Blog on the Tracks
This is Oscar. My son. He's now two. You've read about him before - when he was born, and then, when at 10 months old, I updated some of his music interests. Osci's just turned two very recently and his language is now far more about making commands, ordering me to sit down, to go for a walk with him to find something, to change him. He's the boss - he's running things. And that's fine with me - my big parenting rule is that if he's breathing at the end of a week I've done okay. If I am too - well, call it a bonus...so far it's worked out okay.
But something pretty cool happened last week. Oscar named his first musician. In the parroting phase that is a child learning speech he very quickly copied me when I said the words Julien Dyne. I had just placed this record on the turntable - one of my favourites. And I guess I felt the need to announce the name behind the record. Quick-as Osci followed up with his version of those words. Pretty good. Close enough to pass. And then he said them again. And again.
And now he has his first favourite musician.
Oscar likes music and though it's probably futile for me to suggest I haven't forced it on him he's definitely - for the most part - interested in nursery rhymes and nauseating novelty tunes. A constant cry of "E-I-E-I..." signals another spin of the 45 I bought of an obnoxious version of Old MacDonald Had A Farm. That was a silly move. Now he sings along with parts beyond the E-I-E-I-O bit; he names animals, he announces 'farm' in time with the singers at the end of each line.
I've got a Cabaret Voltaire record in my crate, I've got my favourite Paul McCartney album, a few bits and pieces from Giorgio Moroder and the best/weirdest b-side from Eurythmics. I've got my Detroit techno box-set, a few really obvious big singles (like this) and another I have played in public before but probably shouldn't ever do again (but there it is packed in the crate - so go figure). There are favourite soundtracks and strange collaborations, and as the day goes on I'll change my mind and remove most of these items and replace them, then return some of the things I've mentioned...
You see tonight I'm playing a one-hour set of favourite electronic tracks as part of the Square Wave Festival's Vinyl Only Party. It's on in Wellington tonight at Puppies, starting with a set from festival organiser and Puppies creator Blink at 8pm, then I'll do my hour of fretting (and nothing approaching strutting) on the stage (9-10pm) before handing over to Bill E (he of Atomic and 24 Hour Party People fame and the Hang The DJ gig that will see off the Bath House this New Year's Eve) and finally from 11pm Bevan Smith (Signer, Ruby Suns, Glass Vaults, Involve Records) will close out the evening.
But here we are - it's happening. It's tonight. It will hopefully be a whole of fun.
It's double-duty for me tonight too because I have my regular spot playing records at Motel Bar (conveniently located just down the road from Puppies). So I'll start my rounds there a bit later on and be playing through until 3am - easing out of the electronic stable and back towards the funk, soul, jazz and blues I usually throw down there.
Alright, so Wikipedia tells me Bandcamp has been around since 2008. That I wouldn't have known. I'm not sure when I first heard of it - but probably only a couple of years ago, maybe three years ago...about 2010/ish. I guess. A good platform for releasing music for a lot of people, obviously. You can hock your wares - promote it, set your price and people can sample it. You can even give your music away for free - or tell people to pay what they like. It may be that a person enters in $0.00, thereby taking your music for free. Or they might give you $10.00. Or more.
I don't search Bandcamp looking for music - but I'm sure plenty of people do. A lot of music comes my way as it is, I'm asked to work through plenty of music so I don't really have time to sift my way through sites like Bandcamp. But there's a lot of cheap music options there. (And elsewhere).
Just as there's a bunch of people out there gassing on about the value of music and how we must always pay the price so that everyone gets something from the deal I'm sure there are plenty of people sure that you couldn't possibly get anything that's of actual value for free. Probably the same people. That would make sense. But then, the internet isn't really about making sense - it's more about noise. And sharing. And then over-sharing. More and more noise. And all the time. And everywhere.
And, well, you could say that about free albums on Bandcamp - more and more noise and over-sharing; too much to sift through.
So, I thought that today we could each share one link to a FREE album on Bandcamp that you reckon is worth hearing. And of course it could be hosted on another site, it doesn't have to be at Bandcamp; that just works for my headline's (attempted) joke. You must have been turned onto one really good album for nothing. Maybe it's your album - well consider this another platform for you - a chance to shamelessly plug your efforts. Why not? Go for it.
So, Blur pulled out of the Big Day Out. Are you sad? Will you be seeking a refund? And are you ready for the fact the replacement act will have all the appeal of a Naked and Famous DJ set, Boh Runga playing solo acoustic or - well - Six60 attempting music?
I know Blur fans wanted to head along to see them - the last chance (surely) to see a band that meant so much. They last performed in New Zealand when Darcy Clay was alive and kicking, their reunion seemed an unlikely thing, too good to be true.
Here's my theory - Blur are breaking up, the reunion is over. The Big Day Out announcement - Blur pulling the pin, sulking off, leaving the promoters of the event to scramble - is their chance to fad off into the sun (again).
And anyway, did you ever hear that live reunion album Blur released recently? My god it was awful. I get that you could have some fun in the sun chanting along with your favourite hits but really this shouldn't matter one bit - the band had its day and the comeback was probably just a good way for Damon Albarn to a) make some money back after that lavish farewell Gorillaz tour and b) remind old fans that he hadn't disappeared entirely up his own date after releasing an opera and too many boring side-projects, all veges, no meat.
Of course it leaves the Big Day Out stumbling - once again. It leaves people paying close to $200 just to see Pearl Jam - a band that, in theory, should be ideologically opposed to fans spending loads of money to see them at an inflated price. Should be.
But I feel sorry for the Big Day Out - and that might come as a shock to you if you're read this blog before. I've probably seemed keen to put the boot into the party-pills-and-text event, a sort of drunken Schoolies week crammed into one day. Certainly the New Zealand promoter - claiming he had nothing to do with Blur pulling out and wasn't aware this rug was going to be pulled (and he's probably quite right in that claim, I'm sure) - has denied me entry to the event, has in fact now denied me entry to any event he's involved in, I'm simply not allowed to review shows he puts on. He's helping to deny me the living wage as a reviewer. So I should be laughing at this - thinking it's some sort of funny payback. Well, I don't roll like that.
So, as I mentioned on Off The Tracks yesterday, The San Francisco Bath House - Wellington's best live music venue - is saying goodbye at the end of this year. And they're doing it in style with a great gig, two gigs actually: the usual Hang The DJ gig will take place from after 11pm and on through until the wee smalls - but before that a set from The Phoenix Foundation.
Should be a great night. And a bit emotional too - end of 2013, a fantastic year for music, one of the best, and the end of The San Francisco Bath House. A great shame for the venue to say farewell - though it's a tough climate and all of that. But wait, the post I ran yesterday says it's a case of watch this space - so who knows what 2014 will bring, a new venue to upper Cuba Street in Wellington perhaps? A new beginning...we'll have to wait (and hope) and see...
It's no secret I'm a fan of the Bath House - great place to see gigs, a good bar too. I've even played a few gigs there too, well, I've played a few records there at least. Nearly the same thing, but not quite...
But I had a blast hosting nights dedicated to the music of Prince and then the music of David Bowie and also the music of The Cure at the San Fran Bath House. I did an 80s night there too recently. And I played some records a few other times.
Some weeks I've been up at the venue four, five or six nights in a row, comedy shows, book launches, drum clinics, cabaret shows, solo acts, duos, bands, DJs - anything and everything.
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