Tuesday, 31 July 2012
You should probably like the Oatmeal on Facebook. Also, go and have a look through all their other comics.
Image from Digital Music News
Unsurprisingly doing stuff DIY comes out on top. Goes without saying really doesn't it. yeah, a major label probably has the infrastructure to enable bands to sell millions but this blog isn't really about that kind of MTV world. In all honesty, it's not really even about bands scraping a living (although there's nothing wrong with that). It's more about DIY punk type bands managing not to lose money on doing a record or covering the costs of a tour.
Once again, Spotify comes out as the worst. Someone in the comments posted another infographic showing how much Spotify pays out to artists and it's a reasonably respectable 70% of it's profits. The idea of being paid a small amount per stream does make sense but at the moment the number of streams you'd need to get is just ridiculous. Especially for small DIY bands where you'd consider a youtube video to have gone 'viral' if it had more than a thousand plays. The only way I could conceive of it working would be someone created a DIY version. Say you paid £10 a month for the power violence channel or £10 a month for Swedish D Beat channel. Probably not going to happen anytime soon so let's move back up to the top of the infographic where the self released music is.
I ran a few numbers on equivalent prices in Bandcamp to see how that would work. With Bandcamp they take a cut and there's the paypal fee as well. The cheapest paypal rate is a straight 5%. Bandcamp's fee is 15% which falls to 10% if you're selling quite a bit (basically enough that you'd be making this fictitious minimum wage figure).
Let's begin with selling the digital version at $9.99 which the other digital and CD rates are set at on the infographic. Bandcamp wins! At Bandcamp's top rate of a 15% cut plus paypal's 5% you'd need to selling 145 copies. That drops to just 136 copies if you're selling enough to get Bandcamp's 10% rate.
Now, in all honesty, a tenner for a digital album just really isn't on in my book. Let's drop the price down to $5. It comes out as only slightly more than selling a $10 CD (and no-one buys CDs). You'd need to sell either 290 or 273 copies (depending on Bandcamp's rate) at $5 to make that minimum wage figure.
It's one of the main reasons I'm not a fan of itunes. I say I'm not a fan, I absolutely refuse to buy from itunes. Going with the fact loads of people I know are trying to offload boxes of CDs as they don't want them it seems there's only two options left: vinyl and bandcamp (or other independent digital distribution). Pretty much the whole argument of this blog that digital can make a big dent in the cost of doing a DIY record.
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Sadly it appears that this is the final Cellgraft release. Shame as they've made some of the best grindcore of recent years. And when I say grindcore i mean grindcore. In my review of their split 7" with Drainland I pointed out that they seem to take grindcore back to first principles of mixing Swans grind with fast blasts of hard core.
This stuff is genuinely equal to a band like Discordance Axis
Super short blasts of hardcore punk. Weirdly tuneful rather than a Drop Dead clone or something. Ex-Raped Teenagers if you're an old punk. Actually at a loss to accurately describe this because, unlike most punk stuff, it isn't just blah crossed with blah. Guess it comes from the same place as freaks like Nomeansno/Pissed Happy Children/Minutemen but in 15 second chunks.
tl;dr Album of the year. Doom. Candlemass
This is the best record of 2012. I don't care that there's still half a year to go. There's no way on earth that this is going to get beaten. There was a good month or so when I listened to this at least once a day. Recent lack of access to the stereo is the only reason that run has been broken.
NPR were streaming the album back in February and it was instantly clear that it topped their non-too-shabby demo from the other year. Listened to that loads and grabbed a cheeky mediafire link to wait out the time before the official release. Official release came and it was a CD on Profound Lore. Think I might have mentioned I hate CDs. Thankfully 20 Buck Spin are doing a double LP of it which should come out at some point. Just saw Profound Lore put it up on their bandcamp for sale so just bought the FLAC of it and you can really tell the difference. Sounds so much better than ropey mp3s. Still reckon I'm going to get the vinyl as well though.
Anyway, the music. Musically this is total doom stuff but totally tuneful. Could well imagine this having come out on Hellhound donkeys years ago. Candlemass is a a reference that gets bandied around a lot with them and there's certainly an influence in there. It doesn't 'sound like' Candlemass though. They've got a similar melodic sensibility though despite the fact the songs are stretched out even further. I guess it's also because the singer actually sings rather than growls. There's an incredible bit about 10 minutes into the first song, Foreigner, where the vocals kick back in which sends shivers down my spine. You'll recognise that bit when you hear it.
Basically, if you like any kind of music spawned from Black Sabbath then you'll love it. Guaranteed.
Friday, 27 July 2012
"Like Ewan and Kevin, I've been getting frustrated at the lack of legal digital downloads outside of itunes. I recently saw some hipster bands upstairs in a bar and their recordings came in two formats - vinyl and CASSETTE. Unacceptable. I don't have the facility to play these and don't intend to change that. I wanted to exchange cash for their art but they recommended I download it for free. I think they were missing the point. I'm an adult with a disposable income that I enjoy exchanging for art work, telling me it's free if I search their name + mediafire makes me sad.
So finally, a DIY label I have respect for. Read about Rumbletowne here - http://www.rumbletowne.com/rtr/node/15. They respect the need for accessible music to those without funds but also have donation buttons with suggested donations for MP3s. They even encourage full album downloads instead of song by song.
I stumbled across this American DIY label during my obsession with both male and female vocal punk bands. RVIVR are my showcase for today with their Re-release of their first two 7"s and the Dirty Water EP. (Kevin will hate them)
They are an American melodic, energetic punk with dual vocals, catchy riffs and a righteous attitude. These are things I am a fan of. Like bands before them, they use inspiring music with political themes. Try them out, great as summertime music and one of many bands in this genre that's picking up again. Whole tracklisting is great, can tell it's a compilation of previous EPs but a geat introduction to a great band."
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Savage savage savage savage dark metallic crust inspired hardcore. And it's not pretending either. This band are from Aberdeen. Ever been to Aberdeen? It's fucking bleak, cold and windswept. Some of this lot used to play in Filthpact and many moons ago they put on my old band in Aberdeen. Nice folk. But the town they live in is on the border of being the absolute wilderness. The North of Scotland has a similar line of latitude as all the Scandanavian black metal and raw crust bands. Not much else to do but shelter from the cold, drink beer and cook up the sickest music imaginable.
Now when i say crust i'm kind of alluding to the more fucked up end of the 90s crust stuff when the punks started making music like Neurosis, His Hero Is Gone and Dystopia. However, this is not sounds-like-Neurosis or sounds-like-His-Hero-Is-Gone stuff. There's tons of bands out there doing that generic copycat thing but this ain't it. It's coming from the same root as those 90s bands. The label compares them to The Dagda and I'd have to agree. Sadly, I feel that it's unlikely you'll have heard them. Do yourself a favour, find some Dagda stuff on a blog or soulseek. Oh, and My Name Is Satan too. Two of the sickest, most twisted hardcore bands Ireland ever threw up. It doesn't sound a million miles away from Ireland's current bleakest sons, Drainland. Not surprising as the man running the Suburban Mayhem label used to be in them. It's a bit more straight forward than them though. It's the kind of thing your regularly crusty might well shake his fist in the air at live whilst also appealing to the handful of oddballs that are into weird stuff but hang out in the punk scene. I reckon this lot would flatten the 1in12 if they played towards the end of an alldayer.
I mentioned the Suburban Mayhem label and sadly this is the last release as the label is calling it quits. It's all explained by them in a post called Death Of A DIY Label.
NOW GO AND BUY THE LP
That last thing was a link to buy the record but maybe you need me to show you the link like this - http://destroyedhuman.bigcartel.com/
Oh, and pick up the Drainland/Crows split 7" at the same time because it's killer.
One half of this band is in Yob (the drummer) but it's mainly the project of Stevie Floyd: vocalist, guitarist and visual artist. Crushingly heavy, kinda like His Hero Is Gone but way more expansive and Doom. Crusty yet beautifully melodic in places. I saw them support Yob last year and they were better, in my opinion. I've been listening to this record a lot since then, really superb stuff.
More far out underground synth/drone stuff. All under water and gurgly synths with pads reaching on forever.
Tidal, the UK based Jimmy Billingham's otherworldly musical project has found a home on a variety of important underground labels from around the globe, we are finally lucky enough for him to join the Chemical Tapes family with his latest work entitled Olympus.
Is this a reference to soaring mountain peaks? If so this is the perfect soundtrack. 4 journeys spanning the c40 cassette take us on a trip of psychoactive shimmering ambience, there is a re-assuring warmth to the synth soundscapes across Olympus, keeping the listener engaged and locked into the eternal bliss.
Kemialliset Ystävät have just put up an unreleased EP of their homemade Finnish psych folk. They've put a bunch of stuff out on Fonal so you know what you're going to be getting. If you haven't dabbled in the weird sounds of the Finnish free folk scene then you really need to. Definitely one of those scenes which sits in its own little world and doesn't sound like much else.
Finally got around to checking this lot out. Basic idea seems to be doom (or if you're Aquarius Records, dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom) but with loads of synths and horrid beats thrown in. We're talking post-Sunn doom and not rocking Black Sabbath riffs. It's got a bit of a Godflesh feel but then if you cross metal type stuff with synths/beats it's kind of inevitable. Reminds me a bit of Legion Of Two as well.
The plaudits continue for London duo Necro Deathmort. After quietly unleashing first album This Beat is Necrotronic onto an unsuspecting but appreciative world back in 2009, the pair released unanimously-praised Music of Bleak Origin in 2010, which saw them refine their doom-meets-heavy bass template to remarkable effect. No wonder that they have supported Ulver, Shining, and d.USK among others, added Roadburn, Sonar, Supersonic, Asymmetry to their ever-expanding festival list, and remixed the likes of Ulver and Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). And now AJ Cookson and Matthew Rozeik go one step darker into the abyss with undoubtedly their strongest, heaviest and most accomplished album yet: The Colonial Script.
It's all what you expect and then some. Dingy, gritty sounds that creeps, lurks, builds, elongates, teases, and piledrives you in the face with switchblade beats and apocalyptic crescendos. And that's just in the first tune. Over the course of the nine tracks, you can expect to hear grainy, doomy ambience, whirlpools of 23hz low-end scuzz, acidburn waspsynth buzz, thudding and juddering feedback-ridden roars, distorted nihilistic yelps, doomscaping visceral breaks, buzzsawing smackstrung loops, all seamlessly weaved together in a brutal but beautiful tapestry. Maximum volume yields maximum results.
Oh, and you should just generally support Distraction Records. They've got a nice bandcamp page of weirdo sounds here - http://distractionrecords.bandcamp.com/. They also bung on lots of DIY gigs in Newcastle. They once put on one of my old bands, Unicorn Love and it was excellent.
I am J D Emmanuel. My music is designed to create and enhance deep meditative or altered states. My music style is to first create a foundation using cyclic, poly rhythmic music, then build several layers of improvised leads and rhythms. The style is based on my deep jazz background influenced by my study of minimal music by such composers as Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
Monday, 23 July 2012
There's a track from the Generic - For A Free And Liberated South Africa 7" from 1986. The very first release on Flat Earth Records
You can get the whole thing for free here - http://flatearthrecs.blogspot.co.uk/ aka The Archive Of Bloody Everything. Pretty much everything Flat Earth put out is available along with stories about how it all happened. If you have even the slightest interest in the history of DIY punk in the UK then Flat Earth is essential.
Inside the record (yeah, the actual 7" - this blog might be about encouraging people to sell digital stuff but I'm also a vinyl nerd) is a fascinating insert detailing the exact costs of putting the record out. The point being was to show other people that it could be done and how it could be done.
The other month I decided to have a little look into what the costs would be in today's money. I've used the Bank Of England inflation calculator to see what a price in 1986 would be in 2011 (the most recent year it does). Yes, this is quite a geeky thing to do but personally I think it's quite interesting to compare. This is especially true when people say that vinyl is so much more expensive to press nowadays. I was going to leave you with a link to an article explaining why there's no such thing as an exact inflation rate as it all depends on what you personally buy. However, I can't for the life of me find the link. Anyway, on with the costs.
First up is "Recording/Master tape/Transport" which in 1986 came to £80. That comes out at £192.33 after inflation.
Next is "Pressing". All the individual parts of the pressing process are listed but even I'm not that sad to check them all. The overall price of pressing 1,000 7" was £493. That comes out as £1185.29 in 2011 money. That's without covers. If you head over to Key Production you can see that you can get 1,000 7"s without sleeves pressed for £1002. That includes transport and test presses as well.
They spent £57 on covers which today would be £137.04.
An advert in Maximum Rock n Roll was £15 (now, £36.06). 1/6 page ad in MRR is currently $33 which isn't too much difference
After adding everything up and including a bit for telephone calls and other bits and bobs they totalled it at £700 for 1,000 7"s. That comes to £1682.97 in 2011.
Strangely, the conclusion appears to be that pressing 1,000 7"s is actually cheaper these days. Of course, it's far harder to actually flog 1,000 7"s now. That's one of the reasons I reckon it's a good idea to sell digital stuff as it makes up a bit of the shortfall
SAINT VITUS are the godfathers of American Doom Metal. A statement weighing as heavy as this band sounds. Nonetheless this is simply the truth.I'm not going to argue with that.
Seriously, just buy the fucking thing.
Buy it direct from the band here - http://cartertuttivoid.sandbag.uk.com/Store/DII-230-5-transverse+download+wav.html
From the fine tradition of bands using their surnames as a group name like Emerson Lake and Palmer or Crosby Stills and Nash comes Carter Tutti Void. That's Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti from Throbbing Gristle (and Chris & Cosey). The Void is someone from a newer Kraut-rocky band from London called Factory Floor. Missed them at Supersonic the other year because i sneared at the description and went and got some food instead. My mistake, I've checked out some Factory Floor and it's good stuff.
Back to Carter Tutti Void, it's a repetitive mix of Kraut and techno but with an early 80s industrial feel and live slightly clanky instruments. Those are all good things by the way. I guess it's almost like a bleaker, grimmer English industrial version of what the Moritz Von Oswald Trio have been doing in the past few years.
Love to see this done live at some point. For now the recording will do.
OK, the tl;dr on this is ex-Endless Blockade/Shank and is top-tier 'power violence'. It'd definitely have got a 'brutal' description from Crass Menagerie.
Can I recommend you head on over to http://survivalist-deathcult.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/mission-from-god-lp-out-now.html and read what Andy's got to say about the LP and the ideas behind the music.
It explores the Yorkshire Ripper murders and the culture of 70s Yorkshire although explicitly not in a "duuuuude, serial killers man" way. Here's a quick excerpt from the explanation:-
The simpler impetus behind this album is that Sutcliffe’s murders are part of a larger, horrifying landscape… a bleak, ruined vista of grinding poverty, institutionalized racism and sexism, police brutality, pollution and inescapable decay. Quite simply, the Yorkshire of Sutcliffe’s day is probably unimaginable to those who weren’t there. It was a time and place that warrants examination and exploration. The environment of Yorkshire at the time and Sutcliffe’s crimes are deeply interrelated, perhaps even symbiotic. Some of this album is deeply personal, much is intentionally enigmatic and some is completely straight ahead. Our desire is not to decode or spell this album out, but to encourage one to consume it on a level that is deeper than a “fuckin’ grind/noise album about a serial killer, man!”.
There's a couple of more power electronics tracks with treated speech from the time. It sounds like one of the pieces utilises the infamous hoax tape where someone pretended to be the killer and rang the police taunting them. The other piece uses what seems to be an interview from a light entertainment TV programme with the presenter giggling about Sutcliffe not having sex in prison. It's definitely the most jarring, other-worldly part of the whole thing.
Musically there's a touch of death metal in with all the power violence. I say this only because it mentions that it's not their 'death metal album' and that there was only a bit of it in there. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been primed. We're talking maybe half a riff with a bit of an Autopsy rhythm. The rest is generally along the well thought out slow-fast Crossed Out breed (ie not superficial Spazz-isms).
Wooderson's own words are fairly self explanatory:-
Now then. Wooderson are a DIY band from Sheffield. We play noisy, DC inspired post-punk type stuff.
We've just put our first album 'Let The Man Speak', which will be released via Bombed Out and Art For Blind on July 16th, up for streaming and vinyl/CD pre-order. The first 100 vinyl orders will receive a nice slab of green wax.
You might enjoy if you like bands such as Fugazi, Mission Of Burma, Hoover, ...Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth.
It's been put out by Bombed Out Records who must be nearing their 15th anniversary of putting DIY punk stuff out in Leeds. They've got a ton more stuff to get your ears round.
Anyway, so far this is my favourite album of the year. The three parts which make up Mӧbius are an absolute fucking masterpiece. Basick Records seem to be putting out a bunch of records like this (all via Bandcamp with options for physical too - bravo!). Some have atrocious emo-metal vocals which I cannot get on with, but the instrumental projects sound interesting. Worth exploring further, I reckon.
Saturday, 21 July 2012
Politically fueled 90'-Hardcore sounding band from France. Influences: Unbroken, Indecision, Catharsis, Outspoken, Trial, Morning Again, Burn, Inside Out, 108, Noam Chomsky, CrimethInc, Alexander Berkman, Elisée Reclus...
Friday, 20 July 2012
So, Ewan decided to make a new blog about sharing links to DIY albums available to buy digitally in FLAC from Bandcamp (or elsewhere, but I'm guessing it's mostly gonna be from Bandcamp). We'd been ranting to ourselves on Twitter about how much we believe that DIY bands and labels should be releasing their music in this way for many different reasons and were getting annoyed by various antiquated and idealistically stupid reasons why labels/bands were choosing not to release their music in this way.
Anyway, Ewan has let me post here too as I'm always discovering incredible stuff on Bandcamp and (from personal experiences of releasing my own music on Bandcamp) I didn't see many blogs or online vehicles where people helped to spread the word about great music they find there, instead bowing to the bullshit snobbery of "if it isn't physical then it ain't a proper release".
I'm gonna post links to great music on here, but I'm also gonna try and write some reasoned posts as to why I believe that the "paid for" FLAC download model is a REALLY positive thing for DIY music and should be embraced by everyone. I also fully support people doing the "pay what/if you want" or the completely free thing with their music on Bandcamp too. It's all good!
So yeah, more to come soon, but I'm hoping we can highlight some great music here and also inspire more people to use these new technologies to support DIY music.
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Only given this one blast through and it seems pretty damn good. Total 90s twisted metallic hardcore feel. I might chuck in some names like Bloodlet and Turmoil to add to the ones the label gives in their blurb:-
"Gathering parisians with an already strong pedigree in dark and heavy music, COWARDS regurgitates gutter hardcore, unhealthy sludge/doom and nauseous black metal in “Shooting Blanks And Pills”, their deeply raw and anxiogenic debut release. Only six months were needed to give birth to this full-length, monstrosity with a desperate urban feeling, bridge between the knife-in-the-heart crudeness of Eyehategod or Kickback and the majestic darkness of bands like Deathspell Omega or Thou. With a sound carrying smells of pissy streets and the dry blood you get for a sidelong glance, producer Francis Caste have perfectly catched the gist of these 38 minutes, recreating this forced apnea in a bile tank with a no frills approach." Cowards features current and ex-members of Sickbag, Death Mercedes, Hangman’s Chair, Eibon, Glorior Belli, Dacast, Colossus of Destiny…
“Shooting Blanks And Pills” will be released on 12” vinyl during june via Throatruiner and Hellbound Records, the band's own structure. Artwork and logo by Førtifem - http://fortifem.fr/
Here's a review from Collective-Zine:-
Side A features 3 short, sharp blasts of garage influenced hardcore that is all over the shop. Really neat stuff that has brains and brawn in abundance. However, it’s the b-side’s lone track, ‘House Rules’ that really wins me over; a noisy No Trend-esque slow burner coated in feedback with a repetitive bass line throughout. The vocals on this track are awesome; whiny and weird without being over the top or annoying. It slowly rumbles on and on for 4 or 5 minutes without getting laboured or boring. Cracking stuff and some sweet artwork of a bunch of hippies and policemen hanging out at Stonehenge.
After years of service in Gruel, Like a Kind of Matador and Redrighthand, Max Bordenghast suffered a compound nervous exhaustion and retreated to a rural existance in the yorkshire dales. Only in the last few years has max worked up the confidence to perform in public once again. he's doing well, thus far.
This one sounds like a long lost King Crimson studio out take after a bottle of whisky. Simple lo fi drawled song with deceptive guitar work underneath.
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
I guess Torch Runner might be one of the reasons I started this here web log. At the weekend I was having a bit of a dig through some of the usual music download blogs for some new bands to check out. Can't remember where but one of them said there was a new Torch Runner. It was one of those blogs that, despite the fact it's offering up free downloads, actually puts a bit of an effort into the description and puts a load of links to all the bands facebooks and labels and bandcamps and all the rest of it.
I clicked on the bandcamp link and was just a few songs in when I knew it was a total banger. I'd loved their previous LP which I'd downloaded yonks ago off some mediafire blog or another. The LP version of the new one was quite limited and it'd have cost me over a tenner just for postage from the US (about $20 if i recall). Their label's stuff doesn't often make it over the pond so I'd have been quite happy with a FLAC download. Got my wallet out of my back pocked and produced my bank card........nope, no sale, no way of buying it as the option for digital downloads wasn't set. Being a prick I looked up their Facebook page and told them. They relented. I bought it. Easy.
Anyway, there'll be time enough later on for me to post about my thoughts on why paid digital downloads are good for DIY bands. More important at the moment, the music....
As said above they've got a bit of a metallicy hardcore thing going on. I guess I need to be a bit more specific. Basically, this would have been praised in Heartattack, praised in Monkeybite, praised in an old Rob Coons column in Maximum Rock n Roll whilst also possibly getting half a page in Terrorizer. Nowadays they could go down well at a screamo thing like Cry Me A River or a fest for "sketchy dudes" (ie suburban teenagers) into Holy Terror. They seem to hit that sweet spot between the punky stuff which tends towards generic Tragedy d beat and that kind of post-Cursed thing like Nails/Trap Them which, quite honestly, just blends into one bland sound to me.
I'm beginning to just rant about other music. Basically it's well worth a blast.
Orgone Accumulators - An Aleatorial Mathematical Approach to Deciphering the Radio Broadcasts of Ancient Astronauts
Downloading stuff for free is fine. Lord only knows the number of records I've bought having already downloaded it. Pretty much now I'm not going to buy a record unless I already know I like it. Also, it's great being able to check touring bands out beforehand and get to know the songs.
I'm guessing you know all that and probably agree since you've stumbled upon a DIY music blog with links to the music. Especially if you googled Band Name - Album Title - Mediafire. Yeah, don't lie to me and say you've never done that.
Increasingly, though, I'm becoming less and less bothered with actually owning a physical record. For a select few bands I really love I'll still want the vinyl. Yeah, there's CDs but I'm half tempted to hire a skip, fill it with all my CDs, douse them in petrol and set it on fire.
More and more, I want to be able get FLAC. And not just get FLAC for free. I want to pay for FLAC. At some point I'll do a post outlining all the whys and wherfores about that but for the moment I'll leave it as I'd like to buy FLAC. I'd like to cut out as many middle men as possible and give bands/labels my money for the music directly.
And so we come to the point of the blog. Basically it's like any of the other music download blogs out there but focusing on DIY stuff where you can pay for a download.
Hopefully it'll be reasonably successful in encouraging more DIY bands and labels to sell music downloads and help them to not lose quite as much money.