Our Decade In iTunes, Ol' Dirty Bastard Through the Fleshtones and Good Ol' Morrissey

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Maybe the biggest evolution in music this decade has been the availability of online downloads, starting with Napster and ending with half a dozen legitimately - licensed venues for purchasing music over the tubes. Rocks Off will admit it. Back in the day, we were illegal downloaders. Waiting 20 minutes for a three-minute song to cross over our shitty college Internet connection (they didn't even have Wi-Fi on campus then) was a labor of love, and thank the FSM for our friends Matt and Greg who introduced us to the magical musical spreadsheet that is iTunes - a program that made working long late hours at the university newspaper less boring. After that, our listening habits were never the same. Case in point - iTunes has a field by which you can sort songs according to date added. We think this might give some insight into how our tastes have changed since those college years. Below, a decade of iTunes music. 2000

This may have been the first songs Rocks Off ever downloaded. We're not sure, but it's certainly the first one we remember, listening to it late at night and laughing out loud at Old Dirty's hilarious twisted logic.


Irony was not yet a "thing," and Rocks Off, freshly 21, was going through a hellish 80s phase that also included lots of Cyndi Lauper and The Cars.


Modern music got good for a second there. The Strokes and The White Stripes opened our eyes to a new style of music that owed much to the past and was a sign of things to come. Also? Catchy as hell.


Okay, so why listen to The Strokes when you could listen to their forebearers. The Animals and The Zombies (


) were favorites for the mixed CDs we burned this year.


Rocks Off finally ponied up and bought an iPod this year, so we could work at our suburban newspaper cubicle in peace without having to bothered by things like ringing phones or pushy editors. The first album we bought and transferred to our new mp3 player?

The Life Aquatic

soundtrack, featuring both Devo and David Bowie.


One Saturday Rocks Off was in a shop on 19th Street that was playing

this CD

over their sound system. They had the CD for sale, so we bought it, setting off an ongoing obsession with Ye-Ye girls. Later we found the website


, an excellent source for '60s girl garage sharities, out-of-print rarities shared via downloading. It's not exactly illegal. Yet.


Right, so in 2005 Rocks Off started cohabitin' and along with that comes the acquisition of one's partner's entire music collection, in this case a collection heavy on releases from

49th State Records

. Soon Rocks Off was knee-deep in a love for Hawaiiana and exotica, spanning from early

hapa haole


Lani MacIntire

) to the five-octave vocal range of

Yma Sumac

. We also started listening to the now-defunct

Dorktones Podcast

an excellent source for vintage music of all stripes.


In our continuing quest for free music, we started subscribing to

Beware of the Blog

, New Jersey's freeform radio station WFMU's awesomely curated clog of musical oddities. It was there that we first heard The Fleshtones. BOTB links regularly to other sharity sites, excellent sources for the procurement of free music and also for expanding one's musical horizons. After that we downloaded every Fleshtones album we could find, along with the Raunch Hands, The Raybeats and tons more music we discovered on WFMU.


By now you're probably noticing a trend in Rock's Off tastes. Sixties music, garage rock, international influences. So it should be surprise that we also went through an

Asian phase

. Also, on a trip to Paris in the fall, we caught a performance of the

Spaghetti Western Orchestra

, and suddenly, we found ourselves on a Morricone kick.


Two things Rocks Off has been listening to a lot this year - The Smiths and early Stax releases. The Stax thing can be easily explained - last summer we took a trip to Memphis and was way, way more impressed with the rebuilt Stax Museum than Sun Records, Graceland or the Gibson factory. The Smiths thing? We're not sure. Call us morbid, but maybe it's a way of moping since this is the last year of Rocks Off's 20s. Whatever the influence is, it was enough for us to finally import all of our Smiths CDs into iTunes for convenient



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