Have We Become a Culture of Free?

It is easy to say that saving money has become very popular and almost a way of life since the recession went main stream a few years ago  and even before then. There are even shows on TV about couponing and they make contests out of it. If people can not save money on something or get it free they have little interest in it if it does not seem to be a necessity. It is no secret this has been effecting the music industry and record long before the recession came full circle a yew years ago.

It first started with sites like Napster offering free music shares and downloads. Once Napster was shut down it was eventually followed with contemporaries such as WinMX, LimeWire, Bearshare, and countless others. These sites had paid options but users could download anything findable for free. People still bought albums of course but as iPods and other MP3 players became more popular mp3’s downloaded for free became more popular, especially off free sites. iTunes helped this process somewhat, offering listeners the opportunity to pay per song or per album but most people figured if it is available for free why should I have to pay. Thus creating the Culture of Free.

I was not immune from the culture of free. For my teen years I was a dirty pirate of music and got probably almost all of my music off of Lime Wire. Ever since it shut down I have been paying for albums unless a friend had the cd or album on the computer then I just put it on my computer with a flash drive. But most of my music now comes from Amazon,sometimes iTunes or on a rare occasion bought in a store. I feel it makes me appreciate the music so much, more and get much more excited when I get the album.  In my binge downloading days I would just download everything from an artist and at some point delete songs I did not like very much, if I got around to it. I now have the hype back I got when I was younger when I would be excited to buy new CDs. Remember those days people, weren’t they magical?

While I have not researched this I think more people have been buying music in recent years or have been paying for programs like rhapsody or groove shark. This is good for us. How can we justify taking the work someone did for free.If we had to produce work and not get paid for it we would be pissed as regular people.

Yes many celebrity musicians have boat loads of cash and make a lot money from concerts and other things, but that money goes into paying the bills for the concerts and they have to profit greatly as well causing them to raise ticket prices since they don’t make much off of album sales as they used to.

I am not saying that we need to go back to spending boat loads of money on CDs in stores, but I think we should continue developing pay for music sites, and buying digital albums which are much cheaper than buying the physical album. That way we are still getting to save money, but are still being smart and paying someone for their work. Also, we are even being green by not having all that plastic and paper used on the packaging.

I am proud to admit I am a pirate of the musical high seas no longer

Band Spotlight: Waylon Speed

The number of bands in this world is infinite and constantly changing. This makes it nearly impossible for one to ever listen to all of the bands in the world, let alone their own region. New England is home to quite a few of the good bands out there (Do not even begin question me on what makes a band good). One band in particular is Vermont’s own Waylon Speed.

Waylon Speed is a four man band hailing from around Burlington, VT. Lucky for those of us not in Vermont they play all over the place, not just the Green Mountain State (I first saw them in Worcester, MA). The group is comprised of Noah Crowther (Bass, Vocals), Kelly Ravin (Guitar, Vocals), Reverend Chitwood Haymaker (Guitar, Vocals), and Justin Crowther (Drums, Vocals). Since forming in 2009 they have released two full length studio albums, one of those being a double album) and just released an EP at the end of last year.

Their music is hard to put into one genre. There is country, rock, hard rock, and a bit of metal. Most of their songs are loud with a fast tempo and smooth but manly vocals. However, on slower songs, they still bring their A game and keep the ears tuned in. I have not gotten to dive into the new EP yet, but the other albums, Georgia Overdrive and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, had a song to appeal to everyone’s sensibility.

Not only are they great on their own in concert, they are great enough to appear with some remarkable music legends and icons. Waylon Speed has played shows with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Blues Traveler, Little Feat, and My Morning Jacket. For the most part though, they play with acts of the same level or alone. No matter who the group plays with, I can assure you it will be an awesome show and one worth seeing out the thousands going on elsewhere.

Upcoming Post to feature Waylon Speed, anyone heard of them?

I am planning to take some time to finally write something up to post on here by the end of this coming weekend, I am going to write about a band called Waylon Speed that hails from Vermont and plays a mix of hard rock, country and punk. Just something to look forward to for you all this weekend!

Hiatus over

After a long unplanned hiatus from writing reviews myself and writing for someone elses site I am going to attempt to return to writing here again. It was nice to write for someone else, but anyone who has worked with another person will know that people change their minds and sometimes, not everyone can agree with every mind change.

Album Review: Self Proclaimed Rockstars “Postcards From Purgatory”

The Self-Proclaimed Rockstars (SPR) have just released their debut album, Postcards from Purgatory, with a whole list of fun-filled tracks that mostly showcases their views on life in their suburban town outside of Boston where they all grew up. I recently got in touch with the guys of SPR for a phone interview.

SPR was formed in October of 2009. Guitar Player Mick Greenwood and Lead Singer Johnny Malone have been playing together for a couple of years though. The band members have grown up knowing each other all their lives though.  They say that all came from the same “middle ground” background were many people dream small and usually stay in the area, work in family businesses, and raise families.

According to the band the song “Suburban Kingpin”, shows some of the themes of the album. They say it is a satirical look at people who stay in small towns but have big town problems such as drugs and getting caught by the law. I know I can relate to this song whenever I read about what my old classmates are doing in the town court logs.  The chorus is simply “It’s goin down, down, down, down, down, da –da- da down and follows verses talking about people getting out of jail and getting a real job then falling back into the same old ways and getting in trouble with the law again.

Another spectacular song on the album is “Let’s Get Naughty, Baby (Let’s Get Nautical)”. The hidden secret of this song is it is about swingers on a boat. I must say it is one of my favorite songs on the album with innuendo lyrics “It’s not the size of your boat that matters but the number of boats that you can fit inside”. The smooth but loud vocals will make anyone want to get naughty on or off a boat with or without other couples there.

Then there is my absolute favorite song they play that I have seen live twice now,  “Whisky”.  The lyrics “I pulled my pistols out at noon, Stumbled into the saloon sayin ‘What’s the strongest thing you got? Can’t you see I’m far from fine, I don’t need no beer or wine, I just took a bullet, Now I’m gonna take a shot of whisky” always get people out on the floor. During live shows the band will take shots of whiskey even and invites the whole crown to join them. They said as much as they like having fun they do promote responsible drinking though.

Other songs of note include “A Cold Sleep”,  and “No Faith” , but I will say not one song is bad or even just good.

I would like to thank all the guys of SPR for talking to me and giving me a little background on them and this album. Thanks to Mick (Guitar), Ryan (Guitar), Steve (Drums) , James ( Bass) and Johnny (Singer) . Also, thanks for being such a good live show to see.

I give this album 5 out 5 stars!

Album Review:Brian Setzer Goes Instru-Mental

Brian Setzer, known widely as a rockabilly singer and guitarist, is back with a new instrumental album entitled “Brian Setzer Goes Instru-Mental” released yesterday, April 19. After taking a good listen I propose the title of “Brian Setzer Goes Instru-Genius”.

Of the eleven songs featured six are original pieces by Setzer and the remaining five are covers; including the bluegrass classic, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” originally written and performed by Bill Monroe. I have heard the Monroe version many times and must say while Setzer’s take on the classic is worlds away from the original; the classic version can still be heard. Setzer has definitely made his own dignified song here without ruining an old favorite.

“Far Noir East” is one of the noteworthy originals on the album which are all written by Seltzer himself. It is much slower and deserves the label of suave. Its liquid, dreamy feel makes me want to fall in love in the 1940’s or be a Private Investigator in the ‘40’s.

Another Setzer original on the album is “Go Go Godzilla”. This track is much faster and probably twenty years ahead of “Far Noir East” on the music spectrum. It almost makes me think of a 1960’s theme song for a cartoon. It also is the only song that features any lyrics. However the lyrics are simply background singers crying out “Go Go Godzilla” periodically; but those three little words are just enough.

Other original songs of note include Intermission, Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown, “Hot Love”, and Pickpocket, “Intermission” and “Hot Love” would both have been 1950’s rockabilly swing gold had they been released in that decade.

Songs Setzer chose to cover for the album besides Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky are “Cherokee” by Ray Noble, “Be –Bop-A-Lula” by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent, “Earls Breakdown” by Earl Scruggs, and “Lonesome Road” by Gene Austin and Nathaniel Shilket.

I give the album 4.5 out 5 Stars.

Album Review: Los Lonely Boy’s “Rockpango”

Los Lonely Boys have  come a long way since their mainstream debut in 2004 with the Grammy winning hit Heaven. Their new album Rockpango , released today, March 29, is a bit further from the pop spectrum then their previous work with tighter guitar sounds. However, while some of the songs are well written and make the listener feel what they are saying; about half of the songs just don’t hit the mark lyrics wise. The sound though is quite remarkable all throughout the album.

Los Lonely Boys play a style of music that is all their own which they call Texican Rock and Roll. This is a blend of rock, blues, soul, country and tejano (a Tex Mexican Music). They really own up to this Texican Rock and Roll on their fourth studio album.  Most of the songs on the album feature something people will want to dance to, fall in love to, or just chill out to, such as the first single Fly Away, which is well written and makes the listener see the love they are feeling.

Some other songs on the album make me wish they had hired a songwriter for some assistance. Baby Girl even features the horribly cliché phrase “Drop it like its Hot” which was the title of a popular song by Snoop Dogg song from the time they were winning a Grammy for Heaven. The song continues on to lose me as I listen further.

However, the album is more than just one good single and an oddly written attempt at a dance song (Baby Girl). Other songs of good note include Porn Star, a song about being hypnotized by a dancing porn star, who hasn’t been there before, also Smile, Road to Nowhere ( my personal favorite), and Sixteen Monkeys.

All in all Rockpango is a good album from these former Grammy Winners with a much more dignified and tighter sound than what won them the award. While some songs are hit and miss others make me want to get up and dance.

I give Rockpango 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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