Wednesday, December 31, 2008

At The End Of The Year, Music Is Still My Boyfriend

As the year comes to a close I received some music gifts from overseas. The first was a requested and much desired 'Music is my Boyfriend' Hidden Cameras T-shirt. I had hoped when they played Manchester (here) they would have some on sale. They didn't. So thank you to the N. American branch of the family for visiting Kill The 8 (me neither) website and spending their Xmas dollars wisely.

The other gift, from Australia, was an eight song CD from Melbourne-based ska band The Ska Vendors.

The Ska Vendors are an 8 piece Melbourne based band. We have been skanking it up since 2004 playing a mix of Ska, Rocksteady and Jamaican R&B. We have shared the stage with The Specials, The Beat, Strange Tenants and many other great Melbourne bands. We provided backing for Carlos 'Bonanza Ska' Malcolm and recently had the pleasure of playing with The Caribs, Australian pioneers of Jamaican R&B. We tip our hats to the myriad of great Melbourne Ska bands that have preceded us (The Strange Tenants, Loin Groin, Area 7 et al) as well as 2-Tone and the Jamaican pioneers that have influenced our sound. This is Melbourne Ska!

Get this their first EP here.

The Hidden Cameras

The Ska Vendors
The Ska Vendors [BUY]

I have no interest in writing (here) about anything else than music. Whatever else this year has brought, I've managed to have a great time listening to new music and (re-) discovering old music, going to gigs (29 this year. Whilst remaining married and sane. Shame about the overdraft though.) and posting random thoughts here. And after two and a half years of trying, I think (*think*) I've managed to get my head why I am writing this blog.

It was a shame then in October and November that someone decided to issue DCMA notices to Blogger leading to three of my posts being taken down with no notice (my rant here). And for a blog that is read by only three people (thank you all for your support by the way) this felt out of all proportion. If I was technically more proficient I'd be migrating to Wordpress... but as it is, I'll just hang around here a bit longer.

Final thought for the year: It is good to see some attitudes in the music business changing. David Thomas of Pere Ubu (my fav band) has been a long-standing critic of downloads, sharing, live recordings without permission etc. See here. He spent a lot of time in 2006 and 2007 getting Pere Ubu videos removed from You Tube (in the style of Prince etc. but without the high profile coverage. I wonder why). Now I respect this from a musician and artist who is trying to protect their own copyright - it's the 'business' execs complaining I hate.

But what happened this year? Well this year started with a new web service from the band which: exists to sell soul. It's not merchandise. It's not content. It's called music. We offer downloads of recordings for which a commercial release is not deemed practical, as well as rarities, live recordings, limited releases, and anything else of note by Pere Ubu and bands related to Pere Ubu or Ubu Projex.

And then a video extract of the semi-theatrical show Bring Me The Head of Ubu Roi (premiered at the South Bank Centre in April this year) is posted on - of all places - You Tube plus on Revver (here) And now is offering a free mp3 download of 'March of Greed' too. Not to everyone's taste maybe but worth checking out here.

Because to me this is what this [blog/gig-going/record-buying/life] is about - trying something new and passing it on. Here's to more of the same in 2009.

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