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Trail guide: Summer music beats, off the beaten path

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jonoakley
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If robots can rock out this Fourth of July, you can too.

It's the Fourth of July weekend, and many of you are loading up your iPod to get you to the beach/cabin/lake.

But if you're stuck at home - or worse - stuck at the office, don't worry: the Innovation Trail team has scoured the Internet to find interactive music sites to keep you occupied this holiday weekend.  

Click on to rock out.

The Wiggly Tendrils: Wish someone would write music for you, but not dating a musician? Problem solved. Head to this site and request a song. A member of their worldwide musical collaborative will write and record it - for free.  It's also fun to browse through the songs they've already written based on requests from other people - ranging from awkward teen crushes to a dance inspired by the Legion of Doom.

One Hello World: Another personalized musical experience. If you've ever felt like your life needed a soundtrack (and who hasn't) then leave a voicemail for the artist who runs this site, and you'll receive a musical background to your words.

The Wilderness Downtown: Step inside your own video. Arcade Fire (you know, from the 2011 Grammys) and filmmaker Chris Milk have teamed up with Google to give you a personalized experience to the band's single, "We Used to Wait." Begin by typing in the address of where you grew up, and the video takes you on a journey back to your childhood home. Note: You'll need to download Google Chrome.

You are listening to New York: Innovation Trail reporter Emma Jacobs recommends this site, which is equal parts creepy and mesmerizing. Listen to the real-time sounds of New York City's police scanner, mixed with hypnotic music playing the background. It’s reminiscent of a TV crime drama, and you can stream it all day long. You can also listen to other cities on the site, like L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, and Montreal.

Upstate Soundscape: Innovation Trail reporter, Zack Seward recommends this experimental/ambient radio show from WBNY in Buffalo, N.Y. On their website you can hear sounds from the upstate underground scene.

Icelandic bands that are not Sigur Rós: Like Icelandic tunes, but sick of  Sigur Rós hogging the spotlight? Apparently, Iceland has more than one band! Innovation Trail editor, Rachel Ward recommended this funny and informative website for all of your non-Sigur Rós music needs.

Beck's Record Club: Innovation Trail reporter Daniel Robison is a fan of this project.  Beck and his famous friends record a cover album in a single day and post it online. It’s a hobby with interesting results - like tackling Yanni and Leonard Cohen.

Google guitar: One of Google's coolest logo-changes yet. Strum your own tunes on this virtual guitar.

We dance to the interactive beat machine: Swedish singer, Robyn, features this fun little tool on her website that lets you build your own beat.  It works when you run a cursor over moving images (a tapping foot, a parrot, hamsters in a wheel, to name a few). You can also listen to other users' beats, and share your own.

If you prefer your beats pre-packaged, you can always just listen to what Robyn has already made for you. Rachel Ward recommends you start with "Call Your Girlfriend." The concept is refreshingly simple and catchy, and may even inspire you to don your favorite pair of hot pants, a mohair sweater, and get up and dance!

Kick it old school

Would you rather get your music the old-fashioned way? Tune in to an Innovation Trail partner station, all streaming online.

  • WEXT - Adult album alternative along the lines of Bob Dylan, Death Cab for Cutie and Gillian Welch in the Albany area.
  • WSQX - "Your jazz alternative" in the Southern Tier.
  • WITH - Electic folk and roots in Ithaca.
  • WRUR - College rock and adult album alternative in Rochester.
  • WNED - Classical in Buffalo.

Have a safe holiday - we'll see you on Tuesday!

WMHT/Capital Region reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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