Saturday, 29 May 2010

Free Music Friday #60: The Black Crowes

I've featured the The Black Crowes in a Free Download Friday before (see Free Download Friday #22: Black Crowes). They feature some of the scruffiest beards in rock but I really like this band!

They have made a free live track available for download: Good Morning Captain.

Go to Indie Artist Spotlight, download and enjoy! Find out how good old fashioned Rock should sound!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More Rush News

I recently wrote about some of the things that Rush fans have to look forward to this year (see A Good Year For Rush Fans). Details are now out on when and where the Rush documentary, Beyond The Lighted Stage, will be shown: see the cinemas link.

When it was first posted, the only Scottish cinema appeared to be Kilmarnock but more cinemas have now been added including Glasgow: huzzah!

And I spotted more Rush news on the Classic Rock site: Rush Announce Digital Single. Looks like this will be the first hint of what to expect from the new album.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Free Music Friday #59: The Black Keys

Two videos, both on The Black Keys' YouTube channel, for the same song. I've read that the band don't like one of them but I like them both and think both suit the quirky nature of the band.

This is the first one I saw:

And this one appeared more recently:

Which one is your favourite?

Free Downloads

Essentially, these videos are just an excuse to link you to the excellent HearYa site where you can download three live tracks from The Black Keys including an excellent version of 10am Automatic. Stripped back, visceral blues with a rock edge. Two blokes with a guitar and a drum kit. An astonishing racket!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Univrsal: Fail!

I have posted before about my frustration with the music industry and how it doesn't seem to get digital music distribution. A couple of months ago I named and shamed Warner Music and their decision to pull out of streaming music. (See Warner Music goes backwards!)

Today, I saw an article in the Grauniad which suggests Universal Music Group is also trying to make its music hard to access. (See Behind the music: Universal throws down the gauntlet to download stores for details.) Bizarre!

It is not clear how restricting legal download/streaming services access to you artists' work is in anyone's interest. Except of course that by making a commodity scarce, you might be able to demand a premium price for it.

I found two aspects of the report in the Graudiarn particularly interesting. First, Paul McCartney says it's EMIs fault that the Beatles are unavailable for download from iTunes. I always assumed that it was some legal wrangle over who owned the digital distribution rights but maybe it's just about money. Secondly, the insight into Universal's business model was illuminating. Essentially it seems to involve extorting ludicrously high fees from potential online providers so that what ever happens to the online retailer, Universal always gets paid!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Free Download Friday #58: The Dead Weather

You may not have heard of The Dead Weather but it is yet another one of Jack White's side projects. (Although he has so many side projects, perhaps his side project was the White Stripes and everything else is what he does for a day job.)

The excellent RcrdLbl site has Die By The Drop from The Dead Weather's album Sea Of Cowards.

With Jack's vocals and input, it sounds to me like a hi-fi version of the White Stripes. But that's a bit unfair because it's a great track and, if indicative of the whole album, it will be well worth checking out.

Have you heard any more from The Dead Weather? What do you think of them?

Exile On MP3 Street

I understand why up and coming bands put out free music: to let people know they exist and hear what they sound like. I understand why record companies with new albums to promote give away samples: to encourage fans to buy the album and generate some buzz. But guess sometimes people just give it away because they want to.

I guess today's download falls into that third category. As bands go, they don't get much bigger than the Rolling Stones. As events go, you would think the release of a remastered version of Exile On Main Street would create a major splash without too much marketing effort. So it is great to see they've made a version of All Down The Line available free - presumably, just because they can rather than because they have to. My only gripe is the download is time limited and runs out on Sunday, so you'd better get it quick!

As an aside, I was pleased to discover that Amazon UK is giving some free downloads. I keep coming across USA only downloads from Amazon but this is the first time I've noticed a UK freebie. I've signed up for their Twitter feed so hopefully I'll get more notice of future offers.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

AC/DC Competition

I wrote about Justin Sandercoe's awesome AC/DC contest a few weeks ago (see Guitar Lessons: A New Challenge). I had a great time trying to learn AC/DC's Shoot To Thrill and, although I could barely play the opening two riffs, I decided to post a video anyway:

I will keep plugging away and hopefully post a complete version at some point in the future.

At the closing date there were 186 entries for this awesome competition. I haven't looked at them all (yet) and I don't envy Justin and the other judges' job: the standard is exceptionally high and choosing the winners will be extraordinarily difficult.

Before I tell you my favourites, I think it's worth noting how few women have entered - I've seen two so far. Also interesting is the number that appear to have been recorded in bedrooms - presumably family rooms are not ready for novice renditions of Rock classics! However, what's amazing is the number of very young guitarists that have recorded astoundingly good versions. (Although it's fair to say there are a reasonable number of fat old baldy blokes like me too!)

There are four prizes on offer. The main prize of a customised Iron Man themed Gibson SG is for the Best Performance. Choosing the best will be very difficult but my favourite so far is probably MyTwangyGuitar's version. His solos are especially impressive but I think it's a shame you only see the guitar. For that reason, I might be tempted to go for someone like FrankSenese who seems to be playing all four parts himself.

The Most Entertaining category might be easier as I have yet to see anything that comes close to billbailey88's mini soap opera:

I don't understand why more people are not watching and commenting on this video. For a runner up, I'd go for a real underdog: clickthelink92. They are clearly having a blast in this video - great fun!

The next category is Best Dressed. Many people have worked hard on the Angus Young look but I think I'd go for stouder18 for the sheer energy he puts into the performance.

Finally, Most In Need Of Encouragement. I hope this goes to one of the really young guitarists (assuming the rules allow them to enter). For example guitarman98100 who has only been playing ten months and yet he puts my efforts to shame.

So what do you think of the entries? Who do you rate and who would you have in the top spots?

Friday, 7 May 2010

Free Download Friday #57: Another charity download

Omar Rodríguez-López (The Mars Volta) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) recorded a seven track instrumental album which they have made available for download.

Like the Music for Haiti charity download (Free Download Friday #43: Music for Relief - Haiti Earthquake), you have the option of downloading the tracks for free. If though, you choose to make a donation, all money raised will be given to the "Keep Music In Schools" programme. My only problem with this is that I can't find any information on that charity. Can anyone shed any light?

The tracks are... interesting. Definitely more Volta-style progy than Chilli-style funky. It's not exactly easy listening or background music but it is interesting and I suspect you will find that it rewards repeated listens. My favourite track is 0. (Yes, that's the title - 0.) I don't really get the track names so I'll be much obliged if anyone can explain the significance to me!

Let me know what you think of this charity download. Does it work for you or is it too odd?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Metal Goes To The Moves

The Music Radar website has published a list of Eleven Great Metal Movies. And if you are asking why it goes up to eleven rather than the traditional ten, you clearly haven't seen the movie they have at number ten!

I have a couple of questions about this list. one is, why does it not include The Song Remains The Same? (I would have bumped Bad News Tour on the grounds that it's not a film to make room for The Song.) And, is the list in any order? If so, why is This Is Spinal Tap not at the top (or the bottom depending on how you look at it)?

However, I am grateful that it introduced me to Airheads. Normally I'd avoid a film with either Brendan Fraser (who should be ashamed of the car crash that was the remake of Bedazzled) or Adam Sandler (who I've never seen in film I liked). But in this case, the wonderful Steve Buscemi seems to compensate for Brendan and Adam Sandler is not too prominent and so does OK. Also, it has a cameo from Lemmy - what's not to like?

So what do you think? What's your favourite metal movie? Are there any other gems I've missed?