Archive for the 'MP3 blogs' Category


The 00s, The Noughties, The Decade In Music

I didn’t really want to attempt a list of my favourite albums of the decade – the list for this year alone was more work than I needed. Instead, I decided to hit some of the ways this decade dealt with music – how technology has changed the musical landscape further, what globalized capitalism has done to the music industry, and what media convergence did to help out. Then as a second part, I thought I should add some of my musings on the decade as far as my own musical development goes – after all, I became an adult in the 00s.

Once you’re done here, visit this excellent site put up by The Indelicates: The Noughties Were Shit. The post about Gary Barlow poised to take over the world was particularly enlightening.

1. Web 2.0 and Music
I suppose this point actually affects all the other points in one way or another. Technology has continued the major upheaval begun in the 90s with MP3s and Napster, and has now proved there is no going back for the music industry. The MP3 file has changed the nature of music and the way it is consumed in a completely McLuhanesque fashion. It made music infinitely clonable and portable, aspects which led to the rise of the iPod and the spectacular decline of the record industry. Now music is disjointed and serendipitous by shuffle functions while being omnipresent and essentially valueless (at least in the capitalistic sense). The MP3 has shown us what art becomes when it is immediate and free.

Whilst Napster and its variations like LimeWire created the new rhizomatic gift-giving structure in MP3 file sharing, torrents have taken it to a whole new level of decentralization. And now 99% of the music/films/TV you want is up for the taking. This fact in tandem with the rise of online shopping makes me quite surprised that all record shops haven’t just folded, although many of them have in this decade.

The advancements of Web 2.0 have also heralded the birth of the MP3 blog and its attendant aggregators and podcasts. It has become ludicrously easy to set up your own blog and utilize free file transfer/storage sites to upload music for others to sample. The upshot has been a severe fragmentation of markets and escalation of taste wars while also a fantastic break from traditional music press. And in spite of a nasty rash of Blogger DMCA takedown notices, there have also been some really positive outcomes that proved the power of fandom, including this year’s Paul Haig Day, which was arranged by JC of The Vinyl Villain. Arguments over intellectual property and copyright laws in a digital world will continue to rage on, and I will follow them with fascination (who better to keep you posted on things of this nature but Cory Doctorow and his team at Boing Boing). Of course, no doubt MP3 blogs will suffer/are suffering the same fate as all countercultures. If you survive long enough, you end up as part of the establishment. It’s a bit Batman that way.

As we increasingly became a “peep culture,” social networking came into the forefront with sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and You could define yourself strictly by taste and choose your “friends” accordingly. And then ignore them in real life. Just as importantly, now any band could have a website with minimal work and funding. They could also market themselves directly to the type of people they conceived as fans through as many channels as possible. Combined with the technological capabilities of recording software, anyone could produce and market their own music, which is good and bad. Bands who wouldn’t have made it on a mainstream label, but who had a cult sound worth hearing, could get their music our there; unfortunately, many more mediocre bands clogged up the Internet with their soul-sucking tripe, making it a hard slog through cyberspace to find the music you actually liked.

The Internet imploded the world into solipsistic niches, which ceased to feel the collectiveness of mass-mediated moments. Even news of Michael Jackson’s death shattered into millions of pieces as everyone wanted to be the one reporting rather than receiving. Live 8 couldn’t be what Live Aid was to the 80s. The global village is taken for granted and too much access to information and entertainment has made us fairly lazy and impatient. Is music still the universal language? I suppose so, but it’s also become something to be hoarded and collected indiscriminately, as meaningful as soundbites for many people. And with music built directly into communication devices, it has become integrated into our fragmented lifestyles.

Related Posts:

The Medium is the Music: An Essay on Digital Music
This Is the Industry, But For How Long?: Thoughts on the State of Music Today
Of Resurrected FOPP and the Importance of a Real Record Shop
MP3 Blogs vs. Music Blogs: Different Purposes?
Has the World Changed Or Have I Changed?: Musings on the New Musical Express Train to Nowhere
MP3 Blogs vs Music Blogs: Part II
iTunes & I
Does NME even know what a music blog is?: The rhetoric and social meaning of MP3 blogs
The Pirate’s Dilemma: Selling Out is the New Cool
Sound the Last Post, Then Unite and Take Over
New IAMX Album Leaks and Chris Corner Reacts
Twitter-Pated: Music and Information Overload
Michael Jackson, Media Convergence and The Decline of the Global Superstar
A Monkey Wrench in The Hype Machine: Music Marketing and Integrity
Everyone’s a Critic: Fandom and Subculture
The Non-Interview: Music PR in the Blogosphere

2. Fan Investment in Musicians
In a rather positive turn of events, it has now become possible for fans to have a direct impact on the musicians they love by investing in albums before they are produced. Artists, including Einstürzende Neubauten, Patrick Wolf, frYars, and Morton Valence, have allowed their fans to buy shares of future albums to fund production costs. These artists have then rewarded their shareholders with various freebies and exclusives along with a right to some of the record’s profit. It cuts out the label middleman, which I think is a step in the right direction.

Some other bands decided that more was definitely more and added further value to their music and ethos by diversifying their art. One of my favourite discoveries of the decade, The Indelicates, have sold books of their poetry, tickets to a musical they’re involved in, art prints, and even fudge. This rather multidisciplinary approach to music is fantastically refreshing and holds fans’ interest while waiting for new album releases.

With a different twist on the new value of music, Radiohead decided to make their In Rainbows album available for whatever you deemed it should be worth this decade. Although it’s quite a forward-thinking idea, it isn’t exactly as feasible for bands who are not called Radiohead.

Related Post:

The “New” Music Industry: frYars and Bandstocks

3. Decline of the Music Video
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, the music channel played mostly music videos, live performances or interviews with musicians. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what music channels play anymore, but I know it’s not really music. It’s not even like they’re playing the expected mass-marketed tripe that I would expect on a music station; they’re playing teen dramas about rich kids, reality shows about rich kids, and programs about kids competing to become celebrities, and thus rich. I reckon the marketing model for music has changed quite drastically since the 80s and their MTV heyday; as with much advertising now, products need to be more quietly and deeply entrenched in other products to be marketed effectively. No more blatant streams of music videos/ads for bands. Now you just have to make sure your music gets into the television shows and films of your target market. You want disaffected indie kids, get your music on a film like Garden State. You want romantic emo kids, get your music on the latest vampire product. You want to appeal to the shallow emotions of middling women with no imagination, play your song in a particularly heartwrenching scene of Grey’s Anatomy. Or you could just get Apple to use your music in an iPod promo.

YouTube, which started up four years ago (as unbelievable as that seems), changed the television landscape forever (along with DVD box sets of course). You could now watch music videos literally on demand and without other ads in between. Albeit the halcyon days of YouTube are also over and not every music video is available, nor are they ad-free anymore thanks to the Google takeover. And artists like Prince decided fans are the enemy, prohibiting any of his videos to be uploaded anywhere. However, YouTube has led to a new music video experience, which frees up the music video market for bands who would never have had the clout to get on a television screen. And YouTube sensations could cross into the consciousness of television watchers, which is what happened when OK Go performed their Here It Goes Again video routine for the MTV VMAs.

Related Posts:

I Don’t Want My MTV. The Tweens Can Have It.
If a Gallagher Falls in the Forest, and No One is There to Film It…
Not Down With Prince
A Post-Mortem on Patrick Wolf’s Dead Meat: Music Video For Vulture

4. The Transformed, But Nonetheless Continued Presence of Diabolical Disney Music
The latter half of the 90s saw the massive return on Disney’s investment in ostensibly squeaky-clean popstars, who were raised in their Mickey Mouse Club stables like cute, little, doe-eyed cash calves. These were the years when Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and NSYNC were royalty. And just when we all thought they had gone away to morph into the realms of crasser sexuality, we were hit with High School Musical, Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers. And they went global. Disney was no longer ubiquitous because of their animated projects, but because they had tapped into the tween market once again. This time, they made sure they used media convergence to its extreme. What these franchises also appeared to be espousing was the doctrine of the 00s: anyone could be a pop star. And they should start early.

5. The Reality Pop Star
It seems difficult to remember a time when there weren’t reality competition shows, especially the Pop Idol/X-Factor-types. Now it’s big business for the advertisers who slap their products and commercials into the programs, and usually brief big business just as an “idol” releases his/her debut album. Then he/she usually fades back into the obscurity from whence he/she came, and the cycle begins again, neatly representing our superficial, throwaway culture while making regular people think they’re entitled to more than they actually are. And all along the way, we had to stare at Simon Cowell’s smug, stump-like head.

Related Posts:

Christmas Number Ones: A Measure of Christmas’s True Meaning
Am I a Music Snob?: A Matter of Taste

6. Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands
Along with the wave of reality celebrity culture, video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band also made it seem like everyone could be a star. And so we all learned what it was like when air guitar was dumbed down to a series of coloured buttons. I’m not being that critical – it’s more the bitterness seeping out from the fact I still haven’t learned how to play the acoustic guitar I got for Christmas two years ago and the fact I don’t own any video game systems.

7. The Renaissance of Vinyl
Here’s something we should have seen coming. As music grew less and less tangible, and thus, less and less valuable, music fans started looking for ways in which they could get more out of music when paying for it. CDs are pretty obsolete because they offer nothing more than MP3s, which are either rather cheap or free. Vinyl records, on the other hand, offer an entirely different listening experience, and one that cannot be replicated unless you have the capability of producing your own vinyl (not likely). Not only is the sound of analog warmer, but vinyl records also allow you to focus more on albums as wholes, including the larger scope for artwork. Vinyl records aren’t meant to be transportable media; they’re meant to be tied to a particular spot and require a different sort of listening. There was a time when I could only buy used vinyl unless I was in Europe or ordering from Europe; now I can buy brand new vinyl records on the Canadian Amazon shop and in several shops in the city. I hope this trend continues.

Related Post:

Sleeveface: Celebrating The Flipside of Vinyl’s Other Artform

8. Concert-Going in the 21st Century and Ticket-Touting
Along with the online revolution in music came the rather unfortunate rise of online ticket purchasing. No one lines up nor phones ticket lines anymore for gigs. If you don’t have a high-speed Internet connection and presale passwords, you either won’t get a decent ticket to your favourite artist’s show, or you’ll have to pay extortionary prices on auctions to ticket touters or the original ticket highwaymen themselves, like Ticketmaster. Or you may just die of a heart attack in the process. It’s why I favour rush seating gigs, where the spot you get is directly proportional to your leg strength, ability to combat boredom, and sharpness of elbow. What would you need to get a seat in the first to third rows at a seated gig anymore? It’s not a rhetorical question – I would really love to know.

Related Post:

It’s Not Fair: Ticket Sales in an Online World

9. Comedy and Music Became a Cooler Combination Again
This was the decade in which musical comedy duos like The Mighty Boosh and Flight of Conchords gained ascendence. There’s no shortage of older acts that made music funny and comedy musical (Monty Python and Spinal Tap spring to mind), but it’s nice to know that it all gained a surreal airing in the 00s. While both duos are in uncertain places as the decade closes (The Mighty Boosh haven’t said they’ll ever do another series and Flight of the Conchords said they definitely won’t), they provided me with many of my laughs in the last half of the noughties, and many of my catchphrases, too. The duos were delightfully different: The Mighty Boosh was like an intertextual acid mixture of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa with increasingly more London hipster thrown in, and Flight of the Conchords was like a monotone chameleon, able to capture any musical genre perfectly while delivering hapless adventure after hapless adventure.

Related Post:

Music Can Be Funny and Comedy Can Be Musical: The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords

10. Re-Packaging and Re-Fadding: Emo and the (Yawn) Ensuing Moral Panic and Mark Ronson and the (Yawn) Retro Revival
This decade saw the transmogfrication of the genre called emo into something more than merely Sunny Day Real Estate and Dashboard Confessional. If you want a decent history of the subculture (well at least up until 2003), read Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo. By the end of this decade, emo had come to mean some adolescent subculture obsessed with gothy aesthetics, poppy but melodramatic music, and self-harm. And probably vampires. What’s odd is how we got from emotional hardcore music to Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance in the matter of a few years. In the end, emo is just goth repackaged for the ADD digital generation. Gone are the gloomy dirges and swirling sadness of bands like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil; now boys in eyeliner can play pop-punk with extremely long, but no more intellectually stimulating, titles and somehow unite the outsiders in their identical floppy fringey skunk haircuts. Ultimately, emo has come to mean goth lite, which can be easily marketed.

As with all teenage subcultures that adults don’t understand and which get seized upon by the media, emo suffered a strange moral panic by the latter half of the noughties. Parents were nonsensically alarmed at the propensity for self-harm amongst these dissatisfied angsty teens, and for the love of all that is sacred on this Earth, why did they have to stand out from their peers like that? At the end of the day, Morrissey and Richey Edwards would have been emo, but luckily for them, they escaped the tawdry tag before it became popular. People still don’t understand me, but I’m not going to cry about it.

On the other end of the spectrum, another bizarre revival occurred: retro brass sounds, largely the responsibility of Mark Ronson. With Amy Winehouse stumbling in tow and any number of celebrity guests covering songs for him (God forbid Ronson have an original song), this self-satisfied producer added horns to everything and was proclaimed a genius. Bumping along on his bandwagon of manure, were singers like Duffy and Adele. Singer/songwriter Tom Rosenthal (I wrote about him here) expresses the Mark Ronson phenomenon better than I ever could:

Oh, I’m the coolest man in all of the land
And all my friends are famous
And all my songs are bland
I’m akin to a thief
Like yoyos, I’ll be a fad
For I take quite good songs
And I make them bad

And I don’t know if I’m English or American
And if I can win a Brit Award, then anyone bloody can
I’m a glorified DJ
A riches to riches story
I borrow from the talented and I take all the glory

They say anyone’s grandma could do what I do
By putting a different drumbeat on it
And adding a few trumpets, too
But they don’t have my panache
And they don’t have my celebrity mates
And if I ever get round to writing a song,
God, it will be great

The other day I was asked
If I had a motto
I said yes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know
I’m living proof you don’t need talent to succeed
I’m the George Bush of music
I’m the Prince of the Thieves

Now to my own personal experience of the decade. I should start off by saying that I found it hard to believe it had already been a whole decade – something that it seems most people haven’t noticed nor been too fussed about (aside from one two-part program on the BBC, I haven’t seen all that many retrospectives of this decade). It’s hard to fathom that, at the turn of this millennium, I graduated from high school. That makes these last ten years (supposedly) the most productive part of my life thus far: I got several degrees/diplomas from post-secondary education, I travelled more than I ever had before, I learned much more about the world and about this thing we call humanity, I read books I never thought existed, I got crap retail jobs and finally a proper grown-up job, I made friends, I lost friends, and most importantly of all, I expanded my love of music beyond anything I had in high school. When I think about it, this decade actually quite demarcated my life between adolescence and adulthood (the arbitrary age being seventeen/eighteen years old). For me, this decade was truly one of self-discovery and self-creation. With the same tenacity and interest that I applied to my academic studies, I dove into a music world that I hadn’t been acquainted with through high school (my exposure was generally confined to music television and Top 40 radio). Unfortunately, I didn’t have too many muso friends growing up – in fact, the majority of my friends had very limited taste in music. And my immediate family didn’t really encourage music – my father was the only one who had any sort of musical leanings. So, when I was seventeen, I started the search on my own, equipped with reams of music magazines, books, and new CDs. I didn’t have a computer at home until I started university, and I didn’t have cable Internet access until a few years ago; these facts made my search for music a much slower affair than it might have been, but perhaps it also made it more meaningful.

My magpie ways led me on a winding path that had me appreciating political and intelligent music; the first two bands that I really embraced after high school were The Clash and The Smiths. I absorbed a bit of musical influence from college peers and co-workers, but still made the journey largely on my own, trekking in my spare periods between university courses to the downtown A&B Sound shop and buying copious amounts of CDs to listen to whilst sitting in the university corridors (as all good shops appear to do in this city, A&B Sound closed its doors several years ago and became yet another retail husk in the downtown area). I bought up classics from The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Kate Bush, Wire, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, alongside newer releases from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Stars, Bloc Party, Idlewild, British Sea Power, and We Are Scientists. I started going to more and more live gigs. And the more I travelled over to the UK and lived there, the more I realized my preference for British bands. The last few trips saw me fill my suitcase and bag with CDs and vinyl.

I listened and I learned – to some people who know me, I became the Rain Man of music. I discovered I’ll never enjoy rap nor metal music. I discovered that I’ll always dislike Bob Dylan. I discovered how much lyrics meant to me. Music made me a more fully-rounded person and a happier person; it supplemented the myriad views of the world that I had also been gaining with books. It gave me something to cling to emotionally and it gave me something I could share with others. And it inspired me creatively. For me, MP3 blogs via The Hype Machine came within the last four years of the decade, and they opened my mind even further to more independent artists, and to the power of fans and DIY culture. Finally, there was something I could do that would allow me to write regularly (I gave up on the dream of a full-time occupation as a writer long ago), and it might even be read by others. Two years ago, when I started writing this blog, I was exposed to even more music and more people, and it was a fascinating learning experience as it became neccessary to try to articulate my thoughts and feelings about music (vigorously pirouetting and waltzing about architecture) and to attain a dialogue with some of the artists I wrote about.

In fact, when I tried to look back at the decade and what it offered in terms of music, I found it rather difficult because I spent a large part of the decade discovering older artists that I had missed out on. I returned to punk, glam, New Wave/post-punk, krautrock, folk, shoegaze, electronica, C86, synthpop, and many of the hyphenated hybrids in between. The only artists salvaged from my adolescent years were David Bowie, New Order, The Cure, Prince, Pulp, Depeche Mode, and Duran Duran, and a few other sundry 80s artists.

When I do actually try to put some perspective on the music that was released in the noughties, it becomes a bit astonishing just how many bands that I take for granted made their debuts. The decade seemed to begin with a violent shift from plastic pop, including boy bands and pop tarts, to legitimate musicians playing their own music, including The Strokes, The Libertines, The White Stripes, and The Hives.

A few years into the decade, the second-wave Brit Invasion happened with bands like Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Maximo Park, Razorlight, The Rakes, The Delays and The Futureheads (to varying degrees of success and longevity). And the most pernicious of all invaders was Coldplay. When I first saw their video for Yellow over in the UK about eight years ago, I never would have guessed their eventual U2-like world domination. And then came the Arctic Monkeys, which seemed like the messiahs people were waiting for after the sloppy, pathetic demise of The Libertines. I enjoyed their first album, but never really went further with them. Then again, a lot of the bands I first liked in the noughties turned out like that.

Along with this British surge in indie bands, I became more aware of Canadian indie artists, which largely coalesced around the Montreal scene. As music press is wont to do, the journalists hailed the largest city in Quebec as the new hotbed of musical activity somewhere in the middle of the 00s (just as they had done with Manchester in the 80s, Seattle in the 90s, and Brooklyn now). The world took note of bands like The Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, and suddenly bands with sprawling orchestras were in vogue. I also duly took note of these bands and Stars, which led me to other Canadian bands like The New Pornographers, Hexes & Ohs, Allegories, The Rest, Archivist, The Dears, Metric, Death From Above 1979, The Stills, and many more.

It also seemed Sweden became increasingly adept at producing dreampop bands, each sweeter than the last, and I fell for The Radio Dept., The Mary Onettes, Twig, The Sound of Arrows, The Deer Tracks, Twiggy Frostbite, and Club 8 to name a few.

Additionally, I will remember the decade as the period that introduced Modular Recordings to a wider audience. Though the Australian label was founded in 1998, it really took off with a multitude of Australian electronic acts like Cut Copy, Van She, and The Presets, along with releases from Wolfmother and Bumblebeez. Along similar lines, this decade saw the formation of Kitsuné Music, a French electronic music record label, and at around the same time, Get Physical Music, a Berlin-based label releasing similar music, was established. New York’s DFA Records also came into being at the beginning of this decade. Between these four labels I developed a deeper love for electronic music.

There are too many bands that began their careers in the noughties to list here. Instead, I’ll just put up a handful of tracks that will always remind me of the first ten years of the 21st century (the restriction being that these bands had to have debuted in the 00s.

This is it for me for now. I realize that the Day of 200 Songs still needs to be done, but we’ll see how quickly I can get it out there. It might be some time next week.

Like Eating Glass – Bloc Party

Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

That Great Love Sound – The Raveonettes

Wake Up – The Arcade Fire

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

NYC – Interpol

We Only Stayed Together For the Kids – Luxembourg

The Great Escape – We Are Scientists

We Are Your Friends – Justice vs Simian Mobile Disco

Here It Goes Again – OK Go

Time to Pretend – MGMT

Remember Me – British Sea Power

Lloyd Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? – Camera Obscura

Mercy – IAMX

Your Ex-Lover is Dead – Stars

You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve – Johnny Boy

Giddy Stratospheres – The Long Blondes

Destroy Everything You Touch – Ladytron

All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem

Pulling Our Own Weight – The Radio Dept.

I’ll Be Next To You – Vanilla Swingers

The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit

We Hate the Kids – The Indelicates

The Magic Position – Patrick Wolf

Consolation Prizes – Phoenix

Snakes and Martyrs – TV on the Radio

Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines


The Non-Interview: Music PR in the Blogosphere

When I was taking my communications diploma in between my BA, we were assigned groups in which we would have to create a concept for a local magazine and see it through from conception to publication. As my luck always runs, I was saddled with an incompetent, uncreative, unproductive group, whose best idea was some very vague Manitoba showcase magazine. At any rate, one of my journalistic contributions was to be an interview with David Steinberg while he was in town for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. Slightly daunting to me even now, but pretty tongue-choking intimidating for an nineteen-year-old with zero interviewing experience. To make a very long story short, I showed up to the show he was a part of, but at the end of the show, David Steinberg was whisked away (despite the organizers promising me that interview), and the day culminated in me standing at the Winnipeg Airport, realizing I wasn’t going to get that story at all. In a salvaging attempt, I wrote an entire story/rant for the magazine about my chasing/stalking adventures in pursuit of David Steinberg. Perhaps in the end it was a stronger piece than it would have been with the interview. Perhaps it was all rather Steinbergesque. Okay, a very anemic Curb Your Enthusiasm or a Seinfeld in which even less than nothing happens. So why am I telling you this story? Because I’m about to write a piece about an interview I have been trying to get for nearly 8 months: an email interview with Chris Corner of IAMX.

Back when Kingdom of Welcome Addiction first released, I decided I would go after a long-shot opportunity (this happens in my periods of mania) by contacting the North American PR representative for IAMX in the hopes of being able to send a list of questions for Mr. Corner to reply to. Being a lowly MP3 blogger, I figured this wasn’t likely to happen. In fact, I had already resigned myself to not getting any reply (based on my general pre-emption of hope and/or faith in myself and others). The only glimmer of possibility in all this was the fact IAMX is an adamantly independent enterprise; albeit, one with PR representation run independently from them. To my surprise, I did get a very prompt response from PR, allowing me to listen to the full album before I received my hard copy, and consenting to pass my interview questions on to Chris Corner. And I had dealt pleasantly and briefly with this particular contact in the past after he had found my essay on independent artists, including IAMX. So far so good.

I diligently listened to the promo stream and wrote up my questions, they varied from “In your opinion, what are humanity’s biggest myths?” to “You’ve opened yourself up to dialogue with your fans via your MySpace blog. What have you learned through this experience?” to “Your music tends to find the beauty in the wreckage and often juxtaposes the two. Are things more beautiful when they’re damaged or destroyed – burning the box of beautiful things, so to speak?” I was consciously making an effort to ask questions that hadn’t been asked of him before, especially as I figured it’s always fascinating to ask interesting questions of interesting people. I sent off the questions and hoped for the best. I still wasn’t exactly convinced this would happen. I’m not a “professional” journalist with an affiliation or concrete deadline. In fact, I was in an odd liminal place between journalist and fan, and I’m thinking it was the latter identity that perpetuated the fiasco that then ensued.

When I checked to make sure my questions had actually been received, I was given the following reply: “Chris should be getting the answers back to me over the weekend (he’s touring Europe right now and internet connection is rather dodgy out there). Hold tight.” This is perfectly reasonable. After writing my review of Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, I emailed the link to it as a courtesy, and held tight. At the beginning of June, I emailed to check in (after all more than a weekend had passed by this point). No answer. A few weeks later, I tried again. Crickets. Then I tried in July – at this point, I was still just assuming I got lost in the shuffle of requests for all the bands under the same PR. From the beginning, I had also included the escape clause of “if Chris Corner is too busy, I understand. Just let me know either way.” It was now August, and so I tried again, but only after I sent one more at the end of the month with a high priority flag, did I get a response. I feel as though I was still pretty polite: “It’s been several months, and as I initially understood, you had already passed the questions on to him. I’m just wondering where the delay is occurring – all I really want is an update. If this interview is no longer possible, I would still appreciate a response. I haven’t been receiving any responses for the last three or four emails I’ve sent you regarding this.” Yes, I started sounding a bit sterner (less obsequious anyway). So, as I said, this finally got a response. A very suspicious one.

It stated that this PR guy had been trying to get a hold of me by email over the summer while IAMX did a short tour of the US. He said he had wanted to set up a phone interview with Chris Corner rather than bother with the email questions. He then said that because I didn’t answer him, he figured I was no longer interested. He also insisted, “I ALWAYS reply within 24 hours of emails I receive.” Now, this might have been plausible if I never checked my Junk Folder, or if my inbox wasn’t receiving emails properly over the summer, or if I didn’t always include my email address and blog URL in the signature of each e-missive. But none of that was the case. Consequently, unless my hotmail account suddenly assumed sentience of its own and decided certain emails didn’t need to get through, these emails about phone interviews never occurred.

Nonetheless, I grudgingly gave the PR guy the benefit of the doubt and said I would be fine with him passing my questions on to Chris Corner again. Note: “again.” This was the end of August. I then waited for about a month before trying for some sort of confirmation. I bet you clever otters know what happened next. No reply. I realize that at this point I was probably crossing the line into pretty damn irritating. But then again, what journalist after a story isn’t irritating? Sometimes it’s the only way to keep getting stories at all. I tried high priority flagging again, and roused a response. Firstly, I was told that he had replied the week before (once again, there was no logical reason why only 50% of his emails should reach me). He told me I had to appreciate the difficulty of Chris Corner being in Germany and he being in the US; the distance was making it hard to “turn the heat on” in getting a response from Chris. Additionally, he said he didn’t know why it was taking Chris so long to reply since he’s usually so quick. Hmmmm….

Now I learned PR in my communication diploma as well as journalism and advertising. PR people are notoriously evasive spin doctors for the most part. They’re a bit like Post-Structuralists that way; the Truth is an arbitrary construct to them. Presently, I’m exhausted by the whole situation, which could have ended months before if the PR guy would have just said, “No, I’m sorry, the interview is not possible.” I was now only persisting because of adherence to principle, the principle being that I deserve some sort of resolution even if I am just an MP3 blogger. I’m not naïve enough to think that journalists don’t get screwed over by PR people; they do – I’ve heard the stories. And I learned early on with that David Steinberg incident (although being a college student probably isn’t much better than being a fan). But judging from the IAMX interviews that have shown up in various online publications (not blogs), I don’t think everyone got dragged along for 3/4 of a year.

I don’t blame Chris Corner for this farce. I can’t be certain of how much communication he has with his PR, and last year, when I included IAMX in a couple of posts, I received my IAMX Live in Warsaw album in a package that had a thank-you message hand-written by Chris on the outside. He thanked me specifically for the blogs. That was above and beyond what he could have or should have done.

I suppose I don’t even need a full explanation of why this interview couldn’t have happened; a simple decline would have been sufficient. Sadly, I reckon this kind of predicament just ends up undoing any sort of façade of independence and accessibility projected through the IAMX rhetoric and ethos (ie: dialogue with fans, band and fans as one tribe, etc). Dealing with this PR flak screen is no different than any number of other impersonal celebrity machines. I was naïve to think that it might be different. Which brings me to a more general point about PR and MP3 blogging.

I realize, that as a blogger, I get slapped onto a lot of mailing lists for labels and artists I couldn’t care less about. Those mass mailings are obvious. There’s something honest in their blatancy (even the ones who try to use your name and mention a small fact about your blog to seem authentic). In the end, this all doesn’t matter if I don’t like the music or the artists being marketed, so I go on ignoring and sometimes I even bother to unsubscribe if I’m getting too annoyed by three mailings a week from the same person. However, there has been the odd PR person that I had more than a few emails with, and some have been quite decent to deal with. But recently, aside from the PR for frYars, I haven’t been getting any acknowledgements that my review links have even been received (this is after I was told to send them on), including from people that I had originally been pretty friendly with. This feels slightly deflating even if all of this shouldn’t matter to me (after all, I’m not doing this for a living). However, I’m just not the type to make promises I know I can’t follow through on, and when I commit to something, I feel obligated to finish it (hence, if I say I will review your music, I will). In theory, the relationship between PR and journalism should be symbiotic (one can’t exist without the other), but it nearly always ends up feeling like an abusive relationship, where there’s only one giver. Email has also made it so much easier to ignore people and blame technology; it absolves anyone of any direct responsibility. Somehow the supposed immediacy becomes less than immediate.

Is the problem here really one to do with identity and position? If I were a journalist attached to something more official, would my questions be more important? In the world of music fandom, wouldn’t it be a good thing if music fans influenced other music fans directly rather than through third party journalists, who often don’t have anything invested in what they write about? Yes, perhaps they can be more objective when the situation calls for it, but I would think fans are the ones who might come up with the best questions to ask because they know so much and care so deeply about their favourite artists. But I’m not sure that MP3 blogs, as liberating as they may seem to us fans on the ground, are viewed as legitimate (a problem all sorts of blog genres face). We might be one more prong of a larger marketing strategy (the digital promotion/word-of-mouth contingent), but nothing more. And nothing that anyone owes anything to. Maybe a lot of these MP3 blogs have done it to themselves by “unprofessionally” just posting straight from any press release that comes their way; although, I’m certain that’s also a regular practice among journalists. They copy and paste their way through a lot of blurbs and stories.

I know my blog isn’t terribly lucrative in terms of marketing and publicity for these artists. I’m not a newspaper, magazine, or even an e-zine/blog like Stereogum. At the same time, I might have fewer, but much more loyal fans in my audience, who do actually discover and buy into new artists they find here. I’ve decided that, ultimately, the best practice for my blogging is to deal directly with artists and/or other music fans. There’s never been an issue with them. And maybe I’ve gotten wrapped up too much in the journalist part of my motivations and forgotten about the fan part, which shouldn’t be relying on PR. I might be shooting myself in the foot here. Or maybe not. I have to engage in other people’s email evasion tactics and futile goose chases on a daily basis as part of my regular job, so I really don’t need it here, too.

And if you want to see the production and power of fandom in action in relation to IAMX, go to and download your free copy of a fan-made DVD of IAMX’s first live performance in 2004 in Berlin.

My Secret Friend (Omega Man Remix) – IAMX

Tear Garden (Art Deco Version) – IAMX


A Monkey Wrench in The Hype Machine: Music Marketing and Integrity


I’m writing this post as a response to a couple of Hype Machine posts (read them here and here) about music marketing, hype and integrity, especially in the online world. I come at this issue from a few different angles: as an MP3 blogger, as someone who took advertising and marketing at college, and as someone who took communication theory (largely criticizing marketing) at a grad school level. It’s always been a hairy business between artists and financial concerns. Do you starve for your art? Do you “sell out”? Can you manage to maintain integrity when selling your art, period? What exactly is integrity?

Integrity can mean different things to different people. The Oxford dictionary defines it as:

noun 1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
2. the state of being whole and undivided

Integrity for an artist could mean that he/she manages to produce the kind of art he/she wants to regardless of what others think – in a way, adhering to an indie artist set of morals and keeping their work whole despite outside interests or concerns. Integrity for an advertising agency or PR firm often means “perceived integrity,” how surfaces can be maintained to convince the public the brand is trustworthy and credible. In the advertising world, celebrity endorsement or highly expensive advertising spots can equal credibility, and thus, integrity. I think that when The Hype Machine decided to expose the artists seemingly “hyping” their own music by creating false accounts, they were using integrity as a synonym for honesty and were applying that indie artist sense of morality that carries certain assumptions about what is moral in music marketing. These assumptions include the belief that a musician should be able to influence enough individuals to gain popularity, especially through the kind of popularity system The Hype Machine has set in place. If an artist manipulates the charts by pretending more individuals like them than there really are, it seems like “cheating.” No more cheating than in the popular music charts, mind. To think The Hype Machine, MP3 blogs, and social networking sites are subversive, grassroots, word-of-mouth and outside the trappings of the “old” mainstream music industry, is a nice idealistic thought, but also rather naive.

MP3 bloggers themselves have all sorts of aims, not all of them so altruistic. Public blogging is an act of attention-seeking, of validation, of confirmation. Otherwise we would all just set our blogs to private or write things down in a notebook. Or better yet, keep it in our heads. Yes, many of us genuinely want to promote the music we love or promote music that isn’t largely known, but we also look to promote ourselves. Without being able to get at least a small audience, there isn’t much point for the time investment in the blog, nor for the bands being promoted. We are hybrids of PR/journalist/DJ/diarist/fan, and that puts us in a liminal place that can favour one or more of these roles over the others. A large chunk of the most popular MP3 blogs are maintained by more than one blogger and more often than not feature advertisements, already taking away from the more personal, individual feel of a blog; in fact, I would consider many of those sites to be music e-zines. In order to increase and maintain high blog traffic, a blog generally has to post every day, if possible, several times a day – even if the posts aren’t very in-depth. The amount and frequency of free MP3s provided also greatly affect traffic – the majority of readers are likely to come for the music without actually reading the posts. Lastly, the more MP3s from already “popular” artists that are posted, the higher the traffic. These concerns and tactics surrounding blog traffic can tempt bloggers to make decisions with the PR part of their brains rather than posting strictly about the music they love. That’s fine; it’s just something to take into account when discussing the holier-than-thou independent music scene and its off-shoot promotional channels.

Some of the accused artists on The Hype Machine posts or those who work with/for them responded and refuted the claims made by the aggregator, including MJ Digital who represents one of the named artists. A post written over there begs the question, “what is the difference between hype & promotion, when is it marketing or manipulation and where is the balance?”. This question is difficult to answer. In order to generate “hype,” already a term that’s loaded with artificial implications, and to market effectively, an advertiser needs to gain attention even if it isn’t gained “honestly.” Advertising people are always looking for ways to reach an increasingly fragmented market which is drowning in advertising noise; it’s an appreciably difficult job with many practical concerns, and can lead to some not-so-honest practices. Or some downright obnoxious ones. It would be great if a band could gain popularity based completely on the quality of their art, but as one can see by a track record of excellent indie bands that fell apart in obscurity, that isn’t often the case. Music, like all other art, is a subjective luxury item that needs to persuade people even more fervently than other, more pragmatic straightforward items.

I’m friends with a few truly independent, unsigned bands and can tell you stories of frustration and despair about lack of visibility, promotion and success. Everyone is trying to sort out how to “make it” as a musical artist in an industry that has become a free-for-all. Many entrepreneur types have decided to form their own digital PR/marketing/consultation businesses to aid musicians and/or small labels in their pursuit of fame and success – I get contacted by a few of them on a regular basis. I frankly think they’re pretty useless and opportunist, generating far more cynicism and suspicion than messages straight from artists themselves. A perfect example of this kind of “new media advice” can be found at Hit Singularity. The problem with this kind of advice and marketing strategy is the fact every unknown band is trying to do this.

Speaking from my position as an MP3 blogger and music fan, I don’t see the point in saturating every social networking and/or profile site. If you have one decent MySpace profile with enough samples of your music, attention to aesthetic detail and personality, that should be more than sufficient, and better yet, efficient. Add a decent band website with purchasing capabilities to that, and you should have more than enough outlets. I, unlike the author of the Hit Singularity post, have actually found several fantastic bands in the last few years through MySpace. I don’t have the time to check in on every other site, especially if it repeats the information I’ve already found. I, personally, am influenced by bands that clearly display some vision and some thought in their art; bands that have bothered to put work into their entire package. It doesn’t need to be a flashy package, but if it’s creative enough, I’ll pay attention. For an example of a brilliant website idea see IAMX’s enigmatic, labyrinthine site. A band also has to work hard and be persistent to make headway – they should be playing as many gigs as they can even if few people come, they should be meticulously researching the people who might be able to “break” them to the public, including bloggers (I get more than a few emails from bands who obviously didn’t concern themselves with actually looking into my musical interests), they should be producing more music than they need just to keep top-of-mind. It’s easy to forget a brilliant band if they only put out a handful of tracks every couple of years. The many gigs you play should be memorable – including visually, because how many of us have gone to shows where we weren’t familiar with the band’s work and also couldn’t make out much meaning through bad acoustics? And I do agree with the Hit Singularity post in the advice that you should be offering a whole album or EP for free to your well-researched targets. It can be difficult writing anything substantial about a single sample MP3; in some cases, I put sample tracks like this in a weekly mix, and in most cases, I end up ignoring them. Most of all, follow my good friend Lisa’s advice regarding all of life’s activities: walk with purpose and no one will question you. You have to believe in your art and write and perform like you mean it; it’s imperative that you know who you are and what you want people to believe, and give people something to believe in. If you don’t want the trappings of a major label or a manager, you have to be prepared to do these things. If you’re looking to score a major label deal or manager, you have to be prepared to do these things. If you’re making music only for the sake of making music, regardless of whether you have an audience or not, you needn’t bother.

We also have to step back and put this into perspective; we who regularly consult MP3 blogs and their aggregators are not exactly in the majority as far as the general population and even as far as music fans go. As much as we bloggers would like to think we have some massive sway as tastemakers, we are largely preaching to the converted in an online bubble. Sometimes the bubble leaks into the music press and a band like Vampire Weekend graces the cover of SPIN before releasing an album. However, I have to say that having studied MP3 blogs and their aggregators for my MA thesis, I almost never saw unsigned, completely unknown bands coming up as the most popular on The Hype Machine, or elsewhere. Hype or its sister term buzz is difficult to track or to reason out with any logic; if the right people notice you at the right time, your band can gain buzz. You can also lose it just as capriciously. There’s an interesting case study on how Rural Alberta Advantage became a buzz band over at Hit Singularity. As with plenty of artists throughout history, their story is a combination of talent, persistent hard work, timing and sheer luck. This is also the story of many a successful band throughout the past fifty years.

Manipulating Hype Machine charts might be a bit desperate and dodgy, but in the world of snobbish indiedom, is there any less integrity in licensing your music for an advert? Where is that line between creative marketing strategies and loss of indie credibility? Why bother with fickle indie credibility at all? Some of indie’s superstars, like Morrissey, knew how to manipulate their own publicity by providing the right soundbites and strategic interview answers, and by developing a persona that media and fans could easily latch onto. There are far too many gimmicks in the world of marketing, PR and advertising (having worked on advertising campaigns, press kits and media releases before, I’ve come in contact with all sorts), and a large amount of us can see through people who are trying too hard without a clear vision behind the gimmick. And there are plenty of ham-fisted PR/marketing people who think they’re being “transparent” and tailoring their mass marketing to me personally, but who, instead, end up alienating me (including PR people, who after being politely ignored with their musical offerings, try to promote the same music to me as a submission to a fan-based project like my Day of 200 Songs). At the end of the day, some artists are born with both talent and presence, some are celebrated while still producing their art, some are not. Will we remember many of these artists that manipulated The Hype Machine charts in a week, not to mention a year? Likely not.

Music Business – The Sound

Sell-Out – Chicks on Speed


Twitter-Pated: Music and Information Overload

twitter network

Information is killing me. My brain buzzes with bloat and there are nights when I can’t sleep for it. In the last few years, I’ve had more panic attacks and woken up feeling like I’m forgetting something than ever before. It’s like I can no longer keep track of all the details. The devil definitely lives there, taunting me with my insignificant cerebral capacity. Between the number of books, fiction and non-fiction, that I read, the Web sites and blogs I visit, the daily advertisements and mass media I consume, and the copious music I listen to, I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of trivia and connections. I have a crazy need to organize myself somehow, and in doing so, I can now see that I seem to crave hierarchies when surrounded by networks. And both ways of organizing information are seemingly natural for humans, especially since both types exist within our biology. However, technology and new access to information and its architecture are affecting me more than I can possibly affect them, and the activities I love are being forever changed by them, not necessarily for the better.

I’ve come to the realization that computers have re-wired my brain and altered the very way I communicate. Computers have encouraged me to be non-linear in my thought processes and not only through the infinitely hyperlinked world wide web. I may not have had a computer until my first year of university, but I did have a shoddy word processor through high school, and so since I’ve been writing essays and papers, I’ve composed my thoughts in non-linear fragments – you can always go backwards and forwards in a digital copy. My essay-writing style is such that I plug in all citations and quotations first before building the argument around them. I’ve worked without an outline for so long now that I didn’t really think about how strange it was. Until I attempt to write a prolonged linear thought with a pen on paper. I then look back at my bulleted fragments and singular lines and realize that I haven’t actually written one fluid thought or argument at all. I’ve become so accustomed to composing piecemeal on the computer – my mind darting in and out and around thoughts while multi-tasking – that I cannot form a fluid piece on paper. Not only has my writing process been affected by technology, but my consumption of music has as well.

Last summer, I wrote a post addressing this issue of listening to music in pieces via something like iTunes and shuffle functions. MP3s have made it possible for music to be a non-linear experience. Perhaps to balance this non-linear chaos, I use what could be constituted as OCD methods of organization. For my physical copies of music, I first place them on the shelves alphabetically by artist name. If the artist is a single person, I file it by the last name. Within artist, I order them by release chronology – studio albums, then live or bootleg albums, then singles. Compilations are filed under the name of the compiler; for example, any compilation released by NME goes under “n.” This anal sense of taxonomy extends to my digital collection as well; I’m still in the process of creating the database that holds all of my thousands of tracks in it. While I may not have nearly as much music as some fans, I need these systems to gain control of an otherwise spiralling-out-of-control glut of music in my life. I initially thought that it was the mass media giving me too many options and polluting my brain with “choice” regarding music; that has completely changed, yet stayed the same.

I rarely take note of music by any mass media source, yet I still feel like I’m being pummeled by the tsunami of possibilities and new artists. If anything, the choice has just escalated exponentially with the Internet access to independent labels and artists and their myriad promotional tools, including MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and Twitter pages in addition to e-newsletters, bulletins and forums. I can’t hope to keep up. I can’t even keep track of my favourite artists. Along with this proliferation of music and access to it, the innate human need for taxonomy and labelling takes over and creates a ludicrous number of hybrid, hyper-hyphenated genres like anarchist-folk-rock, Bhangramuffin, blackened death metal and 2-step garage to cope with it (Paul Morley actually just recently made a radio series on the subject of these fragmented genres and what they actually constitute – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these sub-subgenres grew exponentially as access to music grew). And while MP3 blogs and their aggregators have been quite helpful in terms of filtering music choices, they are becoming more and more like otakus.

Otaku is a Japanese term for people who obsessively collect information about the things they’re fans of; however, according to Speed Tribes: Days and Nights with Japan’s Next Generation, a book by Karl Taro Greenfeld, otakus can very often end up collecting information just for the sake of having and then sharing rarities in a bid for increased (sub)cultural capital. Some may not even really be real fans, but more like people who get off on being able to access information that no one else can. Many MP3 blogs wield music as informational power without any particular connection to the music being discussed or featured, and with very little discussion or commentary, period. I can’t really criticize this method of blogging because as I learned while writing my MA thesis on it, everyone’s got a different purpose for his/her MP3 blog; some are just using it as a global mixtape or broadcast with music being the primary content. But the result of all this is the fact that music has become just more information to process, transfer and file. My bigger problem with this style of MP3 blog is the fact it places the onus of persuasion on the MP3s alone; I don’t have time to download every track I see on blogs to have each of them try to convince me of their worth. I actually need a little more rhetoric in order to survive. As alarming as the idea of depending on rhetoric, the art of persuasion, is, it is necessary. As a species, humanity has come to use filters throughout time to cope with the influx of information; these rhetorical filters have come in the form of social mores, religion, educational systems, culture, government and mass media. We can’t possibly learn/know everything, so we break off into specialist fields and expertises and come to rely on the power of others’ arguments to make sense of the world and process it.

I, myself, have gotten caught up in the subcultural capital gone mad. I’ve tried to keep tabs on bands I discovered via blogs, via MySpace, via the promotional emails in my inbox, and it’s all driven me to distraction. When I was a teenager, I listened to full albums all the time on my stereo and thus learnt them as coherent pieces. Rarely do I get to spend that kind of time on one album anymore, let alone really “learn” a record. I’m too busy slogging through thousands of possible life-changing bands and what Kathleen Hall Jamieson calls “the normalization of hyperbole”; everyone is vying for attention, including musicians, which can only lead to exaggeration and disappointment, and eventually, apathy and cynicism. Because of digital technology and the advent of the MP3, music has increasingly been treated as information, as binary code to be collected and stored rather than simply enjoyed. And with it, you become expected to keep track of all of these disparate pieces, including their daily communiques via services like Twitter, in order to maintain dialogue and your own music collection.

Twitter has made a communication model from the sound bite, something that most people aren’t capable of making interesting in the first place. How much do I need to know about each artist I listen to? How many are worth being that interested in? When do you stop being interesting and end up being trivial? I can’t even bring myself to follow someone like Stephen Fry on Twitter. If Stephen Fry isn’t interesting enough to keep minute-by-minute tabs on, then who is? Are we all really that bored and strapped for finding new information that we need to get updates on strangers’ mundane details? I don’t have enough time to process the information I come into contact with on a daily basis let alone the updates on people, famous or not. I don’t want to watch people live abbreviated lives and engage with art in short, transient bursts anymore. I don’t want to keep contributing to the trivia virus – it blows the networks of my brain and makes them useless for actual thinking and literate linearity. Between back catalogues and new discoveries daily, I’m getting more music than I can effectively comprehend. I want to be able to make the leap from mere perception to consciousness more than I currently do. This may mean having to extricate myself from the superhuman race on the information superhighway, and I think I’m okay with that. I may end up not knowing as much as others or being quite as up-to-date and cool, and I may even still occasionally have the nagging feeling that I’m missing something, but perhaps I can then practice this quality over quantity method in my music listening and collecting as I try to do in my blogging. It’s for the sake of my own sanity.

As much as music is numerically encoded and is probably one of the most mathematical arts, it should not be reduced to ones and zeroes. I wouldn’t mind being waylaid by the occasional information highwayman/woman. As long as their music stands and delivers.

Useless Information – Apparat

Blogspot – Paul and the Patients


They Finally Got Me: My First DMCA Takedown Notice

Well, after 15 months of no hassle, I’ve received my first DMCA takedown notice from Blogger. Of course, the offending post has already been taken down by Blogger, so it’s more of a notice to tell you it’s gone rather than a notice to tell you to take it down. The post that was deleted was a weekly mix from last August, long dead links and all. Even more bizarrely, this mix featured only cover versions and many of them were by artists that I’ve featured several times over. I know this because I took precautions several months ago and saved all of my previous posts to a Word document. At this point, all of these details aren’t even important. The real issue is one that I’ve talked about ad nauseum before. It’s frustrating because my own arguments and those of other intelligent people don’t have any effect. It’s the same reason I felt frustrated when I went to see RiP: A Remixer’s Manifesto yesterday.

The Brett Gaylor documentary was fantastic, but it essentially said everything I’ve already been thinking and discussing with others for the past few years. According to the film, the Remixer’s Manifesto is thus:

1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.

There were some really brilliant juxtapositions in the film as Gaylor demonstrates his points (one of my favourites was how he traces the use and/or evolution of a traditional folk/blues song/hook, The Last Time, through The Rolling Stones, The Verve and ultimately to its use by Girl Talk – the point being only The Rolling Stones did the suing within this process despite the fact they weren’t the original authors either). In the end, the process of the film is more important than its end product (Eno, anyone?), and the style of the documentary itself proves its point about remixing art and culture to provoke new ideas and enjoyment; without building on the past, progress is stifled and stagnant. Gaylor draws the battle lines clearly: you’re either on the Copy Right or the Copy Left, you’re either stuck in the past or looking to the future. He even put up his raw footage online to allow others to participate in an open source way. Oddly enough, Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig said things in the documentary that I wrote in that older post nearly verbatim, most particularly in the area of not being able to create in a vacuum and in his using the example of citations in essays and books. But neither of us owns the “right” to those thoughts.

With the advent of the Internet, the public domain has grown infinitely and beyond the conservative, stunted thinking of those in power. Trying to lock people up and shut them down will continue to be a futile exercise. I know I’m not doing anything wrong, yet having my own “intellectual property” deleted without my permission is legally sound because Google, a $31 billion company, owns Blogger, my current blog host. Talk about media control and strangle holds. How do you google Google? It’s the philosophical question of the Noughties. What kind of information are you going to get about the company when they’re the primary method for your search?

Here’s the notice I received today:

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the “IFPI Represented Companies”).

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See for more information about the DMCA, and see for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.

The Blogger Team

My favourite bit is the part “regardless of its merits.”

I refuse to be intimidated (in many ways, what Blogger is doing is like someone breaking into your apartment and stealing your possessions – and it’s not even like I’m keeping my door locked, so to speak), and I’m not going to sit back and let them slowly dismantle my free speech in the “public” domain. So, CTRR is moving house as soon as possible. I don’t care how much work it will be to get this blog back up on my own and on my own terms. Bear with me while I plant my flag in the Copy Left. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t Stop – Girl Talk

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister


Read All About It

Through life’s strange twists and online accessibility, my MA thesis, Does NME Even Know What a Music Blog Is?: The Rhetoric and Social Meaning of MP3 Blogs (see earlier post), is now available as a book published by VDM Publishing. That’s the good news. The perhaps not-as-good news is the fact it is priced at $64 US – I have officially become a part of the artificially inflated academic book market. Currently, the only place where it actually appears to be in stock is on Amazon US and Target, and is listed, but not yet in stock on Amazon UK and Amazon Germany. I definitely don’t intend to get rich from this, but at least it feels like I didn’t sacrifice a chunk of my sanity for nothing, and I still feel the current technological climate of the music industry and its counterpart of music journalism is a fascinating area that needs far more exploration, academic and otherwise. It’s exciting to think that I’ve contributed in some way to this global dialogue, especially since I couldn’t find any secondary academic sources about MP3 blogs when I was researching. It’s funny how, as a child, I always imagined my first published book would be a novel – then again, I also thought I’d grow up to be both a scientist and an artist.

At any rate, this will likely be the first and last time you’ll find me tooting my own horn, so to speak. I’d much rather promote other people, which I suppose I did inadvertently in the book as I used numerous examples from MP3 blogs and their aggregators. However, as I tended to argue in the book, promoting others really comes down to some sort of self-promotion anyway. I’m ready to go back to the more imperceptible kind.

Sound the Last Post, Then Unite and Take Over

I, like many MP3 bloggers, am deeply disturbed by the information gathered on a post over at The Vinyl Villain. JC has collected links to the following posts that all address the current censorship and bullying that is taking place in the MP3 blogosphere:

To Die By Your Side Post
Song, By Toad Post
Teenage Kicks Post
17 Seconds Post

I encourage you to read them all because each of them provides a slightly different insight into the rash of MP3 blog post removals, specifically by Google’s Blogger. I would also like to add a couple of my own links to relevant stories, including this story about Metallica and the Muxtape story. Now, as many of you know, I’ve been studying MP3 blogging with a fair amount of depth this past year, and as far as I could tell, most MP3 bloggers appeared safe from legal action because of the ephemeral nature of most download links, because of their disclaimers about asking for removal of MP3s, and because of the fact that as long as they posted only a few MP3s, and not full albums, they were operating under the following “fair use” clause of the Copyright Law:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.”

As evident through the above bloggers’ stories, this safety net has been torn from under us. Now there are talks of blogs disappearing and/or going underground (ie: email subscription services), but what I fail to understand is what record labels hope to gain by attacking MP3 blogs. Have they heard of torrents? Is it because it’s easier to target a bunch of relatively small static entities rather than massive networks whirling around the globe? To treat MP3 blogs and their offshoots as though they’re the same as the P2P filesharing frenzy started by Napster in the late 90s, is utterly ridiculous. There are so many flaws in these actions on the part of both major record labels and Google, but I would like to point out a few pertinent ones.

Firstly, how can archaic copyright laws be applied to drastically new developments in technology? How can you steal something whilst leaving it with the person you “stole” it from? This process is one of cloning, not of physical products leaving one spatial location to be in another. And after being in academia so long, I know the copyright law well enough – of course you can’t photocopy a whole book, but you can definitely copy portions that you need for your studies. The reason why this analogy doesn’t quite work is because photocopying a book would be a lot more time-consuming than downloading and burning an album or several. But I would like to point out the fact that research and epistemological processes have been built upon the foundation of citation. You cannot write an academic piece of literature without references, citations and examples from previous works to bolster your argument. Well, MP3s are bolstering our arguments. We are not plagiarizing entire books, we are providing our examples. Consider our MP3 links to be inside quotation marks.

Ideas and art do not spring from a vacuum. This is the civilized world that literacy ushered in. Once thoughts and information could be recorded for reference, they could be easily used to continue building on, generating a sense of progress. Science and technology themselves couldn’t have gone anywhere without the free flow and dissemination of information. Knowledge generates knowledge, and by preventing access to ideas and cultural artifacts, big businesses are only killing civilization as we know it. However, when you take a look at the history of communication, we are merely repeating it. When the printing press became more widespread, copyright laws were created by those that feared losing power, and restrictions were placed on who could produce printed news and books, but eventually, progress broke the elitist hold and the presses were opened again. This is not to say that censorship isn’t alive and well and that “free” societies are actually completely free and democratic.

In the current state of the world, it is becoming increasingly apparent that information is the new power, not military. Wars shall be fought with information and gathered intelligence – knowledge is indeed power. Chomsky and Herman’s Propaganda Model makes the point that journalism is greatly shaped and filtered by restricting means of production and communication to only those who have the financial means to do so. These filters are firmly entrenched in the world of journalism, so much so that they tend to be invisible to most people. I suggest you read Manufacturing Consent to illuminate this fraudulent concept of freedom of speech. My worry is how these filters will eventually find their way from the world of “official” journalism to the world of “unofficial” journalism. In some ways, they already have. For those without the money for a computer or high-speed Internet, MP3 blogging wouldn’t be an option in the first place. But soon the privileged, but non-elite people who maintain MP3 blogs could be silenced, too. If more of the financial elite get control over the Internet and its applications, the supposed freedom of online communcation and creation will completely disappear. My only hope is that there will continually be innovative people one step ahead, using their individual brains and sources of knowledge.

The issue here is primarily MP3s – I highly doubt blogs that merely discuss music without free downloads are being targeted in the same way. In many ways, MP3s are art, but they are also literally encoded information, so by stopping bloggers from using a few samples, music labels are obstructing the flow of information and attempting to curtail individuals thinking for themselves. Music fans are gaining power through being able to sample before buying, so record labels need only fear if their artists aren’t good enough to convince people to purchase their product. It’s hard to believe that the people in charge of the music industry have any business acumen at all with the absurd strategies they’re using. These strategies include the hidden Copyrighting Board Private Copying Tariff on the prices of blank audio cassettes and blank CDRs.

Secondly, it seems mad that record labels haven’t learned from their first go-round in which they fought the very technology that affected the future of their industry/commodity. Now, they’re fighting the future of music publicity. It’s like reaching for the bail bucket on the Titanic. The removal of MP3 blog posts is a pyrrhic victory for the music industry and a classic case of the music industry gnawing on the hand that feeds it. To attack people who have provided disclaimers and expired links, is an exercise in futility and ends up infringing on the property of others. And these others are the “real” music fans -the ones who actually buy music and go to live shows as opposed to the casual music fans who don’t care whether they get all their music from torrents and who will likely never be the target market for excessive music buying.

It appears that Coxon of To Die By Your Side could have been targeted because he wrote a critical review of Cold War Kids’ latest album. Well, I did, too – here. And perhaps one of the reasons I haven’t had my post removed yet is because I’m still flying under the radar and not generating huge traffic. I, like most other bloggers, have had plenty of positive feedback from the artists themselves, who are happy that their art is being exposed to the public by people who are just as passionate about it as they are. Unlike the music industry, and to an increasingly greater extent, the music journalism industry, many MP3 bloggers view music as art, not as strictly a commodity. If the music industry is so in tune with the laws of capitalism, they should recognize the moment when a business has to adapt or die – that moment has already come and gone, but the industry has found no viable solution for itself; thus, industry people busy themselves by bullying those that can’t feasibly fight back so that they can feel proactive rather than the lumbering retroactive people they are.

Fear generates fear. The obsolete middlemen in the music industry are fearing for their livelihoods, and are thus using fear tactics upon both blog hosts like Google and MP3 bloggers. I refuse to be fearful. If and when it comes to sounding my last post, I, along with other music fans, will find a new way of communicating because the process that literacy set in motion cannot be stopped. If we are to be viewed as shoplifters, then all I have to say is: Shoplifters of the world unite and take over.

Shoplifters Of the World Unite – The Smiths

Can the Haves Use Their Brains – McCarthy


Does NME even know what a music blog is?: The rhetoric and social meaning of MP3 blogs

Well, here’s the fruit of my four hardcore months of labour: my MA thesis on MP3 blogs. I had a few qualms about posting it here for download, not for intellectual property rights (because that would be rather ironic given the content of the thesis), but because I still feel there’s so much more to be done and I know I could potentially have more reactions and responses than I can handle. For those who download and read it, bear in mind, I needed to make an argument of some sort, so I can understand there will be counterarguments and/or disputes with what I came up with, especially from those bloggers who have far more experience in the actual act of blogging than I do. Having said that, I will appreciate any and all comments and criticisms (unless of course you all pick up your pitchforks and run me out of the blogosphere). At any rate, it seems the powers that be have signed off on this thesis (thankfully, without any requests for revisions), and I think I’m in the clear to graduate with my MA degree. What comes next is anyone’s guess…

Does NME even know what a music blog is?: The rhetoric and social meaning of MP3 blogs (Download)

And some song treats to help the academia go down:

College – Johnny Boy

A Strange Education – The Cinematics


MP3 Blogs vs Music Blogs: Part II

Largely unbeknownst to me, it seems my last, rather informal, post on the differences between music blogs with MP3s and those without became a wee bit of a meme (let’s put it this way – I got far more mentions on other blogs, feeds and sites than I ever had before and would ever had expected from my cobwebby corner of cyberspace). Now that my MA thesis on MP3 blogs’ rhetoric and social meaning is finished, and now that I’ve thought myself into a nervous breakdown of sorts, I have a few more opinions about this topic that I came to while finishing the behemoth.

Before I explore my own arguments a little further, I would like to address a few different opinions that seemed to emerge in reaction to my earlier post. Firstly, I found a post from incidentals and accidentals, which took issue with the fact I said posting music that you didn’t like would be a waste of time, especially for those who write music blogs for a hobby. This blogger’s exact words were:

This is the line of thinking that always really burns me. All the kvetching about the sheeplike tendencies of mp3 blogs is precisely related to the fact that so many bloggers think it’s a waste of time to talk about stuff they don’t like. More specifically, to articulate why something isn’t good, beyond a mere “this sucks” lobbed into a comments box or message board. It’s not a waste of time, particularly if you value the fact that people are regularly reading your blog. Dislikes give shape to likes. The fact that someone might be able to explain why they think one artist is shit might add weight to an argument for another artist’s strengths. I’m not saying you have to get into compare-and-contrast lists, but regular readers will grow to know and trust your tastes.

Oh and the whole thing about text-heavy bloggers being largely professional critics – Personally I’m an exception to that idea, and I know there are plenty of other exceptions as well. Again it just goes to this whole idea of people not wanting blogging to be “a waste of time” – as if one can’t write seriously about music for fun, sans paycheck. That is the hobby! Putting an mp3 online is not a hobby, it’s an impulse.

This is an interesting point – dislikes do throw your likes into relief. Perhaps to clarify my “waste of time” comment, I could argue that posting MP3s of music you hate seems counterintuitive (“Please take the time to download and listen to this song that I just provided a solid argument against listening to”). I’ll be looking into the significance of MP3s as a medium later in this post. However, just as I can’t assume that everyone writes positively about music (which I don’t), no one else can assume that bloggers should write some negative reviews, or in fact, that they all do. I’ve come across many blogs who do either or both, showing that time and time again, MP3 blogs cannot be lumped together into one general genre of media. It’s pretty much impossible to make any generalizing statement at all – the same blog can be different things between different posts. Like this blogger from incidentals and accidentals says, there are too many exceptions. There is also an implication in this blogger’s argument that a certain type of MP3 blog is more valuable and “truer” to the genre than others, these “others” being those who just post MP3s rather than write text-heavy opinions or criticism; that those who just post MP3s are less thoughtful, less perceptive, and somehow acting on a lower, more instinctual level than one of higher, intellectual deliberation. This implication points once again to purpose, which I will get to shortly.

I also had a couple of interesting comments left on the post itself, one of which provided a link to Nevver, an MP3 blog which just posts photos and MP3s without any text, implying rather than explicitly stating connections between the two forms of art. This example takes MP3 blogs to their extreme conclusion, where words are no longer necessary. Another comment was also very helpful in that it drew a line between MP3 blogs being the new radio whilst music blogs are discussion and opinion, comparing MP3 bloggers to DJs. Together, these comments really got me thinking about why people create and maintain MP3 blogs, and the connection between how they do it and why they do it.

Now, after sorting out some rather ridiculous Kenneth Burke Dramatistic ratios about MP3 blog rhetoric, I learned a few things. The most significant one is that MP3 blogs are in no way a cohesive body with the same purposes; these purposes, however, do vary depending on which media the MP3 blogger favours to remediate, in other words, the agency he/she utilizes to convey his/her purpose and act. But how does the purpose affect the choice of agency? Or is it the other way around with the agency affecting the purpose, and then the act itself? I’m inclined to believe and argue the latter.

Let me track back a bit to remediation, which is how a medium re-uses and re-interprets a different medium. Remediation can work backwards and forwards, meaning that television is a remediation of film, which came before it, but it can also increasingly be seen in terms of interactivity, as a remediation of the Internet, which came after television. I see MP3 blogs as a remediation of the diary, music journalism/criticism, fanzine, pirate/alternative radio, and mixtape. These are the media, with their attendant purposes, that shape the purposes of MP3 blogs.

The diary element of MP3 blogs affects the purpose by making it personal and reinforcing the affective relationship between the blogger and the music he/she is writing about. This diary remediation shifts commentary into a subjective rather than objective direction, and serves to highlight the newer development of blurring between public and private, which combines self-disclosure with self-promotion. The self-promotion characteristic innate in blogs, evidenced by site traffic meters and inclusion on aggregators, is one that can gain a lot of criticism, especially when traffic and attention becomes the primary motive; however, this attitude presupposes that MP3 blogs as a genre should be something purer of motive, where only the music matters, which is an assumption that ignores the inherent and inherited diary element remediated in the blog medium. Even if one doesn’t believe they’re promoting him/herself along with the music featured, the very fact the blog is made public and that there is the concern for appearing trustworthy and credible, including having enough subcultural capital, makes the MP3 blog a site of self-promotion.

The music journalism/criticism remediation is one on which those who believe in an MP3 blog revolution would depend. With the access that the Internet brings, amateur writers can research and publish their own pieces about music. It is too simple to say that MP3 blogs have replaced or will replace traditional music journalism, and the fact this remediation is also bound up with public relations/promotional remediation and self-promotion makes it less clear-cut a substitution. The fanzine remediation is connected to the rather positive impulse of celebrating and promoting music that one loves, which I mentioned in the earlier post, and to a more subcultural purpose, supposedly working against and in spite of the mainstream media, promoting artists who don’t get promotion through mainstream channels. However, it is also too simplistic to think that MP3 blogs are actually sticking it to the man, even if their rhetoric says they are. The symbiosis of mainstream media and subcultural media is too much a part of subculture as a concept for MP3 blogs to exist in an alternative vacuum, shunning all mainstream media. Even in defining oneself against mainstream media (ie: criticizing NME in a post), one uses and depends on the mainstream for identity and position.

The remediation of the aural media of radio and mixtape is very signficant in that it brings collection, selection, and organization into the foreground of MP3 blog purpose rather than commentary and opinion. Like DJs and mixtape makers, MP3 bloggers attribute meaning to which music they collect and then to how they present it, often without text. While the radio remediation allows for brief background and commentary about tracks (as opposed to lengthy criticism and commentary), the mixtape remediation actually offers music to blog vistors like a word-of-mouth gift – the receiver not only gets to listen to it, but gets to keep it. The mixtape remediation is pervasive in both MP3 blog content and the musical end of the Internet, including sites like Muxtape and technology like Mixas, emphasizing the fanatical impulse for collection, selection, and arrangement along with love and passion for music as motive. Ultimately, MP3 blogs are a bricolage of media that came before them, making them rather slippery to define as a genre.

While it becomes difficult to classify MP3 blogs as a genre based on purpose, the one aspect that does hold the genre together is the MP3s themselves. Regularly posting MP3s on your blog simply makes your blog an MP3 blog. MP3s themselves are fundamental to the medium of MP3 blogs. To get all McLuhan on you, “the medium is the message,” and in this case, the MP3 is largely the message. In the Burkean sense, if every selection of reality is both a reflection and a deflection, making most statements, textual or not, rhetorical and/or persuasive, then the mere selection that MP3 blogs employ by choosing the MP3s they feature for download automatically deflects other choices, implying preference and value to music without having to explicitly state anything negative. Or positive. Or to state anything at all. The very act of selection is persuasive, and is made even more salient by the fact MP3 files are included. In this way, MP3s speak and argue for themselves just as other non-verbal elements like images can. Furthermore, blogs, which are of course actually “web logs,” have an inherent filter/selection function in which hyperlinks act as both evidence and a record of “pre-surfed” and pre-approved information. Rather than convince by authority and “unquestionable” sources alone, which journalists and critics depend on, bloggers convince by providing a way for their readers to participate in the information they consume, assuming a more active role. With this in mind, MP3s are the primary links provided in MP3 blogs, providing support for the blogger’s claims, and their very existence argues for pre-approved content.

Ultimately, MP3 blog influence is far less than many bloggers would believe it is or like it to be. While aggregators like The Hype Machine and Elbows do collect and reify disparate blogs, giving the impression of power and solidarity, they do not set the agendas as much as they would imply. For the most part, the most popular MP3 blogs are reactive rather than proactive in music selection. Unless more bloggers actually exclusively search out new, mostly unsigned, artists and collectively promote them to the point they “break” into the consciousness of those outside of the music blogosphere, they cannot be said to have all that much power to change the system already in place.

We cannot herald the MP3 blog as the substitute for music journalism/criticism, nor for radio, because in remediation, it is much more and much less depending on which aspects are focused upon. For as many people as have access to the Internet there are as many opinions, especially about what MP3 blogs should be, and more importantly, what they should do. I fully acknowledge this plurality, and whether bloggers use MP3 blogs to criticize, to promote, to share, or to express themselves, they are collectively an organism still growing and changing. And since the Internet is a fickle medium, turning attention into one of the rarest commodities, all MP3 bloggers can hope for is their slice of a fragmented, but loyal audience that believes in the purpose presented. Whatever purpose that may be. I, for one, am still thinking about it.

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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can' the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome