June 26, 2007


NPR Live Concert Series: Cat Power in Concert (November 2006, NPR.org)

Hear Cat Power in a full concert, recorded live from Washington, D.C.

...and then on to Memphis to record with some famously talented session players, she could probably do better than Cat Power's "The Greatest." But Chan Marshall actually did sober up last year, and had her own "Dusty in Memphis" moment (with Al Green's session men), and even if doesn't completely live up to its title, it's still an excellent, haunting record.

Cat Power is the stage name of Chan (pronounced "Shawn") Marshall, who has been around since the early nineties playing in a sort punk-folk style while publicly wrestling personal demons. She seems to finally have them down for the count, and last year's "The Greatest" is the result. If you like old Cowboy Junkies, recent Neko Case, and Dusty in Memphis, you should check this out:

As a side note, I have technology-related musical tip:

I spend a lot of time on my bike (that's a pedal bike), and, while music makes the miles go faster, headphones are dangerous (and, depending on your local laws, perhaps illegal). I'd like to hear the traffic and the tunes.

I've been hooking up walkmans and mp3 players up to little battery-powered speakers mounted to the bike for years--serviceable for talk radio and AM-friendly sounds (like the Apples in Stereo or most of the Motown hits). In the past, I've found that Sony made the best ones, but none I've purchased over the years sound terribly good, especially with acoustic folk, jazz, classical ( i.e. not bubblegum) music.

Last week I upgraded to some Altec Lansing portable mp3 speakers. I bought the Sansa-compatible model because I like the size and color (I don't have either an I-pod or a Sansa), but they make I-pod-dockable systems as well, and they all take standard audio input ( 3.5mm plug). And they rock--you can actually hear the bass, and get them loud enough to hear above the wind and road buzz without distorting. You can run them off 4 AA batteries or with the AC adaptor, and would be fine for the patio, garage, bedroom, or bike. They even have output for a powered subwoofer.

Note that I am not an audiophile, so your opinion of the sound may differ radically (and they weren't exactly cheap). The local Best Buy had display demos so I could test out the various makes and models, and you might want to do that before buying them online.

Posted by Ted Welter at June 26, 2007 8:51 AM
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