Google Launches Real-Time Search

It was only a matter of time. Google has launched a real time search, integrated into it’s search results pages.

Google Real Times streams information as it is happening on the web – for instance live updates, news articles, and Twitter feeds – on the actual page displaying your search query. Public Facebook pages and Myspace public streams are due to be added soon. The feature is now live and will take a couple of days to roll out across the world. It will also work on iPhone and Android.

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VEG Club, Threatmantics and Right Hand Left Hand up for Cardiff’s 1st Rock Lottery

Rock Lottery

I’m not sure how many musicians you can fit inside a hat but Rock Lottery will attempt it on Saturday morning. Twenty five musicians from 14 different bands will be pulled out at random by their musical legs to form five brand new bands. Five bands that will exist for one day only – and they have only have that day to write 20 minutes of new material and debut it at Dempsey’s in the evening.

As soon as the new bands are drawn, each new set of musicians will be locked up in their own rehearsal room, under pressure to write four or five new songs that will be startling enough to win Rock Lottery 2009.

Rock Lottery’s organisers predict that “friendships will blossom, boundaries will be broken, whole new genres will be born, musical differences will explode, and there will undoubtedly be disagreements, probably even tears. But by the end of it we will have experienced something completely unlike what’s gone before, and along the way we’ll have raised some money for a very worthy cause – the Paul Ward Memorial Fund.”
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Yuleblogalog – Christmas in your ear!

Yuleblogalog

This is about Christmas. This is about the songs that kiss you on the back of the neck and whisper “welcome home”. This is about sharing those songs and giving everyone those little kisses.

Snowflakes don’t have to fall. Bells don’t have to chime. Trees don’t have to glitter and portly bearded chaps definitely don’t have to don red and white suits. Christmas is a simple frame of mind: a wamth that can be felt all year round; a glow of hope and wonder; a stirring fireside glow of peace and tranquility. And a quality whiskey.

Come over to Yuleblogalog. There’s hot Glühwein, Sufjan Stevens on the stereo and a friendly portly chap – a bit worse the wear after a busy night, but with a sackful of crushing, gorgeous, genius Christmas MP3s for everyone. I’ll have a nice Grand Marnier thanks.

www.yuleblogalog.wordpress.com

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New Video from Fever Ray – Keep the Streets Empty for Me

Fever Ray

I heard my favourite album of the year in January, just thirteen days into the 365. Released as a digital download on 13 January, my only insight into Fever Ray, Karin Dreijer Anderson’s first solo record outside of the Knife, was its stark cover – Dreijer flanked against a paranormal lanscape of decrepit huts and overgrown wilderness.

By the end of the night I’d played Fever Ray four times, each time letting the ghostly, crow-black synths and temptuous beats scurry a bit more under my skin. Each time  pushing sleep’s promise a little further away in favour of another exploration of that strange, addictive wilderness.

It wasn’t until its official release in March that I found out how fitting this first meeting was. Fever Ray was created in the months around the birth of Dreijer’s second child, a time when she found herself continually exhausted. Sleep and awake literally carved up into interrupted patterns with no control. The Knife’s chilling electronics have sometimes felt like the mystery between sleep and awake, but this time Dreijer fully entered the realm, choosing the actual exhausted moments of her new parent self to document when reality and imagination tease each other.
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Tom McRae to play free gig at Cardiff’s North Star 11 Dec

Tom McRaeTom McRae is to precede a full UK tour early next year with an intimate free show at Cardiff’s North Star this Friday, 11 December.

The singer-songwriter, whose eponymous debut in 2000 was nominated for the Mercury Prize, a Q Magazine Award and a Brit, will release his fifth album in February. The Alphabet of Hurricanes, an album in two parts, was recorded over three years in studios, hotel rooms and backstage in the US and UK.

McRae is a haunting and eclectic singer with an ability to make the most expansive halls feel intimate and warm. The North Star gig is a pretty unique opportunity to get even more up close and personal.

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The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Vagrant)

Hold SteadyPopMatters, July 2008

If there’s a nagging conviction behind Stay Positive, it’s a constant refusal to be pinned down on E Street, revealing a toxic indulgence to revel in the spit and swagger of the punk side of town.

And you thought the Hold Steady were just living on E Street? Littered with early Springsteen analogies ever since they broke through with the bar room tales of Boys and Girls in America, Craig Finn has constantly referred to the debt his band owes to the likes of the Ramones, Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, only for critics to remain defiant of their origins in favour of references to the New Jersey Godfather. If there’s a nagging conviction behind Stay Positive, the Hold Steady’s fourth album, it’s a constant refusal to be pinned down on E Street, revealing a toxic indulgence to revel in the spit and swagger of the punk side of town.

While Stay Positive proves that Finn and co. still love to get with the E Street shuffle, the first crashing notes of “Constructive Summer”, the record’s charged opener, are a “White Riot”-style riff that Mick Jones would be proud of. The tingling piano and made-for-arena drums that follows may be pure Springsteen, but only after he’s been dragged through a dozen chaotic bars by Finn, all the time regaling the Boss with the genius of Bob Mould. Seventeen seconds into “Constructive Summer” and Finn has already dropped an Iggy Pop reference:

Me and my friends are like the drums on Lust for Life
We pound it out on floor toms
Our psalms are sing-along songs

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Jeanne-Claude: A life wrapped-up

Sad news about artist Jeanne-Claude, who died last night at a New York hospital from complications of a brain aneurysm.

Jeanne-Claude was 74 and the wife, partner and collaborator of Christo. Together they made some incredible, joyous art, including wrapping the Reichstag in Germany, the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland, a Roman wall in Italy and Snoopy’s kennel (after Schulz drew the above cartoon). Jeanne-Claude and Christo always denied their art had any deeper meaning other than helping the viewer experience familiar landscapes from a different perspective. They always refused any sponsorship and financed all their temporary installations through the projects, including the sale of their preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and original lithographs.
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