My best iPhone music app experiences are currently with Pandora and Last.fm. I downloaded Pandora almost instantly once I got the phone, but I was pointed to Last.fm by a friend this past weekend, and since the two services are fairly similar in format and functionality, I decided it would be interesting to take one artist each day and build stations for them on each service. I will list the first 10 songs Pandora and Last.fm deliver for each artist, and then assess which service offered the best response.
Today, we see what music dares to swirl around St. Vincent.
1. St. Vincent, “U Call This Love.”
2. Volcano Choir, “And Gather.”
3. Andrew Bird, “Anonanimal.”
4. Dirty Projectors, “F—ed For Life.”
5. Camera Obscura, “Razzle Dazzle Rose.”
6. The Antlers, “Kettering.”
7. Regina Spektor, “Carbon Monoxide.”
8. Girls, “Laura.”
9. Mirah, “Cold Cold Water.”
10. Neko Case, “John Saw That Number.”
Pro: As we’ve come to expect, the distribution of artists on a Last.fm Top 10 is diverse, and while there is an emphasis on female artists, it’s not exclusive — plus, Andrew Bird and St. Vincent are paired for this week’s “Austin City Limits,” so good on you, music bots! Plus, while the list is aimed toward the arty, there’s room for the earthier end of the spectrum with a nice choice from Neko Case. But… and this is one colossal “but,” boys and girls…
Con: That St. Vincent track is not Annie Clark, our beloved odd goddess, but California-based singer-songwriter Vincent Bernardy, who has recorded and released music as St. Vincent. So while the songs were clearly aggregated based on Clark’s music, you don’t get Annie. Bernardy is good, but the vast, vast, vast majority of Last.fm users creating a station for St. Vincent are doing so hoping to get our illustrious “Marry Me” singer. FAIL!
Pandora, your turn!
1. St. Vincent, “Human Racing.”
2. Feist, “Secret Heart.”
3. Radiohead, “Let Down.”
4. Grizzly Bear, “Two Weeks.”
5. St. Vincent, “The Strangers.”
6. Regina Spektor, “Two Birds.”
7. Feist, “1,2,3,4.”
8. Rilo Kiley, “Paint’s Peeling.”
9.Radiohead, “Morning Bell.”
10. St. Vincent, “The Party.”
Pro: A solid selection — Feist and Regina Spektor fit generally well with St. Vincent (and as you can see, these are Annie Clark tracks), and the addition of proggy male acts such as Grizzly Bear and Radiohead diversifies the list somewhat. This is an eminently easy listen, and continued to be well into the next 10.
Con: A little too repetitive, and while it might be a tad churlish to complain about getting 3 of 10 directly from the requested act (especially after Last.fm), a wider range of acts is out there — go get Annie some more new friends, Pandora!
Advantage: Pandora by TKO.