1. Budget rental cars: Though Budget’s parent company currently says it will continue to operate both the Avis and Budget brands, increasing debt problems, a weakening travel industry and intensifying competition will nonetheless cause the demise of the Budget brand, 24/7 Wall Street predicts.
2. Borders books: Declining sales, heavy losses and pressure from competitors Barnes & Noble and Amazon - especially from new e-book readers - may prove too much for the brand when large amounts of debt come due in April 2010.
3. Crocs footwear: The decline in stock price from $72 per share in late 2007 to $2 today, ongoing financing issues, consumer belt-tightening and the end of a fad, leads to to 24/7 Wall Street’s declaration that “Crocs won’t make it through the year.”
4. Saturn vehicles: As General Motors faces bankruptcy, 24/7 Wall Street said it will almost certainly shutter the brand, whose sales dropped 59% in the first quarter of 2009.
5. Esquire Magazine : While the Esquire brand is plagued with ad revenue declines and intense competition in the crowded men’s-magazine market, parent company Hearst faces problems on both the newspaper and magazine fronts and will not hesitate to close down underperforming brands such as this one to bolster its overall position.
6. Old Navy apparel: 24/7 Wall Street said that parent company Gap - which currently markets the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands - is “a three-brand company living in a two-brand body” and cannot continue to sustain all three in the midst of steep, across-the-board sales declines. Old Navy, which is the weakest brand, will most likely not survive.
7. Architectural Digest Magazine: Amidst drastic cutbacks in high-end home sales and expensive redecorating, the once-healthy publication has lost 47% of its ad pages this year. Faced with other financial problems in its newspaper and magazine businesses, parent company Conde Nast will not be able to sustain the brand, according to 24/7 Wall Street.
8. Chrysler brand cars: Facing similar problems to GM as it teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, Chrylser LLC will not be able to support product design, manufacturing and marketing for a brand with many less sales that Dodge or Jeep as it gears up for restructuring.
9. Eddie Bauer: Faced with declining sales, a stock price under $1, major debt problems and a CCC- rating, analysts say its lack of differentiation in the marketplace could prove the last straw. 24/7 Wall Street said it could be out of business by mid 2009.
10. Palm: A brand that 24/7 Wall Street says has been “at death’s door for some time,” faces life-threatening competition from RIM and Apple, and can only survive in the unlikely event that it can expand the smartphone market by increasing demand for its “Pre.” Dismal financial results and association with Sprint, the already-#3 US wireless carrier, will spell complete disaster.
11. AIG: The once-venerable insurance giant’s highly publicized financial problems, involvement in the financial crisis and subsequent bailout and indebtedness to the federal government, make it the “one large brand in America which almost everyone would like to see disappear,” according to 24/7 Wall Street. Because many of the company’s operating units do not bear the AIG name, they will continue to do business as they distance themselves from the “toxic” AIG parent brand, which eventually will go away.
12. United Air Lines: As the travel industry faces unprecedented overcapacity in light of the recession, two of the large US carriers will soon need to merge to avoid bankruptcy. While it is not clear yet how such a consolidation will shake out, the stocks of UAL, American and US Air have plummeted. 24/7 Wall Street believes that United - the weakest of the carriers, soon faces a “merger,” which will most likely mean the end of the line for the brand.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Victims are often phished without realizing it. Tim Pratt, a freelance writer based in San Francisco, didn't realize he'd been hacked until his Twitter account sent out one of the phishing messages and friends started contacting him.
After checking his browser history, he realized he'd visited one of the fake sites. "I couldn't believe I had that URL in my history," he said. "I'm usually the one who says, 'Don't click on some random link in Facebook.'"
He thinks he probably clicked on a link sent by a friend early Thursday morning and then logged into the fake site without even realizing it. Pratt quickly changed his password and regained control of his account. "I was more embarrassed than anything else," he said.
Hey look, that's ME being the interviewee in a story that made the NY Times!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.
In his address to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy organization in Washington, Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."
He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."
In a statement April 21, however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.
"With Alaskans facing the highest energy prices in the nation, it's disappointing that our governor is turning thumbs down on federal funding that could help our families and communities reduce their energy bills.
"The Republican-led Alaska Legislature determined that our state already meets the standards necessary to accept this funding. This notion about some onerous federal mandate seems to be little more than a political red herring targeted at an agenda other than Alaska's.
"Of the more than nearly $5 billion in requests from Alaska communities and non-profits for federal funding my office has received so far this year, I'd estimate a third of them relate to reducing energy costs. My agenda will continue to be securing federal assistance to help Alaska families reduce their high cost of living."
I like this Bruce Schneier quote from a CNN article on the TSA's new whole body scanner, which lets TSA inspectors look at your genitals through your clothes:Bruce Schneier, an internationally recognized security technologist, said whole-body imaging technology "works pretty well," privacy rights aside. But he thinks the financial investment was a mistake. In a post-9/11 world, he said, he knows his position isn't "politically tenable," but he believes money would be better spent on intelligence-gathering and investigations.Damned right. It's amazing how many people mistake terrorism's sworn cause as eliminating air-travel. Al Quaeda are not anti-aviation activists. They want to create terror, not ground airplanes. You fight that by arresting them, not by sticking airports in safes and throwing away the keys.
"It's stupid to spend money so terrorists can change plans," he said by phone from Poland, where he was speaking at a conference. If terrorists are swayed from going through airports, they'll just target other locations, such as a hotel in Mumbai, India, he said.
"We'd be much better off going after bad guys ... and back to pre-9/11 levels of airport security," he said. "There's a huge 'cover your ass' factor in politics, but unfortunately, it doesn't make us safer."
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The whole world is on Twitter. Yawn.
Tweets, people will tell you, rot our brains. They ruin our attention spans, inflate our egos. Maureen Dowd would rather be eaten alive by ants than be Twittering, or so she said in a recent column.
So let's keep this thesis statement short, shorter than the 140 characters allowed by the micro-blogging service:
@Naysayers: Twitter is more complex than it looks. It might even be art.
Almost everyone appears insanely boring on Twitter.
This is because the question Twitter asks its approximately 7 million users is, What are you doing? And because users can respond to that question via mobile device, the answer is often: waiting.
They're waiting at the DMV. They're waiting for dinner. They're at the airport, waiting for a flight, and when they get home they can't wait to see "Wolverine."
Ashton Kutcher, the much-heralded Twitterer with the most followers -- approaching 2 million -- is no exception.
"We are in the middle of a tornado watch," he, as aplusk, tweeted recently, waiting for production to resume on a film set. But we don't care when movie stars are insanely boring. Their insanely boring days fascinate us.
Here's something odd:
There are some non-celebrities who amass giant followings. Thousands of strangers tune in for regular updates of these nobodies' lives.
And something else odd: The next few months will see a slew of books about Twitter. Most of these tomes are 200-plus pages, meaning the books teaching you how to use Twitter are 3,000 times longer than the longest thing you'll ever write on Twitter.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.
Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."
One of the noisiest controversies of his young presidency flared after Obama, who supports abortion rights but says the procedure should be rare, was invited to speak at the school and receive an honorary degree. "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," the president said.
Another leading Republican strategist has voiced concerns about the direction of the GOP.
John Weaver, a top adviser to Utah Governor John Huntsman, said this week that the Republican party is headed for an electoral "blowout" if it continues to be defined by "Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney."
The Washington Examiner reported:"If it's 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout," says strategist John Weaver, who advised Huntsman and was for years a close adviser to Sen. John McCain. "That's just the truth."
TO paraphrase Al Pacino in “Godfather III,” just when we thought we were out, the Bush mob keeps pulling us back in. And will keep doing so. No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can’t. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration’s high ambitions.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The “Free Public WiFi” SSID seems to be everywhere - at airports, on planes, and in hotels. Based on what the SSID spells, it seems to be the perfect solution for those seeking to connect to the Internet because it is “Free”…cost nothing…”Public”…you break no laws connecting to it…”WiFi” …a few clicks and you’ll be surfing in no time.
In reality, this SSID is just one of many viral SSIDs that exist anywhere people are with laptops (almost always Microsoft Windows based laptops). In almost all cases this SSID is not a real WiFi hotspot access point but someone else’s laptop in Ad-Hoc mode advertising this SSID. Why does this SSID always appear and more importantly is it harmful if you connected to this SSID?
If you connected to the “Free Public WiFi” SSID in the past, don’t worry…in almost all cases your PC is not infected with a real virus and no data was stolen. Just remember to stop connecting to random wireless networks that you can’t verify as being trusted, especially free ones!
Blame Microsoft Wireless Zero Configuration
The answer to why this SSID seems to be everywhere can be blamed on Microsoft, more specifically a Windows feature called Wireless Auto Configuration (aka Wireless Zero Configuration). Wireless Auto Configuration “provides automatic configuration for the 802.11 adapters”.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Using Verbs As Nouns in User Interfaces
Q: My company is developing software that, among other things, manages large amounts of member information. This is enterprise-level software, so we assume there will be some training involved. (Although, it’s been my task for the past year to get the company out of the mindset that we should rely on training rather than usability.) To better manage interactions with such large datasets, we’ve incorporated the concept of views, in the same way that Microsoft Outlook and SQL Builder use them. However, my initial usability testing has found that the concept of views is escaping most people, and I think it often boils down to the term itself. Even if I show users what the software does—and they pretty much always like it when they see it—they still often cannot get over the initial hurdle of the naming convention. When we say Click here to view your views, we see eyes glazing over and drool forming at the corners of the mouths of even the most competent users.
I have two questions for the Ask UXmatters experts:
- What are your experience and wisdom on the use of verbs as nouns in naming software functionality?
- Do you have any other brilliant names for views?—from a UXmatters reader
Interesting. Check the link for the responses.
LAST year, Coppertone rolled out two easy-to-use sprays with its highest-ever sun protection factor: SPF 70+. Not to be outdone, Neutrogena offered its Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch lotion in SPF 85 strength, that year’s big gun.
This sun season, Banana Boat is retaliating with a pair of SPF 85 sprays, which it trumpets on its Web site as “our highest SPF level in a continuous spray formula.”
But now, SPF creep has hit the triple digits with Neutrogena’s SPF 100+ sunblock, leading some dermatologists to complain that this is merely a numbers game that confuses consumers.
The parade of stratospheric SPFs is “crazy,” said Dr. Barbara A. Gilchrest, a dermatology professor at Boston University School of Medicine. “For a normal person who is fair-skinned and concerned about skin damage and photoaging,” Dr. Gilchrest said, “it’s really in my opinion tremendous overkill.”
Thursday, May 14, 2009
You know that annoying little kid that endlessly asks the question "why?" in succession... partially for curiosity and partially just to test the limits of a parent to see when they will give up from boredom, frustration, or exhaustion? There were a few times growing up when I pulled that on my dad and somewhere that little kid still exists. (I think I had an epic run for "Why is the sky blue?" where he finally caved in after 15-20 rounds)
There are truisms in life that sound completely cliche, but can never be repeated enough. Be kind to others, read books, travel, eat well, etc... these are all common themes that show up again and again, but without a strong answer to "why?" the full import of their meaning never took hold with me. It's just another factoid, devoid of any real meaning or application to my life. Sometimes though you get an excellent answer to why in the form of life experience or from reading a book. Here are some examples of books that resonated for me in this way:
-- Why is it important to be organized? Getting Things Done
-- Why are exercise and getting enough sleep good things to do? Brain Rules
-- What makes the scientific method so amazing? Demon Haunted World
-- Why do people who pursue their passions seem so attractive? The Way of the Superior Man
-- Why is watching too much TV bad for you? Amusing Ourselves to Death
Here's another question.... "Why are focus, hard work, and dedication to a craft important?" Everyone can answer this at a high level, but until I heard a convincing argument as to why these things are necessary, it never really sunk in. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is the explanation I didn't even know I was looking for and it has completely inspired me.
That is the message of a surprising new look at the body’s reaction to exercise, reported on Monday by researchers in Germany and Boston.
Exercise is known to have many beneficial effects on health, including on the body’s sensitivity to insulin. “Get more exercise” is often among the first recommendations given by doctors to people at risk of diabetes.
But exercise makes the muscle cells metabolize glucose, by combining its carbon atoms with oxygen and extracting the energy that is released. In the process, some highly reactive oxygen molecules escape and make chemical attacks on anything in sight.
The scene: A rigorous intro-level survey course in biology, history, or economics. You're the instructor, and students are crowding the lectern, pleading for study advice for the midterm.
If you're like many professors, you'll tell them something like this: Read carefully. Write down unfamiliar terms and look up their meanings. Make an outline. Reread each chapter.
That's not terrible advice. But some scientists would say that you've left out the most important step: Put the book aside and hide your notes. Then recall everything you can. Write it down, or, if you're uninhibited, say it out loud.
Two psychology journals have recently published papers showing that this strategy works, the latest findings from a decades-old body of research. When students study on their own, "active recall" — recitation, for instance, or flashcards and other self-quizzing — is the most effective way to inscribe something in long-term memory.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.
His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.
The sociology major's made-up quote — which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer's death March 28 — flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India.
They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia quickly caught the quote's lack of attribution and removed it, but not quickly enough to keep some journalists from cutting and pasting it first.
A full month went by and nobody noticed the editorial fraud. So Fitzgerald told several media outlets in an e-mail and the corrections began.
"I was really shocked at the results from the experiment," Fitzgerald, 22, said Monday in an interview a week after one newspaper at fault, The Guardian of Britain, became the first to admit its obituarist lifted material straight from Wikipedia.
"I am 100 percent convinced that if I hadn't come forward, that quote would have gone down in history as something Maurice Jarre said, instead of something I made up," he said. "It would have become another example where, once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact."
Here's the state of Journalism of today.
Monday, May 11, 2009
It's headline news: "American's are Losing their Religion."
"New research shows young Americans are dramatically less likely to go to church - or to participate in any form of organized religion - than their parents and grandparents." Harvard professor Robert Putnam conducted the research that found 30 to 40 percent of younger Americans answered "none" to questions asked about their religious affiliations, but weren't necessarily atheists. Historically this number was much lower, tallying up to 5 to 10 percent at most. Putnam calls this a "stunning development." His research will be included in a forthcoming book called "American Grace."
Have we really lost our religion? Is it something we desperately need to find, like our keys? Or have we purposefully let go of it when it was time, like tossing an empty Starbucks cup in the trash? Maybe we've simply had our fill in our childhoods, and see no point to return to those buildings for weekly worship while dropping 10% of our income into a wicker basket.
This is news? Sounds more like common sense to me. Each generation is radically different from the previous, or at least would like to think so. Most of us Generation X and Y-ers aren't going to work the same job for 30 years, collect a retirement package at age 65, pass go, move to Florida, and live happily ever after. All that social security we are paying into probably won't pan out for us. We traded in fat-free for organic, baggy button-downs for t-shirts, and religion for self-reflection and private practice.
My generation is waking up to faiths that preach to be kind to everyone and serve the poor, while rebuilding their multi-million dollar churches every year and abusing children. We don't always lose faith in God. We have lost it in the people clenching the velvet ropes. We see the sham, the ridiculousness, the corruptness that spiritual power raises in people. We don't need a building that runs like a corporation to talk to God. Heaven save us if we start meditating and realize that God is within us. All of us. Everything you need to know is right there inside of you. Meditation is free, you don't have to be anywhere in particular to practice, and you might just start to lose lots of things that you don't need anymore. Our generation is waking up to how things actually are.
NPR.org, May 11, 2009 - The moment I heard Patrick Watson's new record, Wooden Arms, it was love at first listen. Within hours, I was on the phone, trying to find out more about the singer-songwriter and sorting out how to capture his performance on video for everyone to see and hear.
As it turned out, this Montreal-based musician was to be in New York City the same day I was going to be there, so I asked the good people at WNYC if they loved Watson's music as much as I did. The next thing I knew, he was booked to perform on John Schaefer's wonderful show Soundcheck. I came armed with a few video cameras and witnessed a brilliant band — guitarist Simon Angell, drummer Robbie Kuster and bassist Mishka Stein — performing vibrant, thoughtful and textured pop music.
While few know Patrick Watson, he's been around for a while already. Watson co-wrote and performed on a few songs from The Cinematic Orchestra's album Ma Fleur and won the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 for his own critically acclaimed album Close to Paradise.
Wooden Arms is a beautiful collection of songs that bring together delicate pop, ethereal atmosphere and a minimalist sense of composition. Watson's stunning, romantic voice soars above the guitars and highly orchestrated melodies amid a driving pulse of precise piano work. Meanwhile, Kuster's clattering percussion is crisply performed on snare drums, marimbas and household pots turned upside-down. It's an inspired sound from a great young artist.
Twitter has rapidly become an invaluable tool for news outlets: news anchors are using Twitter constantly to ask questions and gather feedback from their audience, while CNN’s Breaking News account is the #2 most followed user on Twitter. But what ABC and Twitter are about to do tops our list for the boldest use of Twitter within traditional media.
So what’s ABC conjouring up? Well, its popular Nightline news program and anchors are going to host a weekly online news program that uses Twitter for debate and questions. It’s called NightTline. Yes, that’s Nightline with two Ts. The show airs its first episode this Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. EST.
According to ABC, the show will take on Nightline’s Face-Off model, which pits two opposing sides on an issue that an ABCNEWS anchor provides and moderates. It’s a model that causes a lot of heated debate and verbal exchanges, perfect for an easily-distracted online audience. The first question on NightTline? “Is torture ever acceptable?”
Twitter will be integral to the entire show. There will be a Twitter widget that allows viewers to chime in on the discussion or ask questions during the debate. The Nightline anchors will also use Pixel touchscreen technology to display and interact with the debate occurring on Twitter.
The show will air digitally on the Nightline website as well as ABC News Now, ABC’s digital distribution network. We’re very interested to see how much the show will rely on user participation via Twitter () for questions or responses to the debaters. This could a be very cool concept or this could fall flat on its face. We’ll just have to watch to find out.
One of the Pirate Bay's founders has vowed to pay off his court-ordered fine (if it isn't successfully appealed, I assume) by getting net-users to send tiny sums to the entertainment industry's law-firm, thus swamping them with transaction fees that could cost them millions:A friend of anakata told Blog Pirate that the bank account to which the payments are directed has only 1000 free transfers, after which any transfers have a surcharge of 2 SEK for the account holder. Any internet-fee payments made after the first 1000, which includes the law firm's ordinary transfers, will instead of giving 1 SEK, cost 1 SEK to the law firm. Since Danowsky & Partners Advokatbyrå is a small firm, all the transactions are handled by hand. Handling all payments will be time consuming, costing the law firm in productivity. Maybe it will even affect their success in other cases...Pirate Bay Founder Devises DDo$ Attack (via /.)
Additionally if after paying the internet-fee you determine that your payment was erroneous, Swedish law states that you can request the money back, putting an additional load on Danowsky's law firm.
I'm tired of the word "content" as a descriptor for what I produce (video, blog posts). Henceforth, I vow to instead use the term "fixins."42 minutes ago from Tweetie
ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis beauty salon owner accidentally happened upon one of the hottest Hollywood scripts — the pages from an upcoming "Twilight" sequel — in a trash bin.
Casey Ray found two scripts, one for the vampire sequel "New Moon" and one for a different movie titled "Memoirs." She decided to return them to the studio making the films. In return, she was invited to attend the movies' premieres, her lawyer said.
Ray recently was waiting for her fiance to finish work when she spotted two scripts in a trash container. She was outside a hotel where actors were staying during a St. Louis shoot for the upcoming George Clooney movie, "Up in the Air."
It's not clear how the scripts wound up in the bin.
The Clooney movie includes actress, who is also in the "Twilight" vampire movie. A spokeswoman for Kendrick, Lisa Perkins, said the actress wouldn't have left scripts lying around.
When Ray found the scripts, she considered leaking them to a national tabloid but decided against it, said her lawyer, Al Watkins.
"My client didn't really want to get paid," he said, but she was interested in hanging onto the scripts as collector's items.
Watkins helped her return them to Los Angeles-based Summit Entertainment LLC, the studio making the movies. He said the studio invited Ray to premieres for the two films, and will certify the scripts as authentic after the movies are released.
"Summit doesn't comment on any of the deals it does," Summit spokesman Paul Pflug said. But he added, "We thank Ms. Ray for doing the right thing."
The "Twilight" movies are based on the novels of , so many of the plot turns are well known to readers. But keeping the "New Moon" script written by out of the public eye preserves which elements of the book will be included in the films, Pflug noted.
Last year's original "Twilight" film grossed over $350 million worldwide.
They're very lucky she was an honest woman.
Smith & Mudd - Le suivant
Le suivant (’the next one’, or ‘the follower’) is our second album that we’ve just finished. This one took just over a year to do and was a real joy to make - hopefully you’ll see it as a natural progression from the last one, ‘Blue river’.
We worked with a handful of new session musicians on this, including our good friend Robin Lee from Faze Action. He was amazing to work with, very natural in picking up the vibe of the track and always hit the nail on the head straight away. There’s some wonderful flute solos from Tamar and an amazing live Sitar take from our friend Dave Noble.
Moonboots has done the sleeve notes for this one, so let him take you through the album:
It’s raining. Sitting here on a cold & wet Mancunian afternoon it’s difficult to remember what summer feels like. However with this, the so-called difficult second album, a feeling of warmth breaks through the gloom.
Ten tracks in total (unless you’re lucky enough to own a Japanese copy) which continue on that deep Balearic vibe that Smith & Mudd are renowned for. As with the first album there’s more to S&M than a few pretty deep house tracks. We start with ‘New sofa’ a lovely mid-afternoon, pastis drinking, ambient piece before entering ‘Genoa’s gentle tribal drums and chants, another classic Smith & Mudd bassline. ‘Little Millie’ comes next, a totally infectious latin groove and what a guitar line! The flute solo ain’t bad either.
‘The delivery man’ does exactly what it says on the tin, delivering a killer groove, rolling percussion and an infectious guitar lick. The album title track then heads off into spookier territories - feel the sitars. Psyche-balearic anyone? My personal favourite. ‘Two Rivers’ drops next with it’s Ashra-vibed guitars layered over another epic bass line. Also it features the first vocals of the CD. A direction I can definitely see S&M taking in the future and perfect for those summer holidays to come. ‘Ninety three’ is a spaced out, slo-mo killer with a cheeky little GET UP vocal refrain. It’ll sound great at 6am with the sun rising over the Adriatic.
‘Wem’ gets it’s second airing on CD after debuting on a comp by some hairy Mancs last year. It’s companion piece, ‘The waiting’ is probably the greatest Cafe del Mar sunset track you’ve never heard (unless you bought the super ltd 7”). There’s a distinct eastern flavour to this beauty.
Finally, ‘Annette Road’s Betty Blue-esque harmonicas bring a suitably gentle end to a truly lovely listening experience. As you drift off towards the end of this album you realise Smith & Mudd have pulled off something very special here.
Tricky second album my arse.
Moonboots, Manchester February 2009