Record Of The Week: Week 7

December 29, 2008

Here we are, in the seventh week now since I started this little idea of mine. So far I feel I have mentioned some really good tracks for you lovely people, and today should be no exception…depending on what you listen to. I’m going to be talking about 2 songs in this week’s edition, so let’s get this party started!

Cutting Pink With Knives – All Our Oldest Spirits And Ghosts

Sadly they have now split up, but Cutting Pink With Knives or CPWK were once flying the flag for crazy, experimental music throughout the UK and France. Due to the ridiculously fast tempo of all their songs, many lie under the 60 second mark –  this song however is 1:11 and still packs a rather hefty punch to your eardrums. Being one of the more audible songs CPWK have to offer (you can understand most of what is being said), the chorus takes what could be truly anthemic and drags it through the CPWK psyche machine and churns out one fantastic song. The brutal drumming throughout for which the band are well known adds to the song’s effect and reminds you just how mental experimental bands are.

Dead Kennedys – Holiday In Cambodia

A much more influential band now, in Dead Kennedys. One of the biggest early American hardcore punk bands who sung about the political system and how it is either wrong or could be changed for the better. The song Holiday In Cambodia attacks the similarities between Eastern totalitarianism and Western complacency, also featuring satirical lyrics about America’s youth. The music itself is punk through and through, in true Dead Kennedys style the vocals are somewhat psychedelic and the guitars are tuned high. For anyone with any interest in punk music at all should check out this song, it’s a great example of hardcore anarcho-punk from the USA which has had an effect on countless bands today.

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Time To Tackle The Real Pirates?

December 27, 2008

Great news for all fans of illegal music downloading, the RIAA aren’t going to sue you anymore! The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has announced plans to stop filing lawsuits against those people who illegally download music. In a statement issued last Friday, a spokesperson said the RIAA will work with internet service providers to prevent music piracy, instead of trying to combat downloaders.

Now, I can see a number of problems with this plan. The first obviously is that illegal music downloading and ‘file sharing’ is going to dramatically increase without the threat of  being sued for all your worldly possessions by someone who probably makes that amount in a week. How is ending lawsuits against illegal music downloaders going to tackle the slow decline of the music industry (in terms of sales).

Secondly I’m not sure how the RIAA are going to tackle piracy. It is – as now has been well established – impossible to stop music being uploaded onto the internet. As long as there are websites offering space on their server, it will undoubtedly be clogged up with countless mp3s uploaded by the general public.  Similarly now that the RIAA have stopped tracking illegal downloaders then filesharing programs such as Limewire will be used rampantly by cheapskate music lovers or people who simply can’t be bothered to pay the 79p iTunes charge.

It is said though that internet service providers are tracking the illegal music being downloaded onto your computer this very second, and if they find out you havn’t been paying for your mp3s then you shall be sent a very angry letter. If you continue to download music illegally then your internet shall be turned off.

As such, you could theoretically download as much music for free as you wish until an angry letter comes and then start paying for it. Or you could continue even after the angry letter and wait for the connection to be cut off, and simply sign up with another ISP – although I’m sure there’ll be a massive database on you somewhere about the music you downloaded.

Congratulations RIAA for ridding the world of piracy, sort of.


The Money In Hallelujah

December 24, 2008

It has been the subject of much debate at scrutiny over the past week or so, whether it’s the old ‘whose version is best?’ argument or the ‘why release this song at all?’ debacle. Either way the majority of people have an opinion on the song and it’s place in the Christmas charts. However, how much money has the song actually generated for both Alexandra Burke and Jeff Buckley who went straight into numbers 1 and 2 respectively – despite the original version going in at number 36.

Leonard Cohen however I feel should be at number 36 as his version isn’t the best, albeit his own song, Buckley’s version is much better. But no matter whose version is best, the bulk of the money earned through single sales goes to the songwriter which was Leonard Cohen.

Alexandra Burke recieved £150,000 for winning the X-Factor and has since sold 576,000 copies of her version of Hallelujah – outselling the entire top 20 combined. Based on the premise that all purchases were downloads, the total money earned rolls in at £442,400. Jeff Buckley’s rendition sold 81,000 copies which comes in at £63,990.

The average songwriter royalty is between 8 and 25%, which means Leonard Cohen has earnt between £40,511 and £126,597, couple this with the royalties paid for performances and broadcast then Cohen has drummed up a rather nice sum from not actually doing anything.

Overall then Alexandra Burke may have won the X-Factor and have the fastest selling download single ever, but she hasn’t earnt that much from it once the record company, distributors, promoters etc take their share. So Cohen has most likely earned more money from Burke’s own rendition than she has, which is the lovely perk of songwriting.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Record Of The Week: Weeks 5 And 6

December 22, 2008

It’s been a very long time coming but here are the records of the week for this week and also for last week, as I’ve been rather busy as of late what with Christmas and all. But I’m here now, so let’s get this thing rolling!

Week 5

I’m only doing singles from now on, I’ve decided it’s far too much hassle to choose a particular album of the week. I don’t listen to albums from start to finish that often, but those that I do I will review and post in a separate blog. Easy.

Record Of The Week: Mildred Pierce – You’re My Spastic

Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s nothing to do with disabilities, it’s just a great song by two men who were part of the progressive/experimental band that is And They Will Riot. You’re My Spastic features relies heavily on distortion which you may think is a) pointless or b) cliché but it’s used to great effect. The song is basically a love song when actually listening to the lyrics, but it’s also a nice fun song to just jump around and nod along to. My advice is to at least try it out, it’ll lead you to a whole range of ‘underground’ bands.

Their EP used to be a free download from their Myspace, sadly this is no longer the case. But you can still listen to the song here: http://www.myspace.com/fuckmildredpierce.

Week 6

Record Of The Week: Arcade Fire – Wake Up

Anyone who knows this band knows just how good this song is, and it is a fanstastically written and performed song. The anthemic chorus is enough to excite even the most boring music lover. Arcade Fire are the perfect mix of punk, experimental rock and an orchestra. With so many people making up the band it’s no wonder the music sounds so deep and filled with many layers of grand music. This is the one song that really got me into Arcade Fire as a band, and since then I now have both albums and have seen them live. Something which HAS to be done.

Find it on Funeral, here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Funeral-Arcade-Fire/dp/B0006ZRX86/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1229964307&sr=8-1


The Genius That Is Spotify

December 18, 2008

Yet another digital music masterpiece has crossed my desktop, this time in the guise of Spotify. I was quite unsure what it was before I downloaded it by invite (soon to be available to everyone I’m told) and boy am I glad I have it! Much like many of these online music websites such as We7 and Myspace Music you can listen to tracks in full for free with the option to buy, but Spotify doesn’t rely on me having an internet browser running constantly as it can be shrunk down into my system tray.

Not only containing all the latest music and archives of pretty much everyone, the majority of albums come with reviews as well! This is something which I find most helpful when searching for some new tunage. However it does not have the good old ‘these sound like’ feature which is present on We7 and LastFM. This is a tad annoying as I found that little gizmo rather handy for finding new bands or rediscovering old ones, however I’m reserved to the fact that Spotify will soon incorporate this feature.

Unlike Myspace Music and LastFM, Spotify allows you to listen to albums from start to finish in full – albeit with an advert thrown in half-way through. This though is better than We7’s attempt as each track has an advert before it which is a major inconvenience if trying to listen to an album to review it. Some tracks having been cleverly engineered to flow into each other are cut apart by adverts telling you to change your phone or upgrade something you didn’t even know you had or cared about.

Overall then Spotify is the new face of digital music in my opinion, if an updated version becomes available with the ‘sounds like this band’ function then it will be the best thing since sliced bread. So if you know someone with Spotify go get yourself an invite, or wait until it’s available to all. Alternatively you can pay £9.99 a month for it without adverts at all, it depends how much you love your music.

http://www.spotify.com/


Unsigned Review: The Dolphin Parade

December 17, 2008

When looking at the band name, two genres crossed my mind – another ‘the’ indie band or weird experimental screamo – The Dolphin Parade are none of these things. Listening to the track Human Zoo there is something strangely attracting about the sound coming out of my speakers, which I can’t quite put my finger on. The music itself is strong and tight, the vocal work (despite its constant changing) is pretty good also. Which is the downfall of so many unsigned bands these days, but The Dolphin Parade have managed to find a perfectly able singer and one which matches their style perfectly. I’m not sure what bands I could compare them to, you can hear different influences throughout their tracks.

The song Voyeur starts much slower than that of Human Zoo, an almost Radiohead-esque style to the music with its slightly droning vocal work until the mood suddenly changes with a huge punk break in. The Dolphin Parade proving they can master many genres, not just a particular one. The song though is far too short in my opinion, it had the potential to really go somewhere but being only 2:19 I’m left wanting more…which isn’t always a bad thing from a band.

My favourite of the tracks I heard though was Go Go Go which begins with an almost Eddie Vedder feel to it, then the chorus kicks in which sounds like melodious noise rock (if such a genre exists). The verses are sung wonderfully and the change in the feel to the chorus is great, you can picture fans singing it in unison live. The very ‘rock n roll’ breakdown doesn’t take too much away from the song luckily, I don’t feel like it should necessarily be there but it doesn’t damage the song really. Other than that, I would buy this song from iTunes as it is pretty damn good.

Overall: ****

Listen To: Go Go Go

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thedolphinparade

If you are in an unsigned band and would like to feature here then contact me with your band address and I’ll give a review in exchange for a link on your website to this blog. Just that easy!


First Glastonbury Rumours Appear

December 17, 2008

Who could replace Jay-Z after this year’s extravaganza? Dizzee Rascal? Eminem? Kanye West? No, in fact it’s Bruce Springsteen! Well perhaps it is, these are still only rumours at the minute but it is apparently fairly likely Mr. Springsteen will be gracing the Pyramid stage with his rock ‘n’ roll antics and belting out Born In The USA for 100,000+ music lovers. Now don’t get me wrong, Springsteen is a very successful artist all over the world but (if the rumour proves to be true) why headline Glastonbury? Not for me thanks.

The second rumoured headliner for 2009 is Blur. That’s right, the masters of Britpop who are reuniting for a special Hyde Park gig are also strongly rumoured to headline Glasto next year also. It would definitley be a sight to behold as all of Glastonbury screams along to Parklife on the Sunday evening. I’m not sure if I’m going to Glastonbury next year but if Blur do turn out to be headlining then I may have to go…it would surely be an ‘I was there’ moment for any music fan.

The final headliner rumour is Neil Young. Another big artist who possibly doesn’t belong, however Rockin’ In The Free World is a great festival song. Despite this I’d probably go and check out another stage if both Young and Springsteen play, too much over-excited motivationalism for me in one weekend. But these are still only rumours, they could not happen…but then again they could.

Other rumoured acts for Glastonbury next year include; Kaiser Cheifs, Kanye West, Fatboy Slim, Franz Ferdinand, Madness and The Coral.

Rumour source: efestivals.co.uk