Thursday, February 25, 2010

My First Purple Heart

Well, quite frankly I'm surprised it hasn't happened before. After all, it's been nearly four years that I've been peddling my musical wares for your titillation, and up until now I've been pretty much left alone. But today I was whacked by one of those digital drone attacks that have become all-too-common in the blogosphere, a DMCA C&D, fully known as a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Cease & Desist order.

It seems I was wounded (hence the self-awarded Purple Heart) in the latest spring offensive launched by The Man in His attempt to crush the rag-tag band of music bloggers that he sees as a threat to his way of life. Now, it seems I got off lightly; Blogger merely took the offending post from 9 February offline and flipped it back into Edit mode, while informing me that I was welcome to republish it once the objectionable material was removed. Trouble is, while I was invited to visit Chilling Effect to see the details of the C&D, upon visiting I couldn't find it. Moreover, after perusing the other C&Ds listed, I'm not sure I'd be able to figure out which of the three songs I had offered up was to blame. Two came from PR sources with what I thought was pretty explicit permission to post, but there are Kafkaesque stories galore about bloggers getting blessing from the artist or PR to post, only to find themselves enmeshed in nightmarish battles with rekkid companies who have other ideas. So, having little time or inclination, I just removed all three tracks.

It is actually getting very serious out there; along with a squadron of others, Dearest Coxon of To Die By Your Side recently had his blog shut down. You can read about it all in this Guardian article. Now, I don't intend to add to the steamy indignation out there, largely because my energy is needed elsewhere - like Sunday's demonstration against the evisceration of public education by the BC Government. But let me go on record as stating that I abhor the persecution of bloggers --who by and large are music lovers dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Good Music and putting $$$ into artists' pockets-- by the big record labels and their lackeys. Moreover, the Holy Bible of Copyright that they allege to defend was originally crafted to promote innovation and the flourishing of ideas, not to lock intellectual property up in crates and milk them for decades. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast Who Owns Ideas?, a fantastic Canadian Broadcasting Corporation programme about this very subject. It's a war folks, a war for culture.

Anyway, I'm going to go lick my flesh wound, but in the meantime here are a few tracks to get you stoked:

Sex Pistols
- Who was It [aka EMI] (buy here)
Taken from the Spunk bootleg, reissued by Castle, which is now a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Say, is that the buzz of a drone I hear??

Max Romeo & The Upsetters - War Ina Babylon (buy here or e-here)
It's a war folks, a war for culture.

Ninja High School - It's Gonna Be Us (buy here)
Yep, that's right, we who love tha choonz shall prevail! Ninja High School was a Toronto noisenik outfit that sadly disbanded in 2007. Choose now, Babylon or Zion. IG-88 take the stand!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love Is Not A Commodity

If you've been round here before on or about February 14, you may recall I'm not a big fan of the whole Valentine's Day schtick. It's not that I'm not all about The Lurve and romance - indeed, I'd like more of both, pretty please. It's just that I do not like our economic system dictating to us when and how we get and give it. And this year , thanks to all of the commercialism swilling round town due to the the Olympics, I was even more crotchety than usual.

That's not to say Dearest Wife and I didn't use the occasion to attempt to carve out for ourselves a quiet night in with a tasty, simple, home-cooked dinner and a mutually acceptable DVD. Try we did, but as those of you with offspring can attest to, nothing can kill romance dead like bickering, squalling children. By the time the dust had settled, we barely had time to eat dinner and get halfway through the film before bedtime beckoned. Bah and humbug - it's not just for Xmas, you know.

But despite my spite, I still do love you all, so here are a few apposite tunes for us to frug to in a cool-ass-funk, post-punk-with-extra-added goth stylee. Mwah, mwah!!

Gang of Four - Is It Love? [Extended Dance Mix] (buy here or get the album versh here)
Put on constant rotation at the mighty WLIR back in the days when it would "Dare To Be Different," this is one of those tracks that covertly shaped and sculpted my musical sensibilities as a wee lad.

Killing Joke - Love Like Blood (buy here)
When I was in 8th grade, I had a secret crush on Angela, the punky goth senior who would slip Killing Joke references into her submissions to the school literary magazine. Le sigh.

Gene Loves Jezebel - Desire (buy here or e-here)
I think the singer manages to stay on the correct side of sounding like a cat in heat. But only just.

Dalek i - Destiny [Dalek I Love You] (buy here but be quick!!)
Aww, those bumpy dustbins of intergalactic terror are quite sweet, really...

Throbbing Gristle - Hot On The Heels Of Love (buy here)
Everybody throb together!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sailing into New Seas

NOTE: On account of me receiving a C&D order under the DCMA for something unspecified in this post, out come the song linky-linx and in go the YouTube feeds instead.

It's true, Dearest Friends, the good ship SS FiL has embarked on a brand new journey, leaving behind my musical doldrums of 2009 and sailing into a shining new sea of tuneful goodness. And speaking of goodness, well... GOODNESS! If you're still sticking around after that forced metaphor, then you deserve a reward.

So far the start of the year seems to be shaping up all fine and poppy. After the idylls of The Idyllists last week, I've got three bouncy bits for you. First up are The Sleepless Nights, four rather hirsute young fellows from Halifax who produce some fine, slackey pop that motors on by, stopping only to pick you up for a laid back, fuzzy, smiley ride. The band appears to have been driving around for several years now, and are currently touring the East Coast (of Canada, you Yankees! Yes, we have one as well.) in support of their latest EP, The Phone Booth Outside The Video Store. This is in fact the second of a planned three EPs which the band are GIVING AWAY!! Are you dancing right now? No?? Well get with the programme, coz everybody is!!

The Sleepless Nights - Everybody's Dancing (download e-here)

Oh well, no vid for this. I doubt this was the track wot did it, but since it's all getting very perverse out there, you'd best just go follow the link to where you can download tha shizz directly.

Next up are (shhhhh!!!) The Secret History. Y'know, every once in awhile a group comes by that manages to pull together all the really good bits of things that have gone before. So you look at them (one NYC indie cult god, a luuurvely lady singer whose dad is a glam-rock icon, and A.N. Other cute gal) and listen to them (think vocals by a Dusty Springfield/Kirsty MacColl/Morrissey genetic experiment wrapped in hooky, twee, glamness and underpinned by parping farsifa and jangly guitars) and you expect to be disgusted by how contrived it all is. But you aren't, because it's so lovely that you want to snuggle down into it and hug it and kiss it and call it your own.

The Secret History - Johnny Anorak (album comes out 22 March, but in the interim you smug Brooklynites can see them perform various gigs in your very own borough)

And finally, those superb Swedes, The Shout Out Louds are about to release their third album of shimmering, heart-plucking, pop beauties. They're supporting it with what seems to be a grueling tour schedule that puts them in Vancouver on 25 May. Yay!! Yay again!!

The Shout Out Louds - Fall Hard (buy their stuff here and e-here)

Were I a betting man, I'd say I think this was the offending track. But who knows...

And speaking of live shows, I'm excited to say that there seems to be a whole queue of excellent folks signed up to play this fair city from now into the spring, starting with the Vivian Girls on 12 Feb at The Biltmore. This particular Olympic Scrooge may well find himself there instead of watching the opening ceremonies...

P.S. Aren't you glad that, despite my opening paragraph, I played neither Christopher Cross, nor Rod Stewart??