Geo-blocking Bullshit

I am a fan of the band Animal Collective.  Today, (for the nth time) I looked up their latest album on emusic.com and got this:
We're sorry. This album is unavailable for download in your country (Canada) at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I've complained directly about this before.  Once to an artist.  They didn't respond.  Another  sent to emusic who were kind enough to send this corporate bullshit speak:
eMusic shares in your frustration with the inability of international customers to access all of the content offered on our site.   Many labels sign geographic-based distribution deals that limit worldwide distribution of a particular album.  That is the reason that some albums are available worldwide while others are limited to certain geographic regions.
So to whoever is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.  You are retarded.

I suppose I could get off my ass and buy the CD in a store.  Not likely.  Turns out there aren't that many stores that have interesting CDs in them anymore.  The cool ones that do are in the city getting to them is a full-on event.  I could buy from iTunes.  Not.  Won't on principle.  Between DRM and their pricing I'm just not interested.  I could torrent/steal it.  Not.  I'm an adult now and I think it's ok to pay for music.

I get 100 tracks per month (subscription) from emusic.  Honestly, I have trouble absorbing them all.  Between working for a living, working on my own stuff, listening to the music of my friends, and commercial music I am practically drowning.

So if you're unwilling to sell me your album, that's just fucking fine.  You will not be missed.


It's Neu To Me

A couple of years ago I walked into my favourite indie hipster CD shop and as was often the case, something cool was playing. Of course, I had to ask and pretty soon I was the proud owner of a Manual by Appliance. The track that grabbed my ear was Food Music. Didn't think too much about it, just liked it.

Fast forward to earlier this month, when I recently watched a documentary called Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany. I hear this band from the early 70s called Neu! and I'm hooked. One of the tracks the documentarians used was Hallogallo. There's that sound again. And it hits me. This was one of the roots of much of the music I've been listening to since I was a teen! David Bowie (from his Low period), Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Pere Ubu, Joy Division (the list goes on) have all drunk from this well.

You've probably heard somewhere that rock music has its roots in the blues. But a lot of modern music has no blues. How did that happen? We've been fed this stuff about young punks rejecting the big established acts. As is often true, it's probably not quite that simple. In their attempt to sound neither American nor British, the young German bands of the 70s forged a new sound. And in hindsight, that influence on the rest of "modern rock" seems profound.

So now I'm busily filling this massive gap in my music "education" and wonder about the numerous forces that have kept me ignorant all these years. Probably was just the force between my ears.


Warning: Extreme Introspection

A lifetime ago, my friends and I would spend time talking heavy. One of the topics, since we were listening to what others might have described as depressing music (Cure, Bauhaus, Smiths), was did you need to be unhappy to create good music.

Well, I can't speak to good music but last week my dog, Bear, died. I was completely unprepared for the intensity of the shock and grief I felt. I and my family were (are still) devastated. For three days, I could not bring myself to touch my guitar.

For me, I now know that unhappiness, in the extreme, kills creativity (apparently not for my daughter who took a number of wonderful photographs).

This weekend, exactly one week almost to the hour when it happened I recorded Grief. I'm not sure it qualifies as good or how it comes across. But I can tell you that I was weeping as I played the last note.

It was cathartic but I remain sad. I also have no desire to play that anymore. Right now I cannot imagine how Clapton could sing about his son night after night.

For the rest of the weekend, I spent as much time as I could wangle hiding out in the Lab making music. Which leads to the conclusion that mid-grade unhappiness seems to be good for creativity.

What about other parts of the emotional landscape?