Monthly Archives: September 2010

Word from Wammo, aka ‘Road Dog’

Well, Wammo sent out an e-mail, letting us know the score about his decision to leave the Spankers. I guess I must’ve signed up for updates on his old website (his new one is It came down to him having a new baby and “irreconcilable differences” with the band. Also, Christina said in a recent interview that the band was exhausted from the road and  still wasn’t making money. I’m sure that was part of it as well. Wammo is going to go solo under the moniker “Road Dog” and will be promoting his paintings. Below is the e-mail blast message I got this morning. Read for yourself:

I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment from the Spankers over the years and Wammo was a big part of that. I wish him and all the other Spankers success in whatever they do next. Hope they find a way to squeeze some money out of this terrible economy.

Also for Spanker fans, you might be interested in reading my last article saying goodbye to the band, and my first post about the Spankers before everything went south.


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Morning Benders’ “Excuses” – great song, great video

I’ve been seeing this video on ME Television and I had to pass it along. Very simple, yet beautiful. Singer Christopher Chu says it was his attempt to emulate the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” recording method, by filling the studio with musicians for a big echo effect. Worked pretty well I would say.

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Filed under indie, indie pop, Uncategorized, video

‘Crocodiles Radio’ in LastFM neo-post-punk, goth, noise, etc.

I’ve got no time. I shouldn’t even be posting this short link, but I had to pass this along…

Click on this LastFM station and just “groove” on it for a little while and see what you think.

I’ve been spellbound. It’s just a similar artists mish mash based on Crocodiles, the band that made the awesome cover of “Groove is in the Heart,” mentioned in a previous entry.

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Filed under indie rock, music, neo-postpunk, postpunk

Legendary Pink Dots back on tour

The Legendary Pink Dots — my favorite band — will launch a new album on Oct. 5 called Seconds Late for the Brighton Line. They are also about to tour North America to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The tour was postponed temporarily due to a lineup change and some health issues with lead singer/songwriter Ed Ka-Spel’s mother. I’ve heard a little bit from the new album and I’m pretty excited. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I will be there when the band turns up in Austin in November. If they come to your town, you should check them out. You won’t hear anything else like them.


Fri Oct 15 – Biltmore, Vancouver, BC
Sat Oct 16 – El Corazon, Seattle, WA
Mon Oct 18 – Club Sound, Salt Lake City, UT
Tue Oct 19 – Gothic Theater, Englewood, CO
Thur Oct 21 – Triple Rock, Minneapolis, MN
Fri Oct 22 – Double Door, Chicago, IL
Sat Oct 23 – Rumba Café, Columbus, OH
Sun Oct 24 – Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
Mon Oct 25 – Magic Stick, Detroit, MI
Tue Oct 26 – The Mod Club, Toronto, ON
Thur Oct 28 – Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA
Fri Oct 29 – Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY
Sat Oct 30 – DC9, Washington, DC
Mon Nov 1 – M Room, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Nov 2 – Thunderbird Café, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Nov 3 – Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Thur Nov 4 – The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
Fri Nov 5 – The Plaza Theatre, Orlando, FL
Sat Nov 6 – Orpheum, Tampa, FL
Tue Nov 9 – House of Blues Dallas, Dallas, TX
Wed Nov 10 – Elyslum, Austin, TX
Sun Nov 14 – The Rhythm Room, Scottsdale, AZ
Mon Nov 15 – The Casbah, San Diego, CA
Tue Nov 16 – Echoplex, Echo Park, CA
Wed Nov 17 – Sainte Rocke, Hermosa Beach, CA
Thur Nov 18 – The Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa, CA
Fri Nov 19 – Café Du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Sat Nov 20 – Café Du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Mon Nov 22 – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

Here are three songs from the new album:
Go to HERE to buy the album.
And if you missed it, here’s my little love song to the band, written a few months back: Sing While You May, advice from the Legendary Pink Dots

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Bandcamp begins charging artists for free downloads

Looks like another installment in the continuing story of “No Free Lunch” on the Internet. I don’t think it affects listeners, but Bandcamp is trying to get musicians who give away all their music for free to start selling. Evidently, the site wasn’t getting enough money from its cut of purchased music to pay for the streaming and upkeep of the site, since most of the downloads turned out to be from artists who were giving everything away. Nothing to take a cut from. Now musicians have a limited amount of songs they can give away. After that they have to pay.

300 downloads for $9 USD (3¢ each)
1000 downloads for $20 USD (2¢ each)
5000 downloads for $75 USD (1.5¢ each)

If they sell $500 worth of songs, they get 1,000 added to their free download allotment.

Here’s Bandcamp’s explanation.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t change anything. I still like Bandcamp because it’s easy to embed in places like this blog, which in turn gives a lot of value to the musician because it’s easier to get spread around and potentially go viral. I can see where it might cause problems for a struggling musician though. How do you sell music when no one knows who you are yet?

I’ve heard from a couple of indie artists about it and one, The Venopian Solitude, whose music I reviewed in March, is unhappy (Here’s her take on it). She wants to give her songs away and not have to bother about money. Although in my opinion, her songs are already beyond the point where she ought to be selling them. She just keeps getting better and better. She’s looking for a free place to host her songs though, other than Reverbnation, which her school blocks, so if anyone’s got ideas, send ’em her way.

Aviv Cohn aka The Widest Smiling Faces basically took it in stride. He gets good value out of Bandcamp and said, “Yeah, it sucks, but it seems fair.” Obviously the service has to be paid somehow.

That’s the reality of the Internet that we keep having to face. Startup services might do cool things that attract a lot of users, but don’t actually pay for themselves. Maybe they have to do so to satisfy investors, or they at least have to break even. They might make drastic changes and basically sell out, the way TheSixtyOne did in my opinion. Or they can do like Pandora and basically pull a bait & switch on us, pretend to be free till they get us hooked, and then spring a surprise cost on us. I don’t think Bandcamp has done either of those things yet. Hopefully they won’t have to.

It’s a huge dilemma for us users and for the startups. There’s a ton of free content on the Internet, some of it amazing and very useful. But when the bills come due, they tend to go away. Either they make changes like I mentioned, or they just get exhausted and let their sites go dead. On the other hand, when they try to start charging for things, some other site is liable to spring up and start giving the same stuff away again.

It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out. Despite the piss poor economy, people still want to make and listen to music. The demand is there. If only we could figure out how all our broke asses can still eat and pay the rent. No answers here, unfortunately. Only questions.

P.S. I recently did an exensive interview with the Widest Smiling Faces which I will put on this blog as soon as I get a chance to edit. Stay tuned…

Note: Jennifer from Bandcamp just replied to this post, saying, “Just wanted to be sure you saw the update on our site – we took the suggestion from several artists to refresh free download credits every month, which seems to work for most bands who give their music for free on Bandcamp.” She also left a link explaining the policy in detail. (see below in comments)


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True Colour of Blood – soothing dark ambient

A while back I got a note from Eric Kesner of True Colour Of Blood, who wanted me to check out a 15-year retrospective of his work. I don’t normally do unsolicited stuff, but I finally got around to downloading the album and it’s good drone ambient, kind of in the same vein as Voice of Eye, a group I blogged about back in February. Also reminds me of some of the more understated works by artists like Caul and Ure Thrall.

He produces his droning ambient using a guitar and bow. Darkly atmospheric, it has a nice texture if you want to listen to it and chill out, but it also works well as background if you’re trying to get things done. Download his album from Rapidshare if you get the chance. Why not? It’s free….

Here’s a link to his MySpace page if you want to stream a bit first and see what you think.

And a cool video someone made for one of his songs:

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Filed under ambient, dark ambient, experimental, one you might've missed, Uncategorized, video

Apparently ‘star’ bands must ‘riot’

I just realized that two of my favorite songs have close to the same name and are performed by groups with VERY similar names. The most recent one is “Take me to the Riot” by Stars, a group from Canada that contains members of Broken Social Scene. It comes from the 2007 album, In Our Bedroom After the War. Great song with a great video.

The other song is “It’s a Riot” by the New Jersey-based ’70s early metal group Starz (with a z). The song comes from the 1978 album, Coliseum Rock. The instrumental track, “Coliseum Rock” is basically an intro to “It’s a Riot,” which starts at 3.33. A friend once told me the motorcycle engine sound at the beginning is a Motoguzzi rather than a Harley, but I can’t vouch for that.

Kind of an ’80s New Wave sound…

Starz influenced a lot of metal groups, but I can’t hear that influence in the indie rock band Stars. I think it’s just a really cool coincidence.


Filed under indie pop, indie rock, metal, music, rock, Uncategorized, video