iPod u?

iPod, do you?
Originally uploaded by Carlos Noboro.

Let me tell you about lala, the CD trading service. You register with them, put up a list of CDs you’re willing to trade, a list of CDs you want and they hook you up, send you mailing kits, tell you who wants what, you get a CD from your want list for every CD on your “have” list that you successfully mail to the person they arrange for you to send it to. They charge you about $1.50 for each trade, depending on whether you do or don’t send the cover art. It’s relatively easy and cheap to have your mailbox fill up with CDs you want.

After an initial burst of lala-ing, I’ve settled into a rhythm I can sustain while keeping up with the rest of my much-too-busy life. That is, I only trade 5 CDs per week. Each Sunday morning, I sit down and go through the possible trades. I’m prioritizing CD requests for ones I still have in jewel boxes, so that I can lighten my load by throwing away those awful, awful things. The CDs I’ve received in lala trades, I’m keeping, with the cover art, in paper CD sleeves — this really cuts down on the shelf space. Of course, I’m playing the music thru iTunes, so I’m never searching for or fumbling with the actual discs. If I could eventually be without any discs, that would be great, but for now, I’m happy with just getting rid of the jewel boxes, a step in the right direction. In this transitionary period, CDs, especially those traded in lala, are still my best access to the music I want.

I’m saving all the cover art because lala people seem to like them and I want to be a nice guy. But, really, except for the ones like Lucinda Williams and Bebel Gilberto that mention my son’s name, I rarely read them — the pictures and text is way too small to be any fun at all. If all that “art” could be available as PDFs on the web, that would suit my purposes much better.

So, here I am, in NYC, addressing the lala envelopes to faraway places, thinking about what life might be like there. What kind of trees? Do they have hills? Where do they swim? What do they see while listening? Some addresses are familiar, places I’ve lived, like San Francisco, Dallas, Downey, Petaluma, Portland — some addresses are places I’ve traveled through Winnemacca, Maplewood, Kansas City, Pocetello, Iowa City — many addresses are to places I’ve never heard of. I’m sending my beloved music to people I’d like to know, but probably won’t. I wish I coud do more than 5 per week, but just doing that takes a hour and I’ve got other things to do.

I’m loving the music I’m getting. My want list is filled with music I’ve missed and new albums I find out about.

To learn about new music on CD, for me, nothing beats Pandora, THE music discovery service. If you want, put this RSS feed into your reader (I suggest Google Reader) and you’ll have immediate access to the “Stations” I’ve set up. Or you could click on the links below if one of the stations seem interesting to you:

  • Lola Beltran Radio for the classic Mexican Ranchera and Norteno music I heard as a kid in the ’50s in South Gate, California (South East LA) and grew to love as I got older.
  • Hank Williams Radio for the totally rockin’ Honky Tonk music that I’ve heard on car radios and drank beer to in bars across the nation. White man’s blues, sometimes comic, often sappy, but always human, danceable and still my favorite music to sing along to.
  • The Girl From Ipanema Radio for Bossa Nova, Brazilian Jazz, Electronica and Samba, music I’ve learned to love through help from my son, who, as a high school Metal musican, discovered that Bossa Nova used the same cord progressions and melodic constructions as the Death Metal he played, only played soft and quiet.
  • Wu-Tang Clan Radio for the ’90s Hip Hop sound centered on RZA. Again it was my son who helped me appreciate this genre with its complex beats, brilliant sampling and spitting, horror narratives. True Americana with world-shattering influence.
  • Iggy Pop Radio for ’70s post-glam, pre-Punk, American-in-Europe rock centered on the Ig, including, Bowie, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and others that might sound like that. Ragged, noisy, dark and despite itself, joyful.
  • Toots & The Maytals Radio for classic ’60s & ’70s Jamaican pop dance music. This is my latest Pandora station, I haven’t developed it as much as the others, but I’m going for all the wonderful Jamaican music I didn’t hear when I was listening to heavy Ganga-Rasta stuff. Toots is the center of this because when my iTunes collection shuffles to one of his cuts, it always sounds great and makes me happy.

Of course, as much as I would love all ya’ll to dig the music on my stations, the true joy of Pandora is to make your own stations.

Pandora is a perfect companion to lala, you’ll find many, many artists and albums to fill out your want list (as if you needed more!).

Ok, ciao4now. I must work on my other “web properties”:

  • p0ps.com – Steve Harlow and Ruth Parson make Art
  • p0ps blog – art, tech, life
  • p0ps vlog – p0ps video – all the clips I’ve got time to publish
  • afterSonoma – afterSonoma – writer, Mary Burns and artist, Steve Harlow blog about life since they last saw each other in 1970 Sonoma County.
  • p0ps on vox – getting started on Six Apart’s newest blog system. I like it.
  • p0psharlow – just another ugly mySpace page. I’m trying to find to time to do something with it.
  • p0ps@p0ps.com on ourmedia – my page on the Global Home for Grassroots Media, subscribe to “p0ps@p0ps.com” as a channel in Democracy Player – Your internet television has arrived.
  • p0ps on digg – once in a while I have time to digg.
  • p0ps del.icio.us – if I ever bookmark anything, I do it here.
  • p0ps on yelp – Even though I live in NYC, I seldom go out, but when I do and I want to write about it, I do it here.

There’s more, but these are the ones I remember.

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