Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nifty Music: Jessica Long and the New Kind

Usually when I post musical content I make sure it's a video. A quality video.

This one is audio with a still picture. Why? Because it's a good song with no "official"-looking quality video to match. There's a good song by the same group on YouTube, but I find the video irritating. For those who find that hard to imagine or just don't care about it while at the same time wanting to hear another tune by Jessica Long & the New Kind, have at it.

Jessica Long & the New Kind are in strong rotation right now with The Maybe Somedays and Black Honey. Still waiting on a high-quality video for the latter, though this fan video might account for my next post.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Whitehorse: "Downtown"

I've been a bit slow getting on board with Whitehorse, a Canadian songwriting duo structurally in line with the Weepies. Listened to a few tracks from a past album. Didn't quite pull the trigger on any downloads. But the latest album I like better. One track from the new Whitehorse album has me hooked. It's got a Raveonettes vibe but with a dash of the White Stripes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Maybe Somedays: "All At Once"

I stumbled over this group on Emusic a few weeks ago. They're now in heavy rotation. The Maybe Somedays occupy roughly the same rock-pop niche as Toad the Wet Sprocket. But with a slightly harder edge.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Points North: "Ignition"

Instrumental guitar-driven music by Points North:

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Kandia: "Scars"

There's some music I listen to that's popular. But not much.

Here's a group from Portugal called Kandia.

Heavy modern music, female vocalist. Professional video. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Plimsouls: "The Oldest Story in the World"

Before we return from the 1980s, a live version of perhaps the greatest pop song from the Plimsouls, "The Oldest Story in the World":

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More music: Robin Lane and the Chartbusters

Turn back the clock!

Found this wonderful old-school music video by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters. Robin Lane was a folk artist who veered toward rock in time to influence the New Wave movement. Enjoy.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Nifty music: Lia Ices

I hate to bump Seventh Key from the top of the blog so quickly, but with 2014 filed away in the books, I'm set to announce my surprise favorite music artist from 2014: Lia Ices.

"Surprise favorite" means not counting unsurprise favorite artists like Flying Colors or Toad the Wet Sprocket. It means an artist that reached heavy playlist rotation more-or-less out of the blue, as Frankie Rose did in 2013 with "Interstellar."

As for Lia Ices, she moved from the border of the folk domain into the the realm of quirky pop. Her album "Ices" features varied rhythms, tasteful guitar parts, barbed hooks and her understated vocals. There's even a song ("Electric Arc") that isn't ruined with the use of an auto-tune, which is just short of miraculous. Ices enhances the music instead of delivering the vocal with the effect.

So check out "Higher" from her 2014 album:

The rest of the album is just as good, if not better.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nifty Music: 'I Will Survive" by Seventh Key

There's quite a bit of music I like from the group Kansas. Billy Greer has handled bass duties in Kansas in the post-Livgren era and has a side project with former band mate and guitarist's guitarist Mike Slamer called Seventh Key. Seventh Key's third studio album has this gem of a song, featuring BGV's from another Kansas-connected singer, Terry Brock:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Brief notes on "The Unbelievers"

I watched a documentary about the promotion of atheism, focused mainly on Richard Dawkins and Lawrence M. Krauss. Titled "The Unbelievers," it followed Dawkins and Krauss around on some of their various and intertwined speaking engagements. Plenty of noted atheists, such as Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, put in cameo appearances.

I found two aspects of the documentary notable.

A Universe from Nothing?

Krauss is known for his advocacy of the view the universe arose from literally nothing. Krauss says true nothing creates the perfect condition for something to pop into being, albeit with zero net energy (matter and antimatter making up part of the balance, for example).

The documentary showed Krauss appearing on the Colbert Report with host Stephen Colbert. Colbert, playing his usual role as the conservative rube, asks Krauss if there is no god in existence, if god is nothing, then therefore may we conclude that god created the universe? Laughter ensues, since of course that's a joke. But Colbert unwittingly has a point.

Critics have made a point of mocking the idea of God creating something from nothing. And now a scientist says its plausible from something to come into existence from nothing and we're supposed to take it as an evidence in favor of atheism.

The documentary doesn't deal with the anthropic principle. Dawkins badly misunderstands it. Doubtless Krauss would deal with the argument better than Dawkins, perhaps by invoking the multiverse concept. The problem, of course, is how one explains a universe of the type we have based on a random popping into existence. Some versions of the multiverse idea suggest an infinity of universes, making the one we know inevitable (along with all the possible universes). Do either Krauss or Dawkins contemplate the difficulties for that idea? Science Fiction writer Larry Niven wrestled with the idea decades ago, making a strong argument that it makes free will absurd. One literally must take every option and refuse no option. Walk off the cliff if you wish; another you will take the safer option. Or you can walk away from the cliff and leave the risk to your alternate selves. One of them will surely take the plunge if the infinity of universes is sufficiently well populated.


How About a Morality Based on Reason?

Dawkins spends some time advocating the idea that we can make our own morality, doubtless one that makes much more sense than those foisted on us by religionists.

But that's a problem right there. Atheists will tend not to agree on morality except where they agree the religionists are promoting something that's between 1 and 100 percent baloney. The view that morals are real (moral realism) isn't particularly popular among atheists. Morality exists only as normative patterns for those skeptics.

The morality problem shows up in the background when Dawkins and Krauss talk about how a democracy needs people who are informed so they can make intelligent decisions about stuff.

One wonders whether either atheist has anything more than a pragmatic appreciation for the democratic principle. Wouldn't both get on board with government by scientific elites? Who better to steer humanity toward a brave new world than those blessed with the intellectual ability to navigate a treacherous future?

"The Unbelievers" tries to paint a positive picture of unbelief, naturally, so the face of atheism in this film is intended to appear free of blemishes. That's unless we count the vulgar denouncement we see from atheists (?) confronting religious protesters.