Friday, 26 March 2010

Free Download #51: Tee Pee Records

Last week I struggled to know what to post for the free download. This week I struggled to choose between about six possibilities. In the end I decided to go for quantity!

Originally uploaded by matt coats
I referred to Tee Pee Records in a previous post (Free Download Friday #32: Black Math Horseman). Unfortunately, they seem to be streaming music from the band web pages now rather than offering downloads. However, you can still download a nineteen track sampler album. Nineteen! (Thought I'd say it again in case you weren't paying attention.) I gave a link to this album in a previous post but listening to it again today, I decided it was worth highlighting it properly and picking out a few tracks for special mention.

The album opens with a real rattler of "Wooorargh!" style Metal from a band called Iron Age. Despite my oft stated ambivalence to the Metal side of Rock... I really like this one and hope to track down more Iron Age just to check if it is just a one off, or if I really like them.

Another stand out track for me is Skeletelepathetic from Weird Owl. Much more melodic than Iron Age, with jangling guitars, solid drums and a spaced out psychedelic feel.

I've already raved about Tyrant from Black Math Horseman (Free Download Friday #32: Black Math Horseman) so I'll content myself by telling you to get this album and enjoy this odd and slightly creepy track.

Hopewell's Good Good Good Desperation (10am) is as odd sounding as the name implies but has a great guitar sound driving it along while there is all sorts of weird stuff is going on around, above and below the grumbling guitar riff. Add an interesting (not flashy) guitar solo about three and a half minutes in and you have a great, noisy rock track.

Another horse related band, Night Horse, offer Shine On Me - a no nonsense rock song that is belted out with gusto and guts. (Although the vocalists sounds like he's going to destroy his voice if he's not careful.)

Naam are another psychedelic band. (Roadrunner Records seems to collect them!) Their track on the album, Kingdom, is much darker and menacing than the other psychedelic-style tracks on this sampler. And just to make it even better, there's a bass riff that comes to the fore around the 4:40 mark that reminds me of Working Man by Rush... and that's a good thing in case you were wondering.

Godspeed/Sonic Prayer from Earthless is a real, Heavy Rock/Metal opus that runs for more than 30 minutes - a live track that suggests they are an outstanding set of musicians.

Quest For Fire
with their track, Bison Eyes, bring the album to a rip-roaring psychedelic close.

Get the Sampler Download and then come back here and tell me what your favourtes are.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The guitar prize that keeps on giving...

One of the best prizes I have ever won was from Rock Radio who gave me the chance to build my own guitar with Bailey Guitars (see for example Accreditation for prior learning?). Well, my prize guitar has won me another prize!

078/365: I win!
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
One of the immediate side effects of winning the guitar was it re-kindled my desire to learn to play (as I've mentioned before Teach Yourself Guitar: Progress So Far...). The desire is still there and half-hearted attempt to learn continues - another post about my progress (or lack thereof) is long overdue. As part of the learning process, I visited a number of online/tech based teaching schemes - one of which was LickLibrary. There is a staggering amount of stuff and a fairly active online community on the LickLibrary site. It has: video lessons; tracks to jam to; discussion forums; books; DVDs; competitions; ... I haven't purchased anything from there yet but I think, if I get better, I will eventually download some jamtrax and/or some lessons.

Although I didn't download anything, I did start following their Twitter feed and a couple of weeks ago I noticed a message from them asking people to send a tweet about their favourite guitar. The idea was, they would choose their favourite tweet and the winner would get "goodies worth over £100". So I sent the following:
@licklibrary My favourite guitar is the one my daughter made: It's gorgeous:
The winner was announced twenty minutes later:
Congrats to @DavidDMuir you win tonight's Twitter Goodie Pack. Direct Message me your name and address and we'll get it sent out to!
via web

To be honest, I'm not sure what a Pod is or why I'd need a bible for it and the books all look a bit to tricky for me at the moment. However, the Blues and the Nineties Rock books have stuff that I'm just about able to have a go at, so I'm looking forward to stretching myself and (hopefully) rising to the challenge.

What's the best competition win you have ever had?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Free Download Friday #50:

Fifty free download Fridays! I'm really quite pleased with that.

I was struggling this week though - hence Free Music Saturday. However, thanks to NME 's Daily download blog, I can direct you to two tracks from the "new" Jimi Hendrix album on the Treeswingers site.

I've heard mixed reviews of this album with some suggesting that the tracks are better suited to bonus extras on a remastered disc, rather than meriting a release in their own right. But the title track Valleys of Neptune (which is available from the Treeswingers site) sounds good. It sounds like Jimi, perhaps Jimi could have polished it up a bit more if he was still around, it is nonetheless very good. The second track available for download though, Lullaby for the Summer, I'm not so sure about. Some good guitar work on it but for me it doesn't quite hang together.

So of the two songs I've heard, I would take one but leave the other as a bonus track. Still it's a new album from Jimi Hedrix! How cool is that?


Go to the Treeswinger page to have listen, and if you like what you hear, download!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pink Floyd Wins?

You may have noticed that last week, Pink Floyd won the right in the High Court to prevent EM from selling individual downloads from their albums. (See for example The Guardian and the BBC).

Originally uploaded by bloomsberries
Artist rights
I think it's good that an artist is able to retain control of what they have created. Pink Floyd successfully argued that their concept albums were designed to be listened to as a whole and shouldn't be unbundled just because it suits the record company.

Generation gap?
I have some sympathy with this as I generally like to listen to listen to music an album at a time. I like hearing the whole work - whether it is designed as a concept album or not. Apart from anything else, there are some tracks I disliked on first hearing but are now among my favourites (for instance Darkness by Peter Gabriel from the Up album comes to mind). If I didn't listen to the whole album, I could skip tracks like that and miss out on some great music. This may be a generational thing though, since my daughter listens to her iPod almost permanently on shuffle!

Smart or stupid?
Having said all that, can't help but think Floyd are being a bit foolish. For instance, they were happy enough to get a Christmas number one from The Wall in the shape of Another Brick In The Wall. And did they go to court to punish the Scissor Sisters for destroying Comfortably Numb a wee while ago? No! So they seem happy to unbundle tracks some times but not others.

At least one of the news reports hinted that it is all down to money, saying that artists get more for album downloads compared to individual track downloads. That sounds like stuff and nonsense to me. Even if they get proportionally less per individual download, my guess is you'll sell more individual tracks so you'll end up ahead of the game anyway.

So, although I'm pleased that the artist has won the right to say how their music will be distributed, I can't help but think Pink Floyd are cutting its analogue nose off to spite its digital face!

What do you think? Good move on the part of the Floyd or daft move by a Mr Pink who hasn't kept up with the changing music market?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Free Download Friday #49: Metal!

Fairly straightforward this week: a twenty-one track Metal Mayhem Compilation from Revolver Magazine.

With twenty-one tracks to choose from, hopefully you'll find something you like. The tracks I liked best are Behind The Sun from Living Colour (described by Wikipedia as "funk metal") and One More Time from Sugar Red Drive (I'd say at the rock end of metal) but standing head and shoulders above both of these is The Evils Of Rock And Roll by Bigelf.

09.02.2010 bigelf
Originally uploaded by opethpainter
Bigelf are progressive metal and are (in my humble opinon) set to get massive (Massivelf?). So, give them your email, download and enjoy!

What's your favourite track?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Picture Quiz

Two of my most commented posts were quizzes: Spot The Track: Lyrics Quiz and You hum it... I'll play it so I decided I it was well past time for another one. I'd been trying to think of a quiz that couldn't be solved just by searching Google when Mosh directed me to Rik Aitch's picture quiz. So, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... Mr Aitch should be well flattered.

Below are ten photographs of artists that I have seen in concert at one time or another. Some pictures are from roughly the era when I saw them and others are more up-to-date photographs. Just identify the artist. Simples! A special photographic no-prize is available for the person who gets the most.

{Update: People have started to get the right answers so I'll start to add picture attributions and answers under the pictures that have been guessed. So that people coming late to the party can still play, I'll put he answers in white text - if you want too see the answer, drag across the white gap and the highlighted answer should be visible. Of course, if you are looking at this in a feed reader rather than the blog, that trick probably wont work!}

{Update 2: Looks like you need some clues for the last few...}

{Update 3: The clues seem to have helped and all ten have now been guessed. Would you like another quiz sometime soon?}

1) Good jumper! Very rock n' roll. Hint: Founder member of the archetypal space rock group.
Picture by Watt_Dabney. The artist is Dave Brock. Guessed by Amanda Wilson.

2) One of the few photos taken from a live gig in Glasgow.
Picture by cx1uk (aka nwinton). The artist is Alex Lifeson. Guessed by gordonmckinlay. (Well, technically, nwinton knew the answer since he took the picture and gave the guitarit's birth name as the answer.)

3) He's a bass player (in case you need a hint on this one). Hint: Co-writer of a string of hits for his glam rock band - they were the first act to have three singles enter at the top of the UK singles charts.
Picture by Curbofotos. The artist is Jim Lea. Guessed by Amanda Wilson.

4) I remember his hair as being even longer
Picture by Watt_Dabney. The artist is Scott Gorham. Guessed by nwinton.

5) I'm impressed this chap still has so much hair! Hint: German connection - it is widely considered that this chap's band was at its best when a certain (mad?) German guitarists was with them.
Picture by hharryus. The artist is Phil Mogg. Guessed by Jeff.

6) How many keyboards can one person sensibly use? Hint: German connection - kraut rock but more Kraftwork than Rammstein. :-)
Picture by Ralf Roletschek. The artist is Edgar Froese. Guessed by Amanda Wilson.

7) I've seen him solo but never saw him with the band.
Picture by Affendaddy. The artist is Peter Gabriel. Guessed by nwinton.

8) I watched him destroy a guitar very much like the one in this picture.Picture by Helge Øverås. The artist is Ritchie Blackmore. Guessed by nwinton.

9) I saw him about 15 years before this picture was taken but as far as I remember, he looked exactly the same then as he does here.
Picture by volume12. The artist is B B King. Guessed by nwinton.

10) The t-shirts may be a bit of a giveaway here.
Picture by Burns!. The artist is Mike Peters. Guessed by MrsW.

{Note: All the photos are Creative Commons Licensed but for obvious reasons, I can't give full attribution until they have been correctly identified. I will update the post as people post the answers.}

Friday, 5 March 2010

Free Download Friday #48: Ha Ha Tonka - Take 2

I wrote about Ha Ha Tonka back in July last year (Free Download Friday #17: Ha Ha Tonka). I discovered their session on the HearYa Music music blog and liked them so much, I got their album off of eMusic. In fact I liked them so much, I got their second album too when it too became available on eMusic.

For some reason, I've not been back to the HearYa Music blog for a while. When I finally did stop by, I was pleased to discover there was another session from Ha Ha Tonka - this time playing tracks from their second album (Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South). There are four tracks for download from their session:
They also link to their YouTube channel where you can watch the recording of the tracks:

So are you a Ha Ha Tonka convert yet?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

And what do I get out of it?

I've complained about this before but I'm going to rant again. Why am I charged a booking fee when I buy concert tickets? What do I get out of it? What value is it adding to the ticket buying process that makes it worth paying? And most importantly, how on earth do they decide on the level of the fee?

I recently went online to buy concert tickets and here's a screenshot of the booking fees:

How does that make sense? If I go for the ticketFast method, I spend time at my computer, I do all the work, I spend a fortune on ink (possibly the subject of a future rant), and I pay for the paper. And for the privilege of spending all this time and money, I get charged £2.25. That hardly seems fair!

But then look further down. For the venue to pay someone to stand in the box office, to print the tickets for you and using their ink and their paper, only costs £1.50. How does that even begin to make sense?