March 2011

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Artist SpotlightsGiveawaysMusic

All About: The Black Dots of Death

Some time ago, Clown, a founding member of Slipknot, decided to create an altogether different project. The Black Dots of Death was born in addition to their dark debut album, Ever Since We Were Children. We have 5 Questions with the Band, a playlist from their lead singer, and the singular opportunity for you to win a phone call from Clown. Keep reading for a look at their dark experiment in creation.

Five Questions with The Black Dots of Death

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Clown of Slipknot and The Black Dots of Death: Gene Krupa, go find out why.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    C: It’s a toss-up between Fair Warning by Van Halen and Dark Side of The Moon.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    C: Jane’s Addiction because the lyrics bring me back to exact moments of my life growing up.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    C: Human
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    C: Death

Another member of the band, lead singer Kane, put together a playlist containing songs most meaningful to him. Continue reading below forADRENALINE - Kane’s Defining Playlist.

Playlist Notes

1. Clutch – “Wicker” – My favorite song hands down.
2. AC/DC – “Thunderstruck” – Driven by the opening riff.
3. Amen – “Coma America” – In my opinion, one of the most underrated bands in their short time. This is the meaning of pissed.
4. 100 Demons – “Repeat Process” – This song speaks nothing but the truth.
5. Pantera – “Suicide Note Pt. II” – The first time I heard this song it was the heaviest song on the Earth.
6. Ministry – “Just One Fix” - This is one of the first videos on MTV that I became obsessed with as a child.
7. Meshuggah – “Future Breed Machine” – This song is the equivalent of giving someone on PCP a bottle of Jack and allowing him to enact revenge on all of your enemies.
8. Butthole Surfers – “Who Was In My Room Last Night” – This song reminds me of driving really fast in a car with the top down, doing a bunch of shit I wasn’t supposed to.
9. Marilyn Manson – “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” – Let’s just say…I agree.
10. Helmet – “Unsung” – All about the riffage in this one!
11. Hatebreed – “Before Dishonor” - I will not be a victim.
12. Faith No More – “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” – Some of the greatest lyrics EVER wrote!
13. Evergreen Terrace – “Enemy Sex” – This song makes me want to fight.
14. Dir En Grey – “-saku-“ – A horror movie for your ears.
15. Deftones – “Engine No.9” – Never could understand what the fuck Chino is saying, but nonetheless, I love the song.
16. Corrosion of Conformity – “Clean My Wounds” – All time classic.
17. Converge – “Concubine” – This is the angriest song I have possibly ever heard.

The Black Dots of Death Hardcore Giveaway

If you love Slipknot and The Black Dots of Death album, and want to bring your fandom to the next level, enter The Black Dots of Death Sweepstakes for a chance to win a t-shirt, shot glass and a personal phone call from Clown. To enter, answer our question below or Tweet @Rdio about what you’d talk about if you won the call from Clown and include the hashtag #TBDODstakes. Do this between now and April 1st this week and we’ll pick a random winner from the entries. Read the Official Rules for more information.

If you won a call with Clown from The Black Dots of Death, what would you talk about with him?

∞  March 30, 2011 — 12:00AM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Today is a big day for Kip, Kurt, Alex and Peggy. This collection of people, best known as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, have a new album out today. It’s their second one, a follow-up to their popular self-titled breakout debut. Queue up Belong today and hear how they’ve grown their enormous and mellow sound in the last two years. Read on for our Five Questions with the Band, featuring Kip.

Five Questions with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: My Favorite
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    KB: Felt “Jackson Pictorial Review”
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    KB: Weston “A Real Life Story of Teenage Rebellion.”
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    KB: Not falling asleep
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    KB: Nothing

Peggy, also from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, is on Rdio! She made a playlist of Songs Both Me and My Mom Like—no small feat.

∞  March 29, 2011 — 12:00AM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pace yourself while browsing today’s New Releases—it’s a rich selection of debuts, sophomore albums and singles that hint at New Music Tuesday’s future. Another reason to slow down and really enjoy this week’s playlist? You could miss your Album of the Year. How will the long anticipated new Britney Spears, Wiz Khalifa, The Mountain Goats sound next to the lesser-known Hunx and His Punx, Yelle and Owl City?

Playlist Notes

  • Funeral Party, The Golden Age of Knowhere: After rocking the LA scene with high-energy dance-punk shows, this five-piece ensemble finally dropped their debut album. Tune in and join the growing group of fans who can’t get enough of their blend of punk rock and catchy electronic beats.

  • Madeleine Peyroux, The Things I’ve Seen Today: The latest EP from the smoky-voice chanteuse reveals an evolution from her jazz roots. With an impressive back-up band supporting her, Peyroux delivers a folksy original and a melancholy rendition of the Beatles’ Martha, My Dear.

  • Panda Bear, Surfer’s Hymn: This teaser for the followup to Person Pitch gives fans a fix of the good stuff. Featuring kaleidoscopic layers of lush vocals, recorded waves, and the inventive percussion that listeners have come to crave from this Animal Collective member’s solo project.

  • Medeski Martin & Wood, 20 - Volume 1: Hailing from New York, this jazz trio blends traditions like funk, hip-hop and improvisation as they venture into new musical territory. This release features two tracks in a unique style often described as “avant-groove.”

  • The Mountain Goats, All Eternals Deck: John Darnielle has a dedicated following who pour over his every album and song in the lengthy Mountain Goats discography. This 13th album captures his lyrical greatness with polish and panache.

  • E-40, Revenue Retrievin’: Overtime Shift and Revenue Retrievin’: Graveyard Shift: Skirting the boundaries of the rap mainstream, E-40 has the career chops of a true lifelong recording artist. On the heels of 2010’s Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift and Night Shift comes another double album release featuring guests like T-Pain, Devin the Dude, Tech N9ne and Bun B.

∞  March 29, 2011 — 12:00AM

Label SpotlightsMusic

New on Rdio: Hyperdub

It makes sense that Hyperdub is one of the premiere Labels dedicated to dubstep and its sister genres. Behind the wheel is Founder and creator Steve Goodman, better known as musician and DJ Kode9. Within their catalog you’ll find music from the popular (and anonymous) Burial, and producer Zomby. For a quick taste of Hyperdub’s best, queue up 5: Five Years of Hyperdub.

Musicians in the Hyperdub Catalog

For a complete list of artists who are or have been on Hyperdub, check Wikipedia. For updates on their new artists, albums, news and touring information, check their website, hyperdub.net, follow @hyperdub on Twitter and Like them on Facebook.

Previous label features include: Bella Union, XL Recordings, Rough Trade Records, Matador Records, 4AD, Epitaph Records, Merge Records, Domino Records and Nettwerk

∞  March 25, 2011 — 12:00AM

EventsMusic

Rdio in Austin: The Wrap-Up

The BBQ coals have cooled, the Nerd Birds have all transported festival-goers back to their hometowns, and the impromptu stages have all been put away until next year. Here’s a sample of what we saw and loved this year in Austin:

We’d also like to say thanks to the many Rdio fans who stopped by to say “Hi” at our Circus Mashimus booth, attended panels with our own Wilson Miner, Ryan Sims and Malthe Sigurdsson speaking, and to those of you who hung out in the Blogger Lounge at The FADER Fort by FIAT. We had an awesome time talking with you all.

What awesome bands or musicians did you see at SXSW this year?

∞  March 24, 2011 — 12:00AM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It’s a great week to find something new. With the beginning of Spring also comes an abundance of music for all sorts of people. Longtime fans of Green Day, Duran Duran, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and The Cars along with new devotees to The Strokes, Panic! at the Disco and TV on the Radio will be pleased with new songs. If you’re looking for something yet undiscovered, perhaps you’ll like Japanese shoegaze band HOTEL MEXICO, the similarly chill Gold Panda, or French pop-experimentalists Gablé.

Playlist Notes

∞  March 22, 2011 — 12:00AM

Background on Saturday's Rdio outage

This post is to follow up with our users and subscribers and let them know about the short outage we had yesterday, Saturday March 19. Most of this post is going to be relatively technical, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you can rest assured that Rdio is back up and functioning.

What Happened

At 3:28PM our operations team was notified that the site was returning errors and not functioning properly. The oncall operations engineer logged in and discovered pretty quickly that an entire rack in our colo facility had disappeared off the network. All of our other racks were reachable and functioning. We later discovered the switch on the rack just died, completely unreachable.

We immediately put up a maintenance page letting our users know that we were working on the problem, and began looking at what was on that rack and why it would have caused an outage. Fortunately nothing critical was on the lost rack. After converting a redis slave to a master and restarting a few backend services we thought we were ready to turn everything back on. However there was a minor issue with Django (one of the tools we use) that prevented everything from coming back up properly. The way Django works, every database that is defined for an application is required to be functioning and accepting connections even if this configuration of the application never uses it. We have a lot of different database clusters, and one is used only by our ingestion system. The master database for this cluster was on the failed rack, so we didn’t bother to change it in an attempt to get the service back up quickly. Once we figured that out, we made a quick change, brought it back up and the site returned to normal.

This all sounds like it happened really fast, but because it was Saturday most of us were at home watching NCAA basketball (Go Heels!) or out getting our kid’s hair cut. We primarily used IM for communication during the incident, and that caused increased latency and didn’t help us work together. If this happened during a weekday the site would have probably been down for 20 minutes, instead of 73.

Nothing Critical…?

After we brought it back up, we went back and looked at exactly what happened to cause the site to go down considering there was nothing mission-critical in the dead rack. It turns out that due to how one of our backend components is structured if it is waiting on data from one of its datasources, and the machine turns into a network black hole, it doesn’t handle the connection failure very well and just blocks that entire connection all the way up to the worker processes serving the web request. We have some connection timeouts in place, but they aren’t nearly low enough to prevent everything from stacking up, and causing worker process starvation. We think that was the root cause of the outage.

Learning!

So, what did we learn? Well, we learned a lot of stuff. First, we need to have a conference bridge available for diagnosing these issues, because they happen at all hours, and a IM has a much higher latency than a phone call. Second, we have redundant equipment for our core router, and that’s great, but we need redundancy all the way down the line to help prevent problems. Third, we need to make sure our systems are hardened against systems blinking off the network and make sure our backend systems can exit quickly in error conditions instead of locking up retrying down resources for too long.

tl;dr

Software is hard. Dead networking gear sucks. Managing worker process starvation and network timeouts is key. Now we know (better). Sorry about that. The silver lining is that if you have synced music to your mobile phone, you could still play it.

∞  March 20, 2011 — 12:00AM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday in Austin

We’re turning up the volume for our Austin trip—we’ll be at the FADER FORT by FIAT and the Vice afterparty, ‘Vice Kills Texas’. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to appreciate the great mix of music that’s newly available this week.

Playlist Notes

  • J Mascis, Several Shades Of Why: Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis drops the noisy guitars in favor of a soft-strumming, melancholy acoustic solo album.

  • Teddybears, Cardiac Arrest (feat. Robyn): The Teddybears are certified dance party vets. This not-so-cuddly Swedish group, creating music since 1991, is still doing it well—this time with Robyn.

  • Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Scandalous: A throwback to the blues’ heyday, Black Joe Lewis’ sophomore album is perfectly tailored for the present. Produced by Spoon’s drummer, Jim Eno, it’s a body-moving album from start to finish.

  • Travis Barker, Give The Drummer Some: It’s not every day that the drummer gets the spotlight. Former Blink-182 member Travis Barker teamed up with rappers Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne and Yelawolf to make his solo debut.

  • Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Scala & Kolacny Brothers: Don’t let the Brothers fool you—Scala & Kolacny Brothers is an all-female choir group who’ve taken to covering songs from popular culture. Included in this album is music by Radiohead, Depeche Mode and Nirvana.

∞  March 15, 2011 — 12:00AM

New FeaturesNews

Now Available: the Rdio API

If you use Rdio and are a developer, chances are you’ve had a thought or two about ways you could make Rdio your own. Maybe you’d like to add a new feature, create an app, or integrate a music player into something else? Now you can make that idea a reality with the Rdio API.

No need to worry about licensing millions of songs for your own use—easily access Rdio’s music catalog for your next brilliant idea. Bring to life the countless ways we can all discover and enjoy music.

Technically speaking, the Rdio API includes an oEmbed API, REST API, and Web Playback API. There are also a multitude of other Rdio features available—search, play, top charts, Network Heavy Rotation, playlist creation and editing, people search, and users’ collections.

Besides building something cool with Rdio, you can also earn money in return for your efforts—get paid for each new Rdio subscriber and mp3 download made through your application, as part of our newly available Affiliate Program.

Not a developer? This is good news for you too. Besides joining our Affiliate Program, just wait to see and hear the ways Rdio is being used around the web. Some initial projects using the Rdio API include AOL, Roku, Grab.com, Tweetlouder, and The GRAMMY Awards’® MusicIsLifeIsMusic microsite and MusicMapper app.

To sign up and learn more about the API, visit developer.rdio.com and follow @RdioAPI.

∞  March 11, 2011 — 12:00AM

News

Introducing: the Rdio Affiliate Program

You’ve done an amazing job telling people about Rdio. You got your friends, parents, co-workers and next door neighbors on board—we really appreciate it! To put our money where it counts, we’re backing up this gratitude by giving you something in return for all that talk—our new Affiliate Program.

How does it work? Using LinkShare, earn money when people subscribe to Rdio or purchase mp3 downloads thanks to your recommendations.

Sign up now for a free LinkShare Publisher account to become an Rdio affiliate. If you already use LinkShare, search for Rdio and apply to join our Program—it will be available shortly.

So go ahead and keep talking about Rdio, and this time, put some change in your pocket at the same time.

∞  March 11, 2011 — 12:00AM