Archive: Music

MOG: A Spotify alternative

After testing stream music services for last week’s post, Rdio came out the winner but had some shortcomings; its stream was sub-CD quality and the music library had noticeable gaps. That lead me to MOG, an early entrant into the U.S. mobile streaming market. I passed over the service a year ago, but with recent praise of the service’s sound quality on Twitter, I decided to give it another look for the past week.

Bottom line: after only a few days of MOG usage, I’m impressed. I’ll be signing up for both MOG and Rdio’s $5 a month web plans for the foreseeable feature. There’s a few reasons you should consider MOG as well, especially if you’re intrigued by Spotify:

  • Every song is streamed at a consistent 320kbps bit rate over the web and can be stored offline on mobile devices at the same quality. For audiophiles this feature is probably worth $5 per month on its own. It’s the only streaming music service I’ve used that rivals the sound quality of my CD rips and downloads from services like Amazon, iTunes and 7Digital.
  • Track selection is excellent, closely matching Spotify’s offerings. There isn’t a clear winner between the two services; Spotify tends to have better euro-pop and electronic selections while MOG has better coverage of classic and indie rock. Either way, at least from my informal tests, it was hard to find serious gaps in either.

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Spotify v. Rdio: The new streaming music battle

The much hyped and praised streaming music service Spotify debuted in the U.S. last Thursday and like many others, I signed up. One week after testing Spotify Premium extensively I’m sticking with my existing service, Rdio. I find Rdio’s excellent discovery tools and social integration trump any of Spotify’s advantages. Overall though, there’s not a definitive winner in these streaming music wars; each service has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

It’s not easy at first to pick apart those differences as both Rdio and Spotify share a lot in common. Each has a huge song selection, mobile syncing for music on the go, search capabilities and integration with social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Yet the two services diverge in their user interface and sound quality on different mediums, the focus for the remainder of this article.

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Ten great music moments of 2010, part 2

This is a continuation from last week’s post of some of my favorite music moments from 2010. Below, the list concludes with five more selections.

Groove Armada, “Time and Space”, 2:00

Groove Armada’s “whatever works” approach to dance music can have decidedly mixed results; I often find much of their output (for the exception of their debut, Vertigo) unlistenable, yet one or two singles off each album are exceptional, the vessel of which often comes in the form of a massive, catchy hook. The 2010 single “Time and Space” follows the trend, grabbing the listener’s attention with the first chorus driven by swirling, fuzzed out guitars mixed together with high pitched electronic bleeps. It’s a rousing change from the more mellow intro and verse portion and loses little of its appeal with repeated listenings.

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Ten great music moments of 2010, part 1

2010 was, from my perspective, a great year for music, not just in the electronic genres that comprise the bulk of my listening but also in a wide variety of other music sources: indie rock (The Walkmen, The National), 90s dark trip-hop bands morphing into melody driven dance and desert rock (Massive Attack, UNKLE), pop-fueled mixes of r&b, disco, and soul (Gorillaz, Groove Armada) and a genre I otherwise usually neglect, hip hop (Kanye West.)

In such a creatively strong year, what stood out? Many online have focused on top albums and singles; for something a bit different I’ve compiled below ten of my favorite musical moments from albums released in 2010. I’d emphasize these are moments and not songs, little bursts of creativity and sound that made the year so listenable. I’ve split the list into two posts, the first five moments detailed today, the remaining five for a post next week.
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