Let's Rave On; Death To Celine

I think I’m really getting the hang of these podcasts I’ve been doing. This will be the fifth since I began them a few months ago, and probably the best one so far. It’s also got new music by Tilly & The Wall and Fatboy Slim, if local stories about teaching in Korea aren’t enough to kilter your filter.

Also, hit the ‘subscribe’ button. If you’ve got itunes, it’ll attach itself to your playlist, suction itself if you will, much like those fish who suck at the glass and end up keeping everything clean. Yes, my podcast will keep you clean. Beware.

If you ever wanted to be on the show, drop me a line at postkdp on AOL or at post_kdp@hotmail.com on msn and we’ll work something out.


Yeah, this means pretty much exactly what you think it means

The RIAA is going home. They’re done. They’ve dropped anchor on the airline tanker and declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. They do believe they’ve killed us. Bravo.

From tinymixtapes.com

“What, you don’t believe the RIAA? You don’t think file-sharing has been contained because you have the latest hyped-up release on your BitTorrent? Here’s why you are wrong: One, the RIAA is comprised of demigods and soothsayers, so they wouldn’t just say this because certain people want to hear it. Two, you’ve been contained and will slowly die out after decades of space races and detente. Three, the RIAA is infalliable.

Numbers show that while album sales are down 3% this year, digital music stores are up 77%. NPD Group, a market-tracking servicer, says that in a survey of 12,000 homes, legitimate online store purchases have “almost doubled.” Doubled from when, Media Info Center doesn’t specify, and file-sharing has been deemed “flat” – a scientific term. Digital is a viable alternative, and the cheap price for the low-quality songs provides an easy outlet for the music pirate.

That’s good money-making news for the RIAA, but “Internet measurement firm” (now at 20,000 leagues or 700 cubits) BigChampagne says that “nearly 10 million people are online, swapping media, at any given time.” Hmm… well, communism had millions of people more and they were contained. But their authoritative action went a little further than $4,000 for settlement…”

This means really one of two things. The RIAA’s jihad on illegal downloaders is officially over, so they probably won’t be making big federally advertised cases against 80 year olds when their grandkids download Blink 182’s greatest hits. They’re spinning this as victory, obviously, but it simply isn’t so long as 3% of the American population is at any given time online, trading files. Now, to put that in perspective, I download about a seasons’ worth of TV every two weeks, about 5 albums a week, and maybe a movie or two. And I am not nearly online at any given moment. Plus, I’m Canadian, so I’m never, ever part of the problem.

The other thing this means is that although the crusade is done, don’t think they won’t still be collecting information for the next time they decide they need an enemy in the American people. I’m not saying be careful. I’m saying stick to your downloads. Try your best to download stuff you like, you know? That way, when the list comes out, these guys will get free advertising. Win win, right?

As far as I’m concerned, so long as you go to the theatre and so long as you go to the concert, the media itself can stick it.

If you’ve ever wondered why I hate EMI and other major labels, here’s a good bit of evidence

Look, I’m pretty open about my disdain for mainstream radio. A lot of people don’t understand my contempt. In fact, I’ve been ridiculed several times for it. Well, look, I’ve got my moral and audible reasons. Fact is, mainstream music is god awful. Even the label heads know this. That’s why, for years, EMI and other major labels have been paying radio stations to play certain artists. This is because there is no way that radio stations would play them at the level they do, because most of them are terrible. This has been pretty public knowledge for a while, but that’s not all they’ve been doing. EMI in particular has been in a court case over the past year concerning thes practices, and the case against them can be viewed as a PDF here.

It’s 30 pages, but it reads like a fine thriller, and trust me, you’ll be entertained and appalled. You know those people who call in and just LOVE Theory of a Deadman? Well, those people are apparently paid telemarketers. The list goes on.

The press release from Spitzer can be viewed here.

Thanks so much for Lisa Wood for posting this on her blog, entitled You Deserve The Truth.


Free Music

Johnny Cash has been given a myspace page, where two tracks from the forthcoming American V are available.

Emusic’s Pitchfork Sampler is a 24 track compilation of most of the bands showing up to the Pitchfork music festival, happening July 29th & 30th in Chicago. All information about it can be found here.

Americans won’t get a chance to hear Amy Millan until the end of August, but I’ll have a Canadian release review up for you guys up soon, and for now you can download the single, Skinny Boy, for free.


What I read when I should be teaching

Bebito Jackson and friends have put together a spectacular piece about the Sega Saturn that reminds me of the piece 411 did on the Dreamcast a few years ago. I appreciate all these Sega heads sticking around.

Gregory Wind, the guy who keeps beating me to reviewing my favorite albums, chimes in with his first column. And another dashing fellow, too. We’ve got more good looking people on this site than just about anywhere else, don’t we?

I don’t agree with Mathan Ernhardt about hip hop. Just because a song has lots of lyrics and lots of rhymes does not mean it is a good song. It simply means it is a long song. And while, yes, the words have to fit the beat, the words are written before the beat exists just as often as a rock star writes the song before thinking about which guitar hook to use.


Let’s Rave On

So the first thing I showed the kids at my school was my ipod. I didn’t mean to. It was jutting out of my briefcase, and one of the kids said “mp3 player! What kind?” and since it was during the last 5 minutes of the class, I took it out and showed it. They’d never seen one before. This is a country where file sharing is a simple fact of life. Every single kid in my class has an mp3 player of some kind. Hell, every teacher has one. It costs two dollars to get a 10-pack of blank CD’s. And yet, when I whip out my ipod, they’re all quite surprised of its existance. This alone is weird enough to warrant a few hundred words. But the strange idea that the biggest mp3 player in the world isn’t even a blip in South Korea isn’t what I’m talking about today. What I’m going to bring up is the idea of foreign music in a foreign country that freaks people out, and how our best music is left at home because we don’t want it judged.

Great Big Sea is a band pretty much every Canadian knows. They’re not a band every Canadian likes, per se, but one can’t really argue that they’ve carved out a nice niche for themselves. For those not in the know, Great Big Sea is a kitchen party band from the East coast of Canada that plays Irish-inspired fiddle tracks overtop extremely positive vocals about getting it on with that girl at the party you can’t keep your eye off of, of being proud of your country and the amount that you can drink. It’s all very, very Canadian in the sense that those Molson Canadian “I AM CANADIAN” (Molson Canadian actually owned by American conglomerate) were ‘Canadian’. Those commercials were broadcasting our stereotype (ironically, that we weren’t what Americans thought we were), and Great Big Sea does pretty much the same thing. Yes, every single Canadian can play fiddle at 400mph just like Ashley McIsaac. And do just as many drugs.

Thing is, Great Big Sea would be our big music export if we were lucky. Turns out the only Canadian music Koreans know is Celine Dion. Yes, the annoying hack who moved to the states and never acknowledges that she’s from Canada. Not that we particularly want her to. But Canadians aren’t kind to musical traitors. Just ask Bryan Adams. But my opinion of Celine Dion doesn’t really have anything to do with this. It’s that in the PR package other countries get about Canada, they are receiving CD’s of Celine frickin’ Dion and not a band that actually represents the country like Great Big Sea.

I want to know who is responsible for this, so that I may filet them.

Maybe this attitude translates to the folks to export our music, but on a more mainstream level. The average Canadian owns a Great Big Sea album, and almost certainly enjoys it. To introduce people to music we love can sometimes be a risk. What if they don’t like it? What does that say about our future relationship? What does that say about our country? What does that say about me? Maybe they sent Celine Dion because other countries hating her means that it isn’t a personal remark on who we really are.

So I figured that during my second week teaching I would incorporate a Canadian song into the mix, and figured that Great Big Sea was probably the best choice. Now, yes, Canada is home to a world’s worth of amazing indie rock, from The Arcade Fire to the New Pornographers to Feist to Final Fantasy, but I found it difficult to convince myself that any of them really represented the stereotype of Canada I was trying to get across. So I uploaded my live version of “Mari Mac” off my ipod, burned it to a CD, and brought it to class, not at all remembering world music week at my junior high.

Back in grade 8, I thought all music not written and performed by Nirvana, Hole, and Our Lady Peace was absolute filth. There was this week where our band teacher would play nothing but “music from around the world” in hopes of inspiring us to be interested in that sort of stuff. Now, I know he wasn’t playing the best stuff from Argentinia and Japan and Zimbabwe and Turkey, but instead the representation that he received from that country. Canada is lucky in that respect – our representation of music is pretty much our top 40 radio. There aren’t a lot of traditional folk songs that go back hundreds of years. My music teacher did to me what I pretty much did to these kids – give them a stereotype taste of the country, which, as everyone knows, always tastes a little bitter.

I’ve no doubt that great music exists everywhere. But it felt pretty instinctive to me not to give away the good stuff, and I’m probably not wrong in thinking that this is a knee jerk reaction everywhere else, too. It’s like wine, right? If you know they’re not sophisticated enough to appreciate the expensive stuff, there’s no reason not to break out the cheap bottle.

Anyways, how did they enjoy Great Big Sea? It was a mixed bag. I suppose not a lot of kids get a chance to learn the fiddle here, because the first few riffs of the song made every single kid in every single class jump. It was fun watching their facial expressions go from bewilderment to confused to slightly annoyed to foot tapping to head bobbing, back to annoyed and confused, and right back into bewildered when the song ends in a giant climax of hooting and clapping and drums. Then I asked “Did you like it?” and got a very, very mixed reaction. Some kids said it was really good, some shook their heads in disgust, and some said, “it was too fast. Too fast!”

I suppose they were expecting the white witch who resides in Vegas.

Much like accents, music is a very geographic thing. An entire culture completely engrossed in plastic jingle pop like Korea just isn’t going to respond well to a party track from Nova Scotia, just like vice versa, you know? It’s what you’re raised with, it’s what you’re surrounded with, and it’s how much punk DNA you have that determines the kind of music you like. That’s it. Maybe that’s why everyone loves Prince. He’s everywhere at once. He’s in our air.

I’m thinking I’ll play them some Rufus Wainwright next week. At least he’s a little slower.