Monday, May 4, 2009

Physical Media

Semi-recently, I bought a copy of the Pink Razors' record Leave Alive. I hadn't really heard them that much, but I knew they were a semi-popular pop punk band, so I took a chance. The record is pretty good - it reminds me of a more East Bay influenced version of The Ergs!. With the record was a code for a free download of the album, as most people are doing these days.

Along with that code was a thank you note for supporting physical media. I kind of wanted to write them and say "you're welcome, and thank you for acknowledging it". I guess it's really sinking in that the music industry is becoming something that doesn't exist in the physical world. Maybe I just have trouble letting go of my upbringing in music, but it seems ludicrous to put all this work into writing songs, spending money recording them, touring them, promoting them, and then simply have it released as mp3s (or equivalent). It feels really strange, and makes me miss the days of only finding out about bands from shows, merch tables, tape trading, and record bins. All of the effort has been taken out of music finding with the internet, and now you can barely get something to hold in your hands when you find someone you really like.

I'm a fool to resist it though, as this is basically a zeitgiest. I'll admit I download a ton of music (and don't pay for any of it) but I still avidly support buying physical media. I've given up on CDs, but still can't resist vinyl.

For those who haven't seen it, check out NOFX's new album Coaster (or the vinyl version, Frisbee). It's largely a statement on the music industry, and the titles are direct references to two useless objects, much like physical media has become.

In fact, here's a video of them talking about it:

NOFX on their new album "Coaster"

Also, the same night I got that Pink Razors record, I did something I haven't done in awhile. Now and then, I'll buy a record by a band I've never heard (or heard of) based solely on the cover art. If something strikes me as really cool looking, or creative, or mysterious, I'll give it a shot on that alone. My first success with this was at Rotate This! in Toronto during the Spring of 2000. I bought a record by a band called Suicide Nation because of this cover. They ended up being one of my favorite bands of the early days of hardcore/metal fusion in the 90's. That record stands out from the rest of that era because it is actually still valid (it's not some melodic Christian shit). It's dark and blackened, and the guys in the band were crust punks who were apparently literally homeless for awhile (thus giving no contact address on their split with Yaphet Kotto).

But I digress.....I bought a record by a band called Black Dove called No Future, No Fate because of the cover. It's hard to see, but all the print on the cover is in foil stamping. It looked so ominous, I couldn't resist. It turned out to be dark, dirty crust punk, with bits of power electronics interspersed. I chaulk it up to another success.

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