Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some Food For Thought: Why I Stream Music

Earlier this week, I came across this article called The Music Industry Has 99 Problems and They Are... written by Paul Resnikoff. One of the issues the article addresses is the streaming of music nowadays. Just scroll down to #11 - Streaming Has Largely Failed Artists and Independent Labels. I definitely would agree with what the author wrote and the problems with streaming. I truly wish companies like Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, and Sound Cloud would be more generous with payouts to artists. If it really was possible for me, I would not stream music and just simply buy music directly from the artists themselves. I do try to do that as often as possible. There are some artists whose music I will just buy without blinking an eye because I am that loyal to them.  Sadly that isn't the case nowadays. As a serious music fan, I am going to defend why I stream music online. I felt like I need to since the criticism towards streaming is so one sided and you don't hear from music fans themselves why they stream music online but that will all change now.

A few nights ago, I decided to stream the new KMFDM album Our Time Will Come. Three songs into the album, I thought to myself "Funny, this sounds awfully familiar like KUNST, WTF?!, and Blitz". I had to quit listening after three songs because the music sounded so repetitive. Had I bought this album either at the Electric Fetus or online I would have sunk $15 of my hard earned money on music that put me to sleep and I would have been pissed off that my money went to an album I didn't like.

If there is one thing I do not like it is wasting money on an album that has about 1-3 good songs and the rest being filler. Our Time Will Come wasn't the only musical disappointment for me this year. I was anything but impressed with Sarah McLachlan's latest album Shine On which I also streamed online to see if it was worth picking up at the record store. Unfortunately the music wasn't worth it. I do not doubt that the reason why the current state of the music industry is pretty much craptacular is because the industry itself shot itself in the foot by being greedy. The industry today is not interested in helping artists to sustain a long, healthy, sustainable career in music. They want hits ASAP which translates to $$$. I think another part of the problem is with the artists themselves. I think some have gotten really lazy or have lost that creative spark from their early days (for me in this case KMFDM).

In the last couple of years I have started noticing just how repetitive the dark electro scene has become and for me has gotten stuck in this complacency of synthesized music which the beats sounds way too much alike. In order for me to find new and interesting music and not end up wasting my money on music I might not like has put me in the corner and turn to streaming music online whether via Bandcamp or Youtube. The only two  bands in the past year who has put out some kick ass music that does NOT sound like Rotersand or Icon of Coil is Youth Code and 3 Teeth. I'm particularly a big fan of Youth Code. I really think this is the band that could bring back industrial music to its original roots. Or at least I hope they do. If they don't succeed, they sure have given the scene a swift kick int the ass which is sorely needed. The repetitiousness in the music is getting too much for me to bear to a point where I am really picky about where my money is spent on hence listening to music on sites like Spotify.

On the more positive note, I have bought  a shit load of music this past year, so far almost $1000 worth of music. I have downloaded music from sites like CD Baby and Bandcamp as well as Amazon, Metropolis records, Alfa Matrix Records, and bought directly from my local record stores. That is more than a lot of people so to put a lot of blame on music listeners for the current state of the music scene is a bit unfair. Not everyone is lazy and just wants music at their convenience.

I don't speak for all music fans. I only speak for myself as a music fanatic, and get my view point on the issue of streaming across. Yes it is unfair of the way artists are ripped off by companies like Pandora and Spotify but it is also unfair to listeners who gets ripped off with less than stellar music when they buy music from his or her favorite artists. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Albums I am currently listening to

Well this week has been a good week for music. I got my latest order from Alfa Matrix Records and some cds from the library. Here is what I have been listening to lately.

Royskopp and Robyn: Do It Again

Krishna Das: Kirtan Wallah

Sia: 1000 Forms of Fear

Sonny Knight: I'm Still Here

If you haven't heard of Petals and Thorns, you should now. They are a band from Cleveland, OH. If you like dark electronic rock, I think you will dig this band. They recently released their debut album The Broken Mirror this week.

I know I have mentioned it on many occasions here but do check out the new Psy'Aviah. It is easily one of the best releases this year. The remixes are just as good. And please do buy the tribute album to The Cure from Psy'Aviah's label Alfa Matrix.

I am digging the collaboration that Royskopp and Robyn on the EP Do It Again. Neither of those artists can really do no wrong in my book. The new SIA album is excellent to and certainly worth looking to. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Artists I am not embarrassed for liking

01. Dolly Parton
I think it is pretty public knowledge that country legend Dolly Parton has always been a LGBT ally but today she made her status in the gay community even bigger by calling out the anti-gay Christians which you can read in this article on  I have been a fan of Dolly Parton since I first saw her in the classic comedy 9 to 5, still the funniest office/workplace movie ever.  As an adult I have grown to love her even more so as a human being as well as a musician. I am not going to make any bones about it I am a big LGBT supporter and I have always known for some time that she was  big gay icon. Her recent comments today when she called out the sanctimonious, self-righteous bible thumpers about judging members of the LGBT community made me love her even more so.

02. Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens
There weren't a lot of artists that my brother listened to that I liked when we were teenagers. He was more into classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and worse yet the Grateful Dead (gag me). I was more into alternative rock. The one artist that I did like that he got me into was Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam). I still love listening to Cat Stevens' music to this very day.

03. Weird Al
Like anyone who grew up in the '80s, Weird Al was part of my childhood. I still love his music to this very day. It always cracks me up. His new album Mandatory Fun is good for some laughs.

04. Belinda Carlisle
I love the Go Go's. They were one of my favorite bands growing but I always loved Belinda's work as a solo artist even more so. Her solo music was a lot poppier but catchy nevertheless. I just got back into her solo material over the spring time when I ordered her latest collection of her hit songs. It made me wish pop music today wasn't so slick and over produced, not to mention the overuse of Auto-Tune. Pop artists today should take a lesson here and there from pop stars from my youth like Belinda Carlisle.

05. Angel Haze
I didn't imagine I would ever like hip hop music but I have come to like some of it this year (first GRRRL PRTY, now Angel Haze).

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Albums From Alfa Matrix you should hear

Ever since the new Psy'Aviah album came out almost a couple of weeks ago, I have been listening to a lot of music from Alfa Matrix. I decided to pick my top 5 favorite releases from the label I think my readers should check out.

01. A Strange Play: An Alfa Matrix Tribute to The Cure

I just received my latest order from Alfa Matrix records today and in it was the new tribute album to The Cure. It features a slew of Alfa Matrix artists covering classic songs and deep cuts from The Cure. It is a 2 cd compilation. I have been enjoying the album a lot this evening. The album comes out on November 7 but you can hear a few tracks on the bandcamp page.

02. Psy'Aviah: The Xenogamous Endeavour

This album was also in the package that I got today.It is certainly going to be in my top 5/10 best of 2014 list. It is a fantastic album.

03. Mondtraume: Empty

Another excellent 2014 release from Alfa Matrix. The debut album by the Spanish synthpop act Mondtraume is by far my favorite synthpop album I have heard this year. It is solid from start to finish.

04. Unter Null: The Failure Epiphany

My favorite aggrotech album of all time. This album is a huge musical influence on me. I have yet to get sick of listening to it.

05. Ayria: Debris

My favorite Ayria album of all time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Albums I am current listening to

I went to the Electric Fetus this afternoon. I picked up a few cds at the store. I bought the self-titled debut EP by Tiny Deaths, Ruin Me With Love by Jourdan Myers, and X2.0 Best of: 1994-2006 by Suicide Commando. Tiny Deaths and Jourdan Myers are two new up and coming local artists.

Jourdan's music is what I would describe as being indie pop. I discovered her music earlier this summer through City Pages and liked what I had heard. I just discovered that she had recently released a new album so I decided to buy it. I like it a lot. I need to listen to this album a few more times before I can make final judgement.

Tiny Deaths is one of my favorite local acts in the Twin Cities this year. I was so happy to find a copy of their self-titled EP at the Electric Fetus today. As a fan of Aby Wolf's Wolf Lords album and Lookbook's music, there was no doubt I would like Tiny Death's music. A lot of the credit goes to ex-Lookbook member Grant Cutler whose work reminded me a lot of the Wolf Lords album as well as his work with his former band. I definitely recommend the Tiny Death EP for fans of Wolf Lords and Lookbook or electropop in general.

Other CDs I am listening to right now:

Suicide Commando: X.20 (Best of)

Epica: The Quantum Enigma

Sleater-Kinney: The Hot Rock

Black Label Society: Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Ladytron: Gravity the Seducer

Erasure: Other People's Songs

Haim: Days Are Gone

Fleshgod Apocalypse: Labyrinth