Pandora's Stream Stays Strong; Beck and Tom Waits Talk to Each Other About Nothing In Particular; Sports Stars Pay Tribute To MJ



Headlines: I'll be honest. I never listen to Web radio. Never. I've already got hundreds of albums in my to-listen-to queue, hundreds of hours of Dylan bootlegs to sift through and I end up just listening to the Future of the Left album over and over anyway. There are too many blogs to keep track of and now Hype Machine is even tracking the most Tweeted songs, so there's another way to stay on top of the latest and probably-not-greatest. Still, services like Pandora have their diehard fans, and now they'll be able to keep them thanks to an agreement between streaming music providers and SoundExchange. All the fine print details in that link; if you use Pandora for more than 40 hours per month it might cost you an extra dollar. So that's one less Frosty per month. You'll survive. Any web radio/Pandora/Pandora-like service devotees out there? Anything I should not be missing?

The new hip-hop feud is Joe Budden vs. Inspectah Deck. What happened was Budden (now one quarter of Slaughterhouse) dissed Method Man so then Deck came to the defense of his fellow Clan member and recorded a diss track. At least that seems to be the case. This isn't quite main event material. If the Biggie/Tupac is Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant and Gucci Mane/Young Jeezy is like Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit then this one is ... who knows? Road Dogg/D-Von Dudley? Beck sure is enjoying his redesigned Web site. First he launches a project in which he covers "The Velvet Underground and Nico" in its entirety. (He's up to "Femme Fatale" so far.) Now he posts a loooong, occasionally interesting, mostly pointless interview with Tom Waits. It's pretty inside baseball, but I guess that's the point, right? In other "is this really necessary?" interview indulgence news, Brian Williams is back with another edition of BriTunes in which he chats with middle-of-the-road Canadians Great Lake Swimmers. Bri needs to find himself some less polite and/or more interesting subjects for his next pieces. He should watch Soft Focus and take some notes.

Did Black Eyed Peas steal a song from producer Adam Freeland? Did you finish reading that sentence once you saw Black Eyed Peas was in it? Do you have a favorite for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize? That's the award given to whatever bunch of hosers makes the best Canadian album of the year. The aforementioned Great Lake Swimmers are nominated, as are K'Naan, Metric and [Expletived] Up. You saw Lionel Richie at the Michael Jackson memorial service, but you probably didn't see him back with his old buddies the Commodores when they did "Brick House" and "Just to Be Close to You" at the Essence Festival.

As for MJ ... how about a few nice tribute stories? ?uestlove of the Roots shares 132 -- that's right -- King of Pop memories. Example: "i remember asking my mom what happened to his afro and why does his hair look like it does now." Ken Griffey Jr. wore a single white batting glove for his first at-bat Tuesday night, while using "Billie Jean" as his walkup music. And certified loon and newest Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest announced he will wear No. 37 for his new team, in honor of the number of weeks "Thriller" spent atop the charts. He's already released a musical tribute to Jackson that you shouldn't listen to if you're offended by foul language or horrible music. Artest in L.A. is going to be a lot of fun for everyone, except perhaps Phil Jackson.

Sub Pop added a band to its roster -- lo-fi ramshacklers Dum Dum Girls. Not to be confused with Vivian Girls. Or Paranthetical Girls. Or U.S. Girls. Or Little Girls. Or Girls. Or Screaming Females. Or Women. Jeez. Now you see why it's sometimes enticing to just listen to Dylan bootlegs all the time? Remember how I was surprised that "Washing Machine" placed so high in our Sonic Youth discography rankings, but attributed it to the fact that I convened a very late-20s panel, and that was the first SY record purchased by many of those folks, therefore it held special sentimental value? Well, in a related story, the blogs were all going crazy yesterday with news of a new Hope Sandoval record. But that's what happens when you have lots of people who have fond, romantic memories of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" when they were 15 years old and are now in the blogging game. Anyway, she's got a new one coming out in September, her first in eight years. And for the record, her best work was as co-vocalist on the Jesus and Mary Chain song "Sometimes Always." And that's not a diss on the Mazzy Star catalogue; I actually think it's the best JAMC song, too. Really!

Video of the Day: Beyonce - "Sweet Dreams"

Once again, it's Beyonce and some backup dancers shaking, shimmying and just generally being fierce. If it ain't broke...

By David Malitz |  July 9, 2009; 7:35 AM ET Morning Mix
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Thanks for a Jesus and Mary Chain mention! I've never tired of listening their music. My fav JAMC song: 'Happy When It Rains" Please consider daily references to Nick Cave and The Pogues too.

Posted by: wintersx | July 9, 2009 8:23 AM

Love Pandora! Pick an artist and they choose songs that are similar. BUT if you just keep inputting songs or artists not only do you discover new albums and artists, you click on thumbs up or thumbs down. TD means that you never hear that song again. Of course, if you change your mind, just type in the title again. You can open up different types of personal "radio stations." Right now, I'm discovering tons of great Brazilian music that I was never able to do because before no one would play it or I had to go into a store and just buy something that I knew nothing about.

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 9, 2009 10:49 AM

I find that Slacker Radio ( has replaced my need for iPod, FM Radio, and Satellite.

They have over 120 Genre based stations programmed by music/radio experts (which is what I listen to, mostly).

I was a fan of Pandora for a while, but grew tired of the repetitive playlists and, no matter how many thumbs up and down ratings I did, it rarely played the songs I wanted to hear.

Also, Slacker gives you the ability to "Fine Tune" your stations much more specifically than Pandora and tweak the music picks further for things like Popularity, Music Discovery and Year.

You can also "request" songs, heart or ban songs, ban artists and skip songs.

It just feels like they offer more controls to really dial in the station to your personal tastes and discover as much or as little new music as you want.

Beyond listening online, I listen on my BlackBerry Storm quite a bit, which is awesome. I believe they have a free app for the iPhone as well.

To each their own, but, I'd recommend you at least give it a try.

BTW - Slacker Radio is free and doesn't impose any limits per month on your listening like Pandora does.

Posted by: musicmatters2me | July 10, 2009 1:36 PM

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