29 April 2015 by Mike on music | albums


I stumbled on this a while back when I was big on reading mp3 blogs. In the few years since I regularly trawled those sites for the mysterious and bizarre gems they posted, many of the really sought-after pieces have been reissued.

For the “Rock In Opposition (R.I.O.)” bands of the 70s, King Crimson was just too simple and pop-oriented. R.I.O. were progressive rock bands from England and Europe who packed so much complexity into their music that the standard prog fans wouldn’t touch them. Their audience consisted of avant weirdos, industrial heads, and fans of more experimental stuff, and their membership was as varied as Henry Cow and This Heat.

Belgian chamber rock band Univers Zero were one of the most intense R.I.O. groups, and Heresie is the best and darkest of their work. It’s sonically dissonant and very, very oppressive sounding in both its density of notes and darkness of mood. Perfect lights-off, scare-yourself music.

28 April 2015 by Mike on music | fb

Wub is in the air

This weekend I was buying cables in Guitar Center and they had just the most terrible sounds going in the pro audio department, maybe even worse than the sounds that are always coming out of the guitar department.

It was a fairly generic female singer doing some kind of singer-songwriter, almost-pop ballad stuff, but over the most obnoxious Skrillex-style American dubstep.

I like James Blake but I just can’t imagine anything more incongruous than the blaring wub-wub with the mellow vocals, it’s like a DJ randomly mixing two records with no regard to content.

Does anyone have any idea what this is so I can avoid it in the future?

27 April 2015 by Mike on music | fb

Bad townies

On the way to work this morning, I heard Op Ivy's "Bad Town," and I realized two things:

  • It is objectively the worst song on Energy.
  • Tim Armstrong's obsession with both rap and violence, which came to a head with the Transplants, is nothing new.

Not going anywhere with that, just a thought.

21 April 2015 by Mike on music

Mainstream success is super imminent

Life since the move is mostly an endless series of boxes, but I have managed to get myself embroiled in one of the weirdest artistic situations of my almost 20 years of playing music.

I'd seen the Make-A-Band posters around town but hadn't really given much thought to what it even was. Erika saw an ad in the Eugene Weekly and convinced me that I was sufficiently musical and lacking in dignity to do it. So what is it? Basically, a bunch of musicians audition for 6 producers, who pick them to form 6 bands. The bands then perform in a competition.

Make-A-Band Poster

The producers are local studio owners, record engineers, and (in the case of the ones who picked me) people in the business of video game scoring. The auditions are 3 minutes. And the competition is downtown, outdoors, for the whole damn ass world to see.

Even with Sharks, I don't feel like I ever took traditional, above-ground routes to musical performance and networking. It was always the DIY, punk rock thing — which of course in Austin is the only way anybody manages because it's a "who you know" situation and I've rarely known anything or anybody. But regardless of how this thing turns out, I've met some like-minded people and many of the folks making the Eugene music scene tick.

So here's the band, Gravity Nocturne. We're doing a jazzy, updated take on trip-hop. We're also all like 21, except me.

Gravity Nocturne

Don't worry, I'll be back to playing for nobody soon.

17 April 2015 by Mike on front-end

Smashing runs down Style Guide tools

Pretty good overview here.

At D&B we started with the PHP-based Style Guide Boilerplate tool but ended up maintaining the most low-impact (but highly manual) system possible. It was a single web page. Comments in the HTML told developers where to grab pieces of markup. Not high-tech, and it required a lot of manual maintenance. But it was easy to keep it looking just like the PSD version.

At PAS I implemented StyleDocco using Grunt-StyleDocco. Display leaves a lot to be desired so I ended up diving into the source to modify it. I can now change the template (which is a simple Jade file) and style if necessary.

Why StyleDocco? Short answer: it shows the CSS code. This was important to our developers. StyleDocco creates a new page for every Less file, splits it up by the <h1> elements in the comments, and shows those pieces alongside the HTML and samples.