Unearthed: Ride the City

Somehow this post from way back in June never made it to the Field Guide. I’m happy to find it and share it now.


Here’s a fun Google mash-up for cyclists in NYC: ridethecity.com. I wish this existed back when I rode in NYC. The route ridethecity.com proposes as “safest” looks better than the route I regularly took to work, albeit a few blocks longer. But I’ll generally choose to ride farther if it’s safer/more pleasant/more fun.

I love the indications for bike shops on the map and the distinction between roads, bike paths, greenways, etc. I also like the simple weather report in the upper right corner (though a windspeed indicator would be a welcome addition).

Let’s hope ridethecity shares their work with other cities. I’d love to see more of them.

ASAC Presents Thurston Moore+Bill Nace, Robedoor, Pocahaunted, Century Plants

The next Albany Sonic Arts Collective show is a doozy. I’ll have to miss it, but don’t let my poor fortune prevent you from getting there.

Thursday 26 June, 2008 at 8PM
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St. Albany, NY

Here’s the lineup:

ASAC Presents Thurston Moore+Bill Nace/Robedoor/Pocahaunted/Century Plants

The Next Lala

Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music has reviewed the latest incarnation of lala.com that was recently released in beta as next.lala.com. As a longtime Lala user I agree with his conclusions, and find his idea of tiered music pricing and his comparison of lala with terrestrial radio to be appropriate. Too bad the radio-like features of next.lala.com aren’t exactly riveting. True, you can stream tons of music for free, but the streams are only on a per album basis. Once upon a time, an older version of lala.com allowed users to create and share playlists–essentially turning anyone into the DJ of their own radio station. I’d love to see this feature brought back, or even some relational music suggestions based on recent tracks played. In other words, what makes good radio good is that it’s curated (and what makes bad radio horrible is that it’s overly-curated…another story). The thrill of radio for me is that something great might come on next and sadly, next.lala.com doesn’t allow it. There’s not even a shuffle button. I’ll admit I’ve been having fun checking out albums on next.lala.com, but I can’t say the experience has been one of discovery. It’s more like visiting the reading room at the NY Public Library or the Library of Congress or the British Museum. You finally get to hold a book you’ve been looking for, and then the reading room closes and it’s time to give it back.

Speaking of giving things back, I’m glad to see CD trading hasn’t been thrown out on next.lala.com. I regularly get new music from lala by trading my older CDs for someone else’s. Yes, CD sales are down and may never recover–boo hoo. But right now seems like a great time to trade CDs because they’re suddenly perceived as less valuable while still quite usable and not yet so rare as to be collector’s items.

RIP Bo Diddley

Go on Bo Diddley! Gone.

I picked up the double album reissue of “Bo Diddley / Go Bo Diddley” a few years ago and I’ve been playing it regularly ever since. Everybody talks about his beat, but what about that strange rhythm section of maracas and tomtoms and no cymbals? Bo Diddley had the weirdness and he knew how to make it work. The NYTimes reports he was one of the first guitarists to use a stomp box to get that wobbly tremolo effect.

I’ve also been playing Bo Diddley recently because of a kind of revisionist listening. Where once I heard iconic 50’s rock and roll, now I hear echoes and flutters from Henry Flynt and Reich’s Four Organs and excise that beat from your mind (if you can) and what’s left resembles some Alvin Lucier modulation+reverb dream.

Gone Bo Diddley! Go on.