• How good are Last.fm's recommendations?

    29 jul 2009, 14:08

    Although I joined last.fm nearly 3 years ago, in the beginning the main attraction of the site was the statistics tracking. I don't think I even spoke to anyone else here in the first year. While I looked at the recommendation pages and checked a few artists out (and liked some) I never really tried out the recommendation radio. I mainly found new artists from the similar artists lists on the artist pages. A huge majority (well over 99%) of the 70,000+ plays I have are of music I already know and own.

    More recently, I have spent time trying out the recommendation radio, and generally found it to choose music to my liking. Occasionally I see posts on the site from people who are not that satisfied with their recommendations. On sunday afternoon I spent some time listening to my recommendations, and decided to write about and rate the music that was recommended to me, and this is what follows...

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The Wierdos - Happy People

    They already had 1 play in my library. Fairly standard '70's style punk. This is always going to be a safe recommendation for me. 8/10

    A Place to Bury Strangers - My Weakness

    These also already had a couple of plays. Noisy shoegazey indie, again easy to recommend for me. 8/10

    Cranes - Paris And Rome

    More shoegaze / dream-pop. Another band I had already listened to. 8/10

    A Certain Ratio - The Fox

    I have a few of their singles on vinyl. (I am in the process of converting my entire vinyl collection into mp3s, but it is a very slow process, and I haven't got to these yet.) I liked a few of their tracks, but they were never particular favourites of mine. Still, given the large amount of post-punk music in my listening history it is not an unreasonable recommendation. 6/10

    Fabulous Disaster - Crush

    Shouty girl punk is always going to be a good recommendation. 8/10

    Sons and Daughters - The Nest

    I was expecting to dislike this, probably because the description included the words folk-rock and Cat Power. It had a bit more substance to it than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised. 7/10

    Rancid - Maxwell Murder

    The first band to come up that I had never listened to before. Basic punk rock, it is a style of music I like but not particularly outstanding. I will no doubt listen to them some more. 7/10

    The Danse Society - We're So Happy

    I like these a lot, and own a couple of albums and several singles. They don't have many plays on here because I haven't converted them yet. Gothy post-punk is another musical style that is generally going to be a good recommendation for me. 9/10

    Calories - Adventuring

    The first recommendation I had never even here of. Noisy guitar indie. I liked it a lot and will definitely be listening to more. Because they are brand new to me, I am giving this recommendation 10/10

    Johnny Foreigner - DJs Get Doubts

    Another good recommendation. Somewhat reminiscent of Los Campesinos!, but there's nothing bad about that. 8/10

    Partyline - Party-n-Animal

    More shouty girl punk. They include members of Bratmobile and The Applicators, so it was always going to be pretty much a certainty I would like it. 9/10

    Blonde Redhead - Bean

    I've no idea why I have never bothered to check these out. This particular track had something of a Sonic Youth feel to it. I will certainly be listening to them much more. 10/10

    Tsunami Bomb - Being Alright

    More girl punk. 8/10.

    Ciccone Youth - Platoon II

    I own "The Whitey Album" on CD, it is even ripped onto my PC and available for listening whenever I want, I just haven't listened to them since joining last.fm. They are of course Sonic Youth, one of my favourite bands ever. An obvious recommendation. 9/10

    Go Betty Go - It's Too Bad

    Yet more girl punk. 8/10.

    Broken Social Scene - Kc Accidental

    These were recommended because Emily Haines of Metric has some connection to them. They have come up once before when I played my recommendations. Both tracks I have heard started rather slowly and didn't impress me, but both changed half way through and caught my interest. Not sure about them, and will need to listen to them a bit more. 6/10

    The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Hey Paul

    Another band I have heard a couple of times before. Previously I was baffled that their top tag was "shoegaze" as they sounded to me like fairly generic c-86 style music. Hey Paul does have a more shoegaze feel to it. One to listen to a bit more. 7/10

    The Distillers - Sick of It All

    I have been listening to Spinerette a lot at the moment, which is probably how they got recommended. I like the Distillers a lot, they are another band I just haven't listened to since joining last.fm. 9/10

    The Unseen - False Hope

    More punk. 8/10

    Fight Like Apes - Something Global

    I had never heard of these before. This was noisy and fun. Kind of hard to describe the style. I will definitely be exploring them further. 10/10

    The Distillers - Drain The Blood

    Came up a second time. I already said I liked them a lot.

    Rocket From The Tombs - Never Gonna Kill Myself Again

    As a fan of Pere Ubu, I had heard of these, but never listened to them. Great garagey sound. I hate the "proto-punk" tag, though. 8/10

    Elle Milano - Men Are Bastards

    Excellent. 10/10

    Sad Lovers and Giants - Lost in a Moment

    Fairly ordinary post-punk stuff. Pleasant enough but nothing particularly special. 6/10

    Amazombies - Lost Girl

    Another girl punk band I liked a lot. Never heard of these before. 9/10.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Overall, I was impressed with the music last.fm recommended for me. The average rating I gave was just under 8.2. There was no music that I hated or didn't like, and only a couple that I was a bit indifferent about. The vast majority of the recommendations were fairly safe bets, artists who play very similar music to what I already listen to. Calories and Fight Like Apes were the only really adventurous recommendations, and they were both very good.

    I will probably spend a bit more time in future playing recomemndations, and may even write about them again some time in the future. For now, well done Last.fm.
  • Top Album Statistics

    20 jun 2009, 12:47

    Like the "Top artist/track statistics" journals, this is mainly for personal reference.

    Complete to 7 November 2010


    1. Most weeks as top album (albums)
    17
    The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
    15
    Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
    Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong
    13
    Ladytron - Velocifero
    12
    Metric - Fantasies
    9
    The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
    The Raveonettes - In And Out Of Control
    8
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
    The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
    Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This
    Sky Larkin - Kaleide
    6
    Camera Obscura - Let's get Out Of This Country
    The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
    Blood Red Shoes - Box Of Secrets
    Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward
    Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
    Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls
    Sonic Youth - The Eternal
    Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring
    5
    The Gits - Frenching The Bully
    4
    Good Shoes - Think Before You Speak
    Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike
    The Kiara Elles - Slide Over
    Betty And The Werewolves - Tea Time Favourites
    3
    The Motorettes - The Motorettes
    The Rogers Sisters - The Invisible Deck
    Girls At Our Best! - Pleasure
    2
    Ladytron - 604
    Sleater-Kinney - One Beat
    The Long Blondes - Singles
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
    Best Coast - Crazy For You
    1
    Bis - The Secret Vampire Soundtrack
    My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
    Metric - Live It Out
    Betty Blowtorch - Are You Man Enough?
    Bikini Kill - Reject All American
    The Fiery Furnaces - Remember
    The Cure - 4:13 Dream
    Star Fucking Hipsters - Until We're Dead
    The Slits - Trapped Animal
    Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
    Wavves - King Of The Beach
    Crocodiles - Sleep Forever

    2. Most weeks as top album (artists)
    21
    Be Your Own Pet
    Vivian Girls
    19
    The Long Blondes
    18
    The Fiery Furnaces
    15
    Ladytron
    14
    Blood Red Shoes
    13
    Metric
    12
    Los Campesinos!
    Sky Larkin
    10
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    9
    The Raveonettes
    6
    Camera Obscura
    The Pipettes
    Sonic Youth
    5
    The Gits
    Good Shoes
    4
    The Kiara Elles
    Betty and The Werewolves
    3
    The Motorettes
    The Rogers Sisters
    Girls At Our Best!
    2
    Sleater-Kinney
    Best Coast
    1
    Bis
    My Bloody Valentine
    Betty Blowtorch
    Bikini Kill
    The Cure
    Star Fucking Hipsters
    The Slits
    Dum Dum Girls
    Wavves
    Crocodiles

    3. Most consecutive weeks as top album (minimum 3 weeks)
    12
    Metric - Fantasies
    11
    Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong
    7
    Ladytron - Velocifero
    The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
    6
    The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
    The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
    The Raveonettes - In And Out Of Control
    Sky Larkin - Kaleide
    5
    Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
    Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
    The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
    Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls
    Sonic Youth - The Eternal
    4
    The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
    Good Shoes - Think Before You Speak
    Ladytron - Velocifero
    Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward
    3
    The Motorettes - The Motorettes
    The Rogers Sisters - The Invisible Deck
    The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
    Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
    Girls At Our Best! - Pleasure
    The Gits - Frenching The Bully
    Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
    Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike
    The Raveonettes - In And Out Of Control
    Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This

    4. Most different number one albums
    3
    The Fiery Furnaces
    2
    Ladytron
    Be Your Own Pet
    The Long Blondes
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Metric
    Vivian Girls
    Blood Red Shoes
    Los Campesinos!
    Sky Larkin
    1
    Bis
    Camera Obscura
    The Motorettes
    The Rogers Sisters
    The Pipettes
    My Bloody Valentine
    Sleater-Kinney
    Good Shoes
    Girls At Our Best!
    The Gits
    Betty Blowtorch
    Bikini Kill
    The Cure
    Star Fucking Hipsters
    Sonic Youth
    The Raveonettes
    The Slits
    The Kiara Elles
    Dum Dum Girls
    Wavves
    Betty And The Werewolves
    Crocodiles
    Best Coast
  • Top track statistics

    10 jun 2009, 16:10

    Like the "Top artist statistics" journal, this is mainly for personal reference.

    Complete to 7 November 2010

    1. Most weeks as top track (tracks) (minimum 3 weeks)
    20
    Be Your Own Pet - Becky
    9
    The Long Blondes - Once And Never Again
    The Long Blondes - Giddy Stratospheres
    8
    The Chiara L's - Knives
    The Raveonettes - Suicide
    Blood Red Shoes - Colours Fade
    7
    The Chiara L's - Holy Ghost
    6
    Lichenstein - Stalking Skills
    Good Shoes - Small Town Girl
    5
    Charlotte Hatherley - I Want You To Know
    Bikini Kill - DemiRep
    Blood Red Shoes - I Wish I Was Someone Better
    Metric - Gimme Sympathy
    The Raveonettes - Last Dance
    Sky Larkin - Smarts
    4
    Be Your Own Pet - Bicycle Bicycle You Are My Bicycle
    Be Your Own Pet - Threshers Flail
    The Fiery Furnaces - Navy Nurse
    Vivian Girls - All The Time
    Metric - Blindness
    3
    Girls At Our Best! - Warm Girls
    Katastrophy Wife - Git Go
    Le Tigre - Deceptacon
    Bikini Kill - Jet Ski
    Le Tigre - Seconds
    Ladytron - I'm Not Scared
    The Grates - Milk Eyes
    The Long Blondes - Big Infatuation
    Lipstix - B-Movie Queen
    Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
    The Raveonettes - Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)
    The Raveonettes - Break Up Girls!
    Los Campesinos! - There Are Listed Buildings
    Blood Red Shoes - Don't Ask
    Sky Larkin - Still Windmills
    Blood Red Shoes - Heartsink
    Hypernova - Viva La Resistance

    2. Most weeks as top track (artists)
    35
    The Long Blondes
    34
    Be Your Own Pet
    23
    The Raveonettes
    22
    Blood Red Shoes
    18
    Metric
    17
    Los Campesinos!
    15
    The Chiara L's
    12
    Sky Larkin
    8
    Bikini Kill
    7
    Vivian Girls
    Good Shoes
    6
    Lichenstein
    Le Tigre
    Ladytron
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    The Ettes
    5
    Girls At Our Best!
    Charlotte Hatherley
    The Fiery Furnaces
    4
    Camera Obscura
    Lipstix
    3
    Katastrophy Wife
    The Grates
    Sonic Youth
    Dum Dum Girls
    Hypernova
    2
    The Arrogants
    The White Stripes
    Dyrdin
    Babes in Toyland
    Cansei de Ser Sexy
    Jemina Pearl
    The Slits
    Stricken City
    Giant Drag
    1
    Melys
    The Delgados
    Cowboy X
    The Motorettes
    Strawberry Whiplash
    Stereolab
    Ride
    Tesco Chainstore Masscara
    Baby Lemonade
    We Are Soldiers We Have Guns
    The Wedding Present
    Free Kitten
    The Lovely Eggs
    Star Fucking Hipsters
    Choking Susan
    Easy Star All-Stars
    The Adicts
    The Hextalls
    Love Is All
    Delta 5
    Crocodiles
    Betty and The Werewolves
    Best Coast
    Amusement Parks On Fire

    3. Most consecutive weeks as top track (minimum 3 weeks)
    11
    Be Your Own Pet - Becky
    8
    The Long Blondes - Once And Never Again
    7
    The Raveonettes - Suicide
    6
    The Long Blondes - Giddy Stratospheres
    Lichenstein - Stalking Skills
    The Chiara L's - Knives
    The Chiara L's - Holy Ghost
    Blood Red Shoes - Colours Fade
    5
    Charlotte Hatherley - I Want You To Know
    Bikini Kill - DemiRep
    4
    Metric - Gimme Sympathy
    3
    Girls At Our Best! - Warm Girls
    Le Tigre - Seconds
    Blood Red Shoes - I Wish I Was Someone Better
    Ladytron - I'm Not Scared
    Be Your Own Pet - Becky (TWICE)
    The Grates - Milk Eyes
    Vivian Girls - All The Time
    Lipstix - B-Movie Queen
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
    Metric - Blindness
    The Raveonettes - Last Dance
    Los Campesinos! - There Are Listed Buildings
    Blood Red Shoes - Don't Ask
    Sky Larkin - Still Windmills

    4. Most different number one tracks (minimum 2)
    15
    The Long Blondes
    10
    Be Your Own Pet
    Los Campesinos!
    7
    Metric
    6
    Blood Red Shoes
    Sky Larkin
    The Raveonettes
    4
    The Ettes
    3
    Camera Obscura
    Ladytron
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Vivian Girls
    2
    Girls At Our Best!
    Katastrophy Wife
    Le Tigre
    Bikini Kill
    The Chiara L's
    Lipstix
    Sonic Youth
    The Fiery Furnaces
    Good Shoes
    The Slits
    Giant Drag
    Dum Dum Girls
  • Top artist statistics

    4 jun 2009, 10:08

    This list of top artist statistics is mainly for personal reference.

    Complete to 7 November 2010

    1. Most weeks as top artist
    30
    Be Your Own Pet
    29
    The Long Blondes
    22
    Los Campesinos!
    20
    Metric
    The Fiery Furnaces
    16
    Vivian Girls
    11
    Ladytron
    10
    The Raveonettes
    Blood Red Shoes
    8
    Sky Larkin
    6
    Sonic Youth
    5
    The Motorettes
    Katastrophy Wife
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    3
    The Kiara Elles
    The Fall
    Joy Division
    Betty and The Werewolves
    2
    The Delgados
    Bikini Kill
    The Slits
    1
    Girls At Our Best!
    Camera Obscura
    Penetration
    Good Shoes
    Crocodiles
    The Vaselines
    Vice Squad
    Pulp

    2. Most consecutive weeks as top artist (minimum 3 weeks)
    15
    The Long Blondes
    12
    Be Your Own Pet
    Los Campesinos!
    10
    Vivian Girls
    9
    Metric (TWICE)
    8
    The Fiery Furnaces
    6
    Ladytron
    The Raveonettes
    Sky Larkin
    5
    The Long Blondes
    The Fiery Furnaces
    4
    The Motorettes
    Be Your Own Pet
    Ladytron
    3
    The Long Blondes
    Katastrophy Wife
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Los Campesinos!
    Be Your Own Pet (TWICE)
    Sonic Youth
    The Raveonettes
    Blood Red Shoes