Keeping Up (Vol. 3)

by Darren Paltrowitz

Welcome to the 3rd edition of what’s intended to be a bi-weekly column.  A 9-day trip to Japan alongside Mike Viola and The Major Labels has left me jet-lagged and off-schedule, yet no less in awe of new quality entertainment.  But if you feel I’m missing something that’s worthwhile and deserving of column space, please reach out with an e-mail: darren.paltrowitz@gmail.com.

Here are 5 quick picks for you, the loyal reader:

thechanges_today_150The Changes / Today Is Tonight – As I was visiting the New York office of Kobalt Music Publishing, I heard some great music playing off a desktop and asked who it was.  “The Changes.”  I inquired about the Chicago quartet’s label status and heard they were unsigned.  I was surprised to hear that as their “Today Is Tonight” album is simultaneously energetic, groove-oriented, hooky, and well-produced.   Consider airy opening-track “When I Wake” and the upbeat guitar-based “Water Of The Gods” great starting points.  The British are already onto this band, so be sure to be one of the first to “get it” Stateside. (http://www.myspace.com/thechanges)

Steve Martin / Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Nowadays, Steve Martin is generally regarded as a movie star first and foremost.  While true, he was the first comedian to sell out arenas from coast to coast.  However, Martin arguably quit doing stand-up at the peak of his fame.  This book is Martin’s reflection about why he started and stopped performing that medium of comedy, rather than a full-on autobiography.  Alternately funny, interesting, and sad, it makes for a fast read.  (http://www.stevemartin.com)

Lala- While authoritative music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz is critical of Lala, I find it to be an innovative service for consumers.  Offering multiple price tiers, it truly permits music listeners to sample millions of songs before purchasing such.  While it does not offer the selection or exclusives that iTunes does, its prices are lower than its Apple-run competitor and no additional software is necessary other than a web-browser.  It will be interesting to see how this newly-established site is received in the months to come. (http://www.lala.com)

October 2008 issue of American Libraries: “Cruel To Be Kind: Why do we keep unproductive employees?” – By nature, not everyone can be a manager or supervising authority.  But often it does not taken a management-level worker to spot the loose ends within a system.  In this article, Miriam Pollack analyzes entities that “keep making the same mistakes” and in turn discusses how to “create healthy organizations.” Arguably, much of this can be implemented into one’s personal life as well, since interpersonal skills are not exclusive to the workplace. (http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/tableofcontents/2008contents/oct2008.cfm)

“So What Does It All Mean?” by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Jeff Brenman – While this column generally means to bring you recommendations that keep you “up,” this video link is more thought-provoking than it is optimistic.  Essentially, its authors are not telling you that everything is hunky-dory in the world, yet it’s difficult to stop watching.  The statistics about our ever-changing world are compelling, although they do not necessarily tell you how you can play a role or make a difference.  All things considered, it is worth at least 5 minutes of your attention. (http://release.theplatform.com/content.select?pid=x7aVOMrlfkkijQwcLllwk6WjB5JE0zrF)

Stay tuned for another 5 picks...

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