Monday, June 30, 2008

Candadian Politicians Critical of New Canadian Copyright Bill

The new Canadian Copyright bill, C-61, which is similar to the unanimously passed US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, has been getting a lot of criticism from Canadian politicians. Among the criticism is its limit to personal use (making copies for yourself) at the whim of the copyright holder (usually big business). You can see some of their comments below:

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Coup charged with "abusive language"


Controversial Epitaph hip hop artist Boots Riley of The Coup has been charged for using "abusive language" during his performance at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival. Boots claims that the charges are politically motivated, noting that the law has never been applied in this context:

"City Officials claim that they are making the statement that profanity will not be tolerated. Obviously, since no one has been charged with this in 26 years, profanity IS tolerated. The statement they are making is that the culture and the people they feel I represent won't be tolerated. I was already off stage; the man they asked to leave the stage was Trombone Shorty, another Black man who looks nothing like me. This happened at 10:00PM

I stayed and debated the validity of the charge with police and festival promoters. It is clear that this is part of a larger debate that has nothing to do with profanity, one that is being dealt with nationwide. That debate is about racism, gentrification and the ownership of public space."

Riley claims the charges were racially motivated as they are part of a backlash from the recent Afr'Am Festival in Norfolk in which Gospel and R&B performances generated "noise complaints," despite the performers adhering to the same decibel parameters as all of Norfolk's other festivals. The Afr'am fest has been the subject of controversy since.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

McDonalds whips DEVO good

Punk / New-wave pioneers Devo have filed suit against McDonalds for using their image and trademark in a new toy. The band had this to say:

"McDonald's [is offering] American Idol TV show themed toys in their children's Happy Meals. One of the toys is named "New Wave Nigel", who sports an orange jumpsuit, punk shades, and an unmistakable DEVO Energy Dome. Flipping a switch plays a DEVO-esque song (which sounds a bit like a mutated version of DEVO's Doctor Detroit.)"

A video of the toy can be seen here.

New Copyright Act could be a pain in the ass

The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act looks to change existing copyright law for the worse. With backers like Google and Microsoft you know it will be in the "best interest" of the people. The new act makes it so one must search online registries (created by private companies) before you can register a copyright. The loophole is that if the copyright does not appear in the registry you chose to use, then you are free to use the material (even though it may appear in a different registry). A more clear and comprehensive article on this can be found at Crafting a Green World.

Knitting Factory (LA) in danger of being shutdown

Looks like the city of Los Angeles is trying to shut down another great venue. Here is the info from their website:

Dear Friends of The Knitting Factory,

I’m writing this letter to garner support for an upcoming public hearing by the LADBS (Los Angeles Bldg. and Safety) against our venue on Thursday July 17th 2008.

The Los Angeles Building Department is aggressively trying torevoke our CUP (Conditional Use Permit), for those of you who don’t know, a CUP is the conditions that all Restaurants, bars, clubs etc must run under in order to keep their doors open, if you lose your CUP, you are essential closed for business. After eight years in a crime riddled Hollywood corridor, the LADBS and vice, states that our venue is a “nuisance” and we do not comply under “upscale restaurant guidelines” (nonsense, food is always served and continues service and will someone please define “upscale” for me). They are also trying to say we do a steady stream of Erotica here, which is absurd, as we’ve only had 3 Adult Entertainment parties over 8 years and 10,000 shows.

Bar owners beware; the city is on a major crack down for what they deem CUP violations.

Knitting Factory was lured to this location and has served as the anchor tenant to re vamp this neighborhood. Suddenly, as the neighborhood has pushed the drug dealers out, the rents up, built condos and turned our complex from anEntertainmentCenterto a retail center, we are no longer wanted. When we moved into this location the crime statistics where 3 times higher than the city average, the corner of Hollywood and Sycamore sat only 1 block North of the 18th street Gang. In 2004, this corner was used as the first corner to install cameras as a test to stop crime.

We’ve endured tremendous hardship from 2004 to 2007 in this complex, whilst LA Fitness, DSW, Longs and Fresh and Easy were built around us (joy and thrill to be in a mall) and Galaxy Movie Theatre, Hollywood Ent. Museum, Tower Records all went out of business. We still have “no” visible signage fromHollywood Boulevardexcept for a banner hanging at the back of the plaza. CIM, the landlord, claims that our cueing is a problem to some of the retail outlets; of course there wasn’t a complaint while the jack hammers blasted for 3 years and our parking structure shut down for 26 weeks. Still, we are jammed to the back of the plaza, with no access to the Sycamore door (by law) and no where to line up our patrons.

Our Public Hearing is scheduled for Thursday July 17th at10am@ 200 N. Spring St, room 1020. Zoning Administration. I would greatly appreciate anyone willing to get up on our behalf, just show up and be a part of this fiasco, or at least send in a letter to me, supporting the need for Knitting Factory as a live Music venue in the Hollywood corridor.


Please forward to anyone you think might be amendable to our cause.

Mr.Morgan Margolis | Knitting Factory Concert House
VP, National Operations |
Boise, Los Angeles, New York, Spokane
323.463.0204 x 135 | 323.463.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ticketmaster gets dumped

Ticketmaster has been dropped by its parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp after getting $750 million in debt. Don't fret though, it seems like they will continue to rip you off for years to come with their service charges. You can read more about it here.

Chris Martin may not be as clever as he thinks

From policy with pop:

Earlier this week Coldplay was accused of plagiarizing from the small unknown band Creaky Boards. Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” surprisingly sounds similar to Creaky Board’s ironically titled song “The Songs I Didn’t Write,” which was written a year before the release of the Coldplay’s hit. Here is the evidence:

Now Coldplay’s official stance is that it produced “Viva la Vida” before Creaky Board’s song and that Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin was not at Creaky Board’s 2007 New York performance as Creaky Board alleges.

According to E! Online, Coldplay’s manager called Creaky Board and explained to the timeline of events. Creaky Board then retracted their accusation and apologized.

Violence at Chain Reaction could cause Shutdown

Tim Hill, owner of Chain Reaction, a concert venue in Anaheim, CA, does not want a hardcore/punk documentary to be released on DVD because of what the footage shows. According to an email from Tim, if the venue's insurance company knew how crazy the shows got, he would lose the venue's insurance. Here is a quote from one of his email's to the dvd producers:

"I was not the only person who watched this DVD and said no way could it be used, they also left out the part about why I said it could not be used and that is because if my Insurance Co. or The City of Anaheim were to get a hold of a copy of this DVD they would CLOSE DOWN CHAIN REACTION and that is why they can't use it."

To follow the entire story check out this message board discussion:

Disclaimer: This information came from a message board discussion, so take it for what it is.

Gas Price Hitting Bands Hard

Here is an interesting article from about how high gas prices are hurting touring bands: Gas Prices Thwart Indie Band Tours

Cute Is What We Aim For accused of plagiarizing art

Design company Alphabet Arm has accused the band Cute Is What We Aim For (Fueled By Ramen) of plagiarizing art they had designed for the Counting Crows.

According to the designers:

"at the beginning of last year, Cute Is What We Aim For’s management contacted us about doing some merch designs for the band. They informed us the band liked our work, namely a design we did for Counting Crows back in 2004 or 2005 (That design has since been published in a few books, namely Logo Lounge 3 + Letterhead and Logo Design 9 from Rockport Press).

After some back and forth over pricing we were informed they were going to concentrate on the merch design in-house and contact us later. We never heard anything back."

A comparison of the art can be seen here:

In my opinion this looks awfully similar to The Submarines album art as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Old Music Reviews

Music Reviews

So its only been 3 weeks into the new year and I am already well on my way to fail at my resolution to not buy as many cds this year. I think I've already bought 7 albums this year. I am getting so much music these days, its hard to keep track of. With that in mind, I thought I would start writing out my impressions of every album I pick up. This is going to be a fairly random assortment of new and old releases, rants and first impression (take from it what you want). Feel free to pass this around and add your own impressions of these cds and others. I don't know if anyone will be interested in what I have to say because music is so subjective, but I thought it may help those who are looking for some new things to check out. So here it goes:

Battles - Mirrored (Warp Records 2007)

This record is interesting and strangely addicting. After seeing this on a few peoples top ten of 2007 lists, I was intrigued and decided to check them out. I would place the bands sound somewhere in the prog rock meets math rock, with hints of industrial genre. Battles is an instrumental group and the vocals are used more like another melodic instrument, rather than a means to convey lyrics. The album is jammy, but not like jam bands, its all about rhythms and melodies rather than guitar solos. If your a fan of noodling, then I think you would enjoy it. The album is interesting and has a strangely addictive quality to it. At times it is creepy (I could imagine the song "Atlas" playing in Jack Nicholson's head in "The Shinning" at the moment his sanity breaks [this moment of course is debatable]) and at other times it is repetitive but in a good way. I guess fans of progressive rock will probably like this one, good musicians playing interesting and intriguing music. I really like this record, it really gets into your head.

Rivers Cuomo - Alone: the Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen Records 2007)

So Rivers Cuomo (leader of Weezer) decided to collect his favorite demos and home recordings and release them on cd. I don't know people expected, (especially Rolling Stones Magazine) but that is exactly what you get. Half written songs yet to reach their full potential. With that in mind, there are some gems on the record and these mostly come from the set of demos that pre-dated the "Pinkerton" sessions (arguably the bands best work). Interesting set of songs for hardcore Weezer fans, but beyond maybe 6 of the 16 tracks, nothing too substantial. Check it out if you want to reminisce about the days when Weezer was not just another pop rock band (lets face it, they will in all likelihood never make another album on par with the Blue album or Pinkerton, they just aren't those people anymore). Casual Weezer fans should steer clear, as they will be disappointed in both the lack of quality songs and the poor recording quality of many of these demos. Note: this lets us get a little more into the head of Rivers and hear his song writing process.

The Mars Volta - the Bedlam in Goliath (Universal Records 2008)

So in my opinion, I think Mars Volta have collectively lost their minds and now make completely self indulgent prog rock that is not supposed to be understood by anyone but them. Now this is not saying, its bad, it just saying that I have no idea what these guys are thinking, and I don't think anyone else does either. I have only listened to this album once so far, so this is merely my first impression. It seems this record is more intense then the last record (gone are most of the mellow lows of Amputechture) and the vocals seem to be higher and more weaselly than ever. The record is already growing on me, but I don't think I really love this one (at least at this point). The cohesiveness of the first two records (Deloused in the Crematorium and France the Mute) i think is long gone (though more cohesive than Amputechture), and at times so much is going on its hard to make sense of the music. Nonetheless, it is still enjoyable. Unfortunately, I think band has already reached their peak of making memorable and interesting songs. Simply put, Mars Volta write a lot of good parts to songs, but the songs themselves seem to lack the cohesiveness to make them memorable. Note: the more I am listening to this, the more I am liking it.

V/A - Juno (Soundtrack to the Motion Picture 2007)

I thought that Juno was a great quirky movie. As with the movie, the soundtrack is a great quirky soundtrack. Focusing mostly on indie/folk, the soundtrack mostly highlights songs from singer songwriter Kimya Dawson and her band the Moldy Peaches. I first came across the Moldy Peaches while working at KUCI, but never paid too much attention to them. These songs are folky and fun. People who like Tegan and Sara and Bright Eyes would likely enjoy them but could also appeal to kids who are fans of the folk punk scene (Fake Problems, Defiance Ohio, old Against Me!). Beyond those tracks, are songs from classics like the Kinks and Velvet Underground, to newer (at least in comparison) bands like Belle and Sebastian, and Cat Power. Overall a very good collection of songs that really capture the feel of the film. Note: the soundtrack does include Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar" which is discussed in the film. Personally i think the song is interesting but does not amount to the greatness discussed in the film.

Glassjaw - Worship and Tribute (Warner Bros. Records 2002)

I picked up a used copy of this cd out of curiosity. People seem to love this band and I do not see why. Great reviews of this album and some of the members recent projects (Men, Women, and Childern) made me want to check this out. Now, I am not a huge fan of the screamo sound, but there are a few bands I can appreciate. To me this record sounds just like Thursday, just not as memorable or catchy. Maybe in time I will grow to appreciate this one, until then, I think I will just put it on the back burner of my listening rotation.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy - the First Conspiracy (Hopeless Records 2000?)

Another older record I recently picked up used. Nothing spectacular here, just interesting to see the bands early demos/7". Good insight into how the band has developed their sound over the years. Recording quality is poor and the band does not sound very full. If your a fan, it is something interesting to check out, nothing more. Note: the song "Abolish Work" actually is pretty up there (kind of similar to "Smash it Up" though).

Horrorpops - Kiss Kiss Kill Kill (Hell-cat Records)

I have only briefly listened to this record, but it sounds pretty solid. Not too much growth on the bands Psychobilly sound but still enjoyable. I think Horrorpops have found a way to add that extra pop-punk kick to psychobilly to allow it to transcend genres. With the recent mainstream break of Tiger Army, this may be making its way to the mainstream too. If you like pop-punk and rockabilly, I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy this record, plus they put on an entertaining live show.

State Radio - Year of the Crow (2008)

Again, I have only briefly listened to this record. State Radio features ex-member of the much beloved band Dispatch (namely Chad, the dude who wrote "the general"). I liked their first album and I think this one follows suit. This has a little more of a punk element, or at least faster rock songs, and a little less dub and reggae. Still the record seems catchy and their is something about Chad's voice that is very enjoyable. This record does seem a little more political and pissed off than the last record (though the last one did contain those elements, only to a lesser degree) which is probably the cause of the faster punk element. All around, I enjoyed listening to this record the first time around and believe I will only grow to like it more.

Well I hope you found this useful in someway or another, feel free to let me know,or message me comments, complaints and any other thoughts.