Shfl Update, June 9
IDM, Norman Whitfield, UK Reggae, Illbient, and new recommendations from Shy Thompson, Zev Kane, Jeff Treppel, Ned Raggett, and Nate Patrin
Steve Hiett, Haruomi Hosono, Adrian Rew, Doopees and Mioko Yamaguchi from Shy Thompson
IDM lagniappe from Sasha Frere-Jones
Catherine Wheel, Gene Loves Jezebel, Front 242, The Creatures, Public Image Ltd, and Dead Can Dance from Ned Raggett
Jeff Treppel on The Hellacopters, Justice, Wang Chung, The Weeknd, Tusmørke, Neil Diamond, and Death Valley Girls
Nate Patrin on Cerrone, The Isley Brothers, Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, Lonnie Liston Smith, Banda Black Rio, Earth, Wind & Fire, Walter Gibbons, Thin Lizzy, and this Tangerine Dream masterpiece
Zev Kane on an immaculate set of Bartók’s piano concertos
Harold Heath on Norman Whitfield and psychedelic soul
Sasha Frere-Jones on the stupidest genre tag of all time, IDM
UK Reggae by Rick Anderson
Phil Freeman on illbient & related music to play in caves
Sometimes when I run the site update scripts it looks like everybody likes the same album - this most recent update it was the new one by Porridge Radio, and everybody’s right, it’s pretty great. This one song Jealousy is giving me serious Disintegration vibes. I mean the song sounds nothing like the Cure but it just has that wide-open grandiose sadness. I love it.
Phil Freeman’s latest Burning Ambulance newsletter has a ton of great Afrosound compilation recommendations, I’ve been listening to those over the last couple of days when I need to bring myself back up from the Porridge Radio album.
I think it’s safe to say that if I wasn’t pigheaded, stubborn, and recalcitrant, Shfl wouldn’t exist. In a world where you can get a router from Harbor Freight for $50 I’ll spend hours using chisels I got at a garage sale. I mean, the world’s not starved for music recommendations, you can’t throw a stick without hitting someone who’ll tell you what to listen to. And the algorithmic recommendation engines aren’t THAT bad, especially YouTube’s, those guys really know what they’re doing.
But I really felt, and still do, that there should be a source for music recommendations that is not tied to the music providers — that is focused first and foremost on exploration, not finding similar-sounding music to what you already know you like. The biggest impediment to building the app was the database — I didn’t want to rely on Spotify’s or Apple Music’s API, as useful as they are. So I slowly and painstakingly built my own, over those long COVID days, with the help of my friend Pam (without whom Shfl certainly wouldn’t exist, she’s got a Twitter here).
So anyway, the upshot to all this is that I can now make these cool and mildly-amusing lists:
Here’s a link to albums that have a recommendation on Shfl which you can stream from Apple Music, but aren’t available on Spotify. As of right now there’s 678 of them. And yes, it’s a lot of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Big Black. And Johanna Newsom of course, who thinks Spotify is like a banana.
Here’s the Spotify link, same deal. There’s 1126 of these. Spotify really does have the larger library!
One for albums that are exclusive to Bandcamp, 803 in total.
And 2116 albums that I can’t find a streaming link for anywhere. Most of these have Discogs links, and many of them are on Hyperion, which has always just done their own goddamn thing, from whom you can buy the CDs or mp3s directly, and you should — I absolutely couldn’t live without this recording. Or this, or this, or this…
A couple of things about these lists — they are ranked, the ones with the most recommendations are at the top. Also, would you have believed that Doggystyle was the most popular album on Bandcamp that is not on either Spotify or Apple Music?!? Lotta good stuff on that list, a personal favorite is Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence.
Also, while I’m pretty sure of most of these, if you do spot one that doesn’t belong on a particular list (i.e. it’s on the not available on Apple Music list but you happen to know it is available there) please do let me know. Normally these lists are what I use to troubleshoot my software for matching up albums with streaming points, I’ve never put them out in the world before.