Saturday, 21 February 2009

Anticipatory Grief for Launchcast, Part One

In a recent post I mentioned my Launchcast Station, and a fellow from Minnesota calling himself CPL Poker Podcast and League wrote in to tell me that Launchcast is no more. This was a surprise as I was listening to my Launchcast station at the time, but I checked the internet and it seems Yahoo has sold Launchcast to CBS stations and they've merrily dismantled all the US personalized stations. Although this news appears on the financial news page, there's no word yet about whether the Canadian Launchcast stations will be dismantled.

I have to assume that they eventually will, which would mean my five years of rating 961 artists, 634 albums and over 15,000 songs will disappear in a poof, so I've been listening to my station as never before. My station has a mix of rock, folk, and classical with a some hints of jazz and show tunes. I'm not likely to find anything like it anywhere, am I? Furthermore, the Launchcast system sends music it thinks you will like based on your ratings. Often, they're horribly wrong (ever had books recommended to you by Amazon?), but often they send gems. I hear music I might not have heard otherwise, and songs from established artist that I've managed to miss. Damn.

Anyway, I thought this morning, I'd post some songs I first heard on my Launchcast station, provided they are available on YouTube. I think it makes up about a baker's dozen, so I'll do roughly half this morning:

1. -- from the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I find the fan-made video provided with this song a bit distracting and not much to do with the song. I imagine it being more about street people, but I'm probably wrong too. This song came up on the Billy Bragg fan station at Launchcast, and eventually led me to purchasing both the CDs Billy Bragg did with Wilco covering Woody Guthrie songs.

2. I completely missed The Stone Roses and their psychedelic sound the first time around, possibly because I was having babies. "Waterfall" is merely representative; I like a whole bunch of their songs.

3. I can't embed this next one which is "Dark Eyes" sung by Judy Collins and written by Bob Dylan. His version appeared in his 1985 album Empire Burlesque, and according to Wikipedia, he needed to write a simple track to close the album:
He returned to his hotel in Manhattan after midnight, and Dylan apparently said later:

"As I stepped out of the elevator, Sarah Bernstein was coming toward me in the hallway - pale yellow hair wearing a fox coat - high heeled shoes that could pierce your heart. She had blue circles around her eyes, black eyeliner, dark eyes. She looked like she'd been beaten up and was afraid that she'd get beat up again. In her hand, crimson purple wine in a glass. 'I'm just dying for a drink,' she said as she passed me in the hall. She had a beautifulness, but not for this kind of world."

The brief, chance encounter inspired Dylan to write "Dark Eyes," which was quickly recorded without any studio embellishment. Structured like a children's song, with very rudimentary guitar work and very simple notes, it's often quoted for its last chorus: "A million faces at my feet, but all I see are dark eyes."

Once again, this fan-vid doesn't seem to have much to do with the song, but when I first heard it, with Judy Collins' vocals, I imagined Europe just after the First World War. So there yer go; we hear what we hear.

4. -- from the 1980 album Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School (Zevon also had just the best album titles). I was vaguely aware of the song "Werewolves of London", but Warren Zevon, rest his soul, is another singer/songwriter I managed to miss. I just love his stuff, and it's all because Launchcast kept sending it to me on my radio station. I've not the only one who loves Warren Zevon, this next offering is a tribute:

5. -- from the album Bark. I bought this CD based on two songs that appeared on my Launchcast station: this one and "I've Had Enough of You Today". Blackie and the Rodeo Kings is a kind of super-group comprised of Canadian alternative rock/folk/country artistsThe quality of this weird and rare video is highly dependent on whether you click the "watch in high quality" option, so you may want to click on this video and go do that.

That'll do for now. I'm sure I'll be scrabbling for post topics later as I head into the final week of marathon posting for NaBloPoMo, so I'll post the rest later.

1 comment:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I have a HUGE residual love for the Stone Roses, with Waterfall possibly one of my favourites... I fondly remember arriving in Venice airport on holiday and whilst waiting for luggage, two young guys slapped on their tape deck and began playing the first Stone Roses album. I coulda hugged them, it was so nice to hear it in such an odd setting.