Category : music

I forgot to mention my concert

Shit. We had a poster and everything. I’m posting it anyway, dammit.

There. Don’t you wish I had posted this earlier so you could’ve gone to see Darkfold lay down the rock? I’m such a bad promoter.

But wait!! There is a chance to redeem myself. We’ve got another gig this Friday at the Whiskey Junction! We’re playing with a band called Foresight For Sore Eyes and a few other bands.

Oct. 5th @ 9:30pm! Whiskey Junction! Darkfold will be on early so get there fast and be ready to rock.

Iron Maiden is a kick-ass band with songs full of crazy guitar solos and high pitched vocals, but that’s not all they offer. Almost every song is a history lesson, covering a diverse range of topics and times. This hilarious article about Maiden vs. high school history class is 666 kinds of awesome:

I am writing this letter in protest of the perverse travesty I have suffered at the hands of Mr. Bradley in the form of the horribly unjust “F” grade he has given me for last semester in his complete fraud of a class, World History 101. It calls into question the academic standards of this institution!

–snip–

100 B.C. The Roman Empire: The opening track “The Ides Of March” from the album Killers takes its name from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which the Roman Emperor is betrayed and murdered by Brutus after being warned to “beware the Ides Of March,” which is March 15th. This song immediately reminded me of the time that asshole senior Zack threatened he’s kick my ass if I didn’t return his copy of Slayer’s Reign In Blood before Christmas break, and my so-called “friend” Marty totally sold me out and told him that it was in my locker the whole time. This betrayal led to my tragic, Caesar-esque fall from grace. More specifically, this involved Zack wailing on me and duct-taping my buttcheeks together in the locker room after gym class. Et tu, Marte?

Read the whole thing!

BTW, the descriptions of the songs are 100% true! The lyrics really are about historical events.

How was the show?

Thanks for all those who came to the show tonight. It was awesome to see you all there. Hope we put on a good show.

For those of you who missed our inaugural gig, we’ve got another one coming up on Saturday the 25th! It’s a the Terminal Bar at 9:00 pm. I believe cover is $5. We’d love to see you there.

We’re Darkfold. We rock your face.

Darkfold show — Tuesday night at Big V's


Hey everybody. I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to post about my band’s show tomorrow night!!

As you may know, I’m in a band called Darkfold. We’re playing Big V’s Saloon Tuesday night at 9pm. Cover is $5. Also playing are A Life Without and Post Mortem Grinner. It’s gonna be an insane show! More metal than you can swallow. Hope you can make it!

Some Mornings are Death Metal Mornings

Have you ever had a Death Metal Morning™? It’s when you need a fix of super-loud, super-fast death metal in the morning when most sane people are listening to light music to slowly wake the hell up.

As I was pulling out of my driveway this morning I couldn’t find anything decent on the radio so I switched to a CD Andy gave me – Nile. I figured it might be a death metal morning. Boy was I right.

Not three seconds after putting on the CD I turned onto a road not more than 100 feet from my house and was nearly driven right off the road by a vehicle coming at me at extreme speed.

This is a neighborhood, mind you. Kids are all over the place around here, and this street was a residential road (one lane in each direction) with a speed limit of 30 mph, which most people actually follow. Not dumbshit though. She/he was going at least 50 miles an hour. Although the car was coming right at me I managed to make it up to 30 before they caught up to me. You’d think we’d be cool, right?

No. Dumbfuck swerves and passes me, crossing the double yellow line (no passing) and into oncoming traffic (there was none. This is a quiet neighborhood…or it was) and gives me the finger as if this is all somehow my fault.

No way, muthafucker. Not in my neighborhood. So I follow the little bitch and lay on the horn. We come up to a stoplight and we have to wait at least 30 seconds, thus negating any time dumbshit might’ve saved by speeding 50+ mph in a residential zone.

Muthafucker should be thanking Jesus I didn’t have a fucking baseball bat in my car or there would’ve been trouble. She/he would’ve seen a well-dressed office drone jump out of his car with a bat and death metal blaring. I would’ve proceeded to beat the fuck out of his/her nice-ass SUV (of course it was an SUV) while screaming, “Not in my neighborhood, MUTHERFUCKER!!!” repeatedly. It would’ve been quite a sight.

Luckily, I don’t have a baseball bat in my car, but life is a mosh pit and I’m thinking about getting one. We live in a death metal world and if you’re not ready to fight back you’re gonna get your face stepped on.

Nile, by the way, is perfect for working through a spasm of rage in the morning. It truly was a Death Metal Morning™.

Bob Dylan is so fucking overrated…

…But he’s still good. People have been talking about Dylan’s new album, Modern Times, saying it’s one of his best. I got my hands on a copy and I must disagree. I thought it was quite disappointing except for the last track, “Ain’t Talkin’” which is damn good. Too bad the rest of the album is impotent and paint-by-numbers tripe.

I don’t expect Bob’s voice to soothe me or even sound decent. Shit, there’s tracks on the album where old Bob sounds like he’s just been gargling with battery acid and peanut butter. He sounds like Zombie Dylan on a couple tracks. I think maybe Dylan’s been dead for a few years and he’s been re-animated with some Frankenstein-esque machine, doomed to wander the world as the undead while recording songs when his rotten voice box feels up to it.

But that’s not what bothers me about his new album.

No, it’s his backing band. On most tracks they sound like a shitty wedding band, playing the blandest, most inoffensive tunes your Aunt Marge could possibly ask for. I know, I know; it’s Dylan, not Killswitch Engage. But c’mon, Bob! Crank it up a notch. The band sounds like they’re on horse tranquilizers and auditioning for a gig as studio musicians for the Muzak corporation.

I saw Dylan live on this tour and the band was a bit better on stage, but maybe that’s because you have to be loud in a 20,000 seat theater. They seemed a little more energized, even playing (sort of) the Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along the Watchtower.”

Still, Bob’s not what he used to be. He’s a living legend, but it’s not like he could write “Like a Rolling Stone” or “The Times are a-Changin’” at age 66.

Instead we need a new generation of musical geniuses to move things forward; guys like Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. Their new album, The Crane Wife, is fucking brilliant.

The Decemberists are so fucking literary they sound like a band fronted by your old college English teacher, but in a good way. Despite the focus on words and lyrics (like Dylan) the band is about much more than that. They actually have great tunes! Their sound has been described as progressive-folk rock. They’ve clearly listened to a few Pink Floyd albums, but also a lot of Dylan.

Like Dylan, Colin Meloy has a…. uh.. “unique” voice. It takes some getting used to, but he can sing and hit the notes, just like Dylan used to be able to. Colin’s timbre is reedy and somewhat nasally, but he sings with more melody than dear old Bob.

If you’re a little disappointed with 7th decade Dylan, check out a band in its prime: The Decemberists.

Blogs of Summer

It’s hard to blog during the summer.

There’s so much to do outside, even when it’s melt-your-face hot out there. Things only get complicated by the fact that I’ve started turning my computer off when I’m not using it. This is “who are you and what have you done with Tim?!”-type behavior for me, but I’m trying to waste less electricity. And I’ve realized that the computer is really loud. It’s quite peaceful when the damn thing is off ’cause the hum of the fans is pretty annoying.

I use my computer as a jukebox, so this crimps my ability to play tunes easily. Still, I kinda like having the infernal machine off for a change — I use it too fucking much. What do I often do after coming back from a hard day at work, where I’ve been staring at a screen for 8 to 10 hours? Why, surf the internet of course! That shit needs to stop.

I’m hoping this change doesn’t impact the blog too much. I’ll still turn the computer on from time to time. It’s also my recording workstation, so I’ll need it to make a bunch of tweaks to the album before we are finished. Speaking of the band, concert dates are coming soon.

Lastly, there might be fewer posting for a few days as I battle a wizard. That wizard, of course, is Harry Potter and his 7th book. I love J.K. Rowling’s books and this is the last of the Potter books. I’m about 200 pages in and it’s really good. I’ve been trying to slow down or else I could read the whole thing in two days despite it being 750 pages. I’m sure a lot of people are done with it already, but I’m trying to take my time and savor it since this is it; no more Potter after this.

How sad it will be when the book’s over. Whether Harry dies or not doesn’t really matter. Since this is the last book he’s dead to us when the last page turns. There’s something very final about that.

More Reviews at Perfect Porridge

I reviewed a few more albums for Perfect Porridge. Check’em out! We’ve got a little Pestilence for you, along a nice slab of Sadus! Fuck yeah! Some thrash metal from the late 80s/early 90s for ya! You know you love it.

I’ve been thinking about music a lot lately. Okay, I always do that, since I’m obsessed with music, but you wouldn’t know it from this blog. I don’t know why, but I don’t usually like to write about music (it’s like “dancing about architecture” or so says Frank Zappa).

There’s an article over on Slashdot that got me thinking. It’s about the decline of the CD as a medium. Yeah, an article on that subject comes out every couple weeks, but I didn’t even read it. More important, I thought, was the ensuing discussion. It seems everybody has a different take on the state of the music industry. For me, no, CDs are not dead. I prefer my music uncompressed and pre-backed-up before I put it on my iPod. Plus, if you count CD-Rs, CDs are more popular than ever. I burn CDs all the time, whether its a copy of a CD a friend gave me or mixes from my band’s recording sessions.

Band Update – finally
Speaking of the band, I know I haven’t posted about us in awhile, probably because I didn’t want to jinx anything. People have been asking me when our album’s coming out for years and I keep telling them, “pretty soon. It’s right around the corner!” For the last few months I’ve been saying, “in a few months!” Well, it’s been a few months and it’s not out yet, but not for lack of effort. To be honest, we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, but whatever we’re doing is shaping up pretty nice. We’ve got about 7 songs pretty much in the can — which is to say 90% or more recorded. They all need some mixing, but we’re going to try to bust out 2 more tracks before mixing begins in earnest. The songs are heavy but not punishing. They are melodic, but not sappy. They are all fairly unique but I think they will sound pretty cohesive together on an album (except for maybe one oddball).

We’ve learned so much about recording over the last 7 months, I don’t know where to begin. But we’ve also had some setbacks. I’m not blaming anybody (*coughMattcough*), but my Digi 001 suddenly went from an 8 track recorder to 6 tracks. Not good. But we’ll pull through. We’re recording all of the instruments separately for maximum flexibility (and it just sounds better in my opinion), so this shouldn’t cause too many problems. After all of the overdubs are added on we typically end up with over 20 tracks anyway, now we’re just limited to recording 6 tracks at a time.

So anyway, the band: I haven’t even told you the name yet. We’re Darkfold. We’re on UnderUtopia Records, which is our own independent net-based label and our album is yet to be named. Darkfold consists of me, Matthew R. Coon (esquire) and Andy Riedinger (esquilax). We trade off instruments. Matt does much of our singing, but I do a bunch, too. We play heavy rock music, at least that’s what we’re focusing on at the moment. The second album could be totally different; who knows?

Anyway, I’ll try to keep y’all better informed as the album nears completion. We hope to start gigging soon, but we want to get this album done before Armageddon (which could be any day now… in fact… we’d better hurry!). This making an album thing is fucking difficult, especially with 3 fulltime jobs between us. Of course, it would be impossible without money coming in. I really respect anybody who can start a band, even a shitty one, because there’s so much that goes into making it work.

Music, Money & Class
I’ve been thinking about music and money — more specifically, music and class. A question to ponder: How much music is the world being robbed of because the would-be musicians are too poor to start a band? I mean, becoming a professional musician is basically like taking a vow of poverty to begin with (unless your name is “Paul McCartney”), but you have to have a certain level of wealth before you can even take that plunge. Buying guitars, drums, amps and assorted gear is expensive. So is buying recording equipment and practice space and a van for touring. Then, after doing that you need to find time to practice — but how can you do that if you’re working all the time to afford food, clothing and shelter, let alone the aforementioned gear/space?

So needless to say, I’m kinda shocked anybody can afford to start a rock band these days. That’s why I wasn’t too surprised to find out that many successful rock musicians were wealthy before they hit the top of the charts. Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, for instance, had rich parents to help him out when he was just getting started:

Conor: Dark? Not really. Actually I had a great childhood. My parents were wonderful. I went to a Catholic school. They have, I had money, so it was all easy. I basically had everything that I wanted anytime

Gee, wouldn’t that be nice. If my parents were bankrolling my musical endeavors I think we would’ve released 5 albums by now. Curse my middle-class upbringing! (j/k) It seems like every other star is the child of someone famous, from Norah Jones to Jakob Dylan. Rock and roll music was sparked by working class kids like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis. Would those same kids have a chance in today’s cut-throat economy with all its barriers to entry?

America’s Famous Poverty Machine
So my question is: Do you have to be upper-class or at least well-off to have a good chance of making it in music these days? Do the rich people in America make the rules? Music has evolved and the bar for “good” music has been raised and if you don’t want to sign your soul away to a near-extinct dinosaur of a record label what choice do you have?

Personally, I get the feeling that we’re being fucked. The economy seems to be devised to deprive of us our hard-earned money. After inflation, college loans, housing bubbles, gas prices and the fucked up healthcare system, most people are barely scraping by. I have several friends who are still living with their parents because moving out just doesn’t make economic sense. Rent is sky-high and wages are down (even as productivity is up!). Most of my other friends have massive debt (myself included) and no easy way out.

This is the richest, most prosperous nation on earth?! Bullshit. We are being fucked by the rich. The fascist/capitalist oligarchy that controls our government is all about extracting ever more money from the poor and the middle class, not because the rich need another yacht (they don’t) but because the whole system is set up this way. It all needs to come crashing down. And at the rate the dollar is falling, it might just do exactly that. And we’ll have Bush to blame. The “legacy” they keep talking about will be one of fascism, terrorism, poverty and incompetence.

Music and class is not something most people like to talk about. It’s fair to ask, “does it matter? If the music is good, so what?” I would argue that it does matter, and we miss their unique perspectives. If you need a lot of equipment or players (like rock
and classical, respectively) the poor simply can’t play that game. And music education is already cut to the bone in inner city schools.

We’d be condemned to hearing only music created by the offspring of rich people if it wasn’t for hip-hop. Hip-hop, thankfully, can be made on the cheap if you know your way around the software (and if you have a computer) or mixer. But not everybody wants to be (or can be) a rapper. And what is the manifest goal of almost every single rapper on the radio — that’s right; getting filthy rich. (not every rapper is like that)

I don’t wanna be rich; I just want to make some music. I would love to do it for a living, but that just doesn’t seem possible these days. Signing a record contract is a great way to feel rich for a couple years before you discover the terms of the contract have impoverished you and stolen the most valuable thing you have — the copyright to your own songs. So we’re going the indie route, even if it kills us (and it might). In the meantime, I urge you to give some thought to the idea that lower and middle class folks are being shut out of the music game. Just like the other games.

I should make it clear that the most valuable commodity the rich have is time; specifically the time that comes from not having to work.

If only rich people are able to make popular, radio-friendly music we’d lose about 90% of all potential music, and we’d be subjected to endless songs about Jacuzzis, Mercedes Benz’s and Courvoisier. Thankfully, there are a lot bands out there struggling against impossible odds and making songs about real shit, like trying to pay the rent, finding their way in the world and dealing with relationships. Shit, music used to be the province of poor folks — look at all those old blues albums. Leadbelly was poor as piss, but now people think there’s a lot of money in the music game so the rich’s kids have invaded… and conquered.

Shit, the music business ain’t even worth that much, monetarily. But its cultural and entertainment value is immense! I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m whining, but I certainly have a new respect for musicians of modest means who have managed to carve out a good living for themselves without signing to a major label. I just don’t know who those bands are… -

Oh yeah — The Goodyear Pimps!

And WookieFoot! Represent, bliss junkies!

Do you know any others? Give me a shout-out!

An enjoyable four-day weekend

I’m back at the grind after a lovely Memorial Day vacation. I hope you all had a great vacation as well. Mine was pretty cool. It involved dancing, drinking, camping, recording, softball, jogging, bocce ball, lots of eating, frisbee, jamming, driving, hiking and non-stop partying with friends. All in all, I can’t complain. The weather was even pretty nice. It got really windy the first night we camped, though. It was kind of surreal, but it just added to the fun.

I should have a more interesting post up soon. Probably later today or tomorrow. I will have to do a bit of research before I post. This blog is tougher than it looks, yo. I move mountains for you, dear readers!

Joshua Bell is one of the world’s greatest violinists. His instrument of choice is a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius. If he played it for spare change, incognito, outside a bustling Metro stop in Washington, would anyone notice? [/digg]

It’s a long article, but well worth the read. Unfortunately, things don’t look good for humanity. On the plus side, maybe no one will notice (or care) when we’re gone.

You hear that bell ringing in the distance? That’s the sound of DRM dying.

What is DRM and why is it dying? Well, DRM is the collection of anti-copying technologies that record companies and movie companies use to try and prevent their products from ending up on the P2P networks (like Limewire and eDonkey). DRM stands for either Digital Rights Management or Digital Restrictions Management, depending on who you ask (I say the latter).

It is my considered opinion that DRM sucks donkey balls. It impedes fair use and generally creates havoc. Files were meant to be copied, but DRM tries to erase this feature. DRM is even built into Windows Vista in an attempt to make DRM more effective since earlier designs have failed miserably.

That brings us to Apple and EMI. Their announcement today is the first crack in the industry facade. Previously, the industry titans were aligned and spoke in unison of DRM’s necessity. Now it has become clear that many in the industry recognize that DRM is a failure, a waste of money and (this doesn’t seem to matter to the RIAA) virulently anti-consumer.

Steve Jobs started things off with his broadside against DRM. He said:

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Right now an iPod can’t play music purchased from Microsoft’s stores, just as a Zune can’t play music purchased from Apple’s iTunes store. This is a ridiculous state of affairs since both companies went out of their way to make their songs incompatible — at the RIAA’s request. Every MP3 player can play unprotected MP3s, but once you start putting DRM on those songs it gets really sticky.

That’s why DRM must die. The only thing keeping our portable music players from being able to play any song out there is simple human greed. The technology is there, but new technology was erected to prevent sharing. Worst of all, it didn’t work. Every major DRM-scheme has been broken. Geeks like myself know how to avoid and circumvent it, but the average user probably doesn’t know what the hell DRM is — until it smacks’em in the face. This lamentable reality took a body-blow today.

EMI agreed to sell DRM-free music this morning, with Apple at their side. This is not an ideal scenario since the songs cost $1.29 instead of the customary 99 cents, but Apple sweetened the deal by bumping up the bitrate to 256 kbps — double the previous amount — granting audiophiles the extra sound quality they need. Many of the tricks to eliminate DRM (including simply burning the files to CD and re-ripping them) result in reduced sound quality. This solution manages to fix both problems and should satisfy most geek/audiophiles.

In short, today’s announcement was a long time coming (some may argue that it’s 4 or 5 years overdue), and it is just the beginning of DRM’s death. Even as I celebrate DRM’s passing new anti-consumer technologies are being developed by the MPAA and others in the music industry. Indeed, the 3 other major labels are still heavily invested in DRM and committed to using it as a bulwark against the internet age.

So maybe I’m digging DRM’s grave while it’s still on the operating table, but I’m not the only one who wishes it would go away. We can’t sit down and start slacking now. We need to keep letting these huge companies know that they can’t control our content after they sell it to us. They want to have their cake and eat it, too — and that just ain’t happening.

Burn in hell, DRM!