Recorded outside the Sasquatch Music Festival—with Blind Pilot heard performing in the background—We Are Augustines does a stellar performance of New Drink for the Old Drunk, a song and performance that reminds me of Springstein. A great recording, even with the wind. (Starts at 1:08)
It had been a long time since I had been to a live show and an even longer time since I had been to a certifiable rock concert. The billboards went up this summer for The Black Keys and I somehow knew I had to go. It didn’t hurt the date of the concert was the day before our 8th wedding anniversary and that my wife had casually mentioned “it would be cool to go.”
I bought the tickets months ago as a surprise, so long ago in fact that I forgot about them from time-to-time and once I remembered them, I often had a brief moment of panic regarding their exact location in our child-torn house. I didn’t lose them though, booked Grandma to watch the kids, and we headed out Monday night.
I have to admit that I do believe that most businesses are sort of evil, because I believe that money really is the root of all evil. This belief doesn’t stop me from supporting businesses because, well, I’m an American. I’ve grown up in this glorious first-world country, growing accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and while I try to mitigate my negative impact on the world through smart consumer choices—and through recycling, reusing, and blahdy blahdy blah—I still basically support evil.
For the longest time I resisted paying for a streaming music service, but the need to balance my greed for music and how much I was paying for it finally pushed me over the edge to subscribe to Rdio (plus my friend works there). And like most addictions, I was in denial because I didn’t want to believe there could be anything bad with it. Yet I started to let myself wonder: how do artists actually make money off this shit? I mean, I’m only paying $10/month and I’m listening to hundreds of artists/songs/albums…the math doesn’t work out.
Then today, I read this:
A few bands or labels, it seems, haven’t quite jumped on board. Part of the reason is that a song has to be played between 100 and 150 times on a streaming service in order to generate the same licensing revenue as a single download sale.
Ouch. And then I read this:
Here’s how much money one band estimates it makes per Spotify play: $0.009. That’s not a typo. It’s almost one cent. And we know what one cent is worth. A post on TheNextWeb estimates that, at that rate, the band needs more than 5,000 plays to break even (based on how much it costs to have a service digitally distribute the music). To make $50 profit, they’d need another 5,000 plays.
Being a musician and having many musician friends, of course I believe musicians should get paid. Yet I’m still not sure I’m willing to give up my virtually unlimited music fix that costs me $10/month. To maintain this habit of mine through direct music purchases, I’d have to spend at least 10x that. It’s the Walmart syndrome: I know the cheap stuff made in China is badness for everyone, but I can’t afford the stuff that’s locally-made/organic/fair trade/produced-by-Americans-or-some-equally-happy-worker. So I have to decide if I make it a priority and pay extra, go without (gasp! horror! apocolypse!), or buy “the cheap stuff” and turn a half blind eye and tell myself “everyone else is doing it” and me stopping won’t make a difference anyway.
There are many great MCs out there with not only poignant rhymes, but great rhythm and delivery of their lyrics. I’ve been a fan of Aesop Rock for a while, but here’s a newer track I just found today that embodies some of the things I love about hip-hop and his style. Here’s an excerpt from ZZZ Top off of Skelethon (check out all the verses):
Somebody in a cultivated moment of distrust, composed themselves enough to magic-marker “Zulu” on these chucks, they was tryin to do the buckle font from ‘renegades of funk’, in a 3d frame of exploding brick, and whiz-lines for the locally motion sick, beyond gross but evoked a host of “oh dip” where a social neurosis owned the whole strip, heart of a cat with a lark in his mouth in the marrow of waiting his guardians out, flashlight, chisel tips, milked venom, pistol grip, images relocated from milled vellum to scissor kick, silent agreement at hand, king of the hill for a queen of the damned, she in the doorway seething began “that clean white pair had a 3-year plan!”, oops, capital “zed”, radical “u” in the cut, truly to beautiful “l”oser it up, “u” and he done, collateral damage a future alum, that key to Shambala, planet rocking, Bambaatta, sample chop, churning out a cancer for the vandal squad, analog, and he finds, animated colors on a page, like synthesized cultures on a stage
And here’s the track for your listening pleasure. The words and the way he flows them together are not to be missed:
Love him or hate him, today would have been Michael Jackson’s 54th birthday. I dare you to watch this and not fall in love all over again with this great talent of our time.
These guys are quite popular now but if you haven’t heard them, I think you’ll enjoy this. I finally looked into them this summer and haven’t been sorry. And with these field recordings from NPR, it’s really hard not to like whatever artist is being featured. Anyway, even if you’re familiar with Of Monsters and Men, check this out, I think you’ll like it.
This one’s pretty old but I never shared it here. One of my favorite MCs, Sugar Tongue Slim (STS), doing his thing over Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know.