If we want to be truthful we can blame The Bubblies. If it wasn’t for this obscure French Pop band we may not have this current insult to the music world. I am talking of course about Apple Corps bizarre decision to release The Beatles collection on an Apple shaped USB Stick.
Limited to 30,000 copies and going for around $350 (AUD) this is, according to the L.A. Times, the Fab Four embracing new models of distribution.
Well if by embracing new models of distribution you mean selling the same thing on yet another physical product then I guess you are right.
Anyone who wasn’t sick the day they taught marketing at marketing school could tell you the following:
The target audience for a new model of distribution is an audience you haven’t yet reached.
Imagine for a moment I am a teenage kid who wants to get into The Beatles. Like most teenagers these days I have an MP3 device and an account with a digital music outlet. What I don’t have is $350 and an attention span to take in 14 albums all at once, especially on a band I am not really sure about. I want to choose the tracks that I want by previewing them so that I don’t end up with ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ or something equally as excruciating.I also do not want to open a Read Me Document to tell me how to transfer the music to my portable player. Isn’t that what my digital music outlet is supposed to do for me at a click of a button?
So how exactly does this odd looking plastic Apple reach a new audience? It doesn’t.
The ONLY audience this USB stick will reach are the hardcore collectors who insist on acquiring every format available. With a production run of only 30,000 these monstrosities won’t last long. The sad thing is most of them will remain in their original packaging collecting nothing but dust and value (value only to other hardcore collectors).
This is money for jam but it is only $10.5 million (minus retail’s cut).
Now imagine if Apple Corps and Apple Inc finally brokered a deal and The Beatles catalogue was finally made available on iTunes. Working on the basis that a single song costs $2.00 (AUD) on iTunes then The Beatles would have to have their songs downloaded 5,250,000 times to reach the same amount. Considering over 8 Billion songs have been downloaded from iTunes (since inception) and The Beatles are the most popular band in history then that 5.25 million target would be reached and passed fairly quickly. All done without any production costs or limiting your sales to only 30,000 people.
Apple’s bottom line aside, tell me this isn’t the way to reach a new audience?
To think, this is the same company that released the innovative The Beatles: Rock Band only a few months ago.
How can they get it so right one minute and so wrong the next?
“Celebrating the ultimate sounds of tomorrow, today, Future Music Festival is a 10-hour sonic boom that travels Australia at the speed of sound and rivals any major festival experience on the planet. This unique, world-class event blends the biggest names in electronic music with the brightest stars of Hip Hop, Pop, Indie Rock and beyond …” Read the full story
Laneway Festival has announced the first round of bands that will be gracing the stages next year. The current hype surrounding bands like The xx will sell a lot of tickets I am sure, but there is also huge interest in Wild Beasts, Black Lips, as well as Mecury-nominated Florence and the Machine.
The big draw card for a lot of people, however, will no doubt be the appearance of Echo and the Bunnymen on the list. Heading in to their 4th decade of making music, the makeup of Echo and the Bunnymen has changed a little of the years, but by all accounts their sound now is remarkably similar to that of the late 70s and early 80s. It will be fascinating to see what they have up their sleeves early next year.
Full line up details can be found here
There will also be a change in venue for 2010, no longer will we be squashed intimately snuggled down Reiby Place, but will be benfiting from the ‘ample space’ of Sydney College of the Arts in Rozelle. As a ‘bohemian hotbed of creative talent’ I am sure that the new location will be more than suitable for a Sunday in the sun.
Details on the venue can be found here
Tickets on sales 9am Friday 30 October from www.greentix.com.au
An excellent article written in 2007 by owner of Littoral Records, Alan Jones that looks at the decline of the traditional business and marketing model of big record labels and predicts they’ll be run down and overtaken by smaller, more agile, responsive and smarter labels.
Corey Taylor: In The Studio Singing “Snuff”
Some great footage from their recent album.
I love The Bamboos – awesome Aussie funk group – and heard about their collaboration with Lyrics Born from California on the radio the other night. Just had a chance to listen to it. Good track, soulful, works well … although I thought it was a little repetitive; could have been trimmed by at least 30 seconds or built up towards the end, though it’s saved by the two-stage breakdown at 1:50 and 2:45. Anyway, I still like it!
The third in a series of essays on what I may (or may not) have learned from music. The previous essay can be found here.
Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight
A few nights (and a fair few drinks) ago a few of us from the office pondered the inevitable hypothetical question: If you could only listen to one genre of music, what would it be?
I say hypothetical because any self respecting lover of music has more than one field of interest. Those who like hip-hop are probably partial to a bit of R&B (not racist at all), whilst I am convinced that there are people out there who own both James Blunt and Kings Of Leon albums (housewives from middle England is my guess).
The responses around the table were interesting, some specific (Alternate Rock 1991-1994) others wide ranging (World Music) and one from a bloke who was obviously taking the piss (Jungle). I chose Soul, a selection that did not surprise anyone at all. My love of soul music knows no bounds (There ain’t no mountain high enough you could say) but I wondered about the flipside to the discussion: What if there was no such thing as soul music? What would I choose instead?
That was a dill of a pickle.
A few nights (and a fair few drinks) later, the answer hit me: alt.country.
I realise that in hindsight selecting it as my backup was a bold move as I know almost nothing about alt.country. What was it? Does such a thing still exist (if in fact it ever did) and if so, what is out there to listen to?
Why didn’t I just say College Rock 1992 – 1997? That way I could prattle on about the genius of the first Gin Blossoms album.
So before I ventured into the deep unknown I decided it was best to take stock of what I already owned in this mysterious genre. That wasn’t a great deal either.
Are you sure you don’t want to hear about my correlation between New Miserable Experience and my teenage years? Perhaps another time then.
Due to my age and location in the world, the term alt.country first hit me in the Summer of 2000 when Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams was released. I promptly ignored that album for a variety of reasons, a few of which were:
- anyone who has a name like that is asking for trouble
- any album that starts with an in studio argument about a Morrissey song receives an automatic disqualification.
Soon after, the final release by Ryan’s former band Whiskeytown finally saw the light of day. So on a miserable Sunday afternoon as I flew solo in the record store, I threw on Pneumonia. My sole motivation was that James Iha was a guest on the record and anything tenuously linked to the Pumpkins couldn’t be all bad.
By half way through ‘Don’t Wanna Know Why‘ I was hooked.
It was country music that I could finally understand. Sure it had its pop moments (the Iha co-write ‘Don’t Be Sad’ is simply angelic) but overall it was country for those that couldn’t care less about Shania Twain and her bastardisation of the genre. To boot, the press I had read about Adams alluded to the fact he wasn’t exactly a poster boy in Nashville. That made it even better.
I humbly went back to Heartbreaker, fell in love with ‘Come Pick Me Up’ and have consumed everything he has released since (rightly or wrongly) including his weekly singles from his new digital record label PAX AM.
These days, Ryan’s music barely resembles alt.country. The same could be said for Whiskeytown. They only released 3 albums but with each one they sounded less and less like a country band. Compare ‘Too Drunk To Dream’ from their debut Faithless Street to something like the Herman’s Hermits pastiche of ‘Mirror Mirror’ off Pneumonia and you begin to wonder if it is the same band. Considering the majority of Whiskeytown’s original members had quit or were fired has a lot to do with it but perhaps it is an inherent trait with a lot of alt.country acts?
Over the course of their tenure, Minnesota band The Jayhawks drifted away from their alt.country roots (1992s Hollywood Town Hall is a must) to a more pop feel (see 2000s Smile) before returning to their classic sound on Rainy Day Music. Wilco on the other hand were a band that came from alt.country legends Uncle Tupelo and from an early stage frontman Jeff Tweedy began to distance his new band from the genre.
So it seems that on the surface of things I hitched my cart to the wrong horse. Any band who had any say in the history of alt.country didn’t stick around for very long. Heck even the Godfather of the genre, Gram Parsons, only put out two solo albums (the 2nd posthumously) before overdosing in 1973.
A few words on Gram Parsons, those two albums are pretty indispensable. Without them then Ryan would’ve stuck to punk music, a swathe of bands would never have been and more importantly, the wonderfully talented Emmylou Harris may not have made it to the big time. Her vocal contributions to those records should not be underestimated and her standing set the scene for her first ‘proper’ album Pieces Of The Sky a year later.
But what the genre lacks in terms of output is more than made up for in quality artists. Those listed above are a mere starting point and as such there are many fine musicians not mentioned including Drive-By Truckers, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch and Australia’s own The Gin Club to name a few.
However at this moment in time I can only take alt.country in small doses. There are more songs about hurt than there are about love. And whilst heartbreak is also a recurring theme for soul music, there is hope running through a lot of it. Alt.country doesn’t have one of these and without such will always remain in second place.
And there is no shame in that.
I’m a big fan of Muse. I have Showbiz, Origin of Symmetry, Hullabaloo Soundtrack, Absolution, Black Holes and Revelations, their live 2004 Absolution Tour DVD and now their latest 2009 release The Resistance.
It took me a while to come around to liking their previous 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations. My initial impression with BH&R was that the band had plateaued and were now just a bland, commercial pop-rock group focussed on selling quantity rather than sticking to their we-don’t-care-if-you-like-us experimental progressive, space-rock. After listening to BH&R about a dozen times I finally realised that they hadn’t sold out. They were starting to poke at something new, a new sound.
That new sound has three years later matured and become Muse’s latest album The Resistance.
I’m sitting in the cosy bottom floor of El Rocco’s at Bar Me (154 Brougham Street, Kings Cross). The room is warm, while dimly lit and the crowd seems almost at home in the candle light. I’ve arrived for Julia Why – who contact me via TMB.
The lights dim further, the candles appear to brighten as the crowd warms while Julia introduces herself to the room. Her guitar opens with strong, binding rhythms.
When I listen to her voice: it’s warm, almost haunting. Her articulation is nice: almost Irish/UK – nice round tones over deep melodies. Maybe a hint of Evanesence, but there’s something stronger there, something else, something deeper (and less opraratic). She doesn’t say much – she doesn’t need to.
I really enjoy Julia’s control and inflection with the notes – memorable steps careful phrasing, good use of rhyme. Her rawness, and openness with the crowd speaks volumes of wisdom beyond her years.
Julia’s lyric choices are definitely not your ordinary lyrics – and they have a really nice dynamic between being quite raw, and shaping some very pretty metaphors. They appear to be quite honest.
“The wine is too far away.” Best line. She just said she’s looking for a bass player – and honestly, she read my mind! This would sound great with a full band behind it.
Julia – wow, what a show. These are some great foundations to set.
Amazing. Just amazing.
First release tickets on sale at ITM from 9am Thursday, 20th August. Check out the Stereosonic 2009 lineup below:
Fedde Le Grand
The Bloody Beetroots feat MC Justin Pearson
Miss Kittin & The Hacker
Cut Copy DJs
Drop the Lime
Tim Sweeney (DFA)
The Cobra Snake
Juan Kidd/Jason Herd
+ and more to be announced
Dates for Stereosonic – Australia
Sat 28th November – Moore Park, Hordern, RHI & Surrounds, Sydney
Sun 29th November – Claremont Showground, Perth
Sat 5th December – Bonython Park, Adelaide
Sat 5th December – Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne
Sun 6th December – Eagle Farm Racecourse, Brisbane
Well, this is the Mariah Carey diss/”Obsessed” response that everyone’s been waiting for from the notoriously maladjusted Eminem. That is, if everyone has been continually stooped over the computer monitors, waiting for pop stars to dive into the miasma of their lives.
The eerie opening to the first track builds tension like few albums I’ve heard before, before your dropped into what can only be described as a Spartan pit fight. This is metal. Real metal. And there are no prisoners taken here.
It’s definitely progressive, but it’s not math metal. Thankfully. It’s raw and quite emotive. The timing is supburb.
Ballarat never sounded so brutal.
Yep, this is a local band from Victoria, Australia. The drums and bass stick together and move as a powerful force. The guitars are dripping wet on top and drive a lot of treble and high mid. The vocals are done in a full growl – not everyone’s cup of tea – and the force is again brutal. You can hear a unique blend of a wide range of influences coming to taint this voice: I get flavours of Bolt Thrower, Cradle of Filth and a little Pantera in the higher screams.
The guitars continue to fly on top of drums and bass that can only be described as a rumbling boom. It’s a really nice balance of blood lust and atomic doom: it’s fast yes, and raw, but the bass and drums ground the sound to give it depth. Depth, especially in faster and harder metal, is vital to develop any kind of story and emotion with the listener.
Soul of A Machine is track 5 of the 7 track album – is a great little spoken word piece. A really unique mark on the album – and something rarely done.
Birth of a Digital God would definitly have to be one of my favourite tracks followed by Ruptured. Over all, the final track End of The Aeon - would be my favourite. Like the opening track, we’re treated to the vocalists clean styled vocals. AND FUCK ARE THEY GOOD. The vocalist, Luke Greenwood, really showcasing his full range, tonal flexibility and raw emotion throughout this last piece.
The album over is very dynamic and is great cranked at some solid volumes. To Dylan, Will, Aaron, Jase and Luke: keep up the amazing work. Hope to see you guys in Sydney sometime.
For everyone else, get your copy of Lambs to the Slaughter by Kaamora and prepare to be taken apart with a pick axe, and love every minute of it.
I just kept the CD running and discovered the secret track. Hah. This is fucking brilliant.
For all those fans who missed out on seeing Bloc Party at Splendour, the band will be playing only one other gig in Australia, at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday July 28.
Tickets go on sale this Thursday, 9 July. To purchase, fans will need to go to www.mastercard.com.au/music
I am not going to Splendour this year, but if you are lucky enough to have got your paws on a ticket, then I reckon you will be either super-happy with the second line-up announcement, or completely underwhelmed.
If (like me) you remember the halcyon days of the Hacienda, Madchester, flared jeans and fishing hats, then you will be dancing in the street at the prospect of the Happy Mondays coming to Australia with all the pills, thrills and bellyaches that their arrival promises.
If you can’t remember the late 80s, (and I would assume the majority of Splendour devotees fall into this category), then there is nothing earth-shattering about this announcement. Doves are a solid if uninspiring festival band, so the other two highlights would be Architecture in Helsinki and Bridezilla who are both worth a walk across a field for.
Here is the second line-up in full:
Happy Mondays (in their ONLY Australian show), Doves, Architecture In Helsinki, You Am I, The Beautiful Girls, Downsyde & Drapht, Kisschasy, Little Red, Bluejuice, Children Collide, Miami Horror Live, Art vs. Science, Paul Dempsey, Dappled Cities, Dananananaykroyd, Holly Throsby, Bridezilla and Deya Dova
I have just seen the words that I really didn’t want to – “in their ONLY Australian show“.
Surely if those cheeky northern monkeys are coming all the way over from England they will do more than one show? Bez and Shaun will want to see much more of this beautiful country and all that is has to offer, even if they have forgotten all about it by the time they get on board the flight home…
There was a song on the hit parades back in the 70s or 80s called ‘Difficult for you easy for me’. Can someone please tell me who sang it. Jack Henson and his orchestra has a track with the same title on his Ballroom dancing record but it doesn’t sound like the same tune and it has no lyrics
Warp Records is an English record label that has been at the forefront of electronic music for 20 years. The label has been home to many of the greatest exponents of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music – an off-putting, but descriptive name for the genre) such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre, (Chris) Clark and Boards of Canada.
To celebrate their 20th birthday, they are releasing a beautifully-packaged box-set comprised of cover art, vinyl and CD compilations later this year. And when I say beautifully packaged, I mean “beautifully packaged in a 10 inch square slipcase wrapped in charcoal Buckram embossed paper with tipped-on gloss-laminated cover photograph, designed by YES, photographed by Dan Holdsworth.”
Full details from the website as follows. I will be pre-ordering mine from Bleep.com as soon as they get the matching T-shirts back in stock!
Warp20 (1989-2009) The Complete Catalogue: 192 page book
10” square, 192 page full-colour, perfect-bound book. The complete-ist’s dream – a catalogue of artwork of every Warp release from its inception in 1989 to August 2009. Includes artwork from over 400 sleeves including work by the Designers Republic, Julian House, Build, Universal Everything and Kim Hiorthøy amongst others. Foreword by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Black un-coated board cover with debossed and foiled typography.
Warp20 (Chosen): Double CD album
The definitive best of Warp on 2 x CDs. Ten songs chosen by you (Warp20.net), ten songs chosen by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. Packaged in deluxe case-bound 10” folder, exclusive to this box set. Your personal messages and memories from Warp20.net featured on pullout poster.
Warp20 (Recreated): Double CD album
2 x CDs featuring twenty brand new cover versions of Warp songs by Warp artists past and present; including tracks by Autechre, Harmonic 313, Jamie Lidell, Plaid, Clark, Maximo Park, Leila, Seefeel, Luke Vibert and more… Packaged in deluxe case-bound 10” folder exclusive to this box set.
Warp20 (Unheard): Triple 10” Vinyl
Secret treasures newly rediscovered from the Warp vaults. Unheard and rare tracks by Boards of Canada, Autechre, Broadcast, Elecktroids and others cut to 3 x 10” vinyl. Housed in uncoated card sleeves with debossed typography. Vinyl exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set).
Warp20 (Elemental): CD album
Specially-commissioned hour long piece by re-edit master Osymyso, made from sections, samples, and fragments of Warp music from the last 20 years. Exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set) and packaged in deluxe case bound 10” folder.
Warp20 (Infinite): Double 10” Vinyl
2 x 10” vinyl cuts of hand-picked locked-groove loops from Warp tracks. Four sides of loops for mixing fun. Exclusive to Warp20 (Box Set) and housed in uncoated card sleeves with debossed covers.
Last night the godfather of dub, Lee “Scratch” Perry and his band performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of Brian Eno’s Luminous festival. Perry has always been a mad bugger, and now at 73 years old, he’s a mad ancient bugger, complete with purple-dyed hair and beard, gold-sprayed shoes and loads of bling. His half-open eyes show the toll that years of ganja and other drugs have taken, but at least he is still alive, a fact that should give Iggy Pop hope for a long future ahead of him!
Perry’s band was a five piece, consisting of guitar, bass, drums and two keyboardists. Although not quite as advanced in years as Perry himself, the band were clearly experienced hands and looked very relaxed as delivered a very danceable dub groove for a solid two hours. Over recent years, the Opera House has become more expansive in its musical selections, which is great, but the fixed seating in the Opera Theatre does curtail the natural instinct to get up and boogie to danceable acts like this one. It was no surprise then, that the side aisles quickly filled up with groovers.
On the mixing desk was the legendary Adrian Sherwood and this must be the first time I’ve been to a gig where the mixer was almost as famous as the act on stage. Sherwood created the On-U Sound label back in 1979 and was a key figure in the UK reggae scene as well as being a driving force behind the dub-influenced industrial funk act Tackhead. Since then, Sherwood has dabbled in a wide range of styles as a producer and performed in his own right. He has been collaborating with Perry for over 10 years and clearly knows the material inside out. Given that dub music from its origins is fundamentally a studio creation, there are challenges recreating that in a live setting (although effects pedals, samplers and other technological developments do help). Fortunately, doing just that is the idea behind Sherwood’s creation of On-U Sound in the first place, and the years of experience shone through. This was perhaps the best mixed concert I have ever attended.
And the music itself? Some of the classics made an appearance, including “Blackboard Jungle Dub (version 2)”, which is one of the all-time dub classics and probably my favourite Lee “Scratch” Perry track. It is also a great example of a dub track that was very much a studio creation, but the band’s rendition was superb. Like so much dub, the original was an instrumental and for the live performance Perry, somewhat bizarrely, chose to sing lines from “Where-ever I lay my hat, that’s my home”. A strange choice, but it almost worked. Perry was first and foremost a producer, a creator of a distinctive sound. He was never a great singer (witness this track from 1982 for example) and age has not really improved his sound. His timing and sound was often uneven, his words largely imprehensible, but sometimes the eccentricity faded to the background and the singing and music blended perfectly. The uplifting “Kilimanjaro” was a case in point: fueled with the rather bizarre Rastafarian imagery that is so much a part of reggae, it was a triumph.
There were some disappointing omissions, I’d have loved to hear Disco Devil to name just one, but that really reflects the volume of Perry’s output over the years.
In all it was an extremely enjoyable concert, with an excellent sound fronted by one of the crazier giants of music history. It was an opportunity I was glad I didn’t miss.