Getting FLAC

After a coworker mentioned it, I decided to rip all of our CDs to FLAC so that we’ll have perfect copies and can always transcode to the latest file formats.

Last night I ripped a few CDs with dBpowerAMP Music Converter (dMC). Worked fine though it slowed the computer down a lot. My coworker told me today that he tried dBpowerAMP last night and found it to be much slower than the commercial ripper that he bought. Also, the compression level setting had very little effect for him. So I will probably look into the program that he has.

Incidentally, can anyone recommend a good FLAC ripper for OS X?

Rich Girl

A few days ago while we were on the cruise, we heard the song, “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani, Eve, et al. Now I’ve heard this song before many times – heck I’d even say that I like it. The interesting thing is that this time we were with Nicole’s parents and they instantly commented on how similar it sounded to “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. And I instantly realized that they were right (I’ve listened to bits of Fiddler on the Roof but it was probably, I don’t know, 20 years ago). That gave me a new-found respect for the song and for its authors Gwen Stefani, Eve, Dr. Dre., and several others. It’s amazing to me that they could take a 40+ year old song from a Broadway musical about Russian Jews and make it into an amazingly catchy and popular pop song. Heck, I’d imagine that most of the teenagers listening to this song have no idea of its heritage. on OS X

I finally decided to see what this thing is all about so I downloaded the 1.0.4 client for Mac OS X. However, it crashed immediately on startup. After a little searching, I found this page, which suggested installing the older version and then letting it upgrade you to the new version. Worked like a charm.

Pretty neat app. It automatically fetches the currently playing song from iTunes and shows some nice album artwork and artist information and it also “scrobbles” (uploads the list of songs played to your account). Using that you can generate blog badges and so forth like this one:

Beyond that I haven’t played too much with the other features that let you rate and tag songs and then have it recommend other artists to you. Maybe later.

Death Cab for Cutie

My wife has been playing the latest CD from Death Cab for Cutie quite a lot in the car and I’ve liked it but haven’t been knocked out by it. We saw them on Friday at the Greek Theater in Berkeley (my wife won free tickets on the radio a few weeks ago) and it was surprisingly enjoyable. They are an excellent live band and they sound much more rocked out live than on their album, which perhaps was produced with a bit too much polish. It was also interesting to see that most of the band members can play each others instruments in addition to their own. Most surprising was to see lead singer Ben Gibbard playing the drums – it turns out that he actually plays drums on some of their albums as well.

I guess it just goes to show you that there’s no substitute for live music.

PreSonus FireStudio

It’s been way too long since I’ve done any music creation. Perhaps in a couple of months when I get the home into a decently organized state, I’ll look for some studio gear for the spare bedroom and this new gizmo from NAMM will probably be pretty high on my list:

PreSonus FireStudio FireWire Recording Interface (Complete System)

A few months ago, I had gotten fairly close to buying the FirePod or FireBox on the basis of great reviews that it was getting, but then I got sidetracked by other stuff, including the new home. The FireStudio is an even more powerful piece of gear so if the reviews are good and I get some time to make room for it, I might end up picking one of these.


Better Than Ezra was once one of my favorite bands. “Deluxe” and “Friction, Baby” were two of my favorite albums. “How Does Your Garden Grow?” was a huge disappointment for me, although I grew to like it a little bit more over time, at least some of the songs. I confess that I didn’t even buy “Closer”.

Today we were in the car and we heard this incredibly annoying discoey song with an irritating melody and a super high male falsetto voice apparently called “Juicy” and I wondered who performed this awful song. The high falsetto voice initially made me think Gnarles Barkley, but as the song progressed, I knew that wasn’t right. I was shocked to hear the song again this evening and the DJ announced that it was Better Than Ezra. Huh? The same band that did “Good” , “Desperately Wanting”, and “This Time of Year”??? Yep, “Juicy” is the first single off their new album, “Before the Robots“.

Sheesh – what happened to Better Than Ezra? They started out as a rock band and they seem to have a totally different sound now. I’m hoping it’s just a phase. It wouldn’t be the first time a band tried a different sound, crashed and burned, went back to their original sound, and continued to make good records. Remember “I Was Made for Loving You” by Kiss?

Hopefully, this isn’t making me sound like too much of an old timer. Following along with the “Juicy” theme, I wouldn’t be surprised if this post gets me flame-broiled by a bunch of MySpaceans.