a rant

I just looked at some of the hundreds of comments on the recently closed blog TheIndieConnection. The site used to post whole albums free for the downloading of the general public via rapidshare. I don't know the whole story, but appearantly a band found out about their whole album being posted, got pretty pissed, and a whole shitstorm ensued. (If anybody knows the whole story, I'd kind of like to know.) Anyway, there was a lot of arguing about the ethics of posting whole albums for download in the music community.

I've thought this for a long time ... how is it hurting business if a lot of the people that download these albums are not listening to them that much and wouldn't even buy them in the first place. 99% of the time, if you like something enough that you listen to it consistently, you'll buy it, you'll make an effort to see the band, and you'll buy their merch. Most people don't have the kind of money to throw around that they are going to go buy the more intruiging new releases of the week without really hearing them. For the most part, artists only get a small portion of the actual cd cost and make most of their money touring. As an artist, what's the cost of having your album sit on a computer as mp3s to be sparingly listened to? At most, the album will eventually grow on the listener and they will want to support you. If people aren't going to buy music in the first place, how's business hurt by downloading? Those who only illegally download are still a minority by far. The music business as far as album purchasing is still thriving, but it's obvious the business model is changing. In a hypothetical world without non-purchase downloading, would there be a significant boost in album sales? I think it would be an insignificantly small gain, and exposure would be lost. Hype within the advertising and review domain can only go so far.

People trust their own ears above all.

I'm sorry to go political per-se for a post and forego the mp3s, but I think it's an appropriate topic, especially for those of you reading this, in this niche of music listeners and internet users. I'm neither condoning nor supporting this slippery subject. Just offering my perspective from where I sit, reading the blogs, seeing what goes on, and yes, downloading albums.

I'm up for convincing; comments welcome.


onlelinedrawing live

Onelinedrawing is more a name for the ongoing musical work of Jonah Matranga than it is a band name. Yes, he did record under that name, but currently he is touring and playing songs from all of his past projects. Onelinedrawing implies limits, but Jonah has none. He's been writing music for over a decade and he's incredibly humble about it. Jonah is no rock star. He just loves playing music and seeing people enjoy it and relate to it.

Seeing him live was amazing. He's been playing solo, no longer associated with a band since Gratitude split. I haven't heard much about why that happened, but he gave the impression that he didn't like being in Gratitude at all. It was too rock and roll or something of that nature. The show was in Alumni Hall (here at PSU), which is huge, so the small crowd spread out in the front quarter of the room. Being such a big room, the presence was great while Jonah still managed to keep the show really intimate. He even brought a battery powered amp outside when they started to tear down. When I say solo, I mean not entirely. For a few songs, he was backed by Jersey emo/punk outfit Pick an Exit. It was cool that they learned the songs, but they weren't really cut out for it.

If you've never heard anything Jonah has touched, you need to. His voice is like nothing I've ever heard before. You need to hear it, trust me. There are more mp3s in the scrapbooks section of his website.

[mp3] Onelinedrawing - We Had a Deal *Highly Recommended
[mp3] Onelinedrawing - A Ghost
[mp3] Far - Man Overboard

Jonah also played a cover of The Deftones' "Be Quiet and Drive" live. If you want to hear a live recording, check out this post on onehundredscenes.

The pictures are pretty good, so i put them at the end of the post so they can be big and don't overlap with the blog links and stuff.
Photos from the Alumni Hall Show (04.07.06):


indie conspiracy theories

According to certain notoriously unreliable sources, full of pompus "journalists" (a-hem pitchfork) and spread around by some innocent bloggers, Sufjan Stevens and Rosie Thomas are having a baby. Also, the two recorded a collaborative album with Denison Witmer to be released this summer. Well, sorry to get all your hopes up for cute children and uber-folk, but that is what we call a little white lie. Give Mr. Witmer's name a click and see what the first item in his news says, not to mention that he's been telling the funny story about was spoon feeding pitchfork stories at his recent shows. Indie's too uptight, we do need to joke more.

[mp3] Rosie Thomas - Red Rover (feat. Sam Beam)
[mp3] Denison Witmer - 24 Turned 25

Some of you that read this personally know me, and if you do, you may have heard my theory that Sufjan will actually never release another states record. In combination with the announcement of the release of The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album, the info stunt provides all the info I need to try and convince you Sufjan is done with states.

If you can joke about being pregnant, you can joke about making albums for all 50 states. If you release a b-sides record adding on to the all ready hour topping super sucess of an album you released last year, it probably means you don't feel like writing any more songs about states so you'll just record the ones you have and move on. After A Sun Came, Sufjan made a complete genre jump with Enjoy Your Rabbit and it may be time for that again after Illinois. We have not seen an EP release from Sufjan yet, only albums. That's my prediction on what's to come as far as new material: an EP or two. He'll probably explore some different corners of his songwritting abilities and record them with instrumentation done by himself. Afterall, he has been hopping around with the Illinoismakers for quite a while and most of them have their own bands and projects. Several just saw pretty major new releases and could really benefit from some time touring to support the releases.

In conclusion, the 50 states thing is a bulff. He thought it up and ventured to throw it out there that it might be a cool ambition to have and his fans changed that ambition to a burning expectation. Now, I think he just laughs when he's setting up for a show and he hears two fans arguing about whether the next album will be New Jersey or Arkansas (both with their basis in only a single piece of evidence). It's all hype, and I think it's really funny.

[zip] Sufjan Stevens - Rarities & B-sides (rapidshare)

As if that weren't enough Sufjan for the day, I've uploaded a zip onto rapidshare containing all those compilation tracks you really wish you had. To find out about everything he's ever touched, so you can find it all, check out this fansite - All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! The only things not inculded are really old Sufjan associated tracks (like Marzuki stuff), the Chicago remix that was an iTunes bonus track (because it just wasn't that good, and remixes abound ... better ones), live stuff (because there's tons of that and you can find it everywhere) and the 5 Michigan bonus tracks because they only exist in vinyl form, so I think they should only be listened to in vinyl form (I'll only listen to rips if the LP is really hard to find and the songs exist nowhere else, but I have the Michigan 2xLP). In case you missed those links ...

[link] All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! (All the Sufjan info you've ever wanted to know)
[link] Confabulators: Illin'-Noise! Remixes by mcDJ (if you loved Illinois, you'll love this)

These songs are all so good. Sufjan can never dissappoint. If you've only heard one or two, you practically have an entire new album to fall in love with clocking in at 53 minutes of unheard Sufjan. The order I'm assigning is arbitrary - all the tracks have the proper tags for what album they are from and the track number on that album. They are all mp3s of various bitrates unless noted.

01 - I Can't Even Lift My Head [To Spirit Back The Mews]
02 - The Avalanche (AAC) [Illinoise iTunes Bonus Track]
03 - Woman At The Well [8.21 Blue Bunny Compilation]
04 - Opie's Funeral Song [Mew's Too]
05 - Far Physician's Son [8.21 Blue Bunny Compilation]
06 - Variation On "Commemorative Transfiguration & Communion At Magruder Park" [I Am The Resurrection: A Tribute To John Fahey]
07 - God'll Ne'er Let You Down [To Spirit Back The Mews]
08 - She Is [Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim & Jeff Buckley]
09 - The Lord God Bird [All Songs Considered]
10 - All Delighted People [Eye of the Beholder, Vol. 1]
11 - Borderline [Hope Isn't a Word]
12 - Bushwick Junkie [To Spirit Back The Mews]
13 - Damascus [Seen/Unseeen]
14 - What Goes On [This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute To The Beatles' Rubber Soul]
15 - The First Full Moon [To Spirit Back The Mews]


shameless promotion

I don't think it's too typical for bloggers to post their own music on their mp3 blog, but I'm going to dip into shameless self promotion for a post. I decided to make a myspace for the ongoing project I have going with my friend Neal that has the same namesake as this blog. We started Where There Is Fire We Will Carry Gasoline in the fall of our senior year of high school so we could play a battle of the bands and provide something other than the usual bands that show up at those sorts of things. We wrote one song and did a cover (to never be mentioned again because it kind of sucked). We've collaborated ever since to produce sprawling, epic musical pieces blending many genres including indie, electronic, experimental, and ambient among many others. Hopefully we can get our two polished and 100% complete songs "Runner Up" and "The Apocalypse Will Not Be In Tune" recorded in some manner before I head to New Mexico for the summer, but I don't know if that will happen. Cross your fingers.

Anyway, the song I have up on the myspace is something I started back in February from some samples I decided to play with and pulled out the other week with the goal of actually finishing it. I have too many skeletons of songs just sitting around that just need a lot more work structure-wise. I guess my problem is I'm pretty comfortable and familiar with Fruityloops, but I haven't really mastered it yet, nor have I taken the time or effort to expand my VST plugin and sample library to have the tools to be able to tackle putting what I'm thinking in my head onto the screen. A lot of times ideas don't translate to samples and sequencing so that's a problem too, since I don't own recording gear or have really easy access to any.

Where There Is Fire We Will Carry Gasoline on myspace

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