Thursday night San Francisco’s The Eagle Tavern (for real) plays host to a garage rock orgasm featuring not one, but TWO of my obsessions, Ty Segall and JEFF the Brotherhood, along with local up and comers The Splinters and The Baths. I caught this tour de force in Austin last week at The Mohawk and, like a junkie, am ready for another fix. This one’s as good as it gets, folks. Be there, if you’re man enough. And bring your bare ass and chaps.
Trans Am, man these guys have been at it for a long time – 15 years. And they’re back with more to add to their catalog. This one, entitled Thing, is due out April 20. The interesting story behind it is that the project started as commissioned soundtrack for a sci-fi film. While they didn’t know the details, it was reportedly for James Cameron and suspected to be the soundtrack for Avatar.
Well, that never happened. But the lavish budget remained and through the wreckage was born….Thing. A labor of love that takes the band on a journey to strip themselves from not only indie rock, but music itself. One of Thing’s requirements was that each track contain a completely non-musical element, preferably something with a sonic signature that was not even necessarily a sound. They utilized a recording/composition strategy known as “Zombification.” Once a song was recorded, each of the band members would record multiple additional tracks without any reference to the previous ones. The song then forgot itself – becoming almost unlistenable. Upon which they would begin to peel back the layers of the song to arrive at something completely different. Take a listen.
God damn, these guys blew my mind in Austin. One of my favorite live performances and one of my favorite albums from ’09. What a voice, what a drummer. These Aussies are going to be huge. Mark my word. Check out their new video for the track “Sweet Disposition” off the album Conditions. Then sing out loud with me…”A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh, a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs….Won’t stop till it’s over/ Won’t stop till you surrender.“
As reported by the OCMD’s very own dirty old man, Blogger Mike. All the more reason to love him!
Five barely legal chicks from Montreal. They sing in French and they rock sloppy. They played Sonny’s Vintage, Spiderhouse and more. Their new EP “Together Forever” is out now.
Mature, quirky little number… lives in my fave desert, Joshua Tree. Some Harley guy was checkin’ her out. She sang a real sad song about death that made me cry, once at Maria’s Taco xpress, and again at Jovitas.
Need I say more? Truth be told, they bored me. Some kind of inferior, slick, LA version of the Vivian Girls. The French Legation does have a great lawn though.
Mmmm legs and violin. LEGS look good to me in the morning….LEGS look good to me at night. I bought 2 cd’s and a shirt with a whale on it.
I must admit my fetish, yes…ukelele, and this cutey can play. Sweetest pop songs I have heard in some time. Nearly got me dancing, and I don’t dance. Very delicious (free) beer at Waterloo Cycles. 2nd of 3 shows I caught.
Talk about fetish. These girls got their freak on. Nasty, yes, but intriguing. Caught these ladies in the parking lot of an Ethiopian restaurant called Karibu. Followed by Fungi Girls. No actual girls but still great!
Wow, now that is a dress. Funky, 60’s laced Cambodian goodness. Her sister was at the show. She hadn’t seen her sister in 7 years!
Sometimes you just need a woman with a sense of humor. These nerdy, UK, art school drop-outs got it going on. Great show.
What is not to like? They come from the land of Vivian Girls (Brooklyn), share some garage roots and even a bit of psychedelia.
Back from retirement and rocking harder than ever. Any band that starts a set with Eno and ends with Big Star’s Kangaroo gains my lust and devotion. Spiderhouse sure has lots of stages!
The chick has this thrift store librarian thing goin’ on. Her and the boys have loads of energy. Sounded great on Scoot’s new patio with $2 Schlitz. They sound nothing like the boss.
The Marketing and Trends Guru: Seth Godin, bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change weighs in on the vinyl debate. Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, including the recently published book Tribes.
To read the entire series, click here.
theOCMD: After reading your book, Tribes, it became clear to me you are a music lover. I’ve have been musing over your notion of the ‘tribe’ and how it relates to vinyl’s comeback. Is there a correlation? To what do you attribute vinyl’s resurgence?
Seth: Vinyl is handmade, it’s visual, I can show you my collection. It brings us closer.
Vinyl requires effort to play. Especially if you clean it first. It’s a process and a ritual.
Vinyl can be shared, digital is only given.
And Vinyl is not the standard. Which means you can be in a tribe. There is no tribe of normal.
theOCMD: The community of vinyl advocates seems to be evolving from cult status to a full-fledged movement. What’s unclear to me, however, is who’s leading it – the ‘tribe’ itself or the music industry?
Seth: Not the industry, not at all. They’re too clueless to do that, too focused on large numbers as opposed to passionate users.
theOCMD: It seems to me what made vinyl so unique and special was the fact that it was rare and inaccessible. As the format’s pervasiveness and accessibility increase, will the tribe be compromised? Will members defect and find something new to covet – like cassette tapes? Is vinyl just a trend or here to stay?
Seth: The mantra of, “on one goes there, it’s too crowded.” There’s always the early adopter and outlier that likes something simply because it’s not popular. Vinyl has plenty of room, I think, to triple or 10x in size without losing most of the people. And I also think the expense and hassle will prevent it from ever being a mainstream product again.
theOCMD: As a purveyor of change and ‘what’s next’ – what do you think the music industry look like in 10 years?
Seth: Plenty of music, not so much industry. There’s no poetry industry, is there?
theOCMD: Lastly, and for the record, analog vs. digital. Where do you stand?
Seth: When I listen to music, I prefer to LISTEN. Background music is not so much my thing.
And when I listen, vinyl makes me smile more.
The Music Industry Expert: Q&A with Shamal Ranasinghe (pictured on the left), VP and Co-Founder of Topspin, a technology-focused direct-to-fan marketing, management and distribution platform designed to provide artists the tools they need to market music directly to their fans and build successful businesses.
To read the entire series, click here.
theOCMD: CD sales are in a tailspin. Some have even proclaimed the format dead. Interestingly, in that same period, vinyl has taken off. Do you think this is coincidence or not? Does the music industry need a physical format to survive?
Shamal: This is not a coincidence. Thanks to the promotional and distributional efficiencies of the Internet, fans can consume music in whatever format they want. The rising format of choice is digital in both downloadable files and streaming, and digital’s superior convenience and accessibility are causing CD sales to rapidly decline. These same efficiencies have made it easier for vinyl stalwarts to discover and acquire music in their preferred medium since it’s easier than ever for artists to directly merchandise and promote their music on a variety of formats. And no, I do not think the music industry needs any one kind of format to survive. Music is more important culturally than ever before and is too intrinsic a human quality for it to ever die. It will only grow in human relevance. Thus, there will always be an industry in and around music regardless of format.
theOCMD: From the artists represented on Topspin, what impact does a physical product, like vinyl, have on sales? How have you seen vinyl sales grow among your artists?
Shamal: At Topspin, about 48% of transactions have a physical product but these physical + digital packages represent about 76% of revenue. Here’s a slide to represent that graphically (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21542327@N06/4319531229/).
Topspin artists have seen that bundling physical with digital drives the overall sales and revenue of their campaigns. I also see more and more artists offer vinyl in their campaigns because now the tools exist to create a variety of flexible offers from vinyl to USB shaped Uzis (http://getbusycommittee.com/store/). I’m excited to see what the future holds for creative marketing in multiple formats.
theOCMD: Is vinyl a trend or here to stay?
Shamal: I think it’s here to stay at least in our lifetimes. Vinyl has a stronger chance of surviving in the long-term over CD’s as there is an inherent analog audio quality to vinyl that is considered better than what you experience with digitally encoded music. The CD format is just another digital format not much more differentiated than a digital file with a bit more artwork and plastic so the substitution effects should make the CD obsolete sooner.
theOCMD: Analog vs. digital. What’s your preference and why?
Shamal: I like the convenience and immediacy of digital for my daily music consumption on my PC and iPod. Digital helps me to swim through more music than ever before. On the other hand, I collect vinyl as well and play it when I want a more in-tune music experience so I can savor the sounds and depth of the music. Plus it’s kind of ritualistic taking the record out of the crate, pulling the vinyl out of its sleeve, putting the needle on the record, and getting up to turn the side on the record. It seems laborious describing the process, but I feel I’m more connected with the experience of listening to the music when I play vinyl.
theOCMD: What do you hope the music industry will look like in 10 years?
Shamal: I hope the music industry will achieve a true revolution in how artists and fan connect directly with each other. There has definitely been a revolution in the way fans experience music thanks to disruptive distribution platforms like the old Napster and legal services like iTunes, but the revolution has yet to be fully realized for the way fans are able to support their favorite artists. We are focused on this specific area at Topspin and have seen promising indicators that if given efficient and convenient options, fans will pay for their music and compensate their favorite artists directly. Once these methods and mechanisms are perfected over time, artists will be able to thrive and survive based on their direct connection with their fans.
Massive Attack has been blowing my mind with their collection of videos, rather short films, promoting their latest album Heligoland. This one for the track “Saturday Come Slow” is by far the most intense. Directed by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, the short was filmed inside Cambridge University’s anechoic chamber (designed to create total silence) and features former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Ruhal Ahmed, reflecting on his experiences while in detention there and how he was interrogated using high-volume music.