Cool Albums Of The Season

Here's some from shopping list of past few months:

[Artist - Album]

  • Linkin Park - Meteora
  • Evanescence - Fallen
  • Audioslave - Audioslave
  • Macy Gray - On How Life Is
  • Barenaked Ladies - Rock Spectacle
  • 4 Strings - Take me away (into the night)

Evanescence's Fallen is probably the best thing came out this year. Audioslave is raw, hard and grungy. How Macy Gray came in to my list? I don't know... I'd written bad things about Meteora previously but when you are in real need for extreme screaming, lots of hatred and hard hard hard stuff these guys seems to fit the bill.

Yahoo! Launch Getting Better

My favorite online music service Rhapsody is not working for me these days. They removed entire Linkin Park collection, few albums from Kid Rock and God knows what more. So I'm back to my old favorite Yahoo! Launch. They have gotten better with more selection, many more videos and more features. The best thing is, ofcourse, you can tell it what you liked and it will select more your kinda music rather then purely random songs. And it's totally free! You can listen to my own customized radio station which I'm listening to right now.

Central Park Summerstage and 311

Central Park summer stage schedule is out. Mark your dates from their official home page. On 311, this is a new number you can dial in New York and ask any question or make any complaints - literally! This is due to effort of new mayor Bloomberg to combine several agency to one spot through one number! Want to know how to dispose refrigerator? or complain about that loud car alarm? Dial 311.

Jewel Moments


On one fine spring morning, a beautiful lady with the sweetest voice decided to walk in a gorgeous park and sing for whoever cared. It was Saturday morning, one of the least busy time of the week when rest of the world prefers to sleep after long Friday night. It was one of the most invisibly promoted concert - even a professional certified guide at Central Park just 200 feet away from the stage didn't knew about it! But still many of us did knew and hassled through early Saturday morning to be there. There were even fans who literally set up their front line spaces before sun came up. Then there was a "Jewel stalker" who tried a stunt to reach her with roses. Jewel being inherently very shy and sensitive, you don't expect lots of fun fair on the stage. It goes smoothly with occasional emotional bursts until she feels comfortable with the whole thing. And then she can tell jokes and attempt to be funny. She doesn't try to create exact replica of her album versions, instead almost always she would change tempo, tones and add twists. One often discussed disappointment was new hair style (change from the one with long beautiful hair). She is sure my #1 favorite female artists and I been envy of people who heard her live when she still a coffee house singer. Her open air concert in the world's greatest city and gorgeous park on that fine spring morning just looked like falling from the heaven. Catch her few glimpse in my photo albums section. Her new album 0304 is already in the stores and I guess she might have more upcoming events in case you are interested.

New Albums From My Favorite Artists

[Many of these albums are also available at Rhapsody.] Suddenly all of my top 3 favorite artists have relased their new music albums during last few months. Unfortunetely all of these albums sucks. But anyway, because they are my favorite they will get metion here :). First, Matchbox Twenty has came up with new album More Than You Think You Are. Yes, they continue in tradition of weired names for their albums (oh well... who can make sense of name Matchbox Twenty itself?). I guess they have grown big in last few years but haven't completely lost their touch. Some tracks are cool. It takes time, experiences, situation to get taste of music from these guys. So far I personally know only one person who likes Matchbox Twenty!! Next, Linkin Park is out with much-awaited Meteora. I'd though this will be something new and fresh but it totally smells like leftover of their previous hit Hybrid Theory. These guys have so much energy and imagination I'd thought it's not gonna wear them down any sooner. Hopefully they have something cooler in pipeline. Finally, Jewel has got her new single Intuition out. She does hip-hop kind of thing for the first time and pretty much screws it up. She has her new full album 0304 set to be released on June 3, 2003. Hopefully that isn't all that bad. So if these sucks, what's cool? Listen to 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane. If while listening some of the lyrics doesn't seem to make sense, just remember that this album is from duo of teenaged Russian lesbians (and yes, they are hot!). Another is Barenaked Ladies. These canadian guys had most of their releases in last decade, have huge followings and their concerts are considered to be one of the best to go for. Very cool guitar tabs seemlessly going with equally cool vocals and effortlessly flowing lyrics and hummable tunes. If you think they took cheap marketing uproach, wait until you listen to tracks like Pinch me, If I should fall or Light up my room. Yes, there is NO female member in the band, but I'm sure you won't care.

Picks: Movies, Concerts And Art

Three movies that you shouldn't miss this season: 1. Chicago - A total classic. Very different. Nice screen play. Cool lightings and photography. These guys got nominated for 13 acadami awards and I wasn't surprised. 2. About Schmidt - A movie that gonna move you. Shatter you. Only for hard core reality fans. 3. The Guru - A cool hilarious flick on an Indina emigrant. Neat. Concerts: 1. Matchbox Twenty is on roll. Click here their schedules for NY/NJ area. 2. The unity of light - A concert by my favorite Indian artist A.R. Raheman. This will feature several other BIG artists from Bollywood music scene. Looks very cool to me. Art: The 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix is now being celebrated visually, with six different exhibitions in Manhattan.

Music Finds: 7 Ethnic Tracks

One of my favorite "soul test" for a song had been to make someone listen to it who doesn't understand the language and see if they can still figure out the meaning from rhythm and vocal emotions. All of the following tracks are "remixed" versions of original tracks (if there were any), have sweet vocals and certainly has a different style.

[artist - album - song]

  • Deep Forest - Pure Moods - Sweet Lullaby. Probably an African language. My guess for this song was that it's a song for pre-marriage rituals and I was wrong for both guesses. You can find english translation from Internet but give yourself a try!
  • Deep Forest - Boheme - Marta's Song. This one is pretty old (released in 1995). Rest of the album is crap.
  • Karunesh - Global Spirit - Punjab. Probably a version of folk song in an Indian language Punjabi. Extremely popular 2002 hit in India. Karunesh is a German born artist who later came to India after near-fatal motorbike accident which started off his spiritual journey.
  • Khalid - Khalid - Didi. After you listen to Arabic languages you might wonder, if one can even sing in that. This old global hit might prove you wrong.
  • DJ Aqeel - Ek Haseenna thi - Tu Tu Wahi. One of the Bombay style remix but with very cool vocals.
  • Instant Karma - Dance Masti Again - Aaja Piya. Yet another Bollywood remix with cool vocals.
  • Bally Sagoo - Best of Bally Sagoo - Gur Nalon Ishq Mitha. The bhangra-style music is well known to make your feet move. And when that gets remixed by Bally Sagoo, it a definite dance hit. Much of the album is also not too crapy.

New Music Finds

I missed Central Park visit this Sunday. So now this is happening 3 years in row. Anyway, this blog is about the new cool music artists/albums I found in past few months. It's starts with Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory. To say the least, this is the one we call it "a land mark". Very artsy compositions, meaningful smart lyrics and the best part: hybrid of melody and metal. You can't possibly miss this one. I haven't heard so much "visual" music in such quantity and quality. No, you need not be "metal" guy to listen to this. However the word of caution: many of the lyrics and song styles in this album can drive you in to frustration, illusionary fears or induce suicidal thoughts. You do need to be strong to listen to this and very strong to enjoy it. Next on the list is Jewel. When I heard her voice for the first time I was almost stunned by the sweetness and soul embedded in her voice. And to this date, I consider her as the best female vocals on the planet. She writes her own songs though many of them I consider sucks (her poetry book is available on Amazon). Few totally outstanding numbers: "Absence Of Fear", "Time After Timely", "Break Me" and "My Hands Are Small". The first one, the "Absence Of Fear", I consider the best love song ever written and sung. Many compare (and occasionally mistakes) her to Cranberries but I guess the "souls" these two artists put in their songs have different identities. To hear Jewel is treat to ears and thanks to modern day technology, it's available to entire world! I'll include few of my old finds later but before I log out, here's the very latest: DJ Sammy! I randomly picked up his new CD "Heaven" in the sale at Wiz hoping to hear some cool trans and I glad I did. This is almost perfect (11 out of 13 tracks are vibrantly cool) and easily the second best techno-trans album after Moby's Play. Tracks are full of life and energy and there's no repetition... The creativity poured in this album is amazing. Most of the tracks are seamlessly combined with very cool female vocals from Yanou (though she hasn't got much credit on front CD cover) - a voice with unparalleled sweetness, imagination and passion. Another peculiar quality of this album is that as you hear it too much, instead of getting dull, it keeps getting better - it's been kind of longest lived CD in my car's player (i.e. 5 days). You need not be trans-junkie to like this album. It will catch your ears whoever you are. Only thing, being an import CD (euro dance) it costs lot: $18 to $25.

First Of Blog - How To Carry 10,000 CDs With You

This is my first blog... wonder why didn't started this already! First what's Astrila? I can't tell for sure but it probably means "sparkling snow in star light" in Eskimo's language. Well some don't agree however. I've my personal web site at - that's my name Shital Shah. This blog I'll be using for jotting down quick unbacked findings and here's few samples. I'm always on look out for new music. Already have few thousand songs here and there, but too much is not enough! There are now two online music services available: Yahoo' Launch and Lycos' Rhapsody (it's playing "Pure Moods III" right now on my laptop). The Yahoo Launch is free and it will sequence up the new music for you by looking at your likings and ratings. Very cool. It did correctly picked up many of my favorites from some of the sample ratings I gave to it. A relief for someone like me who have exhausted out of choices. It has tons of online free videos. That's super cool because MTV sucks at showing music videos these days and I desperately needed some on-demand music video service. And here it goes! Saying that, however, Launch collection isn't really very big - i.e. it doesn't have 10s of thousands of songs - just few thousands. There steps in the Rhapsody. They charge $10/mo and you can listen online to their collection of some 10000 CDs. It's like carrying that many CDs to your work or a hotel or Starbucks :-). You can even burn selected tracks to CD for $1/track. But there is no videos. Many of my favorites I found there: Matchbox 20, Lincoln Park, Enigma, Moby... Some I didn't found were Jewel, Enya and many others. So it's kind of balanced collection but imagine, full CDs - right there waiting to get played! These days if anybody recommends me any album/artists I first listen on Rhapsody and they think about buying it.