Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kevin Devine - Live At Austin City Limits (2007)

So, this weekend brought us the leak of KD's new record "Brother's Blood" which leaked 2 months in advance, which is a major bummer cause he seems to be a genuinely good guy from what I've heard through friends. He recently posted his thoughts about the leak on his myspace blog:

1:22am Brooklyn Time

So it goes, and so it went: over the weekend it came to my attention, first via trickle (a well-meaning e-mail to this website from a kind fan) then via relative flood (a phone call from the label, management, confirmation in the blogosphere, etc.) that "Brother's Blood" has leaked, 2 months before its official release.

I'm ambivalent, or more appropriately, confused. (Is "multivalent" a word? I'm that.) I understand it, and I'm a touch flattered, a touch bewildered, and a touch annoyed. I'm not thrilled with myself for the last of those feelings, because it's ultimately not that surprising in this day and age, and beyond that, I'm pretty positive it wasn't a malicious act borne of career-sabotaging intentions, the 'leak.' Someone probably left a file-share open on the wrong server, or gave an advance of the record (necessary in generating press 'buzz' in our little indie ghetto) to the wrong friend, etc. etc. etc.

Besides - there are clearly WAY WAY WAY bigger issues in the world right now than the iron-clad security (or lack thereof) of my record. It doesn't exactly rate given the context. This is what's called a 'luxury problem,' and rightly so.

That being said, it is making some ripples in my little world, so in the interests of responding/addressing/smoothing it out: downloading music from someone like me IS a different enterprise than, say, downloading the new Eminem or Coldplay or Justin Timberlake disc. Last.fm says I have over 75,000 listeners, which shocked the shit out of me; I've never sold more than probably 8 or 10,000 records in America (and I consider that to be pretty goddamn good).

I work hard at what I do, and I am blessed to be doing it and enjoy it immensely. I'm lucky people give a shit and generally speaking it is an honor to play for you and crazy that I can make a living at it in the process. But by all means, I work, and for the past three years, I have at a pretty intense pace. I've played about 450 shows internationally since June 2006, and I've officially and unofficially released a full-length record (twice), one 7", two EPs, and more than an album's worth of songwriting demos in that time. I've never placed restrictions on filming/photographing my shows and am grateful to the vibrant community that's popped up on YouTube and beyond. I often sell my own merch, and talk to everyone who's interested in talking. I'm not exactly what you'd call inaccessible, and I don't have a history with being withholding or tight-fisted with my content.

So, when viewed from that vantage, it's a little disappointing when someone decides to give away something you've worked hard to present to people in a very specific and deliberate manner for specific and deliberate reasons. It takes my agency away as an artist to share my work with you in context and as intended. It hurts the independent label that risked sinking its money - money they don't necessarily have in bunches - into helping me make a record I'm proud of and really love. And, if the leak impacts how my record actually sells to the small corner of the world expected to purchase it, it potentially hurts the perception about me as a touring artist, at least to the people who look at album sales as an indicator of an artist's viability.

And that's the biggest problem. I've generally been a proponent of, "Fuck it, just give it away - it's going to leak anyway, and so long as kids come to the shows, it all evens out." But if that math is fuzzy, if downloading doesn't beget a bigger draw, someone like me, who is by no means fat with wealth from a career in music, has never received a record label royalty check, and makes his living almost entirely from income earned on the road, is in trouble (relatively speaking). Which I'm sure is NOT the intention of the people downloading the music.

And while that's something to be mindful of, I also realize it's not nearly so intricate a moral decision for those of you at the other end, especially those of you who've grown up your entire music-loving lives in the culture of the freebie. You're on a budget, or you're a casual music fan, or you're voracious and want to hear what the bands you love are working on, and all of it's available with a couple mouse clicks. And that's totally understandable to me. People are not, to borrow a passionate and clear-eyed friend's phrase, "self-negating angels," nor should we be expected to be. If someone in the street had a sign up advertising oranges at a nickel a pop in twenty minutes while across the road someone else was offering those same oranges for free now, I know I'd have a hard time reasoning out why it'd be better to buy one, especially if I'm hungry now, and even more-so if I'm going broke, just got laid off, or in fear of losing my job. A man's gotta eat, and a man's gotta be entertained.

In a sense, I'm flattered anyone WANTS to hear my record two months before it's finished, and add it to the list of things I never thought I'd be able to tell the proverbial grandkids. And from what I understand, the vast majority of the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which is heartening. I'd especially like to thank Jason Tate from absolutepunk.net, who offered kind, sensible and empathetic support on his website, as did many of the listeners in the forum - I try not frequent those spots as I think it's probably bad for someone's head to constantly canvas strangers' ideas of/responses to him, but in this instance and in the interests of curiosity, research, and damage control, I did, and I was surprised and humbled.

Anyway. What else to say? Later this week, we'll be announcing a 6-week US tour around "Brother's Blood" to celebrate its official release. I'm hopeful you'll still buy it, or turn a friend on to it, and I'm hopeful you'll come out and see us when we're in town. But I'm also glad you're listening at all, and hope in these unprecedented and frightening and very real times, the record's provided or will provide some solace, distraction, connection, whatever, because writing and recording and playing it has helped me make sense of the mess a bit and I'd love to be able to share that.

So. To quote another exquisitely unique and beautiful friend, from a song a bunch of you will be listening to and singing and finding relief through this summer: "Whatever comes, whatever comes - let it come."

Thank you.


The new album is good, as in really good, as in TDAGIRIM-good, more full band based than his previous efforts, unquestionably his best work to date, and an easily AOTY contender for me. Love the wordplay in here especially on Brother's Blood, Tomorrow's Just Too Late (which also features Jesse Lacey on vocals). Hope that people would buy this when it's properly released on the 28th of April (which I'll definitely be getting).

We need more people like Kevin Devine in this world. Really excited with what he has in store for us with his next release. In the meantime you could dl his live set from the 2007 Austin Limits below.

RIYL: Jesse Lacey, Andy Hull, Miracle Of '86

Download Live At Austin City Limits 2007:

Kevin Devine's official merch store

Kevin Devine's profile on Favorite Gentleman Records(pre-order the new album here when the time comes)
Cheer Kevin up on his Myspace

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Mercury Program - A Data Learn The Language (2002)

After 5 long years of no new stuff, the Gainsville, Florida quartet will release their new album this spring on Lovitt records (Engine motherfuckin Down, Pygmy Lush). Just jizzed my pants over that wonderful thought of a new mercury program album.

If you're getting tired of the crescendocore aspects of post-rock (explosions in the sky, caspian, this will destroy you), get ready to be refreshed and hypnotized with The Mercury Program. Dave Lebleu is one of the best drummers in the sceneright now (imo). He can be all over the place without being too in your face sort-a-kinda way. This is perfect headphone music, travelling music, reading that new script you've got from the internet, or staring blankly at the ceiling in an emo kind of way. Anyways, grab it at the bottom. Ciao!

RIYL: Maserati, Trizteza, Pele

Download A Data Learn The Language:

The Mercury Program on Myspace
Lovitt Records website

Castevet - I Know What A Lion Is (2008)

Castevet is a melodic beard punk quartet from the windy city. If Small Brown Bike met Caspian - and they had a baby. And then, meanwhile, Bear Vs. Shark and Victor Villareal with a beard met and had a baby. And by some miracle, those two babies met and fucked - this would be the shit that they birthed It's a product of Baby fucking.

Kidding aside, if you're a fan of such aforementioned bands, or you have an insanely awesome beard. You'll prolly eat this up. Been listening to this the past few days. This 3 songs serves as a prelude to their upcoming full length, Summer Fences, which will be released this summer on Count Your Lucky Stars records. Add them up on their myspace too, They have 704 friends as of now, so you could brag to all your friends how you listened to them way before alot of people jocks them in every thread in the internet. Seriously, they are insanely good.

And yes, they named themselves from Rosemary's Baby, so that's awesome in my book.

RIYL: Small Brown Bike, Bear Vs. Shark, Ghosts & Vodka, Beards in general

Download I Know What A Lion Is:

Show them love on their myspace
Count Your Lucky Stars Records

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kind Of Like Spitting/Lemuria - Your Living Rooms All Over Me (2006)

Ben Barnett is Kind of Like Spitting and he just pours his guts out with every song, and those are evident here in this split. Seriously, listen to Afraid Of Crushes (which is also one of my favorite kols songs ever) and you'll be teleported back to that awkward version of yourself. (mega plus points if you're still that awkward version of yourself)

RIYL: Owen, The City On Film, DCfC

Lemuria (no, not that viking metal band) is a 3 piece Buffalo, NY based band who play sweet co-ed pop punk and released one of the better albums last year with Get Better, I melt like a big 'ole scoop of strawberry ice cream on a lazy summer afternoon every time Sheena swoons.

RIYL: Rainer Maria, Cruiserweight, Discount

Download Your Living Rooms All Over Me:

Kind Of Like Spitting On Barsuk Records
Lemuria on Myspace

Lemuria On If You Make It

Boy Problems - Summer Tour Songs (2008)

Dudes confirmed their break up the middle of last month. Shit, many people (including yours, truly) we're looking out for some new jamz this 2009. Tough break, if you still haven't got their tour ep, click on the image above for the link. Be on the lookout for new top secret projects from these fellas.

Bid farewell to them on their myspace.

Check out John Galm's (ex-street smart cyclist, boy problems) new project "Snowing" here. Stoked!


Gonna try and resurrect this blog with new uploads in the coming days.



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tokyo Police Club - Friends Of P and New New Song (2008)

Exclusive b-sides from the UK edition of Elephant Shell, "New New Song" which we first heard in their Daytrotter sessions, and The Rentals cover, "Friends Of P" which they've been performing live recently. Here it is, in its recorded glory.

Download Friends Of P and New New Song:

Tokyo Police Club on Myspace