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Mixtape Confessions

Wednesday, July 9 2014

Dirty Diapers Don’t Scare Me Nearly as Much as the Wiggles Do

Parenthood comes with a lot of change, and a lot of decisions to be made, including this one: What’s your musical strategy?


Monday, May 19 2014

Drive Me Crazy: The Day the iPhone Took Over My Car

You just want to drive fast and listen to your favorite song. Your "smart" car may have other ideas. Welcome to the future.


Thursday, March 20 2014

Forgotify Rises to the Challenge of Spotify

Forgotify serves as an entry into an internet wormhole, into the many songs that streaming listeners forgot, and it shows us a lot about our habits in the process.


Thursday, January 9 2014

Beer Is the New Music

Obsessive collection, mainstream mocking, and a never-ending list of styles. It’s no surprise that so many music nerds turn into beer geeks, as well.


Thursday, November 21 2013

Music Is Vital to the Sports Fan Experience, But Which Traditions Are Worth Keeping Around?

There’s a lot of noise at the average sporting event. Study this list to learn when to break out the earplugs.


Friday, September 27 2013

How John Lurie Made Me Read Fewer Books

The great Elmore Leonard wrote dozens of novels. Some, like Get Shorty, were adapted for film. So why do I associate him with smooth jazz? Well, John Lurie had a hand in that.


Tuesday, July 30 2013

In with the A&R Crowd

Will crowdsourced talent discovery kill traditional A&R? Or is it just the boost the industry needs?


Sunday, May 19 2013

Got a Song Request? There’s an App for That

In a Kickstarter world where consumers can basically will anything they want into existence, and everything is interactive, it makes sense that we should want to control our concerts, too


Tuesday, March 19 2013

Alicia Keys Got Blackberry and Kanye West is Seething

Many forward-thinking companies are bringing musicians onto their staffs to help guide their brands. For those that aren't there yet, here's a little help with who they should hire.


Thursday, January 17 2013

Songza: The Thinking Listener’s Playlist App? or Another Reinforcer of the Same Old Taste?

Part party starter, part music discovery engine, Songza employs a cadre of “music experts” rather than an algorithm. This is strangely comforting.


Sunday, December 2 2012

What’s the Rap on Rap Genius?

If Rap Genius is really going to take on the world, it's worth seeing how successfully the community of annotators has handled its first topic: rap lyrics.


Wednesday, September 26 2012

Rock ‘n’ Roles

How can today's top TV actors get into character? By listening to these themed playlists, of course.


Monday, July 23 2012

Change is in the Air (Waves)

How much do you really love your favorite local radio station? You'll find out when it goes off the air.


Sunday, June 3 2012

Think Twice About Your Music, It’s Alright: ReDigi and Murfie

Make a musical mistake? You could soon be whistling a new tune, thanks to two startups that shake up the secondary market and bring ownership back in style.


Monday, March 12 2012

Metric Madness

Our obsession with brackets and rankings -- in everything from NCAA March Madness to soup -- reflects a desire to give some order to the world, to quantify things that are not generally thought of as quantifiable.


Monday, January 23 2012

Navigating the SOPA Soap Opera

The most frustrating thing about the controversial new copyright legislation making its way through Congress? It lacks creativity.


Tuesday, December 6 2011

Walkin’ to the Beat, the Rhythm in My Feet

Walking around a new city is a good way to get to know its nuances -- the sights, the smells, and especially, the sounds. Boston taught me its rhythm, and I kept in step.


Sunday, October 2 2011

What’s the Word? With Obscure Language Like Music Speak, It’s Hard not to Feel Like a n00b

Music writers and IT guys have a lot in common – at least when it comes to their cultivated, insular jargon.


Wednesday, July 13 2011

I Was Dreamin’ When I Wrote This: A Trip to Tribute Land

For some fans, legendary artists of the past offer a fun diversion from the present. But what happens when that turns into an obsession?


Wednesday, May 25 2011

What’s the Value of Ownership in the Age of Cloud Computing?

My fiancée and I will soon move across the country with whatever will fit in our Honda Civic. This has brought up some discussions about which possessions are truly worth keeping.


Monday, April 4 2011

Kickstart the Presses

In the past month, two friends of mine have undertaken major print projects. How are they covering the costs of what some might call a foolish endeavor? By going online for funding, of course.


Monday, January 24 2011

The Bird’s the Word: What Does Celebrity Reporting on Twitter Say About Those of Us Who Follow Them?

Apparently, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert was the most influential tweeter on Haiti, and Conan O’Brien and Ricky Martin reigned atop the list of those commenting on the Chilean miner saga. Sorry CNN, NPR, et. al.


Tuesday, December 7 2010

Jukebox Justice

As long as internet jukeboxes abound, we open ourselves up to all kinds of sonic disasters.


Tuesday, September 28 2010

When Cee Lo Threw the F-Bomb, Whom Did He Hit?

The F-word has been used in pretty much any way possible. I would’ve thought that by now we’d all be inured to the 'F-Bomb'. Then along came Cee Lo...


Sunday, August 1 2010

Sing, Memory

It’s comforting to think that no matter how addled my mind gets, I’ll always be able to temporarily return to a clearer past with the help of a song or two, playing in my brain.


Thursday, June 3 2010

Cloud Computing: Seeding for the Coming Storm

We’re being led to believe that nearly everything would be better with the cloud in control of all our data. What could go wrong with a world in which we don’t own anything, anymore?


Wednesday, March 10 2010

‘Girls’ Gone Wild

While following a storyline about the trials of a mother and daughter may not be demographically the most masculine thing in the world, neither is my unabashed enjoyment of ABC Family original movies.


Tuesday, February 2 2010

Plenty of Bang for the Buck

An economic survey of a decade of concert-going yields an average of positive returns for my dollar. Yeah, Bob Dylan was worth every penny and more.


Tuesday, December 8 2009

In the J-Zone Zone

Like college, or Play-Doh, a social media tool is what we make of it, and J-Zone's got the skills to make things interesting.


Tuesday, November 10 2009

So You Think You Can Make Me Like Dance?

Rubenstein views dance much like his girlfriend watches a baseball game; the subtleties are lost on him.


Wednesday, September 30 2009

Wedding Players

When it comes to controlling the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- or rather, rolling with the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- a live band can adapt far better than the average DJ.


Wednesday, September 2 2009

Just Eat It

I'll take the wasabi potato croquettes that came with the lamb racks in the "Sheep in Wolf's Clothing" dish (inspired by TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me") over Hard Rock's seasoned fries any day.


Tuesday, August 18 2009

Vinyl Spin Cycle

Each time I sheepishly purchase another CD, I’m digging myself further into the technological hole, and falling farther behind the cool vinyl-playing crowd.


Monday, July 13 2009

Don’t Quit Your Day Job—If You Have One

Koko Taylor imitator Ladykat drives the city bus that I occasionally ride – at least that, I hope, gives her health insurance.


Tuesday, June 9 2009

The Best of the Basket Cases: Round 2

Ben bursts open the bubble mailers and announces this round of … winners (honoring the best and brightest of the many unsolicited CDs sent to him).


Tuesday, April 28 2009

Get Your Bootleg On: A Mashup Mystery Solved

It began as a simple message board for bedroom DJs. Partnerships were formed, skills were developed, and in some cases, careers were launched.


Monday, April 6 2009

Waltzing with Wilco

As any experienced concert-goer knows, a lively audience can mean the difference between a lackluster event and a memorable night. Sometimes, it’s more important than the band's actual performance.


Tuesday, March 10 2009

Kids Listen to the Darndest Things

Like these kids, my enjoyment level has never been as high as it was for the crap I loved when I was 13.


Monday, February 2 2009

Concert Overload

Free-for-all shows are like a "cool" parent trying to be your friend, instead of your authority figure. While it seems like a good situation at first -- no curfew, no rules -- you realize, eventually, that what it really needs is some structure.


Tuesday, December 16 2008

Sold on the Street

The guys selling their hip-hop CD-Rs on the street know exactly where to find their prey: outside the independent record store, in and around shows of like-minded artists. What makes them so hard to resist?


Monday, November 24 2008

I’d Like to Thank…

I'm thankful for my wonderful girlfriend, the Boston Celtics taking home the NBA championship, and Wu-Tang, Nas, People Under the Stairs...


Monday, October 20 2008

Parents Just Don’t Understand

For every tween who raids his parents' record collection, there are 30 more who can't get in the family car without headphones plugged in to their own tunes.


Monday, September 1 2008

Event Etiquette

Enthusiasm at sporting events and concerts is great. But when your spirited dancing turns into a one-man mosh pit, it's a damned annoying distraction.


Sunday, July 27 2008

Gone Festin’

Yes, communing with thousands of music fans at summer festivals is fun...for a while. But then it becomes a group of people whom you really didn't plan on spending your weekend with, unless you typically hang out with stoned 16-year olds.


Monday, June 30 2008

Getting Schooled

More than the usual ABCs, this school clearly believes in arts education, regularly spotlighting student performers at its assemblies -- and these kids are acquiring real musical skills.


Monday, May 26 2008

I’m With the Band

When I started writing about music, I didn't realize that it would mean I'd become "the enemy". So though writing brought me closer to music and the people who make it, it also took me further away.


Sunday, May 4 2008

When They’re 65…

What will some of today's most well-known hip-hop artists be doing in 2035? Maybe they won't be running the music world, but they'll probably be doing something beyond applying Fixodent to their grills.


Monday, March 24 2008

TV Commercials: the New, Nonstop Playlist

TV commercials have become a legitimate source for discovering new music -- from Wilco on the Volkswagen ads, to Cat Power hawking DeBeers diamonds, to any number of artists pimping Apple.


Monday, February 25 2008

The Best of the Basket Cases: Round 1

Deep down, in spite of all the bad music I have to plow through, I'm still that 17-year-old kid that can't believe he's getting sent free CDs. I know, I know; it's a rough gig.


Sunday, January 27 2008

Love from the ‘90s, Mix-Tape Style

Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape interprets a recent decade in the ever-shifting sound of the universal language.


Monday, January 7 2008

DJing the Weather Report

What is the sound of flowers blooming? How does one match an oncoming storm with sonic accuracy?


Monday, December 3 2007

Mic’d Up

Karaoke: Those who can't, do anyway; those who wish they could, only watch in mute rapture.


Monday, November 5 2007

Don’t Know Much About History

As Lupe Fiasco learned in a recent faux pas, what you don't know won't scare you – until somebody calls you out.


Tuesday, October 23 2007

Scene, Should Be Heard

The Second City has some first-rate music scenes. So listen up, New York.


Wednesday, August 29 2007

Nine to Five

Eager to re-enter the 9-5 work world, before you could even say 401(k), I was halfway to J.Crew and Banana Republic to stock up on office-friendly wear. But adapting to my colleagues' taste in music? Ah, now that's much more difficult.


Monday, July 30 2007

Out in the Cold

HotHouse, a non-profit arts center in Chicago, embodied how beneficial a commitment to the arts could be, and surely this would override any business issues, I thought. I thought wrong.


Wednesday, July 11 2007

Family Matters

A well-rounded musical background is crucial -- otherwise, you could end up like a friend of mine, who had never heard Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life", and so felt lost during some hand-clapping good times at the bar last weekend.


Thursday, May 31 2007

Mixed Messages

I want the music I love to speak for me, but I can't control what it's going to say.


Tuesday, May 1 2007

Celebrity Deathmatch

Every decision already consists of two wrong choices -- it's only a matter of which is the path of least regret.


Monday, March 26 2007

Behind the Music

It's impossible to listen to music in a vacuum, to take the sound of a band on its own merits. There are so many outside factors at play – reviews, friends opinions, larger cultural influences . . .


Monday, February 12 2007

Moping Around

Whether it comes through teenage rebellion, alienation, or heavy drug use, chronic music appreciation is not typically a choice made due to a desire for group participation; it's more often about wanting or needing to separate oneself.


Tuesday, January 16 2007

Tapping the ‘Wire’

The Wire's season-ending musical montage was a culmination, in many ways, of a season filled with musical meaning.


Tuesday, November 28 2006

Jock Jams

I'm getting giddy imagining Chuck Klosterman and Cam'ron having a two-minute bull session on the Who's return to relevance, or, better yet, figuring out a logical way to deal with Lil' Kim.


Wednesday, September 27 2006

It Shall Be Released

Rubenstein looks back at the release of a number of highly anticipated albums to contrast his opinions then and now. How much does personal expectation factor into our ultimate enjoyment of music?


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