Blog Archive

A Chance for a Band to Play Iceland for Free

June 20th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Sadly, this opportunity is only open to American acts.  But this site has an ever-increasing number of US readers, I'm posting it as a service to them.  

(NOTE TO ORGANIZERS:  Guess which country in has the largest number of people of Icelandic descent outside of Iceland?  That's right:  Canada.  And guess which currency might be adopted as the official Icelandic currency?  Answers:  Canada.  Why are you excluding us from this?)

From the press release:

For the second year in a row, Reyka Vodka - the first vodka to ever be distilled and bottled in Iceland - will give two up-and-coming American bands the chance to play alongside some of the most cutting-edge names in music at the annual Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in Reykjavik.

Weekly Music Sales Report: 20 June 2012

June 20th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

There are lots of changes in the Top Ten of the Canadian album charts this week, pushing sales up 18% over last week's sad showing.  The Canadian industry is still pacing 3% ahead of last year.  Physical CD sales are down 8% over 2011 while digital album sales are up 31%.  Digital track sales are at +27%.

Rush gets a #1 debut with Clockwork Angels, selling an impressive 20,000 units.  Believe it or not, this is the first Rush album to debut at #1 since SoundScan came to Canada in 1995.  It's also their best first-week total ever, besting Snakes and Arrows (2007) by 2,000 copies.

Major props to Metric for achieving a #2 debut with Synthetica (16,000).  Keep in mind that Metric is now totally self-contained and is 100% DIY, from recording to radio promotion.  Some 63% of Metric's sales came from digital sales.  About 75% of Rush's sales were physical. Interesting, no?

This is New: Vibrotactile Music

June 20th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

You'd think that all the musical instruments that need to be invented have been invented.  Not so according to Carmen Branje, who sent me a note on Twitter.

The Vibraphone looks like a keyboard that wouldn't be out of place in some science fiction music.  It's described thusly:

The Vibrochord is a new keyboard-like device, that when coupled with the vibrotactile display The Emoti-Chair, enables a new art form, vibrotactile music. Vibrotactile music is much like audio music, in which patterns of vibrations are presented to a recipient over time, however vibrotactile music presents vibration to the skin as vibrotactile stimulation rather than to the ear as sound.

Okay, you got me.  I really want to try this now.

A Must-Read: The David Lowery vs. The Haters Flame War

June 20th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

If you haven't been following along, here's the backstory:

1.  Emily White of National Public Radio posted a piece about explaining that while she has 11,000 songs, she has only purchased 15 CDs in her life.

2.  David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven), already an outspoken critic of the way the music business is evolving, offered a rebuttal.

3.  The whole back-and-forth went viral, from the New York Times to the Huffington Post.  People lined up on both sides of the argument. It got nasty.  (Lefsetz also sent out an email featuring comments on on the controversy.  Both sides were pretty adamant in their positions.)

So where are we now?  Digital Music News offers this conclusion:

Are You Burning Through Music Instead of Savouring It?

June 20th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

If you've ever heard me speak on the subject of how music is consumed today, you've heard me talk about a notion called "ego-casting."  Because we have so much choice and 100% control over what we listen to, we tend to exclude everything we hate and listen only to the music we find appealing.

What's wrong with that?  Because sometimes we have to be exposed to certain types of music against our will repeatedly until we go "Ah! Now I get it!"

The example I use is modern jazz. No one likes modern jazz the first time they hear it.  It's too complex and too far removed from mainstream tastes that 99.9% of listeners go "Yuck!  Turn that off!" And they'll never bother with modern jazz again.  Which is a shame.

It's that repeated unintentional exposure that forces us to pay attention and learn.  If we refuse to do that--if we only go by first impressions--then we end up missing out on a lifetime's worth of musical discovery.

Rush Fans! Can You Get Your Hands on One of These?

June 19th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I've always said that no one loves (or promotes) music more than the English.  The fact that such a tiny place can support so much great music media is stunning.

Take, for example, the amazing package created by Classic Rock magazine for the release of Rush's Clockwork Angels.

More Music from the Inbox: 19 June 2012

June 19th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Here's a thought:  whenever a weather forecaster gets it wrong, let's subject he/she to public humiliation.

There have been several times in the last two weeks were rain was promised and nothing happened (and vice-versa).  How many people changed their plans based on what we were told?  And when the errors are pointed out, the forecasters shrug their shoulders and go "What do you want?  It's weather."

I think that they're not trying hard enough.  Greater accuracy should be encouraged by the threat of public shaming when they get it wrong.  Think it over.

As you're doing so, here's the latest round of double-filtered music recommendations.  Juliette Jagger has the final say.

Artist: Buffalo Killers, “Get It”

Album: Dig. Sow. Love. Grow.

This is rough and tumble, dirty south, throwback blues rock done right.

Sounds like: Americanarama

Link/Listen/Watch:  Stream it here.


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