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Monday, Dec 8, 2008

The Daily Swarm tells of an interesting gimmick that the Asthmatic Kitty label has set up where they base their pricing on the review that they get from Pitchfork.


“The first album subjected to Asthmatic Kitty’s unique experiment is Ropechain by Grampall Jookabox, which will sell for a meager $5.40 during its first 54 hours of sale. The label has determined this figure by consulting Pitchfork’s review of Ropechain, which gave the album a score of 5.4, and adjusting the cost accordingly.”


Like a said, it’s a cute gimmick and bound to get press, like this.  But what does it mean that AK is hoisting their fortunes (or lack thereof) on one source? Do the PF reviewers and their editors now become self-conscious about giving out good or bad scores and then have to be responsible for the pricing?  If an album gets the dreaded 0.0 score, does AK have to give it away for free?  Surely not if it’s a Sufjan Stevens album, right?  And as the Swarm article points out, do we hope that our latest artists on the label get panned so we can pay less?


My editor doesn’t like to hear this but this kind of stunt also helps to cement the reputation of PF too of course (wonder how much they paid off AK to do this…)


Also, this is the kind of model that the labels have been trying to push Apple into accepting- if there’s a hot new release out there, people are willing to and should pay more for it.  If something ain’t as hot (say, an oldie), then they can offer it for less.  Betcha that they’ll be interested to see what happens here.  They’re also probably wondering “why didn’t we think of that first?”


But going back to the original stunt, a 5.4 ain’t a good grade so why would people be excited to buy it, even if it is only five bucks?


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Monday, Dec 8, 2008
Apple iPod touch (8 GB/16 GB/32 GB) [$279.99-$499.99]

Apple imported many of the popular iPhone features to its latest iPod iteration with stunning results. Groove to your favorite songs while checking your stock portfolio, looking for directions to the restaurant where you’re meeting friends, check the weather, play games, watch YouTube videos, and more. The gorgeous display, superior sound and all around coolness make this an addictive gadget. Even with my massive 80 GB model loaded with hundreds of albums, I still cart this smaller version around with a selection of just my favorite songs while checking out the weather in warmer climes and watching old Clash videos on YouTube.


Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation)
Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation)
Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation)


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Monday, Dec 8, 2008
The Elvis Encyclopedia - Adam Victor - Overlook [$65.00]

Perhaps this should be subtitled ‘Elvis’ Eternal Reach Beyond the Grave’. Sure, this is an impressive collection of facts and details about the boy from Tupelo—from his love of Monty Python to his quotes about money to his first ride on an airplane – and it’s replete with rare photos and an abundance of quotes from and about the man. But it also documents his wide-reaching influence in pop culture to this day. Elvis-themed restaurants, merchandise, movies (of course), and all the people, places, and industries his persona impacted are meticulously listed, here. You’ll see an entry on homosexuality, another on Stax history, and so much more. This is an excellent historical resource and a pleasurable flip-through read.  I can think of about, oh, a few million who would just die to have this book in their collection.


AMAZON


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Monday, Dec 8, 2008
Ken Russell at the BBC - BBC Warner [$59.98]

Before he became the “bad boy” of British cinema, middle aged maverick Russell was making amazing musical biographies for UK television. This masterful boxset contains six of his best - Elgar, The Debussy Film, Always on Sunday, Isadora Duncan: The Biggest Dancer in the World, Dante’s Inferno, and Summer of Song. Sadly, his slam on Richard Strauss, The Dance of the Seven Veils, was pulled at the last minute. Still, with famous faces like Oliver Reed and Vivian Pickles along for the ride, this collection is a revelation, and a testament to one of the most criminally underrated directors of all time.


AMAZON


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Monday, Dec 8, 2008
Roy Orbison - The Soul of Rock and Roll - Legacy [$59.98]

Impressively comprehensive and stunning in scope, The Soul of Rock and Roll is also a beautifully packaged boxed set. Its presentation befits the image, the voice, the legend of Roy Orbison. The limited edition comes in a gorgeous white linen-covered casing holding a collectible reproduction of the 1953 Wildcats of Wink High School yearbook, and a 95-page booklet filled with an extensive biography, clippings, a discography and hundreds of striking photos. The astounding four disc collection spans Orbison’s more than 30-year career with 107 tracks of classics, covers, ‘50s demos and live performances, 12 of which are previously unreleased. Each and every one of these 107 tracks is special, and the collection as a whole is phenomenal. You’d be hard-pressed to find any box set, by any artist, that is as thoroughly comprehensive and as lovingly presented as this one is. So, for that, it is remarkable. But Roy Orbison doesn’t really need all of those extras to make this box set unique. His music and his voice, his legend and his legacy, the long shadow he casts over every rock and roll singer to step into a spotlight, are a testament to the man who truly was the Soul of Rock and Roll.


AMAZON


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