Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Two weeks back we spent the entire week with LA's Kitten as they made their way from CMJ showcase to CMJ showcase. Then to London for more gigs.
The whole time—the entire week—I played the final, recorded version of "Kill the Light" over and over again til I thought I was all Kitten'd out. Then yesterday on my walk home from work, it made an appearance on random shuffle and it was love all over again.
Well, during the CMJ week we didn't do a giveaway because Kitten didn't have vinyl. Rules are rules, afterall. But released last week is Kitten's first vinyl 7"—the aforementioned "Kill the Light"—and we've got two copies to give to two of you.
Your job: stream or download the track above. Swoon in comments to this post over above track. Be sufficiently convincing and two of you will be sent the 7". Simple, right?
We'll give you a week and award 2 winners on 11/10. Remember to leave us a contact email address so we can let you know you won!
Posted by Jon at 3:39 PM
Frontier Records founder Lisa Fancher is with TVD all week as we celebrate the label’s 3oth Anniversary.
Today, a clarion call:
Welcome to Reality
I've been spending so much time detailing about the wondrousness of moi that I decided to turn my sights toward my nemesis, The Music Business. Much as I'd love to dance on its grave, I'm too magnanimous and wonderful for that. Though its never been good to me (more on that another blog) and has done nothing to deserve it, I'm gonna give it a reprieve. I still have an inexplicable fondness for you—once upon a time you brought me Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Here's the deal, M.B: record buyers aren't buying your shit anymore. Literally.
You are a big, sloppy mess that doesn't deserve a decent burial. There was well over a generation of fans who, like me, grew up living and breathing music, even falling in love with the artwork. Nowadays teenagers don't know which band wrote what song, when it came out, or where they came. Call from Philip Morris: Teenagers are extremely susceptible to peer pressure—imagine if you hooked them on music again. Now there's a diabolical scheme!
Look at the misery you caused with your new fangled CDs! Buyers were once crazy for CDs, profit was fat… until they discovered they could easily upload and download digital files themselves. Surprise! Profit retrograde. Are music fans inherently dishonest? I don't think so. I think they're tired of paying $20 for a record that probably stinks to begin with and they know it only cost around $1.00 to manufacture. Instead of paring down the roster and insisting upon better music, you (unsuccessfully) tried to sue consumers for home taping, trading in promo CDs, and now for "file sharing."
What to do about the problem of stealing instead of buying? I know—pick me, pick me! Add extra tracks and/or visuals to a CD by your "hot" artists, call it DELUXE and charge several dollars MORE so that their fans will resent them since they don't have several dollars more. How to send the upward trajectory of people BUYING downloads spiraling down to earth? Charge $1.29 for MP3s by hot selling artists when customers were reluctantly paying .99 cents. You heard vinyl was "in" so you bombarded stores with mediocre back catalogue at a $25 list price even though the original LP can readily be found in bins for .99 cents! Nice job, wizards.
Consumers don't have to get music from record labels. Wake the fuck up—you're not in charge of how they get music—THEY are! YOU made them disgruntled by continuously changing formats and raising prices instead of making better records. Oh, that's right, there are only four "Major" labels left and the corporate masters made a point of firing anyone with musical knowledge from every department, not just A&R. From wax cylinders to Super Audio CDs—single and duo layer— they're not going to buy a new piece of gear every time your bottom line needs a bump. Bump = cocaine, get it? JOKZ.
The Music Business took a nation that was obsessed with pop music starting with Frank Sinatra and drove them away, now there's something to be proud of. Then again, I'm no business major. Music is not a fuckin' hamburger some kid can make in under two minutes, it's ART created by HUMANS. It connects humans with other humans and saves their lives. People can't do without music, they will always seek it out and cherish it, tell their friends about how a song or a band or an album changed their life. Oh, that's right, there are only four "Major" labels left and the corporate masters made a point of firing anyone with musical knowledge from every department, not just A&R.
The only music lovers you haven't turned away are truly independent record stores and fanatic record buyers. The huge chains you catered to have been reducing floor space on music for years and since you can't consistently deliver them hit product, they're now going to sell DVDs or educational toys instead. And yet Indie stores are opening all the time, many of them are seeing their best months ever… Passion drives the music business, only the passionate work hard enough to keep it afloat. It's time for everyone, myself included, rethink their pricing strategies and cater to the music buyers that are still in the game.
The strong survive, Major Labels, and if you're intent on dying I certainly won't stop you. Look on up from the bottom, there's no place to go but up. Do you like how I worked two Frontier songs in here? I knew you would.
Posted by Jon at 10:08 AM
My Favorite Vinyl Record | Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”
Michael Donohue | Eyes Around, Vocals/Guitar
When I was a small kid I remember grabbing one album in particular out of my dad’s record collection to stare at the most. I was too small to even play the thing, but Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” had the artwork that drew me in. My dad was a draftsman at the time, a house designer, and he would use these templates to color over to add brick to the drawings of the outer designs. The templates provided a short cut so he wouldn’t have to pencil in every brick. So I wondered if someone had used a template to put the bricks onto the album cover.
I made an immediate connection and decided this would be the first opportunity I took to actually open one and see what was inside. And this new realm of animation sprung out at me and caught me off guard. I felt that I was seeing something play out in those drawings that I had no concept of, no frame of reference to work with. I couldn’t have been any older than 3, but when I revisited the album as an avid listener in high school, I felt something strangely familiar—stimuli re-stimulated, if that makes since. I enjoy that album still, but it will always be my dad’s album.
I’ve heard Radiohead referred to as “Punk Floyd.” As a Radiohead listener I can say this doesn’t bother me, because I get it. Radiohead is my Pink Floyd so to speak. They’ve had a similar effect dropping their pebble in the water that the Floyd has. They activate the imagination; push the limits with spacey sounds and unconventional song structures and themes. And most importantly, they have no template. But it wasn’t until “In Rainbows” came out on vinyl that I realized I love that band on vinyl. I have all of the Radiohead albums on vinyl, but “In Rainbows” is the one I had to take out of the plastic.
I was on tour with my band recently out west, and that album was played on repeat. So the music was set to the landscape of the mountains in Arizona and the coast of California, all the way up to Oregon. I remember “Reckoner” playing as we first caught a glimpse of Vegas a few miles out. All these cookie-cutter homes housing people bustling in a city that never sleeps lined the road for miles as we approached the strip. The song made it surreal. Who knows where my mind would’ve gone without it? I can’t forget hearing “Videotape” played with the scenery out my window being the windy desert of spring. I don’t know why seeing tumble weeds to that song gave them more depth and purpose, and rhythm. Hearing “Faust ARP” in my ears with Mount Hood in Oregon in my eyes was sensational. The mountain seemed more cold and white than it would have without the song.
Of course that’s all on an ipod. My vinyl experience with the album would come later, with the extra tracks present that would’ve lent themselves beautifully to the soundtrack of the tour. Dropping that needle to hear Thom squirm around on the piano chair at the beginning of “Down is the New UP” is worth owning it. And that’s something you may not catch if there’s remarkable landscape to focus on.
Radiohead do take you through every color of the spectrum on this album. From quirky songs like “15 Step” and “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” to deep somber songs like “Go Slowly” and “Last Flowers,” it’s covered all the colors for sure, even indigo. I love how hearing this vinyl plays back the desert, the ocean, and the mountains so vividly. I can go back anytime without walking out my front door.
Confession: I don’t know the lyrics to my favorite vinyl. This is peculiar considering the fact I’m the lyricist in my band, and normally I’m delving into the meaning of the words if not just to sing along to what I’m listening to. “In Rainbows” doesn’t beg me to sing along, it beckons me to pay attention to the emotion released. That’s what I love about it the most; I don’t have to know the words to experience the record. Would knowing the words enhance it for me further? Maybe yes, maybe no. For this one, my favorite one, I choose to make the exception and leave the meaning lost in the landscape somewhere.
Who knows what Sigor Ros is saying? The point is, you don’t have to. “The Wall” has its animation and story line. “In Rainbows” has red, blue, green, etcetera, etcetera…
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Posted by Jon at 8:22 AM