Latest Blog Posts

by Jason Gross

3 Apr 2009

With album sales continually tanking, artists are getting more and more creative about how to get fans to shell out for their releases and it’s not just the Radiohead/NIN freebie-or-pay-what-you-want models. It’s a bunch of new models where fans get extra for paying extra.

Here’s how iTunes made the announcement of the exclusive goodies that they were giving away with the new Depeche Mode album:

“Get new music and special bonus content from your favorite artists delivered as soon as it’s available with the purchase of an iTunes Pass. The first iTunes Pass includes Sounds of the Universe, the upcoming new album from Depeche Mode, plus extended singles, remixes, videos, and more, which will be released over the next few months. Buy an iTunes Pass today and the band’s new single “Wrong” plus the Black Light Odyssey dub remix of “Oh Well” will begin to download immediately.”

Sounds good, right?  But then comes the fine print. “Pass contents are subject to change without notice.”  Ouch. So, what does that mean?  Well, you probably find out after the fact. Also, you’re told “This pass is active and it is scheduled to end on June 16, 2009.”  What happens on that date?  Is all the material still available to you after that date if you’ve paid up before then?

Even with these caveats, it’s still enticing to fans, even if the material has already started leaking out. What will be interesting to see is the sales figures that Apple logs for this promotion.

This kind of bonus idea to give the fans a little more for their purchase is definitely catching on. No Doubt is offering a deal where if you buy premiere seats to their shows, you get to download their whole catalog. It’s a nice idea but wouldn’t the fans who were paying for the top dollar seats already have their whole catalog?  Maybe some other nice little extras would have been in order. Again, the proof will be in the sales figures that they’ll see for these primo seats.

Even indie heroes Sonic Youth are getting in on the deal. If you pre-order their upcoming Matador debut, you get a bunch of goodies from Rough Trade shops, Other Music and additional outlets, including: “stream of the album before release date, a limited edition live lp from a sonic youth gig in battery park nyc, an exclusive poster contained inside the vinyl and additional exclusive mp3’s.” 

For purchase bonuses though, good luck trying to beat drummer Josh Freese (Devo, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails). His extensive list of bonuses come with various prices, including $10,000 for his car, $20,000 for a round of golf and $75,000 which gets JF joining your band, a limo ride, five songs about you, lasagna and more! Gwen and Thurston aren’t offering that up now, are they? (P.S. JF sold the golf date)

And just think of the future possibilities with other releases and bonuses offered. Bono waxing your car. Springsteen fixing your roof. Neil Young unclogging your john. Jay Z mowing your lawn. Lil Wayne delivering you a pizza. Kenny Chesney getting leaves outta your rain gutter. Taylor Swift running errands for you. Finally, our favorite superstars can make a real impact in our lives and all we gotta do is buy their albums or show up to their shows. Seems like a fair trade off, doesn’t it?

by Sean Murphy

3 Apr 2009

As T.S. Eliot portentously opined: April is the cruelest month.

Apparently someone once pulled an April Fools’ Day joke on him too.

What’s really sad is I saw this one coming almost before I finished reading it, so my burgeoning excitement was tempered by the lesser but wiser angels of my cynicism. A quick Google check confirmed the farce: there is no Captain Beefheart reunion in the making. Stuff like this is, alas, way too good to ever be true:

by Mike Deane

3 Apr 2009

Back in February, I expressed how anxious I was for The-Dream’s follow-up to Love/Hate. So with that type of anticipation, when it came out, how could I be anything but disappointed?

Sure, there were some big tunes, but “Rockin’ That Shit” and “Walkin On The Moon” were released before the album, so I had played them out by the time Love Vs. Money was released. There were some other strong efforts too - his weird two-part song cycle (can two songs be a song cycle?) of “Love Vs. Money Part 1” and “Part 2” was good, and though they didn’t say what I suspect he hoped they would, they were catchy with some fairly hard and interesting production. There was really only one truly weak song, “Fancy”, but even it was weird and ambitious. So, the album was only disappointing when compared to the mastery displayed on his debut, and wasn’t weak when compared to other R&B albums.

by Randy Haecker

3 Apr 2009

Black Lips

Crowd at Stubb’s during Black Lips’ performance at Friday’s Spin magazine party

Kicks and Steve E. Nix of The Cute Lepers perform at Red 7

Travis Criscola and Kicks of The Cute Lepers

Ebony Bones

Echo & the Bunnymen perform during Friday afternoon’s Spin magazine party at Stubb’s

Flatstock, SXSW’s annual poster art show, is held in the Cesar Chavez Convention Center.  Pictured is artist Lindsey Kuhn.

Glasvegas performed during Friday afternoon’s Spin magazine party at Stubb’s.

Hot Leg, the new band featuring Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, performed at Stubb’s.

British dance sensation Little Boots performed at the Emo’s Annex.

Stage diving at the Red 7 punk showcase featuring The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Cute Lepers, and more.

Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls at Beauty Bar.

Flyer for Devil Dolls Booking punk rock showcase at Red 7.

Johnny Borrell of Razorlight performs at Stubb’s.

Shannon Brown of The Girls performed during the punk showcase at Red 7.

Welcome to SXSW.  Now get in line!

Teenage Bottlerocket brought the punk rock to Red 7

That Petrol Emotion performed their second show in 15 years at the Dog & Duck Pub.

Vivian Girls got gnarly at Aces Lounge.

Wild Beasts performed at the Yorkshire showcase at Lattitude 30.

by Sarah Zupko

3 Apr 2009

Cryptacize release their second album, Mythomania, on April 21st. The trio is Nedelle Torrisi, Chris Cohen of The Curtains/ex-Deerhoof, along with Michael Carreira. The spare, jagged rhythmic tunes nearly evoke a ‘60s girl pop band in a mid-‘80s post-punk setting and yet sound thoroughly contemporary and new.

“Blue Tears” [MP3]

“One Block Wonders” [MP3]

“Mini-Mythomania (Edited by C Spencer Yeh)” [MP3]

“Tail & Mane” [MP3]

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article