Monthly Archives For August 2008
The Devoted Few – “The Death Of Us” (mp3)
The Devoted Few had a real catchy song on the radio a few years ago called Sleepless of an album of the same name, but they never followed it up with a second single that I remembered. The second album came and went. They now have readied a third album and a fresh taster single off it. This self funded effort was recorded with Scott Horscroft at Sydney’s Big Jesus Burger studio, a favourite for Sydney bands, and then sent to the US for mixing. I’m sure a tour is to follow soon.
Andy Bull – ‘Small Town Girl’
I’m glad that Andy Bull have finally got a good single out on a label big enough to push his music out to the mainstream market. I first learnt about Andy through his manager the lovely Julia Kosky whom I met in an industry forum. On her recommendation I checked Andy out on a small gig at Sydney’s Ruby Rabbit, not really a venue but a long terrace bar/club style. Andy was behind a set of keys and on the bass was producer Tony Buchen aka Buchman aka one of the Baggsmen. Young Andy Bull had a great voice, a soulful voice for a boy from Sydney whom I thought would be too ‘American’ to work the indie gigging circuit in Australia. That was a few years ago and I thought he has disappeared or given up or moved away but fortunately he has come back with a fantastic pop soul number. Small Town Girl is a classic soundtrack tune; I get flashbacks of the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous, the scene when Zooey Deschanel‘s character leaves the family home to become an airline stewardes. If that movie wasn’t set in the 70s, this song would be perfect. Actually, it doesn’t matter when it’s set cos this song has an ageless quality.
The Presets – G E T O F F T H E B E A C H mixtape
The Presets have made a mixtape. It includes Aphex Twin, Public Enemy and Sepultura. You can download it if you sign up with their mailing list here.
Calling All Cars - ‘Animal’
Calling All Cars is a collision of myriad different styles – lo-fi garage rock (just listen those overdriven single-coil electric guitars), punk rock (there is a definite palpable energy here), pop-punk (inflected within the chorus) and straight-out Aussie pub rock (ummm… I’m stuck for another bracketed sentence).
Real Aussie rock seems imbued into the collective unconscious of Australians; there’s something about a rough’n'ready band sweating it out on a pub stage that automatically endears us towards them. There’s an exploding Aussie rock scene at the moment, although sadly there’s a tendency towards mediocre output on record (Gyroscope, I’m looking at you). Calling All Cars is perhaps slightly generic in their delivery, but their point of difference is a gruff heart that bleeds out onto their music. It’s not blowing me away, but it’s not shunning me either. And it’s certainly an evolution in the right direction. I reckon the chorus would rock live.
Midget – ‘From Yr Head to Yr Hands’
Here’s a musical lessons for you young’uns, so sit straight, listen up and pay attention! Cult heroes Midget, who throughout the Nineties supported legends like The Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Everclear, Primus and Magic Dirt, and played at Big Day Out and the sadly defunct Livid Festival, are back with a brand new song, ‘From Yr Head to Yr Hands’, offered to us exclusively. Tight as the proverbial nun, you’d swear the trio never stopped playing together.
Sounds like a great return to form for these legends of Aussie rock. Keep an eye out for shows in October/November this year.
No, DMCA is not a band but it is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it is a law in the United States that makes it easier for record labels to take down mp3s on blogs, amongst other copyright and internet issues. It was passed into law in 1998 by President Clinton, but I did not really know what it meant for music blogs until last week.
How it works is this: the DMCA gives copyright owners such as artists and labels, the right to serve what is known as a ‘takedown’ notice to ISPs and web hosting companies when a copyrighted work is being distributed on the internet, such as blogs. If the ISP/host chose to comply with this takedown notice by removing public access to the copyrighted content on their server, they will be exempt from future law suits from the copyright owner (eg. labels) relevant to this content. The person who puts up the content (eg. blogger) then get sa notice from the ISP/host informing that the content has been removed and that he/she can serve a counter-claim notice to the ISP/host challenging the takedown. The copyright owner then has 14 days to reply with a law suit to take the matter to court. If there is no law suit then the ISP/host can restore access to the copyrighted content.
Two weeks ago I received an email from my web hosting company Dreamhost informing me that they have received a takedown notice from the RIAA for this file: http://whothehell.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/pnauladyhawkemiamihorrorfalke.mp3
It’s from the Miami Horror and Fred Falke remix of PNAU’s new single Embrace (featuring Ladyhawke) post. What’s funny about the whole business is that I was given the file by the copyright owner, the label who commissioned this remix etcetc records who isn’t even registered with RIAA. They reconfirmed that they still want me to blog an mp3 of the track as it is part of their promotional strategy for the single servicing. So they emailed to Dreamhost asking the file to be put back up. Dreamhost replied by saying that we have to serve them a counter-claim, following the DMCA’s guidelines, and recommended that we get a lawyer to do it. They refused to do anything more, even checking if the original takedown notice was issued by a genuine claimant of the copyright material. Now I’ve been with Dreamhost for over 10 years and they’ve always been very good to me so I know they weren’t just being silly. Around the same time, Aleks Discodust emailed me saying that he too was with Dreamhost and that he had received the same notice, and wanted to check with me if that track was indeed still cleared to blog.
A quick search on the internet revealed that the DMCA has indeed many flaws, and there are sites that are dedicated to repealing this Act and even a site on takedown notices clearinghouse tracking the effects of the legislation and other similar law. One of the sites has example of how to write a counter takedown notice, so I did a simple cut and paste, filled in the details and sent it back not to Dreamhost but to firstname.lastname@example.org, letting them know that they are in no position to serve this notice in the first place because they don’t even represent the copyright owner of the song. And then I waited, to see if I’m going to be sued for blogging an mp3 I was given permission to. A few days passed, and then I received an email forward from Dreamhost, the RIAA has rescinded their notice and the file has been put back up online. It is now available again. whothehell.net 1, RIAA 0.
My post is just one of the many examples how this law is being misused. It’s true that the mp3, being hosted with Dreamhost a US company, fall under US court of law jurisdiction. But hosting companies are so fearful of being sued by labels, movie studios and huge bands like Metallica and U2 that as soon as they received a takedown notice they restrict access to the disputed file without even doing background checks to the validity of the notices.
Until now I have no idea which member RIAA, which label, served the notice. Pnau, Miami Horror and Fred Falke (as far as I know) isn’t signed to a US label. Ladyhawke is signed to Island/Universal, but this work isn’t hers, it’s Pnau’s. Perhaps someone in Island just googled ‘Ladyhawke’ and served notice to everyone that was hosting the file. But this recording was done before she signed to Island anyway. I have heard that there were no performance agreement with the song between Pnau and Ladyhawke, and as a condition Pnau isn’t allowed to advertise the song with Ladyhawke’s name or image in the press or videos. But that doesn’t stop bloggers like me attaching her name on it. No one told me not to mention her name in writing, and most bloggers spend a lot of time and money maintaining their websites purely for the love of the music, and they genuinely think by doing so help promote the artists’ work. So I don’t think I should be penalised for my support of the local music scene, if the whole Ladyhawke/Pnau agreement was indeed the reason the file got taken down.
Could this be some form of industrial sabotage? It would be very easy for other labels to serve takedown notices of rival label’s artists, and as a result derailing any promotional blogging campaign. It just seems to give not only copyright owners but anyone that the ISPs/host deemed legimate to takedown just about any mp3s.
All speculations aside, I hope by posting this I’ll bring more attention to this legislation. Have any other bloggers received a similar DMCA notice?