick doesn’t work, making my radio tuner/car charger absolutely worthless. My options are to go to Target early the next morning, exchange it, charge it for a couple hours, load with hot jams, and then hit the road. Or, say “Fuck it. Fuck Apple and their shitty iPods. Fuck Target and their shitty iPods. Fuck the hot jams. I gotta be on the road at 7 am it to make to Memphis on time!” (I’m pretty distraught at this point) So I said “Fuck it.” and listened to local radio the whole way. (more on that in the next post)

While my frustrations here have more to do with Apple than anything, it still underscores a very important take-away (to use a dumb-ass marketing term), if you can’t see your music, consider it disposable. If you can’t see the grooves, the tape, or the instruments, forget about it. That music will cease to exist in the very near future. That music will leave no molecular trail when it leaves this plane of existence. Sure it’s possible to download it again, but do you really want to do that? You might as well think of your iPod as a little tiny cardboard box of LPs, that box that you left in your parents basement that disappeared forever. Remember that box? Did you really go out and buy all that music again? Maybe. But probably not. And what about the rare stuff? The stuff you can’t find on MP3 or (chuckle) CD? Sure you can back it up, but that music has to live in two places in order to stay viable. Two machines, and the iPod doesn’t count because you can’t pull your music off of it. For the average Joe Six-String that means having a computer and an external hard drive, or two main machines. And keeping them both updated.

The Apple iPod debuted in 2001. That’s only 7 or 8 years ago! People are still buying records from 50 years ago. Tapes from 20 years ago. And so I ask you to take any MP3 you have right now and project where it will be in 20 years. Upgrade to upgrade. Machine to machine. Crash to crash. Think it will survive 20 years? Who knows? We’ll see. All I’m saying is that there will be no MP3 dollar bins. Think about it.

That’s it for this installment. (A rather fiery one at that.) There’s much more to come. I haven’t even gotten on the road yet, so be patient.

The one and only Cheebacabra has dropped The Siren a hot tip that he’s just posted a video for a new track. This one like his others is dangerously funky. Thanks Cheeba!

The Siren leaves this weekend for a handful of days traveling around Memphis and Nashville. There are high hopes of Sun Studio, Stax, Graceland, The Grand Ole Opry, and mountains upon mountains of BBQ. In doing some research on the music scenes down south I came across the Backroads of American Music website, which has a great list of venues and artists that specialize in blues, folk, and americana. It’s really gotten me excited about the trip. I’ll be sure to give you all the lowdown once I return. And if anyone has an suggestions of things to see/not see, or places to go/avoid The Siren would appreciate it immensely.

Cover art by Mick Bailey.

Yoshime is back! The same guy who puts together those awesome Rare & Bizarre mixes is back with an awesome vocal mix. Check it out.

It wasn’t that long ago that we featured the Tobacco/XLR8R mixcast. And it seems that XLR8R has pulled their head out of their techno infused ass (sorry XLR8R but you’ve had a really long streak of mediocre techno and house) and surprised us again with the Marriage Records mixcast. Based out of Portland OR, Marriage is one of the few labels that understands that the cutting edge of indie music involves the crossover into other genres and the inclusion of the totally bizarre. I’ve been listening to this mixcast for a couple days now and fully intend to purchase some fine Marriage recordings in the very near future.

Muxtape