Antony and the Air Force

We have Comcast cable at  our house, and you can watch music videos with On Demand. A few months ago I saw Antony & The Johnsons "Hope There's Someone," and enjoyed it, so this weekend when I noticed it was on the list of videos again, I put  it on,...
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Crap Your Pants, Say "Waaah!"

The returns are in, and, according to this article from Reuters, the music industry has hit an eight year low for sales.  Among corporate labels, there is much fretting and wringing of hands.  Reuters, however, fail to recognize the non-major label music industry, who don't seem to be pissing and moaning.  Major labels are a dying breed due to their own avarice, and nobody's gonna cry when they die.
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The Williamsburg iPod Awards

Recently brought to my attention by a Brainwashed colleague, the online-based "PLUG Independent Music Awards" touts itself as representing a "community coming together to recognize its own." Yet, judging by the choices on the ballot, the "plug" of its namesake apparently serves instead as a tool to keep both the organizers' and participants' heads securely buried within their own assholes.
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Sharing is Caring and Caring is Sharing

Our kindergarten teachers always told us how we should be sharing, but the RIAA would have you believe otherwise.  Looking at any recent major label release, the packaging is pretty much destroyed now with big blocks of text, an FBI symbol and a warning.  Unfortunately, monster megalith Sony BMG isn't out to warn the consumer or provide any information that they're illegally loading "malware" (malicious software) onto unsuspecting machines. 
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Conspiracy as Usual

A recent piece from The Nation offers some compelling questions that the so-called "Katrina Commission" should aim to answer. Unfortunately, the unsurprisingly Republican-helmed congressional investigation will almost certainly leave many of the concerns expressed unanswered as politics-as-usual trumps justice.
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CocoRacist: You're So Worldly, How's Mom's Audi?

After being alerted by a Brainwashed reader to this fascinating article from the Washington Post about ultra-trendy "Kill Whitey" parties in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where else?), I was not only perturbed by what I learned about the racist underside of indie trendoids, but I also discovered a little tidbit that might potentially be very embarassing to indie freak-folk darlings CocoRosie.
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Fun Fact #86 about Post-9/11 America

FUN FACT #86: Did you know? ... If your name is on the "No Fly" list, you're fucked!
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Major labels try to fuck more people over!

We all know by now how the major labels fuck all their artists over and fuck all their customers over but now they're trying to fuck over their promotional outlets!
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Discovering The Golden Palace

Did you know that there was a Golden Girls spin-off in the early nineties called The Golden Palace? Broadcast on CBS, it starred three of the original elderly gals (Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty), with vital supporting roles filled by Cheech Marin and Don Cheadle, the latter best known for his Academy Award nominated role in Hotel Rwanda.
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Jon and Jonathan's Rules of Compilations

Nekesa Mumbi Moody has just published an article on how "Best Of" albums are not so great these days.  But have they -ever- been?  She identifies who's doing it all wrong but bands and labels are often confronted with the task of "how to do it right." Here's a helpful guideline to anybody faced with making a compilation.
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Payola: Another Way Major Labels Fuck Everything Up

This past week, Sony BMG agreed to pay $10 million in fines over their illegal Payola practice.  Payola is as old as the recording industry itself and is basically another way big business labels fuck everything up for the rest of us.
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From the Perverse to the Pathetic

Terror attacks in Western nations are about to become as common as those in Israel. "Could it happen here?" was nearly all you heard on television in the days following the July 7 bombings in London. Not only could it happen here, but it will.
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Jonathan Dean's Wish List

"The Dream World of Dion MacGregor"
This 1957 LP on Decca often fetches prices as high as $500 at online auctions. The record comprises a series of "dream monologues" - recordings of a New York man talking aloud in his sleep, telling bizarre, disjointed and disturbing stories. John Zorn's Tzadik label recently released some additional dream material too obscene to be included on the first LP, but the original has still not seen the light of day.
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holiday party idea for music nerds

It's almost a modification of the "exchanging of the keys" wife-swapping parties of the 1970s: Gather a bunch of friends, make a mix tape or mix CD, make an original package or creative concept and distrube randomly. Okay, so it's got nothing to do with wife-swapping but you can put them all in a basket like they did in that awful film, "The Ice Storm." Brainwashed staff and contributors cannot take credit for the invention of this party concept.
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enough

Everybody who's reading this right now knows what happened a year ago this week. Rather than take the soap box again with ramblings, I want to share a web site a friend pointed out to me. This live journal web site I feel sums up what is on many people's minds. I don't know who this person is but I think what they wrote was well-said. http://www.livejournal.com/talkpost.bml?journal=vyoma&itemid=437161
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this week in music industry bullshit

(a.k.a. "Your major label dollars at work.")
The major labels have gone too far again. I realize this message has been repeated ad nauseam but this week, two major events serve as evidence to reinforce the hatred against the shitheads. On Tuesday, under influence from the strongest major record corporations, the RIAA successfully halted AudioGalaxy's current means of operating. What irritates me most is not their moronic self-imposed right to own the control of intellectual property after they "release" it (unlike the book publishing world), but because their battle-losing streak is hurting the people they are pretending to protect. Fact of the matter is that once AudioGalaxy is down, there will be another 10 to spring up. At the end of the day, the only people benefitting are the high-priced Beverly Hills lawyers since the music industry can only keep losing the battle against the file-sharing public. The majors have indeed LOST, but they can't admit they're the big losers, so they ass rape their own artists by not giving health benefits and employees who rarely make a living wage in the most expensive cities in the world.
Once again, I clearly state that not all indies are good but all majors can at least AFFORD to give benefits. The major labels have got so much fucking money that they will unhesitatingly step up to the plate every time and pay for the finest lawyers to stomp out whoever's violating them any week. AOL Time Warner, for example, owns most of the internet providers AND a large chunk of the most popular cable channels to boot (and also pays their cable tv employees benefits) while Vivendi/Universal is viciously trying to creep up to their size with recent acquisitions of more cable TV networks, themselves.
On Saturday, the United States Copyright Office decided to charge web broadcasters $0.70 per song, but I don't see any provisions made in terms of public, non-profit, or educational broadcasters, who are exempt from royalty fees on conventional radio. Kudos, motherfuckers. Next time the college radio rep from the Island Def Jam group calls up the college radio station I DJ for asking me to play their records I'll find it amazingly hard to refuse to tell him to go fuck himself and his major label brown nose.
Bottom line is this: supporting major labels only feeds the highest priced lawyers and NOT the artists they're pretending to protect nor the employees who can't make enough money to live in the parts of the world with the highest rents imaginable. The difference between them and the minors is that on the whole, they CAN afford to act responsibly but time and time again they choose not to.
The Brainwashed Brain will proudly ignore major labels until they finally give in and admit they're rapists, liars, hypocrites and thieves and happily take the time out to say FUCK YOU to them. We encourage everybody to spend their money and time more wisely. I also personally call upon any writer of any music publication who features major label artists to stop and think about what you're doing, possibly even remotely consider spending an issue making a concerned effort to focus solely on independent artists and labels.

 

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web broadcasters safe? for now...

This past Tuesday, the Library of Congress rejected a proposal by CARP (the Copyright Arbitration Royal Panel) which proposed a rate for internet-based music broadcasters to adhere to. They didn't however rule out internet music royalty collections alltogether, as a final decision on rates and such is yet to be determined in June. While a number of web broadcasters are crying that these royalties would "shut them down for good," I strongly believe there is justification in charging a fee, as there is in the radio and television mediums. In radio, however, only commercial stations pay royalty fees, while non-commercial, non-profit, and educational institutions are exempt. The mere notion to charge non-profit organizations who do not sell their content is ludicrous, as royalties were originally set up because commercial radio stations essentially "re-sell" the music (their 'content') to advertisers. To put it bluntly, commercial radio stations are basically making money off of other people's songs. It is by this justification of royalty payments that commercial "electronic" or "web" organizations who sell the content should, by all means, pay all applicable fees, and clear distinctions need to be made as to who is providing educational non-profit fair usage. A number of "internet petitions" circulate around about this issue but there's a lot of smoke being blown around by various groups on each side who have strong financial interests in the matter. In the end, be wary of these petitions, always question the motives of each group involved, and voice your opinions to your representative (if you have one) in Congress.
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EMI BUYS MUTE, SO WHAT?

This past week, the UK-based multimedia corporation EMI announced their purchase of long time independent record label, Mute. While this might initially send shivers down spines of faithful Mute fans or indie label advocates, I feel the need to remind some of us about previous deals between Matador and Atlantic, or even Matador with the EMI-owned Capitol records. Back in the early-mid 1990s, Atlantic thought Matador had something really big with Pavement and Liz Phair, so they decided to go in on a deal with them to put out all of their records. When the Atlantic realized that they sank more money into releases which weren't bringing the bucks into Time Warner, they decided to end the relationship. Shortly thereafter, Capitol did the same thing. While EMI would love to have Moby, does anybody with half a brain think EMI will even want to release albums from Diamanda Galas, Throbbing Gristle or Non? Sure, the aging post-smack fiends Nick Cave and Depeche Mode do okay and all, but if EMI paid millions to have Virgin sever their ties with Mariah Carey, a deal like this won't last. If it does, get ready for Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget and Can records to go back out of print. According to reports, EMI will pay £23 million for Mute, plus up to £19 million of potential performance-related payments, over a period of four years. Couldn't they just have bought the rights to the music industry's biggest whore (anything for money Moby) and saved both the cash and the disgrace which will surely follow 18 months from now?
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In Boston, There Is No Other

As last week's issue of "The Brain" went live, the folks at Other Music were moving all the stock from the Boston store back to NY. The unannounced departure of Other Music Boston is about as bittersweet as their shocking arrival, 16 months ago.

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"I Was There When..."

It was about 1982 or 3ish I was about 15, and I had just flown up to Boston for the summer to stay with my Dad. WZBC used to have a show called called Saturday morning music (just music) which was sort of a New Age-ier version of NCP -- back before New Age was called New Age and before it got killed by ... very bad music.
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