Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Category: Sound

Beatbox by rhythmo

A semi-DIY, part-cardboard drum machine that promises to be “super affordable”? I’m interested. Let’s see when the crowdfunding campaign launches. #link


Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry

It’s bad enough that music is missing the richness of metadata to give listeners context and background for recordings (streaming services don’t even come with high-res original artwork, for crying out loud) but when it means the artists themselves aren’t even getting paid? Well, we shouldn’t be so surprised; the music industry hasn’t been about supporting its artists for many years, if it ever was. #link


Extreme-Music Pioneer Weasel Walter in Back Catalog (and Beyond)

There I was thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone’s done a round-up of Weasel Walter’s multi-faceted musical catalogue? Of course they have, and props to Brad Cohan for a great one. Now, should I pitch something along the lines of ‘Weasel Walter’s No Wave picks’? #link


The Day the Music Burned

“The vault fire was not, as UMG suggested, a minor mishap, a matter of a few tapes stuck in a musty warehouse. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” #link


Just a short clip of Jawbox in rehearsals for their upcoming reunion tour. Which I won't be seeing. Sad face. #video


Palm are my current music obsession. There isn’t much live footage of them on YouTube but the above is a great example of what they do. #video


Here it is, the first Meat Puppets song from the original lineup in over 23 years. Sounds like it’s from that era, too, with a touch of Up on the Sun psych in the solos. By the way, here's a bonus live set from June. #video


Capturing sound from Mac apps on a budget

One relatively niche tool that I’ve found incredibly useful in my media doings over the last few years is Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack for macOS. Essentially it’s a one-stop shop for recording audio from any source on your Mac: you point it to where the sound is coming from, like an external mic or a VOIP app like Skype (to use examples I’ve relied on in the past), press record and bam, there’s a file, ready to go.

I can tell you it’s made the process of recording phone interviews much less painless, no faffing around with extra cables or hardware required. However, as great as it is at what it does — and its toolset goes way beyond my basic audio capturing requirements — it’s not cheap. More…


SunVox is 10, and it is truly something worth celebrating

I got a mini MIDI keyboard last Xmas precisely to mess around with SunVox and I’ve only just done so (it works great, as it happens). I want to treat myself to a cheap electric guitar this Xmas, too, and maybe one day soon I’ll have a free afternoon to make a track. #link


Wire, performing songs from their classic first three albums live on German TV’s Rockpalast in 1979. #video


If this is what the new Low album (Double Negative, out in September) actually sounds like, it might be the best thing they’ve ever done. #video


The new Parquet Courts is out today, and it reminds me of the Minutemen more than anything else I’ve heard from them. Not that it sounds like the Minutemen in any specific way. (And not this particular song, which owes more to the Big Boys than anything else.) #video


Eight Bands Leading the Crossover Thrash Revival

I dig Power Trip and Iron Reagan; I can dig this. (Also, maybe it’s something peculiar about the metal features on Bandcamp Daily, but they tend to get way more than average social media shares and comments, the latter of which are often along the lines of ‘you forgot Band X!’. I want to look at that as a positive sign of the genre’s health; that there are more artists doing things that excite listeners than what will fit in a given article.) #link


The Sage of Pedro keeps it real for surf-turned-culture zine What Youth. #video


Joe Carducci and Mugger talk SST and things at a bookstore in Brooklyn. So curmudgeonly on Carducci’s part, but he’s an avowed romanticist for the (or rather, an) American working class mythos, so adjust your filters for his insight. #video


The Grunge Gold Rush

On the fates of Jawbox, the Meat Puppets and others swallowed, then thrown up my the music industry in the post-Nirvana fervour for the Next Big Thing. #link


The Fractured series may have come to a close, but John Mulvaney’s not done with his engaging profiles of bands in their creative milieu — this time across the Irish Sea with British doom metal crew Solstice. #video


New Directions in Grindcore

My second feature for Bandcamp Daily and one I still can’t believe I was commissioned to write — but that is the point of the site, to surface and celebrate smaller genres and scenes, no matter how far from the mainstream they might be. (Also, the overlap with that other article on Belfast music was inadvertent.) #link


The Guardian’s series on Underground Music in 2017

“Does the underground still exist in a world where everything is visible online?” That’s a silly question, in that the answer is an obvious ‘YES’ and that it also presupposes that everything is visible online, when it patently isn’t. But it’s still good to see an august paper like The Guardian dive in and share what it's found. #link


Adam Savage geeks out as he cuts a record at Jack White’s Third Man headquarters in Detroit. Whatever your opinion on Black, one can’t doubt he’s a genuine nerd about the craft of recorded music. #video