Posted by: Phil | December 17, 2009

John Frusciante officially leaves RHCP

Picture from John Frusciante's myspace courtesy of nabilphotography.com.

John Frusciante himself has now confirmed via his myspace that he will be leaving the Red Hot Chili Peppers. From the post:

“To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction. Upon rejoining, and throughout my time in the band, I was very excited about exploring the musical possibilities inherent in a rock band, and doing so with those people in particular. A couple of years ago, I began to feel that same excitement again, but this time it was about making a different kind of music, alone, and being my own engineer.”

There is no word on what he’ll be doing next, but I’m still holding out hope that he and Omar will just hook up permanently and have the supergroup baby that I want them to have.

Posted by: Phil | December 15, 2009

Music on the Internet

Bootleg tapes, CD-Rs and P2P. All frightening adversaries that threatened to take down the music industry at one point or another by taking the legs out from under CD sales. Record companies did everything to stop the pursuit of free music from banning tape recorders from shows during the 80s to which punk bands responded by handing out blank tapes. CD-Rs and P2P services are still around and record companies and the RIAA are throwing around million dollar lawsuits pretty much monthly against both the services and even against individuals using those services. But, regardless of what record companies tried to do, they all inevitably affected the industry in one way or another. CD sales are now down to only accounting for a 1/3 of musicians’ overall income with merchandise, touring and other forms of revenue making up the other 2/3s. As a result, bands have taken to the internet to release free content in order to attract consumers rather than relying on cracking the top 20 in Billboard sales.

Jesse von Doom works at CASH Music, a non-profit organization that offers artists the tools to release content ranging from single tracks to full albums to even concerts for free online. The site has worked with bands like Portugal. the Man and Earl Greyhound to release both live performances and an entire EP for free online in order to promote their music. In an email exchange, I asked him about what it’s like to distribute music for free.

Me: How do you go about getting the content on your site? Do bands approach you to distribute their content or do you ask them?

Jesse von Doom: How we get content: we work with artists we know, or artists who have been invited. The content is always theirs, and it’s always coupled with specific goals on their end.

Me: Your site is about offering free content to the consumer. How do you see offering things like free album streams and full live concerts helping artists?

JvD: How free content benefits artists: exposure and data collection. Free content has been around for years in the form of radio and MTV, neither of which pay performance royalties. Thankfully that’s changing, but it’s still vital that artists get their music out in some way that can make people excited and willing to purchase. Sometimes the benefit is simply giving a taste and hoping that people buy a full release. In other cases it has more to do with collecting data like email and location, enabling an artist to better market their live show. There are other benefits to free as well, such as building rapid popularity and cashing in on sync licensing (music for TV and film.)

Me: Do you feel like offering all this free content cheapens the idea of music or is just the next logical step how people digest music?

JvD: Free cheapening music: well music pre-dates capitalism and will be around long after the last penny has lost its luster. So no I don’t think the price cheapens the art. I do think that giving too much away can be detrimental for an artist if they don’t have a plan. It’s a very valid practice, but as an artist you have to know where your revenue is coming from and plan for that.

Me: Ultimately, what do you feel your site offers as an open-source website and where do you want your site to go in the future?

JvD: The future: Ultimately CASH is looking to become an established foundation benefitting artists and the music industry as a whole. There’s a bit of a social obligation to keep music alive because it’s more than simple commerce… it’s culture as well.

Perception

The idea of giving away free music on the internet goes beyond simply bands giving content away. In this new era of the internet where instant gratification is only a few clicks away, people expect that they are going to be given some form of content for free. Michael Porch, a 21-year-old junior, says “I expect there should be some way to hear their music for free before buying it.” With sites like Myspace and Facebook allowing consumers to sample bands’ music for free, people now no longer have to rely on their local record store or even radio station for recommendations.

Free Streaming/Downloads

Now sites like Grooveshark and Lala (Which was recently purchased by iTunes) allow users to stream any track they want for free for a limited time. Also, bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have released entire albums where people could choose their own price. The albums were a large breakthrough in the industry, creating a different standard for how people digest their music. Radiohead reported about 1.2 million downloads in the first week, with around $10 million dollars in revenue. “I think the option to pay is a pretty good deal,” said Porch, “I remember I downloaded the one Saul Williams album off his website and I remember at the time I didn’t have any money. I had no way of paying online so I downloaded it, but I know my other friend donated like $10 because he liked the album.”

Piracy

However, these are all remedies for a much larger problem. As mentioned before, piracy is a large problem in the music industry. In 2007, the Institute for Policy Innovation reported that $12.5 billion dollars are lost annually due to piracy. Joe Lamberti, a 20-year-old junior, estimated that about 50% of his music library is through actually purchasing an album. “It used to be way more, but CDs are definitely not something I invest money in. All in high school, I would buy CDs, but now I don’t have money, so I just download them. And I feel bad, because I feel like I’m kind of obligated to buy albums of bands I really like because I always have in the past,” he says.

Now sites like Grooveshark and Lala using ad-based revenue to give users the ability to stream music whenever they want in order to combat these long-running problems. Lala.com offers a service where users can spend only $0.10 in order to stream a song whenever they want. And now with Apple acquiring the site, cloud hosted streaming could move into the mainstream if Apple decides to us Lala’s service on iTunes.

Whether Radiohead’s solution orApple’s solution proves right, ultimately they are both solutions to a billion dollar problem.

(By the way, this would be my final project.)

Posted by: Phil | December 14, 2009

Rumors: John Frusciante leaves RHCP

John Frusciante in concert with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2006. Picture from wikipedia.org.

The newest rumor circulating around the blog-o-sphere is that the guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante, has left the band. This wouldn’t be the first time that Frusciante has left the Chili Peppers, as he went on an indefinite heroin hiatus in 1992 before quitting cold turkey and returning to the band in 1998 to record the album Californication.

The story originally broke on musicradar.com, when an unnamed “source” gave details about the Chili Peppers looking for a new guitarist. From the story:

Josh Klinghoffer has been playing with the group for a couple of months now,” says the source. “Optimistically, the Peppers are trying to lock down a replacement for John, who has apparently quit.

“Mentally, John checked out a long time ago. He’s interested in doing his own thing, his own albums – the whole big rock band machinery just doesn’t appeal to him anymore.”

Josh Klinghoffer touring with PJ Harvey in 2004. Picture from wikipedia.org

Klinghoffer helped the Chili Peppers on their 2007 Stadium Arcadium tour as a second guitarist. He’s also toured with Beck, the Butthole Surfers and Gnarls Barkley in the past.

If the news holds up as true, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Frusciante has been somewhat distant in recent interviews, including a Musicradar.com podcast when he couldn’t come up with an answer for almost 30 seconds when asked about the status of the band, then saying that they had “no plans.” Frusciante has always had a prolific solo career, having released several side projects like those he did with Klinghoffer and Joe Lally of Fugazi as Ataxia and has worked with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta on a number of projects. Here’s to hoping that he hooks back up with Lopez and can churn out something like the jam session they had back in 2004.

Posted by: Phil | December 14, 2009

Rap + Rock = Blakroc

Blakroc's self-titled debut.

As if The Black Keys prolific release schedule wasn’t enough, they decided to enlist the aid of Damon Dash of Rocafella Records to record one of the most comprehensive rap/rock collaborations which was released late last month for those who might have missed it.

Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have created probably one of the only rap/rock albums that doesn’t dive head first into the rap metal laden apocalypse that predates their efforts. With eleven different rap artists, including the late ‘Ol Dirty Bastard, Blakroc uses everything from the weed-laced lyrics of Jim Jones and the RZA to the soulful singing of Nicole Wray. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve liked any of the Black Keys stuff in the past and are a fan of east coast rappers like the RZA and Mos Def. You can download it from amazon.com for $7.99. Also, check out their performances on David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon below for a taste.

Posted by: Phil | December 12, 2009

Listen to Cold War Kids’ “Audience”

Cold War Kids. Picture taken by nevbrown.

After two soulful full lengths which infused piano driven ballads with indie rock, Cold War Kids are releasing a new EP entitled Behave Yourself on December 21 exclusively on iTunes. The first single off of the album is titled “Audience” and seems to be more in the same vein as the band’s first full length, Robbers and Cowards, straying away from their bass-y, underwhelming second offering, Loyalty to Loyalty. You can listen to their new single below. The band also posted a preview video sampling the tracks on their new album which is also below.

Cold War Kids – Audience by  phildavis89

Posted by: Phil | December 3, 2009

Rumors confirmed, Dave Elitch is TMV’s new drummer

Dave Elitch, the new drummer for the Mars Volta.

A couple days late on this one, but live video from the Mars Volta European tour has confirmed that Dave Elitch is the new drummer for the Mars Volta for the time being. The band has yet to release an official statement regarding the dismissal of previous drummer Thomas Pridgen and other than the facebook post by Thomas Pridgen back in November, there’s no word as to what will happen going forward with the band. For right now, however, it seems that Dave Elitch will finish the European tour with the band. Check below for a live video from their European tour showcasing Elitch on Inertiatic E.S.P.

Posted by: Phil | November 21, 2009

The Mars Volta tour minus Pridgen

Thomas Pridgen.

As if firing one drummer isn’t enough, antiquiet has now confirmed through Thomas Pridgen’s facebook page that he is no longer part of the Mars Volta.

The Mars Volta had cancelled the last show on the US tour in Raleigh, North Carolina and rumors started flying around the message boards that it was because of a tiff between Pridgen and the band. In a Facebook post where Pridgen reported that he was recording new material, he confirmed that he was no longer working with the Mars Volta.

Rumors have Dave Elitch as the new drummer in the band according to the band’s forum.

Posted by: Phil | November 21, 2009

At the Drive-In’s Last Tour – An Interactive Map

To retell the story of the band that could have changed popular punk music forever, I’ve created an interactive Google Map that tracks At the Drive-In’s last month together in early 2001. From their performance at Big Day Out in Australia to their last show in the Netherlands, the map gives some insight into how the band started to break down towards the end of their run with pictures, videos and details of each concert. Later today I plan on posting a timeline chronicling the bands entire existence through photos.

Posted by: Phil | November 15, 2009

This Week’s Live Playlist – Post-Hardcore

As a sort of feature for every week, I’ll be putting together a collection of tracks for different genres from live performances. This week is the post-hardcore genre with progressive influences. All these bands have exemplified more experimentation in the post-hardcore format and stand out from the typical punk/metalcore scene that has developed over the past few years.

Progressive Post-Hardcore Live Mix by phildavis89

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The Sound of Animals Fighting

The first track is from The Sound of Animals Fighting off of their live DVD, We Must Become the Change We Want to See. It was the only recorded performance of the band where they played in front of a sold out crowd at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. The Sound of Animals Fighting is a supergroup created by ex-RX Bandits member Rich Balling and features the likes of Anthony Green, the vocalist for Circa Surive, Craig Owens, the former vocalist for Chiodos, Matt Embree, the lead guitarist for the RX Bandits, Christopher Tsagakis, the drummer for the RX Bandits and several other guest appearances who showed up during the live show like Steve Choi from the RX Bandits helping on rhythm guitar and Joe Troy from the RX Bandits on bass.

The band’s sound can best be described as a fusion of the progressive punk featured in the RX Bandits with the heavier post-hardcore influence of Anthony Green’s Circa Survive and Craig Owens’s Chiodos. Their focus on more progressive scale verses is a fresh take on the power chord heavy genre.

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The Fall of Troy.

The second track comes from The Fall of Troy. In early 2009, the band gave a visit to Hurley Studio in Costa Mesa, California to give a three song live set. The Fall of Troy takes a heavier approach to the post-hardcore genre, taking influences from bands like At the Drive-In and The Blood Brothers while creating crazy, technically proficient guitar riffs to drive their songs. To view the full set, click here for the video performance of “I Just Got This Symphony Going,” “Chapter III: Nostalgic Mannerisms” and the now titled “Nobody’s Perfect” (Called “Untitled” in the performance).

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta. Picture taken by Nick Helderman.

Speaking of At the Drive-In, the last song on the playlist comes from the ashes of the highly influential post-hardcore with The Mars Volta. The performance of “Inertiatic E.S.P.” comes from the rare recorded performance of the band at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town, England on July 9, 2003. While The Mars Volta tend to lean more on the progressive side with their music; the band’s first full-length release, De-Loused in the Comatorium, showed the band had not completely abandoned their punk and post-hardcore roots with songs like this one.

Posted by: Phil | November 13, 2009

Portugal. the Man release free live video

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Portugal. the Man. Picture courtesy of portugaltheman.net.

In Portugal. the Man’s never ending quest to completely dominate the music world, the band has released a free 40 minute live performance from Neumos in Seattle, Washington in conjunction with CASH Music. You can either download the DVD quality video, an iPod/iPhone video, 7 320kbps mp3s or the entire concert as one 320kbps mp3 for just giving your email address. Be sure to check out cashmusic.org for more concerts and to donate to their cause to work with artists to create original content with open-source technology.

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