28 September 2009

24 September 2009


Laser Gloves

Laser Helmet

I love these guys.


Underwater peoples have two turntables and at least one microphone covered in magic elf glitter. Just finished listening to their Summertime Showcase CD and you should go get one. You can order one online or go to Red Onion Records on 18th between T and U NW--they should have some CDs there.

Seriously this CD is $4.50 and worth at least 8 times that price. Every song is good. Treat yourself.

Family Portrait - Mega Secrets

Also, definitely check out Andrew Cedermark. This record label is blowing my mind.

23 September 2009


Max Doyle: "This is the Tupperware that Al from Om kept all his weed in. It was full of weed. You can smell it if you want. It was in here for, like, three years."

Full article here.

22 September 2009


So Lily Allen has started a blog called "It's Not Alright", in which she and others try to convince the world the file sharing is bad and that we should be ashamed of ourselves. The blog champions as its main concern the fact that young up-and-comers don't stand a chance to "hit it big" or pay back their bills in the face of file sharing, since their income will be eliminated. Really, this is a royalties issue (since actual record sales don't yield much money to the bands/musicians themselves)--if you have them, you don't like file sharing; if you don't, then file sharing is whatever and in some cases good. Personally, I'd say that if you're looking to make money from royalties or record sales, you should probably re-evaluate your whole perspective on shit, to quote Hansel. If you are getting into the music business to have financial stability, fine, whatever, but don't be annoying and ruin it for everyone else like a 2nd grader by supporting the government to pass a law that would disconnect someone's internet access for file sharing.

Indeed, I think there is an attitude issue here. Namely, some people think that everything they do "deserves" money in return, often drawing a parallel to other work: "You get paid for a job you do, simple." Our culture may condone and reinforce that sentiment, but I think it's too egotistical and not really appropriate to the situation. And besides all that, letting people download your music is good business--much better, in fact, than sitting around hoping for a royalty check.

Still, it is simply not the case (and never has been, really) that people will shell out all kinds of money for someone they've never heard before. Also, the argument, featured in one entry on the blog, that the Beatles would never have "made it" if downloading had existed back in the day is, I'm sorry, complete bullshit. Their 12-hour, pill-fueled sets at the Cavern Club had nothing to do with selling records, and everything to do with getting good and getting paid. That, of course, is how most bands make their money. Cosmo Lee, of the Invisible Oranges blog, has some wisdom on this point: "Payment of anything is a powerful barrier to music consumption now. What would a band rather have — a handful of sales each month with pocket change revenues, or no revenues upfront but many fans familiar with the music and potentially buying merch at gigs?" This seems to be a question that a real up-and-comer would be asking--not "how do I fund my entire life and/or career with my music?" Even if you're Bob Dylan, that is simply unrealistic.

Napster sprang onto the scene in 1999--so we can safely say it's been ten years now since people have been "stealing" music and, actually, I'd argue that the state of music right now is the best it's been in a long time, probably since the 60s or 70s. It's not perfect, but there are hundreds (if not thousands or more) of creative and vibrant and, since we're talking about money, worthy acts everywhere in the world and in every genre of music. Still, and especially since people have been downloading music for so long now, you simply cannot realistically ask people to go back to shelling out $12-$16 A POP for the hundreds of thousands of basement recorders (of which I myself am one, actually) and struggling acts out there. All of this doesn't mean that those artists don't deserve that money--but that's really not the issue, if you ask me. The government outlawing file sharing isn't going to fix that at all--never, ever, no way. If people like something (and if they've already heard it on the internet or downloaded it), they'll search for it, they'll find it, and they'll buy it. And I think that's always been the case.

To a certain extent, this leads me to conclude that file sharing is, in fact, good for the music industry. That's a pretty detail-free assessment, sure, but there may be some truth to it. I was just reading an excellent interview with Devendra Banhart (thanks to the Munificent Kreg for that one) in which he talks about his recent signing with Warner Brothers records. Warners is one of the biggest record companies on Earth, and their signing of acts like Wilco, the Flaming Lips, and Devendra is evidence that they have been "humbled by this giant gaping hole in their finances. The internet and file sharing has shocked them into a weird reality."

Well, if that is true, then file sharing is without a doubt good for music. Maybe that's key--good for music, bad for the music industry. I mean, I feel like as long as there is music, there will be some kind of industry to exploit it, as with everything else in the world. That causes me to seriously doubt the assertion that file sharing is going to destroy any part of the "music industry." I think people tend to say something is being "destroyed" when something is actually just changing.

I think that file sharing goes hand-in-hand with the internet. And the internet has done nothing but good things for music, in my opinion, because it's all about access, which so many more people have now than used to. Now, if you've got something you want to say musically and a computer, you can express yourself and people can hear and enjoy it. That's beautiful. Sometimes I envision a future where just about everybody is in a band because it has just become so easy to do it. The internet's role in this whole issue certainly complicates things. For example, why is downloading an album illegal, but streaming music perfectly fine? You are still listening to music without paying for it...right? These are questions we need to answer sufficiently.

Of course, on the flip side, I almost cried when I heard Tower Records was going out of business. That was a very real result of these kinds of changes in the music industry. But I think things like that have a lot more to do with large inflexible corporations coming to terms with industry change verrrrrry slowly and awkwardly. Companies go out of business all the time, and in other industries people don't go around claiming that by outlawing the getting of goods elsewhere the problems will be solved. Also, as I pointed out above, CDs are far, far too expensive anyway. Even if file sharing and the internet didn't exist, many people can no longer justify to themselves (or their families) paying almost $20 for one piece of music with costs of living increasing. When you have to choose between that $16 Fleet Foxes record you've been pining after for months and a few meals, or a few rounds of laundry, or gas, guess which wins (I mean for most sane people, not me...)?

I respect everyone's concern in this issue, and I think that it is a positive thing overall. Concern isn't the problem, though--Lily Allen's blog is a reaction to a group opposed to the government disconnecting downloaders from the internet. Disconnecting people from the internet in 2009 sounds more than a little "totalitarian state" to me.

Last but not least, there is simply too much good music out there to buy all of it. Buying all the records (released in just, say, the past 4 years), would cost thousands of dollars. That is obviously not going to happen. But if I take the red pill and go to bit torrent, all my problems are solved, right? Not exactly. I still don't get the album art or any of that stuff (which for me is pretty necessary), and I don't get the pleasure of sliding that record onto the spindle and pressing play. I'd hardly call that stealing.

For more insight on this issue, I'd direct the reader to the excellent Invisible Oranges blog and the equally excellent New Music Strategies blog.

21 September 2009


I hate you.

I just read what was possibly one of the stupidest articles I have ever read in my life. Where did I find it, you might ask? None other than the New York Times, that supposed bastion of journalism and monopolizer of the hoity-toity and, some think, smart.

Turns out the Times isn't above a stale (and stretched) "tee-hee!" of baby boomer disconnect in the most IDIOTIC fashion imaginable: let's compare rappers with conservative radio hosts! What fun!

Especially at a time when these talk show hosts are at their most disgusting, basically inciting people to ignorance and thoughtless anger, just so they can sell more hatemongering, self-righteous books with their big fat faces taking up the entire back cover...especially at this time, with all the accusations of Nazism flying around, the Times thought it would be a good idea to compare Jay-Z to Rush Limbaugh.

Here's one major difference, NYT: Jay-Z is amazing and, however much you'd like to think he's a rich, misogyinistic ego (which I suppose was the initial link the author made to the radio hosts), he has actually brought a lot of beauty and happiness into the world in the form of amazing music and all of the people he has helped with it. These radio show hosts are just obnoxious and don't care who they hurt with what they say.

All of this might have been mitigated were the article actually funny. Instead if just comes off as being out-of-touch and bizarre.

First a bunch of articles about marijuana quoting only government sources and the Drug Free America Foundation, and now this. Fuck you, New York Times. Fuck you.

17 September 2009


peace, dude. i hope you are good where you are.

11 September 2009


Further proof that the Devendra band is painted all over with the youthful spirit of the kickass '68-'72 Grateful Dead. A new song called "Rats" from the upcoming LP What We Will Be. Can't wait.

10 September 2009


The Family Jams - Trailer from kevin barker on Vimeo.

Pray with me this shit gets a DVD release.

04 September 2009

"The kinda hero you can remember with a smile on yer face..."

Interviewer: What about "The last time I saw the King/he was shootin' at the TV?"
Neil Young: Well, actually, the last time I saw the King he was karate-choppin' a two-by-four, but I didn't put that in the song.

03 September 2009


That reminds me:

Devendra's new album, his first on WARNER/REPRISE (what the fuck??), is scheduled to come out this fall.


01 "Can't Help"
02 "Angelika"
03 "Baby"
04 "Goin' Back To The Place"
05 "First Song For B"
06 "Last Song For B"
07 "Chin Chin & Muck Muck"
08 "16th & Valencia"
09 "Rats"
10 "Maria Leonza"
11 "Brindo"
12 "Meet Me At The Lookout"
13 "Wiliamdzi"
14 "Foolin'"

Its being produced by Paul Butler. Band: Noah Georgeson, Greg Rogove, Luckey Remington and Rodrigo Amarante.


Pitchfork should be fucking DE-ACTIVATED for giving this album anything less than a 9. Whatever, dudes. This album is a treasure chest overflowing with California summertime jams. I don't think Pitchfork has anything against California summertime jams, since they loved Person Pitch and El Guincho and a whole host of other things that fall into that category, so why do people hate on Devendra so much? Because he's funny? Did you get weirded out by the naked dudes on the cover? Isn't listening to music about having fun and not about looking smart? Stop being too cool for school, guys. Cynicism is bad for your health.

OK, now that that's out of the way...

This album is fantastic. I love it and listen to it for days on end. It's the sound of a band at the top of their inspirational shit. These guys are in touch with something that not many people are (maybe the reason for the lukewarm reception). The songs are crafted but free, clearly fueled by delicious fruity rum punches and wonderfully natural California grass, the album sounds like it was recorded in a corrugated shack on the best beach ever, and the whole thing just rips. It's an album about surfing for god's sake. What's not to like? Give it a spin.

Yesterday and Today

Curfew time, hippie scum!

I was doing a little research on David Crosby today and I came across an interview with him on a blog I'd never been to before. The blog was mostly about politics and culture. Here's what the blogger had to say about the interview with Crosby:

"I think about Crosby doing his thing in the 60's and 70's and then I think about the musicians out there today. It's depressing. We have gone from musicians like Dave Crosby, Curtis Mayfield, & Marvin Gaye, (regardless of genre) to Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Snoop Dog and the gangster rap culture."

Sometimes my Dad gets this way, though he knows what's up for the most part. Still, I really don't like this sentiment, and I think it's a complaint that doesn't stand to reason or facts. I also don't like this guy's shot at Snoop Dogg. All the guy sings about is sex and smoking weed--how much more anti-war can you get, dude??? People who think this way are not looking hard enough, not listening closely enough to make these kinds of grand, sweeping statements. Even Crosby, who is one of my heroes for sure, kept repeating in the interview that young people weren't standing up to Bush and the Iraq war.

I disagree with the idea that, because there are no good (or popular) protest songs that shit isn't getting done in this field. I mean, seriously--looking to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears for consciousness-expansion and sociopolitical conscience is a waste of time, and you should know that. The 60's and 70's (two of my favorite eras in music, by the way) had plenty of super popular fluff acts who couldn't be bothered with people suffering, too. And besides, good dance music is a really strong force against suffering. So lighten up a little, peepz.

Things are certainly different now. But just look at some of the stuff I've talked about on this blog: Animal Collective, The Flaming Lips, Devendra Banhart, Wino, Flying Lotus...they're not saying "Give peace a chance" or "Four dead in Ohio," but all of these people definitely constitute a counterculture. Actually, listen to Banhart's Cripple Crow for some pure psychedelic Crosby-ish music that's good for your war-sick conscience as well.

Cripple Crow, Modern Masterpiece

I'm tired of older people saying shit like "Young people today aren't as good as we were, they don't do enough to change things." Fuck that. You're not looking hard enough. We're more subtle, but maybe that's because cryptofascist robocops have been breathing down our necks since we were 14. We learned to express ourselves INCREDIBLY well but still survive and not have to go to jail. We're trying to move beyond politics and mass movements and shit like that, because it's obvious to us that that stuff doesn't work anymore. We're not interested in re-doing the 60's, but so much music and culture today is definitely propelled by the same spirit. And that's what's important. Besides, we've been doing plenty of good old anti-state shit--you just won't read about it in a newspaper or see it on CNN.

So take a listen, everybody, before you judge.